Pearl Jam guitarist joins effort to clean up corporate trash


by Gary Chittam &

Posted on November 11, 2010 at 6:44 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 11 at 6:53 PM

SEATTLE -- A Seattle rockstar is helping to get big businesses on board with saving the world's oceans from plastics and other pollution.

Stone Gossard, guitarist for Pearl Jam, and eco-adventurer David De Rothschild, known for building a boat made of plastic bottles and sailing it across the Pacific, sat at a boardroom table Thursday, talking strategy with organizers from Conservation International, a well-known group that wants to make conservation part of the corporate world. Conservation International is holding its annual board meeting and fund raising event in Seattle.

Conservation International said help from stars like Gossard and De Rothschild helps big companies buy into the world-saving ideas and change the "us-against-them" formula by not pointing fingers.

There is common ground to be found between bands and corporations, said Gossard. He said Pearl Jam also has environmental issues like carbon emissions and trash during performances that he and his band mates must deal with, just like much larger corporations.

Conservation International advocated that all can benefit by cutting emissions and waste by increasing public good will and boosting the bottom line. They convinced Starbucks that reducing plastic waste will save them millions as well as help protect coffee crops around the world. They showed retail giant Walmart how choosing responsible manufacturers and packagers boosts profits by reducing waste and building consumer goodwill.

Instead of hitting these corporations over the head with threats and lawsuits, Conservation International said it wants to appeal to their business senses.

"Their sales are better because their consumers trust them and want them to do that sort of thing, so you have one opportunity in business to dive in or be left behind, basically," said Conservation International Executive Director Peter Seligmann

Afterall, said Gossard, Pearl Jam is just another business trying make sure customers are happy.

Conservation International leaders said Walmart became interested when they invited owners to come along for a scuba dive to see underwater plastic dumps.

"If we don't make that transformation, basically, we're cooked," said Seligmann.

Conservation International is holding it's Seattle Dinner Thursday, November 11 at Fremont Studios. Details available at: