Daniel C. Esty Biography

As the Chairman of the Esty Group, Dan Esty brings both great insight and a practical, business-like approach to corporate environmental and economic planning. With expertise that covers myriad subjects - climate change, carbon markets, the Clean Air Act, energy, trade and the environment, and “next generation” environmental policy – Esty is one of the world’s leading experts on energy, environmental, and corporate sustainability strategy. He has advised dozens of companies of all sizes in a range of industries across the world, including Alcoa, IKEA, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Boeing, and IBM, on how to obtain an “eco-advantage” in the marketplace.

Esty is a sought after lecturer on energy, sustainability, and climate change issues, and has been quoted in various publications such as The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Scientific American, Forbes, and Fortune. He is a frequent commentator on NPR and has appeared on a number of national TV talk shows, such as The Colbert Report, The O'Reilly Factor, and Glenn Beck, to speak on issues of business innovation and the environment.

From 2011 to 2014, Esty served as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) where he earned a reputation for bringing fresh thinking to both energy and environmental policymaking, including such innovations as the launch of Connecticut’s first-in-the-nation Green Bank and “LEAN” restructuring of all of Connecticut’s environmental permitting programs to make the state’s regulatory framework lighter, faster, and more efficient and effective.  Appointed to this position by Governor Dannel Malloy, he worked to advance the Governor’s commitments to establish an energy strategy for the state (designed to yield cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable electricity as well as expanded energy efficiency), streamlined the state’s pollution control and regulatory processes, redesigned Connecticut’s “brownfields” program that aims to revitalize older industrial sites, restructured the state’s approach to waste disposal with a greater focus on recycling and materials management, and established a new “business model” for Connecticut’s state parks and forests.

Esty is the author or editor of ten books and numerous articles on energy, environmental, and sustainability issues and the relationships between environmental protection and corporate strategy, competitiveness, trade, globalization, metrics, governance, and development. His prizewinning book (with Andrew Winston), Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage, argues that pollution control and natural resource management have become critical elements of marketplace success and explains how leading-edge companies have folded environmental thinking into their core business strategies. His most recent book (with P.J. Simmons), The Green to Gold Business Playbook: How to Implement Sustainability Practices for Bottom-Line Results in Every Business Function, offers practical advice on how to execute a sustainability strategy across a wide range of businesses and activities.

In 2002, Esty received the American Bar Association Award for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy for “pioneering a data-driven approach to environmental decision making” and developing the global Environmental Sustainability Index. In addition, Esty played a significant role in the 2008 Obama Presidential campaign as an energy and environmental policy advisor and served as a key member of the Presidential Transition Team. Other career highlights include a variety of senior positions within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and practicing law in Washington, DC.

Currently, Esty holds a faculty appointment as the Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy at Yale University. He also serves as the director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Center for Business and Environment, which he founded in 2006. With his vast experience and expertise, Esty sits on several corporate boards, as well as on the board of directors of Resources for the Future and the Connecticut Fund for the Environment.

Esty holds a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard, a Master’s degree from Balliol College at Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and a Law degree from Yale Law School.