In 1990, partnering with investor Miguel Kleinkopf, Lemons co-founded EnVision Corporation, a consulting firm whose aim was to create economic incentives to help corporations become more responsible global citizens. EnVision’s first big success was with Focura SA, a Chilean timber company who had earned the attention and ire of environmental groups by clear-cutting cherry trees to produce pulp wood for the Japanese market. When EnVision reached out to the owner of Focura, they discovered that he hated the idea of pulping the beautiful trees... but the crucial American lumber market rejected Chilean cherrywood for native timber. So what was he to do?
EnVision had an answer. They brokered a deal with a Taiwanese flooring manufacturer who had no problem buying their cherrywood from Chile. Within a year Focura had not only switched from clear to select cutting, they had also built a local manufacturing facility and employed an entire indigenous community. Their profits soared, and thanks to sustainable management practices, their cherry forest began to heal. And Lemons had proven that responsibility and profit are not mutually exclusive.
After EnVision, Lemons went on to be involved in the creation of several environmentally-focused companies, including Composite Technologies, which manufactured and distributed green, environmentally low-impact building products to companies like Home Depot, Lowe’s and Masonite/Stanley Door.
And in 2007, Todd Lemons found himself in the forest again.