Interview: Jonathan Hanwit, CEO, Co-Founder, thinkPARALLAX sustainability strategy and communications agency

Jonathan Hanwit and his co-founding partner, Guusje Bendeler (pronounced Who-sha), started thinkPARALLAX more than 20 years ago in a garage in San Diego, California. Today, they are a full-service sustainability strategy and communications agency, but it wasn't always that way. 

The company has grown, evolved, and pivoted - just like sustainability and ESG have. And wait - is it “sustainability,” “responsibility,” “purpose,” or “ESG”… that’s kind of the running theme of this week’s conversation - a lot has changed, and it still is.

You see, Jonathan, the agency’s CEO, was on the show back in 2018 (find the link to that episode down below), and when we spoke back then, the agency had a different approach, and the climate emergency was gaining that title; sure, it was urgent, but investors hadn’t quite stepped in like they since have since then - and that changed everything.

In our conversation, we discussed all that and a lot more. If you’re building an agency, working for a brand or company, planning on a sustainability or CSR report, rolling out a sustainability strategy, or looking to work in this space, this one’s for you.

Jonathan and I talked about the evolution of ESG over the last 3-5 years, the future state of corporate sustainability and reporting, why “understanding” is so dang important, the importance of CEO buy-in, and plenty more. I asked him for some free advice for those just looking to break into this space, and he delivered.

And yes… that’s a blower/mower just after the 37:00 mark… :) We did our best with it.

I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. So many great takeaways, but here are some of the Key Takeaways you’ll appreciate:

  • Confusion around how we speak about sustainability
  • How investor pressure moved the needle
  • How the sustainability and ESG landscape has evolved over the last few years
  • CSR reporting frameworks
  • Sustainability strategy hacks
  • Every value chain requires a different (but likely similar) approach
  • Why “understanding” sustainability is so valuable
  • Tackling sustainability at your company: Where to get started & how to get started
  • Don’t sit still; keep learning - this space is STILL evolving!

SDG Alignment: #12 Responsible Consumption and Production, #13 Climate Action, #17 Partnerships for the Goals



Be sure to check out our conversation with Brianna Kilcullen, Social Entrepreneur, CEO at Anact (hemp towel, activist company) at 

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Intro/Outro music by QubeSounds from Pixabay.

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