Christian Thornton

Ashoka Fellow


This profile was prepared when Christian Thornton was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2016.
The New Idea
Christian has created an educational support structure and network in which knowledge, technology, and best practices are shared between multiple sectors both locally and internationally. With greater access to new technologies, small producers from different industries can widen their markets and create environmentally sustainable products. Christian uses local resources and knowledge to harvest these technologies and production practices that help revive and transform local industries. Through technical trainings, collaboration, research, and technology sharing, micro industrial producers from diverse production industries share ideas and are empowered to innovate and produce ethically.

This sustainable production project uses a skills centered approach that offers the resources, and infrastructure to maintain and promote alternative technologies and work structures among artisans and micro industrial workers. A continued system of support and knowledge-sharing ensures that the models used are sustainable and do not collapse when the innovators are no longer involved. To spread the values of sustainable production to the next generation, Christian partners with schools to demonstrate the methods and philosophy to students and involves tourists that come to visit the studio in the sustainable production methodology.

This network of ethical producers is changing industry norms for small production businesses internationally. It does this by making sustainable production attainable and accessible and empowering worker communities to reimagine industry behaviors. Christian sees a future in which global environmental impact of small business production is significantly reduced in all industrial sectors, and ethical production becomes an ingrained norm.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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