Josh Goldman’s amazing (and true) fish story

Josh Goldman has been growing fish for nearly 30 years. He began as a student at Hampshire College, a hippie school in western Massachusetts (that also spawned entrepreneur Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farms). He started a company than farmed tilapia, and then another that farmed striped bass. Now, he’s the founder and chief executive of Australis, the world’s largest producer of barramundi.

Never heard of barramundi? You’re not alone.

This is what makes Australis such an interesting company. Josh decided to grow barramundi, not because it is a popular or well-known fish, but because the fish, which is native to Australia and southeast Asia, is an environmentally-preferable alternative to most farmed fish. It doesn’t need to eat a lot of other seafood to grow, it doesn’t make a lot of waste, it doesn’t require a lot of antibiotics and…oh, almost forgot…it tastes OK, too.

“It has a flavor profile that meets the broad preference of the middle of the market,” Josh says. “In other words, it’s a great fish because it doesn’t taste like fish. And it’s got a great health story, too.”

Josh Goldman

I met Josh last week at FORTUNE’s Brainstorm Green conference where I led a panel on sustainable seafood. (Yesterday’s blog covered Bumble Bee.) I’d read about him in Four Fish, a superb book on fishing by Paul Greenberg that was published last year. (See my blogpost The Industrialization of Fishing.) As Greenberg writes, “choosing which fish will be our domesticated ‘seafood’ will have huge ramifications for our species and for the planet.” Unhappily, we often choose wrong. Salmon, for example, has become one of the most widely-farmed fish because the demand for  wild salmon exceeds the ocean’s supply. The trouble is, farmed salmon need to be fed lots of  wild fish (roughly 3.5 pounds for every pound produced on the farm), the farmed salmon can escape and crossbreed with wild stocks and industrial-scale salmon farms generate lots of waste. [click to continue...]

Can one person change a company? Discuss…

I’m giving a speech to the grocery and food manufacturing industry–and I’d like your help.

I’ll be the closing keynote speaker at a Sustainability Summit in December in Arlington, Va., organized by the Food Marketing Institute, a trade association of grocery retailers and wholesalers (Ahold, Kroger, Price Chopper, Publix, Wegman’s, Winn-Dixie,  etc.) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, a trade association made up of the companies that produce much of what we eat (Campbell Soup, Coca-Cola, Dannon, DelMonte, General Mills, Kraft, H.J. Heinz, Kellogg, Kraft, Nestle, PepsiCo, Unilever and many more).

These folks, needless to say, can have a huge impact on the environment and on our health. So it’s a great opportunity for me.

Because I’ll be the last speaker that people hear before they go home, my plan is to give a talk called “The Power of One.” It’s about how one person can change the world–not by himself or herself, of course. But by mustering the right arguments, and enlisting the right allies, one person can change a company, an industry and eventually change the world. I’ve seen it happen, more than once. In my 2004 book, Faith and Fortune, I devoted a chapter called  “Can One Person Change a Company?” to a woman named Barbara Waugh and her impact on Hewlett Packard which was, then and now, an enormous global company.

Where do you come in? Well, I have some stories in mind of people who have had an impact on corporate America, but I’m eager to hear more. If you know of someone who, with their passion and commitment and smarts and strategic thinking, helped make a company, big or small, more sustainable, please let me know. (Post in the comments below or send an mail to marc.gunther@gmail.com) I’m going to write  about some of those people for this blog and tell their stories in the speech. They need not work in sustainability or corporate social responsibility–in fact, I’m interested in individuals or small groups of people  who broke through silos or made things happen without having institutional responsibility.

And, if you work in the grocery or food business, by all means come to the summit. Ken Powell, the chairman and CEO of General Mills, will give the opening talk–it’s always an encouraging sign when a CEO is willing to give a speech on sustainability. Other speakers include Matt Arnold of Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Gwen Ruta of Environmental Defense, Jason Clay of the World Wildlife Fund, Jon Johnson from the University of Arkansas (who is leading the Sustainability Consortium), writer Andrew Winston, Dave Stangis of Campbell Soup, chef Barton Seaver, Aron Cramer of Business for Social Responsibility–and those are just people I’ve met or interviewed. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with then, as well as meeting new people. As my friend Joel Makower likes to say, networking is great–and not just because it’s only one letter away from being not working!