Air date: Saturday, 19 September 2015
Guest: John Rooks
Host: Steve Woods (Stevoe)
Studio Contributor: Debi Davis
Executive Producer: Emily Sullivan (Sully)
John Rooks is an author, a TEDx speaker, a blogger, and the CEO of Rapport IO/Founder of The SOAP Group. He has been sustainability focused since his childhood and now helps other companies become more “authentically” sustainable. A Massachusetts native, he ended up in Maine for the same reason as many others: lifestyle change. He and his young family moved to Maine, Rooks re-focused his sustainability interests and created The SOAP Group (Sustainable Organization Advocacy Partners).
Rooks’ story (and the beginning of his TEDxDirigo talk) begins with whales. And Greenpeace. He remembers being young and having Greenpeace members knock on his parent’s door and he was enthralled. As he grew up, and (eventually) worked his way through school and into his career, Rooks found himself doing marketing in Boston. After a few years of monotony, he decided it was time for a change. He taught English at the University of Southern Maine and started consulting with The SOAP Group. His best example of his work comes from Interface Carpet where in 1996, a company goal was set by the founder to have 0% environmental impact by 2020. About halfway to the deadline, the company realized it needed to work harder to achieve the goal. Rooks and his team worked with each department in each office and factory to determine how everyone individually creates a big, company-wide picture of sustainability.
Recently, Rooks started a new company called Rapport IO, “designed to help small and mid-sized businesses realize the benefits of sustainability.” Rapport is a software that is used to capture data that can help to make smart, sustainable business decisions. The software company goes hand-in-hand with The SOAP Group’s sustainability consulting.
Rooks has been active in many facets of sustainability marketing. He’s written a book called More Than Promote: A Monkeywrencher’s Guide to Authentic Marketing, he has a blog called Ecohegemony, and he’s participated in TEDxDirigo with a talk called, “The Lost Art of Authenticating Real.”