Global Green CEO & President
Since taking the reins of Santa Monica, California-based Global Green USAthe U.S. branch of Gorbachev's Green Cross Internationalin 1994, Matt Petersen, 40, has brought together corporations, scientists, and L.A.'s greatest natural resourcecelebritiesto advocate for a sustainable future. Here's how.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Edward Norton sit on GG's board, and Petersen has also convinced Orlando Bloom, Salma Hayek, and Jake Gyllenhaal to get involved with various projects. "We've found a way to get Entertainment Tonight to cover an issue they never would otherwise," he says.
Global Green partnered with Starbucks on a series of ads in The New York Times highlighting the need for action on climate change (the coffee giant is one of the largest purchasers of green power in the country). "We need more corporate voices taking proactive stances," Petersen says.
In an effort to green up the reconstruction of New Orleans, Global Green purchased land in the city and invited architects to submit sustainable-housing designs. The jury, chaired by architecture buff Brad Pitt, selected a plan that promises to cut household energy consumption by more than half.
Petersen has made building sustainable schools a priority. "It's a great way to connect people, given that everyone cares about kids," he says. Bonus: Studies show that students in environmentally healthy schools have better attendance rates and higher test scores.
RED CARPET, GREEN CARS
Global Green launched this annual initiative at the 2003 Oscars as a way, Petersen says, "to make the hybrid car sexy and cool." Mission accomplished: Dozens of celebs, including Natalie Portman, Morgan Freeman, and Scarlett Johansson, have since traded their limos for hybrids.