In a statement announcing the move, Pope, 67, said he would work with a range of stakeholders over the next year to support sustainable manufacturing in the U.S. and push that agenda in the 2012 elections.
"Businesses, clean tech innovators, labor unions, environmentalists and state and local governments all understand that if we are going to develop a sustainable economy, if we are going to regain our economic dynamism, we must bring back manufacturing," Pope said. "To be competitive in the 21st century, a revitalized manufacturing sector must deploy clean energy, low carbon fuels and sustainable technologies. But if America is going to lead the world towards sustainability, it must manufacture far more of the goods and services it needs here at home."
Pope famously married environmental and labor interests when he co-founded the BlueGreen Alliance, a partnership between the Sierra Club and the United Steelworkers. He remains a member of the Blue-Green Alliance's board. Pope also raised eyebrows with a partnership with Clorox endorsing the company's new line of green cleaning products.
Pope became chairman of the Sierra Club in April 2010 when he stepped down as the group's executive director. Pope will remain a senior strategic advisor to the organization.
Image courtesy of Sierra Club.