This chapter reviews the history of green entrepreneurship, arguing that green entrepreneurship was shaped by four different temporal contexts between the mid-nineteenth century and the present day. Although there were significant achievements over the entire period, it was only in the most recent era that green business achieved legitimacy and scale. Green entrepreneurs often had religious and ideological motivations, but they were shaped by their institutional and temporal context. They created new markets and categories through selling their ideas and products, and by imagining the meaning of sustainability. They faced hard challenges, which encouraged clustering which provided proximity advantages and higher trust levels. Combining profits and sustainability has always been difficult, and the spread of corporate environmentalism in recent decades has not helped. Although commercial success often eluded pioneers, by a willingness to think outside of traditional boxes, they have opened up new ways of thinking about sustainability.
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