Joanna Malaczynski, JD | MLAEP
Sustainable Innovation Advocate
University of Michigan Law School, Juris Doctor
UC Berkeley, Master of Landscape Arch & Environ Planning
University of Michigan, Bachelor of Arts in Economics
Who am I?
I am a former sustainability software entrepreneur, environmental planner, and antitrust / consumer litigation attorney. Before developing DESi Potential, I was the CEO of EcoValuate, where I worked on supporting safer consumer products (i.e elimination of toxic chemicals from commerce) through sustainability software and consulting. Prior to my role at EcoValuate, I was a practicing litigation attorney working to enforce laws such as California's Proposition 65 and the Sherman Antitrust Act. I also gained experience as an urban/environmental planner after graduate school, developing sustainability plans for local and regional governments.
I found through my experience that the economic cards are stacked in favor of the status quo--i.e. the less sustainable aspects of our society. My goal is to help companies and entrepreneurs break through this status quo. I bring my clients fifteen years of professional experience in understanding our world from a critical and creative perspective.
how I got here
I founded DESi Potential based on my passion for seeing true innovation implemented in the marketplace. For me, innovation is about increasing our prosperity while solving our local, regional and global problems. I left a successful career in antitrust law some years ago with the belief that I could help solve our greatest social, economic, and environmental challenges with my brains. I learned over time that throwing a bunch of bright people together to work on a problem is insufficient to solve it. A bit wiser, I speculated that if lack of brains was not the key, then surely financing was the missing piece. This also proved to be insufficient. Over the years of working on complex issues as a software entrepreneur, environmental planner, and litigation attorney, I realized that the greatest obstacle to solving our biggest challenges lies in our mental and economic models, which shape our individual and collective paradigms. Changing these paradigms is key to creating the conditions that lead to sustainable innovation.
My interest in sustainability and innovation is fueled by my motivations to help companies eliminate toxic chemicals from our economy. I had the good fortune of working on Proposition 65 private enforcement actions as an attorney. Proposition 65 is a California law that requires companies to put a warning label on their products if they contain chemicals recognized under California law to cause cancer. While some progressive companies have taken steps to clean up the chemicals in their products by working with their supply chain, most companies still make choices about what stays and what goes based on an internal cost-benefit analysis. That is, even if a chemical is toxic, it stays if it improves the performance of the product so long as the harm done to consumers falls sufficiently under the radar to make the venture profitable.
Encouraged by new regulations that would change all this (California’s Safer Consumer Product Regulations), I started an environmental compliance software company called EcoValuate. California’s Safer Consumer Product Regulations politically collapsed upon themselves, and we pivoted our software tool into a sustainability tool. You can learn more about EcoValuate and other examples of my work below.
Examples of My Work
Click on any project to learn more about it.