About the Author

Oct 15

So who’s behind this website, anyway?  As transparency and accountability are two of the concepts I will be using to explore efforts to measure “greenness,” it makes sense for me to tell you a little about myself.  My name is Graham Bullock, and I am currently an Assistant Professor at Davidson College in Environmental Studies and Political Science.  I completed my PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management (which is itself in the College of Natural Resources).  My research interests include corporate social responsibility, governance and authority, international environmental politics, governance of global production, and life cycle assessments.

Green Grades: PhD Program at UC Berkeley

My dissertation research focused on the emergence and implications of “information-based” governance strategies, such as certifications, boycotts, and ratings.  I am interested in why these new approaches have grown in recent years, and what their effects have been on businesses, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and consumers.  I investigated these effects in two phases — the first will look across a range of sectors, from office supplies to automobiles, while the second will explore one sector, the electronics industry, in more detail.  I will be sharing my thoughts and findings in “real-time” on this site as I progress, and look forward to feedback from people who are interested in this topic.

To learn more about my background and other experiences relevant to “Scales of Green,” see below:

Building Product and Company Ratings: GoodGuide.com

In 2007, I co-founded a new social venture startup with one of my professors, Dara O’Rourke, and several other graduate students at Cal.  The startup, GoodGuide.com, grew out of research we had been doing for the past several years, and provides information to consumers about the social, health, and environmental performance of products and companies to consumers.  I was responsible for identifying, acquiring, and organizing data from a range of government agencies, non-profit organizations, and for-profit research firms, which we then aggregated into product and company ratings.  This work deepened my knowledge of the data available on these topics, their related data gaps, and the technical, philosophical, and scientific challenges in building comprehensive performance ratings.

Studying the State: Masters of Public Policy at the Kennedy School

Before starting at Berkeley, I completed a Masters of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.  I took a variety of classes there on organizational theory and management, political philosophy and ethics, economics and statistics, and environmental policy.  My masters thesis investigated stakeholder engagement in the development of national environmental indicators in five case studies — three Roundtables on forests, water, and rangelands coordinated by various federal agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency’s State of the Nation’s Environment report, and the Heinz Center’s State of the Nation’s Ecosystems process.  The final version was published as a Kennedy School Working Paper, which you can access here.

Measuring Ecological Health: Internship at Resources for the Future

While at the Kennedy School, I did an internship at Resources for the Future in Washington, DC., where I researched the use of different scientific methods to measure “ecological health” or “integrity” by different federal agencies, from the Army Corps of Engineers to Environmental Protection Agency to the Fish and Wildlife Service.  This work demonstrated to me the active role that values and politics can often play, both explicitly and implicitly, in scientific processes, and the importance for all of us to better understand these dynamics.

Green Tourism and a Green China: Three Years with The Nature Conservancy

My time in Boston was preceded by three years working in China for The Nature Conservancy, where I initiated and directed the Conservancy’s Ecotourism Program there.  We helped several local communities setup an eco-lodge and an ecotourism company (see northwestyunnan.com to learn more)., and worked with government agencies on managing tourism more sustainably in Yunnan Province.  The experience was both quite rewarding and challenging, and exposed me to the many paradoxes of sustainable development.  I published two articles on our work in China, and Outside magazine and the New York Times have written about the eco-lodge as well.

Assessing Ecotourism: Senior Thesis at Princeton University

Working for TNC in China was a natural step from my undergraduate work at Princeton, where I wrote my senior thesis on nine case studies of ecotourism sites in China.  I spent a summer in China visiting these sites, which were located in both nature reserves and local villages, and assessing their economic and ecological impacts.  I developed a resource-based framework for my assessments, and found that different sites and ecotourism options presented difficult cost-benefit tradeoffs.  “Going green” isn’t as easy as it sounds, a constant theme in my experiences thus far.

Green Utilities: The Edison Electric Institute

While at Princeton, I also spent a summer as an intern at the Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor-owned utilities in Washington, DC.  I worked for the International Utility Efficiency Partnerships (IUEP), which was one of the earliest voluntary efforts of the industry to respond to the climate issue.  We developed a Request for Proposals (RFP) for projects for utilities to invest in under the “Joint Implementation” program of the Conference of the Parties (COP) process, and reviewed proposals that came in from around the world.  The experience was great exposure to the private sector, and exposed me to both the challenges and opportunities of voluntary market-based environmental initiatives.

Green Townships: The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association

Between Princeton and China, I spent a summer working at a local watershed organization in central New Jersey called the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association.  While I helped out with environmental education programs and water quality assessment efforts, my primary project was to design a “River Friendly Town Program” that would certify townships within the watershed as “River Friendly.”  I researched environmental ordinances and programs that were being implemented across the state, and used them as the basis of a township rating system.  This work, which evolved into the Association’s current River Friendly Program that now includes residents and golf courses, revealed to me the scientific and political complexities of measuring the environmental performance of organizations, both in terms of what to measure and how to measure it.

Probably that’s more than you wanted to know about me, but I hope it gives you an idea of where I’m coming from.  Now I hope that you’ll check out the rest of the site, and send me your thoughts and feedback…!