The Ecological Impact of the Funeral Industry with Sandy Gibson

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On this podcast we talk a lot about sustainability and reframing the conversation around topics that seem sort of “certain.” 

It is said that the only things certain in life are death and taxes. 

Death, by definition, is not sustainable – or is it? 

In America, the funeral industry is costly and environmentally destructive.

This is not the most comfortable conversation for many of us.  We don’t want to think about death.  But, as my guest today, Sandy Gibson, founder of Better Place Forests, shares with us, death is a sacred part of life and when we reframe the conversation about the ritual of funerals in the context of creating a sacred space for remembering, we can explore healthier and more sustainable options for all the phases of life.

Sandy Gibson is a man on a mission – a person with a clear Chief Aim and the passion and directive to fulfill it.  I have to say that, while I was curious about having a conversation about the funeral industry and exploring more sustainable ways of honoring our loved ones, I was deeply impacted by Sandy’s personal journey with death – and life.

Obviously, the journey of processing a loss and turning it into some kind of greater purpose takes time. What Sandy so beautifully shared with his story is that tragedy, as painful as it can be in the moment – and the moments following – can also bring the seeds of purpose.

Viktor Frankl, the Holocaust survivor and author of the book, Man’s Search for Meaning, stated that “In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning.” 

Sandy Gibson has done just that.  He has turned the narrative around grief into a conversation about the sacredness of loss and turned the business of dying into an act of honoring in a sustainable and sacred way. 

Perhaps the journey we take with death might seem less tragic if we fully embrace – with intent and purpose – the experience of Life.

If you’d like to learn more about how to find your Chief Aim, please visit where you can discover who you are and why you’re here. 

Thank you for joining me for Quantum Revolution.

Sandy Gibson is the Co-Founder and CEO of Better Place Forests, a sustainable alternative to cemeteries for families who choose cremation. 

When Sandy was a young boy, he lost his father to a stroke and his mother to cancer. After years of visiting their graves in a dreary Toronto cemetery, Sandy began to imagine what a better place to remember his parents might look like. In 2015, he founded Better Place Forests with his two best friends to give every family the chance to visit and remember the people they love in nature. 

Based in San Francisco, Better Place Forests launched America’s first conservation memorial forests in 2017. Better Place Forests has been featured in the New York Times, on the Today Show, and by the World Economic Forum. Known for its strong culture, Comparably recognized Better Place Forests with national awards for Best Company Leadership, Best CEOs for Women, Best Company Culture, Best CEOs, and Best Companies for Women in 2019 and 2020. 

Sandy graduated from Princeton University in 2006 with an A.B. in History. A lifelong entrepreneur, he headed several companies and worked in finance and software before founding Better Place Forests. He previously served on the Board of Governors of Royal St. George’s College.



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Instagram: @betterplaceforests,


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