Goodbye “Mother” Hazel Henderson


“Nature is still in charge. And sooner or later, finance, which is still completely blind, will wake up to this. I call the financial model ‘magical thinking.’” – Hazel Henderson


This week the world lost one of the truly great humans of the last century, my dear friend Hazel Henderson, founder of Ethical Markets, author of nine books and countless articles, “mother” of the field of sustainable investing, beacon of the “Love Economy”, and a 37-year Fellow of the World Business Academy.

She and I were close friends for more than 40 years, really like sister and brother —which is what we frequently called each other. I’d known of Hazel’s illness, and have been tracking her plans for post-Hazel efforts to enshrine her legacy through a trust she set up, and that our dear friend and Fellow of the Academy, Linda Crompton, heads up. Once the dust settles, we’ll be launching a “Hazel Henderson Legacy Project” and will be reaching out to her many friends around the world to assist us in that massive effort. She was so prolific, and so “right on the money” (pun intended), that it is a daunting task which will take all of Hazel’s enormous inspiration to complete.  I hope you’ll join us when the time comes.

Hazel called me the night before she started morphine treatments to help ease her incredible pain. It was the most touching, sweet really, call she ever left on my voicemail. She recounted the four decades of our work together, relished what we’d accomplished, expressed her satisfaction that we did as much as we did, and ended by expressing her complete satisfaction with what she had accomplished in her “90 years” on the planet (she always said she wanted to live to 90, and by her reckoning she did, having reached her 90th orbit around the sun). She shared that she was 100% ready to go, knowing that some of us had already left (for example, Barbara Marx Hubbard—a close friend in the trio we formed over the same 40 years) or like her were leaving, and that she believed we’d still make progress even without her to drive things forward. What a magnificent soul!

Knowing I could never tell the world Hazel was on the way out (she would not have liked that even a little bit!), I wrote a column for her to see before she left in which I compared her to the richest man alive: Elon Musk (See below for a link to the article in case you missed it).  Hazel was a big fan of our weekly Perspectives columns and would have been particularly pleased with that one!

Before I say good-bye for now, I’d like to share this touching Tribute to Hazel from Ravi Chaudhry, another Fellow of the Academy. In his transmittal, Ravi acknowledged the many contributions the Academy in general, and Hazel specifically, had made to his evolution as a thinker, lecturer and author. He recounted that being introduced to Hazel by the Academy was one of the great benefits he derived from our association over the years.

Posted by Ravi Chaudhry on May 26, 2022

A Tribute to Hazel Henderson

Words can never express the sorrow and the sense of personal loss I feel. Hazel was an esteemed friend, an outstanding mentor, and certainly one of the finest humanists that lived during the last five decades.

Her achievements and the rich legacy of knowledge and wisdom she leaves for posterity will certainly be long cherished and continue to be the guiding lighthouses in every domain of human endeavor. She always aimed for the best – nothing but the best that could possibly be conceived.

Working closely with her was one of the cherished privileges of my life and I shall forever recall her selflessness, amazing energy, and love for the entire human race and all forms of life on this planet. She enriched every life she touched – with her simplicity, humility and most of all – her readiness to offer whatever unconditional help she could – to every worthy cause and every noble person.

People like her are rare, and all of us who knew her, and worked with her, are truly blessed.

Rest in peace – Dearest Hazel.

The glow of the fires you lit in peoples’ hearts will never abate till the goals you aspired for – have been fully achieved!

We will miss you, Hazel
But you shall forever be with us.

Well said, Ravi.  Hazel, we will miss you, but you shall forever be with us.  And your brilliance lives on.

Rinaldo S. Brutoco