navigating to a sustaining economy
NewEco Consulting


Megan Hellstedt, Founder

I believe that organizations are stronger when their strategies are rooted in respect for humanity and respect for nature. I believe that we can restore nature while improving people’s livelihoods. I believe that our economy is poised for change.

I launched NewEco Consulting in 2021, after more than 25 years working in business and non-profits, to guide organizations to a more resilient future, one that my children and many generations of their children can survive in.

I do this by connecting threads across sectors and disciplines to develop solutions that address the climate crisis, loss of biodiversity, and declining public health – all together. We don’t have time or resources to tackle these crises one at a time, and the causes are interlinked.

My work today builds on a 25+ year career that has spanned sectors and industries. Today, I work at the intersection of for-profit, non-governmental, academic, and governmental organizations, building networks for action to achieve our common goals. I apply experience in organizational governance, environmental science, collaboration, facilitation, strategic planning, and interdisciplinary metrics to distill complex situations into clear and implementable action plans.

The first decade of my work evolved from environmental activism, to coastal & watershed science, to developing metrics for sustainable companies and cities, to land conservation. From this work, I learned the challenges of the race to protect nature and adapt our human-created communities and organizations when core economic metrics incentivize destruction of nature for ‘development’ and privatization of property.

Across 15 years working for Ahold Delhaize, a Fortune 500 international food retailer, I led an evolution of the company’s global strategy on sustainability and health. I applied science and strategy to assess environmental and social impacts, report progress, and collaborate with a global network of colleagues to drive change. I established reporting and performance management systems, using global frameworks such as GRI, SASB, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. I guided the company to long-term targets designed to nourish healthier people, reduce their climate footprint, eliminate waste, and proactively manage overall Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) impacts. In recognition of the strategy and ESG reporting, the company was repeatedly recognized as a world sustainability leader by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and was among the first companies to issue a euro-denominated Sustainability Bond and other sustainability-linked financing. The most challenging part of that work was implementing the strategy – something that required deep patience, courage to challenge, openness to engage colleagues across cultures and siloed departments, and quantitative skills to establish and gather metrics that effectively reflected the resulting impacts on people and planet.

That work taught me that we need to understand – and challenge – the underlying design of a company and how it inherently impacts people and nature.

Reducing negative impacts while growing an economy that incentivizes inequality and destruction of nature will not save humanity from the crises we have created.

Through NewEco, my mission is to support individuals and organizations to rewrite the principles of our economy and put a new economy into action.


  1. Shift financial investments from incremental improvements on a broken system to restoration of health and balance between people and nature.
  2. Pay people living wages for the contributions they make to healthy communities.
  3. Mainstream products and services that restore people’s health and strengthen our connection to nature; de-list products and services that put health of people and nature at risk.
  4. Connect our measurements for economic health to our undeniable reliance on nature: diverse plants and animals, clean water, clean air, and a stable climate.

Community Leadership

  • Board Chair, Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment
  • Chair, Yarmouth Climate Action Taskforce


  • Masters Degree in Environmental Management, Yale School of the Environment
  • Bachelors in Earth & Environmental Science, Wesleyan University


A. Megan Shane & Thomas E. Graedel (2000) Urban Environmental Sustainability Metrics: A Provisional Set, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 43:5, 643-663, DOI: 10.1080/713676586