Episodes

  • Expected to draw approximately 2,000 participants, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE’s) annual conference is the largest stage in North America to exchange effective models, policies, research, collaborations and transformative actions that advance sustainability in higher education and surrounding communities. The 2018 AASHE Conference will be help October 2-5 in Pittsburgh, PA.

    In this episode we learn about AASHE and the upcoming AASHE conference by interviewing two members of the AASHE leadership team:

    Julian Dautremont-Smith, Director of Programs Meghan Fay Zahniser, Executive Director

    Julian Dautremont-Smith Complete Interview:

    Tell us a little bit about your personal life and what led you to be doing the work that you're doing today?

    I got into this work really in high school. I got really interested in sustainability. I picked Lewis and Clark College in Portland based on Portland's reputation as a real sustainability leader. When I arrived at college, I got involved in a number of efforts to improve sustainability on the campus and did a greenhouse gas inventory with an economics professor. And this was before it was very common. We published a guide that others have used now on how to do a campus level greenhouse gas inventory. It's obviously outdated, but that was really my start in looking at campus greenhouse gas emissions. I also led this campaign to buy offsets to make the college meet the Kyoto protocols targets as a campus.

    Anyway, that was my first foray into the campus sustainability world. As a result of that experience, I was at the founding meeting for what became AASHE, and so I've been involved, in some way, from the beginning. After I graduated from college, I went abroad for a year and when I came back, I was lucky enough to get a position with AASHE. I was the second employee and worked with AASHE for five years before leaving for Grad school at University of Michigan. Then I worked for a couple of years as a chief sustainability officer at Alfred State College in upstate New York. I worked for a year at a consulting firm that does sustainability in higher ed before coming back to AASHE in my current role as director of programs.

    Anybody who's working in sustainability in higher education is definitely familiar with the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). But give us just a real quick overview of AASHE and what kind of work you're leading.

    AASHE grew out of another organization called Second Nature, which is another organization that does a lot of work in this space. They got a grant to create a western regional network around 2002. They brought together a meeting of people who are active in campus sustainability. I went to that meeting as a student and formed this regional network. Over time we realized there was a need for an international association or professional association for sustainability practitioners in higher ed, which is different than what Second Nature was doing.

    So we expanded our scope and became independent and held the first conference in 2006. Our main role is really that professional association type of work. We do all kinds of things to help members learn from one another, and that really is our core work, is connecting members to one another so they don't have to reinvent the wheel on their own campuses. So, the conference is a key part of that. We do regular webinars and workshops that provide other opportunities for members to connect. We have an online resource center. We do an awards program to recognize particularly strong work. And then our flagship program is something called STARS, the Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System. It's a tool that colleges and universities use to measure their sustainability performance and report on it. So all the reports are public and you can see how an institution scored the way they did. You provide a whole bunch of information and that translates to a score that then translates to a rating. So, you can be a STARS Gold or STARS Silver campus, similar to the LEED standard in that respect.

    A lot of great programs being led at AASHE. The STARS program has been very successful. I remember taking Hawaii Pacific University through that assessment when I was there back in 2012. Let's talk about the AASHE conference today. When's the conference coming up and where's it going to be and what can attendees expect?

    Conference is going to be October 2-5 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this year. The goal when we put this conference on is to provide thought provoking and empowering sessions on the full range of topics in campus sustainability. Everything from curriculum to engagement to waste reduction to diversity. We really try to have a comprehensive view of sustainability, and we want attendees to walk away both with new ideas as well as knowledge of how to implement those ideas. The conference is structured around that. So, you'll have an opportunity to hear from several hundred campuses on the work that they're doing and how you might be able to do something similar at your campus.

    And would you say it is geared more towards students, faculty, staff, or kind of a mix of all?

    It's really a mix. Part of our role is trying to make sure those different stakeholder groups are working together and there has been, unfortunately, kind of a divide in many ways between the academic community and the operational community. But we see real benefits to greater collaboration. And so at our conference, we really do try to bring both groups together. Students obviously are key drivers of sustainability in many campuses, so having them come in and empowering them is also a key goal of the event. That said, the core group of people who come to the conferences, are probably the paid sustainability staff - someone who's hired by an institution of higher ed to work on sustainability. But we do have a good number of faculty and students as well, a smattering of administrators in other roles in higher ed and then a good chunk of business representatives and nonprofit representatives that work with higher ed institutions on sustainability in some way.

    Do you know about how many people you can expect this year or how many people came last year?

    We typically attract a somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,800 folks. So, somewhere in that neighborhood. We have been as high as 2,400. It varies from year to year depending on the location and a variety of factors, but somewhere in that ballpark. So it's a pretty big event.

    The very first AASHE conference I went to was in Pittsburgh. So excited to have it be held back in Pittsburgh again. A great city and a lot of good sustainability work happening throughout that city as well. Are there tours or anything associated with the conference?

    There are several. We actually picked Pittsburgh because the convention center itself has a really strong sustainability program, which is something we look for. But in terms of the tours, some of them are focused on the campuses that we work with. So there's a tour of a Carnegie Mellon, Chatham university has a tour of Eden Hall campus, where the whole campus is dedicated to sustainable living. So that's one I think is going to be particularly interesting. University of Pittsburgh's got a tour as well. There is also a tour of the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden. They have a LEED platinum building there and it's just a great site to go see.

    Julian, so the students, faculty and staff, if you were talking to them right now, what would you say the benefits are of the conference?

    Benefits are actually pretty similar for all three groups. What we hear a lot is just knowing that you're not alone. Many folks who come to our conference are sustainability change agents, but they're the kind of isolated on their campus in many cases and there's not that many of them. So, coming to our conference is an opportunity to see there are people like you on campuses across the country, and then you get to share with them what you're working on, what your challenges are, discuss common challenges and hopefully work out a solution together. Besides meeting other folks in the field, the other main benefit is really learning from them. We really put together a program that's designed to help build those connections and bring people into connection with leading work that's happening on campuses across the country, so they can do something similar on their campus. There really is an intent not just to like go and listen, but to get some guidance on how to do something on your own campus.

    One of the biggest benefits I saw was just the networking and the people that you meet. If you're a student interested in sustainability and interested in a career in sustainability, this is just an amazing conference to make contacts. I mentioned Pittsburgh was the first AASHE conference I went to, I think it was 2011, and still to this day I have friends that I met at that conference and actually have a call with one of them later today to talk about some composting projects. From all the conferences that I've gone to in corporate sustainability, higher education, government sustainability, I think AASHE has been the most valuable to me as far as making contacts and making connections that I still keep in touch with. So a huge benefit and a lot of great things to look forward to in October.

    We're going to end on our final five questions. What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

    In the past couple of years, I started gardening. More than anything I've done, gardening helped to make systems thinking applicable for me. So, in addition to the social, environmental and health benefits of growing your own food, I think there's a really amazing learning opportunity. Just really trying to think through the natural systems that operate in your own backyard and how to work with them to grow food. It's been a tremendous learning opportunity for me that goes well beyond what I learned in several classes on systems thinking and related topics in my graduate program. So I've become a big promoter of gardening as a teaching tool.

    That's a great point. It reminds me of a previous conversation I've had. One of our past episodes of Sustainable Nation was with Matt Lynch who is the Sustainability Coordinator for the University of Hawaii system. He's a permaculture expert and he made some really great points in that interview about using permaculture skills and systems thinking that he learned from permaculture, and how that helps in his job leading sustainability in a large organization. So, definitely would recommend people check out that interview. What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

    I went to a conference earlier this year, put on by the New Economy Coalition, in which AASHE is a member. A lot of work happening in the US around the solidarity economy and trying to redesign economic systems to be more democratic, more just and more sustainable. It blew me away. I was intellectually aware of some of that work, but seeing all of it come together in this conference was really exciting. What I like about it is that it's really about trying to build alternative institutions and have models for what it is we're trying to move towards. I think that is really powerful. Trying to think through, "What would a more democratic, just and sustainable economy look like? How would it work?" I really recommend folks check out New Economy Coalition. They're doing really exciting work.

    What is one book you'd recommend sustainability leaders read?

    Don't read the book, read the article instead. Reading widely is really important and trying to understand different perspectives. We all face information overload and I find that in most cases, reading the article or report is going to be more effective than reading the full book because you can read many articles in the same time as it takes to read a single book. Oftentimes, especially with nonfiction, if I read a dozen articles instead of the book, I come away with a more nuanced understanding as a result. So, I really recommend trying to get a diversity of input and perhaps focusing less on the full book.

    What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in your work?

    Recently I've been really impressed with a magazine called Current Affairs. Content is always sharp, funny and insightful. It's really helped clarify my thinking on a whole range of big picture issues. So, really strongly recommend folks check out Current Affairs. The other person that comes to mind that I really enjoy reading is David Roberts at Vox website. He's consistently illuminating on energy and climate issues, and I'm always eager to get his take on the latest policy proposals or report that comes out on energy and climate issues.

    And finally where can our listeners go to learn more about you, your work and the upcoming AASHE Conference and Expo?

    Everything you could want to know about AASHE is all accessible via our website. It's aashe.org. If you want to follow me, I am on Twitter and my handle is just @JuliandSmith.

    Meghan Fay Zahniser Complete Interview:

    Give us a little background on your professional life and what led you to be doing the work that you're doing today?

    I've been fortunate to have been doing sustainability work my entire career, for 20 years at this point. I started doing sustainability work as an undergraduate student at the University of Buffalo. I went to a meeting about an internship to do a waste audit of the campus and essentially that's what turned my whole life and guided my whole career. So, I spent three years at the university. My title then was environmental educator, but I was a part of a team that created what's now their sustainability office. That was back in the late 1990's. I then had the good fortune of joining the US Green Building Council before anyone knew what the US Green Building Council was. That was back in 2002. I was the 10th employee at the organization, which now has hundreds of staff.

    So, I rode this early wave of green building and supported the growth of the local chapter movement. I was there for almost six years and then moved to Philly where I had a short stint in the for-profit world doing some LEED consulting and education before I really came running back to the world of nonprofit. I've been with AASHE for almost 10 years now. I've held a few different positions within the organization, including STARS program manager and then overseeing all of our programs as director of programs. I have now been the executive director for almost four years.

    With our podcast, we interview sustainability leaders in business, government and higher education. Pretty much everybody in higher education is always talking about AASHE. Myself, having worked in sustainability in higher education, I also quickly realized the importance of being engaged with AASHE and the resources you provide. So, before we dive into that and dive into the conference, I'd love to hear your perspective on the importance of the sustainability movement in higher education.

    It's a really big task that we have in higher education lead the sustainability transformation. That's where AASHE had this vision that if we could have every graduating student from a college or university equipped with the knowledge, the tools and the skills that they need to be able to address sustainability challenges, regardless of their career path, then perhaps we'll be able to create this sustainable world that we're all really hoping for. So, we see higher education as such an opportunity for us to really create that transformation, and not just within the operational components of campuses, but really the opportunity is within crafting and molding the minds of these students that are going to learn and having a sustainability understanding, awareness of the depletion of natural resources as well as the integration of economic and social factors including equity and social justice. We're really hoping that if students are equipped and have that understanding and knowledge base upon graduating from their college or university, that we will be able to see a much faster revolution in terms of this sustainable world that we want to live in.

    With many of the people I interview, we talk a lot about the UN Sustainable Development Goals and how those are being incorporated in government work, in corporations and how they are aligning their strategy with the SDG's. How is this happening in higher education? How are universities and colleges using or adopting those UN Sustainable Development Goals or helping society in general move towards those goals?

    From our perspective at AASHE, we felt it was really our responsibility to highlight the SDG's so that there are a lot more support of the sustainable development goals within higher education. I've had the good fortune of being able to travel outside of the United States a few different times in the past year, and the frame that is used in talking about sustainability has been the SDG's and that hasn't necessarily been my experience within the United States since the SDG's launched just a few years ago. But we're really hoping to change that and certainly I think there are a number of different campuses that see the SDG's as such a phenomenal teaching tool for students to help give them a broad and deep understanding of what is sustainability. And certainly that was what brought us to wanting to highlight the SDG's as our theme for our conference this year so that we can bring to light a bit more about these global goals and how countries, and various sectors even outside of higher education, are looking to champion the SDG's.

    I think higher education has an opportunity not only for advancing SDG's, but higher education really has a role in every single one of the 17 goals. Because we're looking to create the leaders of tomorrow in higher education, there's an opportunity for higher ed specifically to play a role in advancing every single one of the SDG's. So, hopefully our conference and bringing the SDG's to a priority within the AASHE community, I'm hoping to see a lot more enthusiasm and support for an advancement of the SDG's.

    Speaking of the conference October 2nd through the 5th in Pittsburgh, that city is doing a lot of great work around sustainability so it's great you have some tours lined up. But I want to hear what you are looking forward to. What are you excited about for this upcoming conference?

    It's a great question and I would say, across all of the staff, the AASHE conference is really like the shot in the arm that we need to continue to feel really motivated and advance all of the efforts that we're doing to try and support our members. I think at our heart, what we try and do as an organization is we really are a convener. We're bringing folks together, and just by providing this space for these few thousand people to come and talk about sustainability in higher education, the ripple effects just by bringing folks together is absolutely tremendous.

    So frankly, what I get most excited about is that energy that I get and I know that the rest of the staff get as well from our members coming together to talk through challenges, to talk through opportunities to talk through lessons learned and shared experiences. Especially in this day and age when there's no shortage of huge challenges that our world is facing, having like-minded folks coming together to support one another, commiserate with each other is a really, really helpful and nurturing environment. Every year here's at least somebody that comes up to me that I usually don't know, who just says, "Thank you for doing what you do at AASHE.". Because again, we just provide this great opportunity for our members and those change agents at universities and colleges throughout the world. These individuals come to the AASHE conference, they get a shot of inspiration and motivation so they can go back to their campuses and keep doing the good work that they're doing. So, I'm most excited just to be able to connect with our members.

    For those who have never been to an AASHE conference, could you just give a high level overview of what the conference looks like? Is it a lot of keynotes or a lot of breakout sessions? What does a typical AASHE conference look like?

    You can expect a couple of different keynotes for sure. Lots of exhibit hall time - meeting with our vendors, the exhibitors, the businesses and nonprofit organizations that come to talk within the trade show. Certainly, there are a lot of concurrent sessions. I'd say on the positive side there are so many different tracks that we are offering and there's something for everybody. The downside being that we often hear the complaint that there's too many good things happening at once. So, that's a tricky challenge there, but you can expect a lot of opportunities for concurrent sessions, educational opportunities, tours, pre-conference, post-conference workshops, a couple of different keynotes and certainly a lot of time in the exhibit hall.

    But we're also really trying to be mindful of getting folks outside and wanting to have an experience within the city that we're visiting and trying to incorporate some wellness activities. We have yoga and we've done yoga a several different years in a row now. We're trying to get some different activities outside. I think folks can expect a conference with a lot of content, a lot of opportunities for networking and really a conference that's trying to reflect the values that we hold dearly, and offering a lot of different opportunities for not just wellness but really trying to minimize our own sustainability impact through offsets, a vegetarian menu etc. So, we're really trying to make sure that our conference is representative of our values and an opportunity for folks to learn a lot but also have some fun.

    Having too many good sessions is a good problem to have. I've looked through all of those sessions and I would agree that there's a lot of great content that's going to be available and anybody who's working in sustainability in higher education, you're going to find something that you’re interested in. There's so many different ideas and topics that are going to be discussed. So very much looking forward to that conference. Again, October 2nd through the 5th. We're going to jump into our final five questions if you're ready. What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

    So, I'll just reflect on my own experience. I am somebody that wants to continue learning throughout my career and I've had a number of different trainings that I've attended. The piece that I continue to find incredibly valuable is communications training. Especially given the sustainability work we're doing, we're trying to change mindsets, we're trying to change behavior and with that I think comes a requirement to have some skill around communicating.

    What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

    I think the fact that there is a lot of emphasis on equity and social justice, and the interconnection with sustainability. I think there's still the challenge of hearing the term "sustainability" and equating that with operational components - waste reduction, water reduction etc. But the reality of all of those things being really important, but the social and economic dimensions of sustainability being as important and the emphasis that AASHE has been trying to place on the equity and social justice pieces of sustainability. The fact that that's not unique to AASHE is really exciting to me because I think making the sustainability movement more personal and having it not just to be about the polar bears, that of course we are concerned about, but making it much more relatable within our communities, I'm really pleased that conversation is happening much more so now.

    What is the one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

    In my career of trying to get people to function at our best selves and to be highly effective people, a lot of the trainings that I've done and that I've experienced a lot of benefit from, and the books that I've read, come back to how I've improved my own communications. So, Difficult Conversations is a book that I have found really helped me in trying to become a better leader and communicator.

    What are some of your favorite resources or tools that help you in your work?

    There's plenty of other nonprofit organizations out there that I look to as examples or models of how are they trying to create more value for their community, or how are they trying to be bold and inspiring to their community. But I think also just within myself to stay motivated and stay inspired, it's really a lot of focus on self-care and a lot of running. When asking about what resources I use, running and meditation are a go-to. So while it's not necessarily something you'd Google, and we try and do this a lot at AASHE, is really to try and pay a lot more attention to our health and wellbeing by prioritizing health and wellbeing. I'm hoping our staff, and anybody that we're working with, is able to be that much more of an effective human. So, those are a couple of my own tools that I use for juggling work life balance, but in addition certainly there's a number of other organizations out there that I'd like to look to and see how they're continuing to try advance the sustainability agenda.

    Where can our listeners go to learn more about AASHE and learn about the AASHE conference?

    The AASHE website for sure, aashe.org. That's the place where you can go find more about what we do, our conference, our programs, the STARS rating system, which is probably one of our most popular resources. We have an online resource center and a whole bunch of information that you can find on our website that I think will be useful to anyone in sustainability in higher education, whether it's faculty, staff, students, or senior leaders.

  • We are turning the tables on this episode of Sustainable Nation, and the podcast interviewer is becoming the interviewee. Josh Prigge was recently interviewed for an episode the Sustainable Winegrowing Podcast, so with permission, we republished the interview for Sustainable Nation.

    Josh Prigge is a sustainability practitioner, college professor, published author, and public speaker with nearly a decade of experience managing sustainability programs and initiatives for large organizations. Josh is the current CEO of sustainability consulting firm, Sustridge, and has also worked as Director of Regenerative Development at Fetzer Vineyards and Sustainability Coordinator at Hawaii Pacific University.

    Complete Transcript:

    Our guest today is Josh Prigge. He is the founder and CEO of Sustridge, which is a sustainability consulting firm. Now, you've had a very long and intriguing career in the area of sustainability. Would you agree with that?

    Yeah, it's taken me a few exciting and different kinds of places with some different types of organizations. It's been great.

    How did you get involved in this area in the first place?

    So, I'm from Minnesota originally and my undergraduate degree was actually physical education, so sports was always my passion. So, I was teaching and coaching back in Minnesota right out of college and I just started to become more and more aware of environmental issues like climate change and started paying more attention to these important global issues. After a while, that just became much more of a passion to me than teaching and coaching was. So, I decided I should go back to school and study sustainability and rededicate my career to sustainability. This was back in about 2007, and I was looking for graduate programs across the US and there were only a few at the time. Now they're popping up everywhere - green MBA programs and masters in sustainability. But back then there were a few and one of them was at Hawaii Pacific University. They had a master of arts in Global Leadership and Sustainable Development. And so being born and raised in Minnesota, I thought moving to Hawaii sounded kind of good, so I packed up everything and drove to California, shipped my car and jumped on a plane. I studied in this fantastic program for two years, learning all about sustainability and was fortunate enough to get hired as soon as I graduated as that university's first sustainability coordinator. So I managed sustainability for the university for just under four years. I also served as the president of the Sustainability Association of Hawaii while I was out there as well. So I got a lot of great experience in Hawaii, which is just a hotbed for renewable energy and sustainability. So really great experience out there.

    And then the university was going through a number of layoffs, and I was fortunate enough not to get let go, but I figured it was probably a good time to start looking elsewhere and taking the next step in my career. So I looked throughout Hawaii and the mainland United States looking for the best sustainability job. I came across the job at Fetzer Vineyards up in northern California, a wine company in Mendocino County. I was hired on as their director of sustainability, and the title then changed from sustainability to regenerative development. I got a lot of great experience in the wine industry. Fetzer Vineyards is a wine company with about 10 brands, including Bonterra, which is the number one organically farmed wine in the US. It's a company that really has been leading the industry in sustainability for a long time.

    So, I got a lot of great experience starting a new sustainability program from scratch at Hawaii Pacific University, and then on the other end of the spectrum at Fetzer, I got the opportunity to take a very evolved sustainability program to the next level. I had worked at Fetzer for about four years and then realized I have all this experience and knowledge and I could make a greater impact in the world working with multiple organizations instead of just one. So, I left in 2017 to start my own sustainability consulting business. Now I'm working with all sorts of different businesses on greenhouse gas emissions calculating, greenhouse gas planning, zero waste planning, zero waste certification, B Corp certification and all things sustainability.

    Let's go back to Hawaii and then talk a little bit more about Fetzer in detail, because those are both pretty special kind of situations as far as this topic goes. One of the things that I think a lot of people struggle with is that for a lot of folks, the word "sustainability" doesn't mean anything. It's too nebulous and too soft. They want to know where the recycled rubber meets the recycled road somehow. So, in Hawaii for instance, it is a self-contained ecosystem in a lot of ways, obviously there's a lot of stuff that's brought to the island, but as an entity it's isolated. What were the kinds of things that you implemented and what were your goals when you were there, both at university and also as part of the island wide sustainability program?

    At the university, like I mentioned, I was the first sustainability employee. So, I was tasked with really trying to create a culture of sustainability and embed sustainability into the culture of the university. It started with a lot of tracking and reporting. I had to create a sustainability metrics system to track all of our metrics - our waste, water. energy, supply chain and really all of our sustainability related impacts. That's really the first step is to really track everything so you can baseline your organization, benchmark yourself against your peers and understand where your biggest impacts lie and where the biggest opportunities might be. After baselining everything and benchmarking, I led a sustainability report. So, we put out a sustainability report for the university back in 2012 and used the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education reporting framework. They have a reporting system that is specifically for universities. So, corporations have the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) for sustainability reporting, and universities have this AASHE STARS program. So, I took the university through that process.

    The first year or so was tracking, baselining and reporting. Then we did a big greenhouse gas emissions report. I led a greenhouse gas inventory of the entire university. So, what are all of the emissions associated with all of the vehicles that are used on campus, all of the energy in the buildings, natural gas, propane, employee travel - all the emissions associated with that. Beginning a new program, that's really what it's all about. It's figuring out where you're at and where are your opportunities for improvement. The after that reporting and tracking, we started looking at some big energy projects and we did some led retrofit projects and looking into renewable energy systems for the campus. We restructured the waste by doing a large waste audit of one of the campuses to reduce the amount of waste pickups and maximize recycling and landfill diversion. So, a lot of really fun projects. It's a lot of fun starting a new program from scratch. Island wide, as the president of the Sustainability Association of Hawaii, that was a nonprofit focused on businesses. So, we were specifically focused on a moving sustainability through the business sector in Hawaii. So what we'll do is have workshops, bring our members out and provide free workshops and educate them on the benefits of a commitment to sustainability, what kind of opportunities are there, the cost savings and really tried to introduce the business community to the B Corp movement. B Corp was relatively new back then and there were only a couple of B Corps in Hawaii at the time.

    So, B Corp is kind of the highest standard for social and environmental responsibility in business. A company goes through a large assessment and answers a couple of hundred questions on all aspects of their business - from their environmental impacts to how well they pay employees, what kind of benefits they offer, what kind of community impacts do they have, what do their supply chain impacts look like. It's a really comprehensive program and if you get a certain score, 80 or higher on your assessment, you can become a certified B Corp. So, we focused on that and that's kind of where I really learned about B Corp. I brought that with me to Fetzer. So when I got hired at Fetzer, that was one of the first things that I looked into - going through the B Corp assessment. We got Fetzer to become a certified B Corp in 2015 - one of only a few wine companies in the world that have achieved that. I think that the B Corp movement is continuing to grow, I think there's now over 2,500 B Corps around the world in about 55 to 60 different countries. Patagonia's a B Corp, Ben and Jerry's, a number of a large well-known companies that are really doing a lot of good things. But as consumers look to continue to purchase from companies that share their values and share their beliefs, I think this movement of B Corp and these sustainability certifications are going to become more and more important.

    So, that would be the motivation for a company to go down that road to try to draw this next generation. Is that accurate?

    Yeah, that's definitely one of them and there are so many others. Attracting new customers, attracting a new demographic that really care about those things is definitely one important thing, as well as building brand loyalty with those existing customers. But outside of that, I think there's so many other benefits, one being just using that certification framework to not only certify but to use that as continual improvement. So, that really just provides a roadmap for your business to continually improve year after year going through that assessment. Another benefit with B Corp is just joining that community. B Corp's love to support other B Corp's. So, at Fetzer when we became a B Corp, we offered a discount to other B Corps out there who are purchasing wine for the corporate events. B Corps love to support each other and they also like to work with each other in creative ways. Ben and Jerry's is a B Corp and also a New Belgium Brewing Company is a B Corp. They actually partnered on a new beer, which was an ice cream flavored beer. So, they had Ben and Jerry's logo and New Belgium's logo on the bottle and on the packaging as a partnership, and that was to bring attention to the B Corp movement and to businesses making powerful impacts in the world and making the world a better place. So there's a lot of great benefits in that world beyond just attracting new customers, but also really being a roadmap for improvement as well as joining those new communities.

    Let's talk about Fetzer a little bit because there's a backstory around sustainability before you got there, as you know. The Fetzer family and the company had a commitment to sustainable farming and minimal footprint from the day they decided to crush their first grape, and that goes back decades. They had a very deep commitment to these ideas right from the get go, and that was an era when there were not certifications. Tell me about how these ideas around sustainability get transformed into a culture and become second nature within an organization.

    I think that top down support is key. So you mentioned the Fetzer owners, they were all about. That's about as good as an example as you can possibly have as far as embedding sustainability into the DNA, into the culture of a company - an owner who founds the company with the idea that sustainability is key to its success. So that's the ultimate example, but for companies that are implementing a new strategy around sustainability and want to embed it, there's a number of things that will help. Again, the top down support is key, so having support from the CEO and the C-suite, and having verbal commitments from them so that everybody understands the importance. But it's also important to go from the ground up as well. So, having employees lead sustainability programs and initiatives. At Fetzer we had what was called the Re3 team, which is a sustainability team at the company that is made up of employees from all different departments of the organization. This is key in any business who wants to move sustainability forward - having that interdepartmental team to work together to break down silos within the organization so that all departments of the business are working together to identify opportunities around sustainability and also to engage employees. That employee engagement piece is really important. Getting them active and getting them involved in sustainability is key.

    And then another important thing is to identify the quick wins and build momentum. So, where's your low hanging fruit? A lot of times companies that are just getting started, there's a lot of energy opportunities. So, energy efficiency, renewable energy, these types of projects have really good payback and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They're just kind of win-wins all around. Getting those quick wins early, communicating them to your employees and to your stakeholders and showing that initial success of your new sustainability program can really help build that momentum and get employees engaged and get stakeholders excited. So, I think top down support, as well as engaging and activating employees and identifying and working on those quick wins to build momentum are important. And then setting ambitious goals as well and being very clear about communicating your progress towards those goals and communicating in your success along the way, I think are really important in building that culture throughout your organization.

    You had mentioned earlier the first thing that you did at the university was to start collecting metrics. That's the idea that you have to measure to manage. How do you identify or prioritize where you put your efforts? What does that actually look like?

    Identifying those metrics and understanding where your key material impacts are is what really helps you prioritize. In the wine industry you use a lot of water. That's a big key material impact of your business operation, so that will be a priority in your sustainability program. But also of course, you want to look at return on investment. So, what type of projects are going to have a good payback and are not just important to reduce environmental impacts, but what are also projects that also include good financial payback and also social impacts? So, if you can find those projects that really impact those three different areas financial, environmental and social and have positive benefits for all those areas, you're really hitting on all three. Those are going to be the ones you want to prioritize. If you can identify some of those strong financial payback programs early, you can almost create a revolving fund which can be used specifically for sustainability. If you're just getting started and you have all your metrics, you're looking at your energy, your water, your waste, your greenhouse gas emissions, maybe some of the water projects cost a little bit more and have a lower financial payback. What you could do is focus on those quick paybacks, like the energy projects. So, you look for those projects that will have a good payback and then use those savings from your energy project to fund those slower paying back projects in water or in waste or in emissions or in those other areas. It's just working with your finance department, your operations team and understanding what's important to the business, what's going to have the most impact and then just being smart around strategizing about short term and long term. How can we fund these projects in the short term and how can we fund these larger projects that might take longer to pay back in the future with some of those previous savings?

    And you had mentioned the idea of a culture, gaining momentum, you get people to buy in, you take down silos and we start to build. What about resistance to that? Give an example where you had a really brilliant idea, a really great plan, but you couldn't overcome the barriers because of the beliefs of some of the people involved.

    I've been really fortunate to be working with two great organizations, specifically at Fetzer who was just so supportive of my work, supporting me and encouraging me to really help take the company to the next level. There wasn't a lot of pushback there. Obviously, there's tradeoffs and things like that. I think the important thing for people in those other types of organizations, where it might be harder to get projects supported, is having the business case laid out so it's not just a sustainability practice that's going to be good for the environment, but what are the other positive benefits of it? What are the other business benefits? And so being able to use that language in promoting your sustainability projects, the business language. What are the business benefits, the financial, creating resiliency in our business and building towards long-term success and long-term health. Thinking about the bigger picture. But also, getting stakeholder support. At the university for example, if I had a project, a big project that I wanted to pursue, I wouldn't just put that project down on paper and write a proposal and take it to my supervisor. I would go to faculty and go to students and go to other staff, and build support so that when I brought that project forward, it was clear that that the university community is in support of this project. I think you can do that in business as well. Speak with your colleagues at work and find out how these projects will benefit their departments and their aspects of the business, and build that support before bringing the project forward.

    Tell us a little bit about your current work. Now you have a sustainability consulting firm. So, clients are coming to you because they've identified sustainability is an area in which they want to improve, there are elements that they would like to adopt, and they are coming to you for help. Can you talk to us a little bit about the motivations and the initial contacts with clients when they come to you?

    It's a pretty diverse bunch of folks that I'm working with. I'm working with one pretty large wine company right now on their greenhouse gas emissions inventory. They have dozens of locations, they have wineries and vineyards all over California and Oregon, very large operations and a very complex inventory. So, what I'm doing is calculating all of their 2017 greenhouse gas emissions, all their vehicle fleets, all of the emissions in their vineyards from the fertilizer they use, the soil emissions, the winemaking emissions and the vehicles and airplanes. So, that project that I started basically right when I started my new consulting business was from a previous relationship. I worked with a large tax and accounting firm in the bay area called Sensiba San Filippo, and they just became a certified B Corp. So, I was working with them for about six months through the B Corp certification process and they just became the first tax accounting firm in California to become a certified B Corp and they're doing a lot of great work throughout the bay area, a lot of great community work, employee volunteering and pro bono work with nonprofits. They are just a really great company. I'm working with organizations on helping them create their corporate sustainability strategy and working with some businesses on TRUE Zero Waste certification. There's a large apparel company that has a large distribution facility where they distribute their products, and I'm helping them go through TRUE zero waste certification. I'm also working with some local governments in southern California on a composting education and awareness program for their community. So, it's really a lot of different stuff. I have a podcast as well - the Sustainable Nation podcast. We're really just trying to share information from other sustainability professionals around the world. But yeah, some companies are looking to implement new sustainability programs and others are just looking for specific areas of help, like how to help them with their emissions or help them with their B Corp certification or a TRUE Zero Waste certification. It's been a lot of fun just helping all of these different types of businesses make positive impacts in the world.

    You said that to make change, you need to be able to speak that language of business and you need to be able to speak the language of accounting. What I'm hearing in the last couple of examples you've given us, it sounds like there are a lot of businesses that are coming forward and putting a lot of effort into their sustainability efforts for more ethics-based reasons. It's the right thing to do as much as anything else. Do you agree that's the case, that that's part of it?

    Yeah, I think so. I think businesses are becoming more aware of these environmental crises that we're facing and are starting to understand what the future might look like if we don't change the way we operate. But then again, I think they're all hearing from consumers, especially this younger generation of millennials and younger folks who will soon have the largest purchasing power and in the history of the world. These are folks that are trending more and more that they're looking to purchase from sustainable companies. So, businesses are understanding the long term importance of being a sustainable company. In the world of social media and transparency, I think they're also understanding that not doing the right thing could really destroy value pretty quickly. So it's becoming almost just the new status quo. If you're going to do business, you have to do things the right way or in the long run, you really face a lot more risks than if you don't.

    I think you're right. I think we've had a lot of examples in the past twenty years of companies who were not doing things the right way. They were fine for a long time and then there was a fall, if you will. You were talking about doing the things that we need to do to turn things around and this is a really extreme question, but I really want to hear what you have to say about it. Is it too late? I was working in sustainability education and that was talking to a grower, and he did all these fantastic things. I said, "How do you feel you're doing? How do you feel about making progress and do you feel very good about it? You're doing so much stuff." He said, "No. It's way too late. The generation of my granddaughter is going to inherit hell on earth. We've lost it already." I think there are folks that share that view. Do you have a more hopeful message for our listeners?

    It's really easy to take either side of that argument of saying, "Yeah, it's too late. We can't save the planet." But I also think it's easy to be optimistic when you see all the amazing things that are happening around the world. I personally don't think it's too late. I'm one of the optimists. I'm really connected and plugged into all these amazing things that are happening, and I see the momentum building. This new movement that we're seeing is exciting. I had mentioned my title at Fetzer changed from director of sustainability to director of regenerative development. That was because of a new strategy that I helped implement at the company, which was moving beyond sustainable to be restorative and regenerative as a company. Let's not just try to minimize our negative impacts and be less bad, but let's actually try to eliminate those negative impacts and focus on creating positive impacts. So instead of being less bad, we're being more good. So, it's not just how can we minimize impacts, but how can we actually make the world a better place. That's a movement that is growing. i might've been one of the first with the titles of regenerative rather than sustainability, but I think there's a few more now. There is also the Net Positive Project, which is a coalition of businesses led by Forum for the Future, BSR in SHINE. This is a number of companies that are recognizing this idea of regenerative and net positive as the next step in corporate responsibility.

    So, moving beyond sustainable from actually reducing our emissions 50 percent, reducing water 50 percent, to how can we go beyond that to actually reduce emissions one hundred percent, or actually be water positive and send more water into our water tables than we take out, or carbon positive - sequester more carbon than we emit as a company. So, these are things that people are focusing on now and I think the regenerative agriculture movement, which is growing, is extremely exciting. The studies show that if all agricultural areas where to implement regenerative practices, we would actually reduce the carbon in our atmosphere. We could drawn down CO2 in the atmosphere. We would actually be sequestering more carbon in our soil than we emit as a society globally. So, regenerative agriculture is a very exciting development. I see all these great things that are happening, the increases in renewable energy around the world, the agriculture movement, the zero waste movement, the B Corp movement and I'm definitely optimistic about the future.

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  • Stacy Savage hails from the environmental nonprofit realm as a Statewide Program Director where she organized communities and legislative lobbying efforts to hold corporations and government accountable to public health. As a 15-year sustainability advocate, she helped pass bi-partisan Texas legislation for recycling of TVs and computers and worked with allies to lobby for and win Austin’s ordinances for a Single-use Bag Ban, Residential Composting Program, and Construction & Demolition Recycling Requirements.

    Mrs. Savage is a business owner and Co-Founder of Zero Waste Advocacy serving as the Chief Operations Officer and Evangelist for the company. She specializes in Zero Waste best practices which help businesses and governments to implement operational efficiencies that reduce wastes and increase profits.

    Stacy Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

    Making the business case for zero waste Using Blockchain technology for waste management US recycling markets and the impact of China's decision to decline recycled materials Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

    Stacy's Final Five Question Responses:

    What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

    I would say diversify. As contracting consultants, it's difficult to keep your business funnel alive and full if you're not diversifying. Our business works with the city of Austin, right? We are contracted to help businesses recycle, but we also work with multinational, large corporations to help them reduce their waste. We also work with some very tiny businesses that wanted to do the right thing and they may not have a lot of money, but they do want to make an impact. So, diversifying between municipal and governmental contracts as well as corporate contracts and even your small business contracts. And it's not just that it's, it's diversifying your knowledge around your expertise. So, I'm a zero waste consultant, but zero waste also talks about not only recycling but helping divert food waste - your organics is another part of zero waste. Your construction and demolition debris is another aspect of zero waste, and helping local or statewide a building projects divert their building materials away from landfill. And then, whenever you look at the larger vision or the larger world around circular economy and pulling in energy and water, you can really set yourself as the go-to person for all of those things. You don't have to be in just in one niche and you don't have to be just with corporate contracts.

    What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

    It might seem weird for me to say this, but I'm actually excited about the China green wall, because it forces us as developed nations to look at what we're doing. We can no longer dump on other countries and we've got to create the infrastructure here at the local market level, and that's what Zero Waste Advocacy's technology is doing. If we can create the processing here locally, that creates more jobs, it creates more economic stability and vitality instead of just shipping it away somewhere. And again, there's no away. It's somebody else's problem. The current atmosphere in the US is, "Oh my gosh, what in the world are we going to do with all these materials that are being shipped back to us? Well, we don't have the infrastructure right now, so we have a landfill everything." I think that that is kind of what we deserve as a country at this point, but we do need to get on the horse and ride into the 21st century when it comes to building out our infrastructure around waste reduction and our perceptions around waste.

    Because now, if we're having to deal with it instead of China or India or any other nations, it's gonna help us change our behaviors, change our culture and really incorporate the high tech around it. I don't really think that there are many people who would go from their corporate tech day jobs to sorting recycling by hand, and that's what you see a lot of people in other countries doing with our waste. They're sorting this stuff by hand and it's treacherous and it is a health impact. Why are we doing this to other people on our planet? They're humans too. Let's deal with our stuff here and stop dumping it. So that's what I'm excited about. We've got to get this infrastructure built out.

    What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

    When we're talking about zero waste and the new circular economy, Cradle to Cradle is a really good book. I would also suggest that people, if they wanted a shorter education, is to go through the StoryofStuff.com. Story of Stuff has these short little vignette cartoons that really explain tough waste issues and water and energy issues that kind of whittle it down to the problem solution strategy. I would say Five Gyres as well, as an excellent organization to follow whenever it comes to ocean plastics and recovering the ocean trash

    What are some of your favorite resources or tools they really help you in your work?

    Check with your municipal government online - the wastewater department, the municipal waste department and your energy department - and see if they've got a residential calculator or a business calculator where you can put in your baseline usage. You can create an account and you can see kind of your up and down throughout the week and throughout the month. It tracks it for you, so you can see where you're doing a really good job and where things could be worked on to improve. That's something that you can relay to your staff as well. And if you're doing a really good job, you fold that into your zero waste message as well and use it as a green marketing tool. And also, just look in your trash. Start auditing your trash on a daily basis and seeing what is in there. What are the top three things that you can identify? This is the most basic thing that you can do as a visual audit. Look in your trash, what's in there and why? Is there an alternative? Can you use something else that doesn't have to be landfilled? Maybe it can be recycled instead. So, just start doing your research.

    Where ca our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading?

    Folks can go to zerowasteadvocacy.com. We're also on LinkedIn and Twitter as well as Facebook. People can reach out to us by email, you can email me stacy@zerowasteadvocacy.com. If people have a question or want to get in touch with us to learn more, we're more than willing to speak with you.

  • Debbie Raphael is the Director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment and believes that cities can take bold action to address environmental harm. A scientist by training and public servant by profession, Debbie has spent most of her career working in government to ensure that everyone has an equal right to a safe and healthy environment.

    At the City of Santa Monica and City of San Francisco, Debbie crafted first-in-the-nation policies on toxics reduction, green building, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), healthy nail salons, and the precautionary principle -- a decision-making framework that protects the public from exposure to harm even in the face of scientific uncertainty. In 2011, Governor Edmund G. Brown appointed Debbie as the Director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). In her tenure with DTSC, Debbie implemented the state’s groundbreaking Safer Consumer Products Law to better regulate which chemicals can be used in products sold or manufactured in California.

    Debbie Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

    San Francisco’s Climate Action Strategy and how it differs from other cities Global Climate Action Summit hosted in San Francisco September 2018 Establishing cross-sector partnerships to move sustainability forward in communities Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

    Debbie's Final Five Question Responses:

    What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

    Ask for help. Admit when you don't know the answer. It gives you tremendous credibility, especially when you're on the bleeding edge or the cutting edge for your city or your organization. We don't all know everything is going to turn out okay, so my favorite word in government, and my guess is this works in businesses as well, is the word "pilot." Call it a pilot. It gives you the opportunity to take a risk, to make mistakes, to learn to admit when you don't know something, and then when you do have success, to institutionalize it moving forward.

    What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

    When people ask me, "what gives you hope?" For me, it's this idea of the power of healing the planet. It's this unbelievable data coming out of the Marin Carbon Project and the University of California, Berkeley and so many soil scientists from around the world who are understanding that we have an untapped resource in our soils that will actually help us pull CO2 out of the air, increase productivity, increase resilience to drought. If we do a very simple thing, use compost on our agricultural lands, on our range lands, change the way we do agriculture very simply in ways that mimic natural systems. When we take those actions, I am convinced we can turn the table on climate change and we can actually see improvements to those levels of CO2. It doesn't mean it's the only thing we need to do, but it's the thing that gives me the most excitement. It's not high tech, it just needs to be high scale.

    What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

    My favorite these days is Drawdown by Paul Hawken. He published it last year in 2017. I was one of many people on his advisory panel. I love the concrete aspects of it. Being a scientist, I always like to say, "what is the data?". How do we know that that action makes a difference? And by looking around the world and choosing the hundred most significant actions to draw down CO2 out of the atmosphere, there are some surprises and some interesting ideas for cities, for individuals and for institutions. It's a great read and a very important reality.

    What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do?

    Well, I love Ted Talks and I am a big believer in using the power of the visual to lead and to inspire. One of my favorite Ted Talks is Simon Sinek's Start with the Why: how great leaders inspire action. Before I even started here a little over three years ago, I had every member of my department watch that Ted Talk. It's about just over 20 minutes long. His premise is that people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. We in the environmental movement are in the behavior change business and if we're going to get people to actually change their behavior, they're going to need to want to do it from their own internal "Why?". Not because it's good for them or someone says they should. It's got to come from themselves and so I find that Ted Talk to be particularly instructive and informative as we design our own behavior change campaigns.

    Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you were leading for the San Francisco Department of the Environment?

    Well, like all good government organizations, we have a website. We're actually very proud of our website, SFEnvironment.org. It's translated into multiple languages. It is very user friendly. We also are incredibly active on social media, so you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can follow us @SFenvironment. I have to say I love our Instagram feed. I look at it every day to smile and be inspired by what I see.

  • Scott Breen is Associate Manager, Sustainability and Circular Economy Program with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center. In this role, Scott helps to strategize and execute program deliverables including events, resources, trainings, and reports that increase understanding of key circular economy and sustainability issues and showcase how companies are making their operations more sustainable and reflective of circular economy principles.

    Scott Breen started his career as an attorney-advisor at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). While at NOAA, Scott helped advise program staff as administrative rules went from public notice to final publication, brought enforcement actions against those that violated fisheries rules and regulations, and determined the legal sufficiency of agency actions such as the issuance of incidental harassment authorizations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

    Scott Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

    Recycling and why collaborative efforts to increase it are so important right now Beyond 34: Recycling and Recovery for A New Economy State of the United States recycling markets and the circular economy Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

    Scott's Final Five Question Responses:

    What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

    So one is to generate content. I mentioned my podcast earlier and how it opened some doors for me, but just getting your name out there and some original thoughts, committing to doing something even just once a month, like writing a two paragraph blog post or something. It's something you can point to to show that I'm engaged on this issue, I'm trying to be a thought leader and it means you'll show up in Google and things like that. You won't know what doors will open. So I would encourage people to generate content.

    What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

    So I'm most excited about the emergence of venture capital and entrepreneurs in this space. We're seeing it in so many different areas. So one is oceans. Rob Kaplan, he just left Closed Loop Partners to start Circular Capital, which is going to invest in companies, innovations and projects that prevent marine plastic waste originating in Asia. This is really important that he started this because 60 percent of the plastic leaking into the ocean originates in just five countries - China, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam. So he's going to make these strategic investments and we're going to see what interventions can scale and hopefully lead to other investors coming in too. Also in oceans there's the Sustainable Ocean Alliances new Ocean Solutions Accelerator. So Sustainable Ocean Alliance actually started a couple of years ago by a student at Georgetown. The alliance is going to catalyze solutions in a number of ways including this accelerator. The initial cohort of five companies includes a couple, one is a power company which is developing a next generation converter to harness energy from the ocean. And then others like Loliware. I first saw this on Shark Tank. They create seaweed based straws and cups that dissolve in about two months if you throw it away, or you could just eat it. I'm really excited to get my hands on that. Also in venture capital they have culture space, experiencing a digital revolution. Investors raised more money for ag tech startups in 2017 than the previous two years combined. There's the Urban Drinking Water Challenge 2018, where there's like a million dollars there to deploy and invest scalable water solutions for tomorrow's mega cities. And then lastly, Nexgen Cup challenge. Starbucks and Mcdonald's working together, inviting entrepreneurs to develop materials and design so they can replace today's cups. Big deal, because combined Starbucks and McDonald's distribute four percent of the world's 600 billion cups each year, so they can make a real impact.

    What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

    You got a lawyer on the show, so I am recommending Getting to Yes, which is more negotiation book than anything really sustainability oriented. It gives you really good negotiation tactics, and so many sustainability professionals, a lot of what we do is working with stakeholders, trying to get people to agree on things and work together. The key with this book is try not to think of things as win or lose. You want to get each person's interest out and then see if there's an option where everyone wins.

    What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do?

    I really like the EPA \Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. It helps you put things in perspective. You can put in this tool a hundred metric tons of CO2 or methane, any greenhouse gas, and then it quickly calculates the equivalent in metrics that people can understand. Think number of homes of electricity use per year, passenger vehicles driven for one year. So it's more helpful to say "22 cars driving for one year were taken off the road from this program," than just, "We avoided a hundred metric tons of CO2." Something we really focus on in our podcasts when we're doing an introduction to the topic we're talking about is, "How can we say this in a different way that people get the context?" You and I were talking earlier about how there's so many freaking numbers out there. It's hard to keep track. Well, if you put it in a way that's more in a context that people can understand, they're more likely to remember it. The other resource is daily newsletters. Corporate ECO Forum has a weekly briefing. Greenbiz has great newsletters and they actually just launched one called Circular Weekly, focused on circular economy. More generally, I can't recommend enough The Weekend Briefing from Kyle Westaway. He has really good social technology articles, so sign up for those.

    Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation?

    I post articles to my Twitter @Scottybreen. I also post what I'm doing professionally on LinkedIn. The best ways to keep up to date on what's going on at the Corporate Citizenship Center is to sign up for the newsletters. So with the CCC, go to USChamberFoundation.org. For the podcast www.sustainabilitydefined.com.

  • Michael Oshman is the Founder and CEO of the Green Restaurant Association (GRA), a national non-profit organization formed in 1990 to shift the restaurant industry toward ecological sustainability.

    Mr. Oshman has given keynote speeches and lectures at conferences in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and Asia. He has consulted some of America's largest chains, spoken in front of the Olympics Organizing committee, met with the President's Council on Environmental Quality, and met directly with the head of the EPA.

    Michael Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

    Green Restaurant Awards Voting with your Dollar The importance and benefits of sustainability in restaurants Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

    Michael's Final Five Question Responses:

    What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability leaders that might help them in their careers?

    The piece of advice that I would give is not only know your sustainability information that is very learnable, but to equally, if not more important, learn the language of business.. It doesn't mean people need to get an MBA, but people need to exceed the expectations of the businesses that they're serving because that is where they're going to develop credibility. When you demonstrate that you are going to deliver what you say you're going to deliver, you have integrity, you're going to be prompt, you're going to deliver a great service, then the business trusts you. They don't tend to question your green credentials. What they question is this person going to be able to deliver their promise to saving money and get me a greater marketing, etc.? So I would say people should build up their skills in delivering the business benefits of the sustainability piece.

    What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

    What I'm excited about is we are at a major turning point for economy right now with the battery prices plummeting, with solar prices plummeting. We are in nothing less than an incredible transition that we're going to look back upon in the same way we look back upon planes and cars 100 years ago. So I'm excited about not just the Chevy Bolt and the Tesla, but I'm excited about scores of cars exceeding 200 mile range and getting cheaper and cheaper. I'm excited about solar becoming more integrated both legislatively and just price wise. I'm excited about the education and cultural shift of consumers really expecting sustainability to be on their proverbial plate such that big and small companies and universities and different cultural institutions, including government, are realizing this is here to stay and change needs to be made.

    What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

    One of the books that really impacted me was John Robbins Diet for a New America. I think it makes a great argument. I don't even know if I'm remembering the title correctly. This is John Robbins from Baskin Robbins, and he just makes very empirical arguments for eating low on the food chain. And so food is the pink elephant in the room that people often don't talk about, but eating low on the food chain is a huge piece. And I think his book makes a very empirical, logical argument that shifting our society towards a food lower in the food chain is more important even if people don't become vegans, but just to shift more of the food there.

    What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in your work?

    For all the plagues of the modern world of overconsumption and disposability, in a corresponding way, our modern society in terms of computers and phones. What we are able to do with our technology is incredible. So how we're able to help our restaurants now versus even 20 years ago with modern technology is absolutely incredible. The ability to peek inside of a restaurant via phone or an iPad and get some information that we would have had to fly out for 20 years ago. It's absolutely incredible. We're really having a lot of fun between apps and websites, creating easy technology to make it easy for consumers and restaurants.

    Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at the Green Restaurant Association.

    The best place to go is to go to dinegreen.com and to subscribe to the newsletter to Facebook and to Twitter. And very soon we'll be having some awesome features. People will be able to nominate restaurants to go green, to do crowdfunding campaigns, to vote for restaurants to go green. So we're really going to be entering into some of that modern technology to crowdsource the ability for restaurants to go green.

  • Anne L. Kelly is Senior Director of Policy at Ceres, a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to mobilize investor and business leadership to build a more sustainable global economy. Anne also directs Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP), a coalition of 49 leading consumer-facing companies including Mars, L’Oreal, and VF Corporation seeking to advocate for meaningful climate and energy policy at the federal and state levels. She is a registered lobbyist and is actively engaged on Capitol Hill on behalf of Ceres and BICEP member companies.

    Anne is an environmental lawyer with twenty years of combined experience in the private and public sectors. In the 1990s she directed the Massachusetts-based Environmental Crimes Strike Force consisting of a multi-disciplinary team of legal and engineering professionals charged with bringing high-profile civil and criminal actions against environmental violators through the MA Office of the Attorney General. She later worked as Special Assistant to EPA Region I Administrator John DeVillars. In this role she worked on corporate leadership programs and developed an International Pollution Prevention Program which was piloted in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

    Anne is a member of the adjunct faculty of Boston College Law School where she has taught courses in environmental law and climate change. Anne has also taught environmental law at Tufts University, Suffolk University, New England School of Law, and is a member of the American College of Environmental Lawyers. She also serves on the board of the Environmental League of Massachusetts. In addition to her JD, Anne holds a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

    Anne Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

    Why companies should get active on climate / energy policy Companies that are stand-out champions in BOTH the leadership/operational side AND policy advocacy Ceres top policy priorities right now Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

    Anne's Final Five Responses:

    What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

    I would say don't be discouraged. This is a steep hill. You're standing on the shoulders of a movement that is 20 years. It can be difficult when you have to deal with your communications, your marketing office, your CFO, but don't be discouraged. Directionally, things are moving in your favor and there's good things to come.

    What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

    I'm actually really excited about professional sports. I just had the pleasure of going to the Green Sports Alliance and I was so excited about meeting all these famous former athletes who've become clean energy specialists and to see the innovation. I was at the Atlanta Falcons stadium, and to see the innovation there and the solar panels and the announcement recently of my own hometown team, the Detroit Lions, which is exciting. To know that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has taken on plastic straws as a cause. There are so many examples of professional sports getting in the game, all puns intended.

    What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

    I thought about this for awhile and I think it's a classic, which is Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, published in 1963. I think it's still really important to read a book that was so pivotal to the origins of this movement and then to understand just how much resistance Rachel had to face when she published the truth. It's a good foundational piece and would give sustainability professionals a lot of inspiration and encouragement when they realize what Rachel Carson went through, what she did for all of us and also how far we've come since the book was published.

    What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do?

    I mentioned a few and I would just reiterate that Winning Businesses is tremendous, filled with tremendous resources. Our colleagues at GreenBiz are also constantly giving us good information, interviews, webinars, podcasts. Our colleagues at CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project, are just experts. The Science Based Target Initiative. They're part of that. I would say I'm SBTI is another great resource. As a media partner, I would direct people to the Climate Nexus Hot News every day. I'm able to get quickly caught up on the news media and what's going on. For that, I would also say the ENE Reporter is really helpful as a resource to just know what's going on. I'd be remiss if I didn't promote our own Ceres website. We have a number of reports that help people with the basics from disclosure, to the basics of stakeholder engagement, to engage the chain, which is on supply chain management. A lot of reports on water management and water responsibility. We have a report on feeding ourselves thirsty, which really looks at the performance of major food companies in terms of water.

    Where can our listeners go to learn more about you in the work that you're leading?

    So listeners can go to Ceres.org to learn more about the work that we're doing and specifically to look up our policy network which goes over our public policy initiatives. The website is complete and I'd be very happy to connect with any listener individually if they have an individual question or if they'd like to get engaged in our work.

  • Barbara Buffaloe is the city’s first Sustainability Manager. In her role, she is responsible for integrating short- and long-term sustainable comprehensive action plans, resource conservation, and related sustainability programs to advance a more sustainable, vital and well planned future for the city.

    Barbara is a co-chair of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) Planning Committee, a peer network of local government sustainability officials across the United States and Canada dedicated to creating a healthier environment, economic prosperity, and increased social equity. Buffaloe holds a BS in Environmental Design and a MS in Environment & Behavior from the University of Missouri. She has been a LEED Accredited Professional since 2004 and is a huge fan of breakfast tacos.

    Barbara Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

    Climate Action and Adaptation Planning in a red state Maintaining personal sustainability while working on behalf of global sustainability Working collaboratively with other institutions throughout the community Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

    Barbara's Final Five Responses:

    What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

    Taking time for yourself, making sure that you're thinking about what sort of priority areas that you want to focus on and sticking with them as part of a plan will help you maintain your sanity as well as show the impact of the work that you're doing without getting distracted with all the other squirrels and balls running around.

    What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

    I am most excited about the local action efforts I see among communities. After the president pulled out of Paris Agreement, seeing all these communities, even without sustainability staff members, signing on and saying, "We're still in and we're still committed to making a difference."

    What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

    There's actually a good book written by a couple of former sustainability directors called The Guide to Greening Cities, and if you're in sustainability in local government, it has a lot of really good projects and ideas that can help you establish and make impact in your community.

    What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in your work?

    I must sound like a broken record and I should be getting royalties on this, but USDN, the Urban Sustainability Directors Network is a wealth of knowledge besides just the peer learning among your peers and other communities, but also their innovation projects have a lot of best practices that you can implement in your own community

    Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work you're leading at Columbia?

    You can google my name because there's not a lot of Barbara Buffaloe's out there. And our city website is Como.gov/sustainability or else you can find me at Twitter @BarbaraBuffaloe.

  • Eric is the Waste Reduction manger at The University of Kansas. He handles administrative duties for KU Recycling as well as other issues on campus related to municipal solid waste such as collection scheduling, vendor relations, market conditions, and community partnerships/outreach.

    With almost 10 years in sustainable waste management, Eric focuses on a holistic approach to waste focusing on reduction, recycling, and fiscal responsibility. While at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park Kansas he oversaw the development and operation of the first in-vessel compost system at an educational institution in the state. Eric is certified as a Compost Site Manager from the University of Maine, a board member of the Kansas Organization of Recyclers and the YP Representative for the Sunflower Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America. Eric attended Johnson County Community College and The University of Kansas.

    Eric Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

    Leading waste reduction in large organizations Recycling is not the answer What is need to move towards a circular economy Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

    Eric's Final Five Responses:

    What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

    I would say keep a good attitude and keep a sense of humor. Sense of humor would be the most important thing. I think it's very easy to get bogged down when you do this work day after day and see the challenges that we're up against, but I think it's important to keep your eye on the prize so to speak, or you just not get bogged down by the work we do.

    What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

    I'm really excited about the push to more of a circular economy and seeing how the manufacturers are going to come up with ways to maybe use some of the new commodities that we're trying to find homes for here in the United States. I think there's a big opportunity right now for innovation, so looking forward to seeing that in the next decade or so.

    What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

    I would say my favorite is Junkyard Planet by Adam Minter. It's almost outdated now with China in the last two years, but it kind of broke down where your aluminum can goes after it goes into the recycling bin and its journey across the sea and into a container ship. So it's a great background on waste management.

    What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do?

    I'm a big fan of the CURC webinar series, so that's College and University Recycling Coalition. About every month they do a new one when the school starts back up. I try to stay on those, to kind of see what colleagues are doing across the country. Lots of great ideas. Solid Waste Association of North America is kind of an industry trade group for waste management. They have a lot of of great resources and learning opportunities as well. I'd say those are my two main ones and then I try to network as much as possible with colleagues

    Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work you're leading at the University of Kansas.

    We're at recycle.ku.udu. KU Recycling is also on Instagram, even though I'm still learning how to use it effectively as a recycling guy. We are on Twitter as well. I'm on Linkedin if anybody wants to be professional and reach out on Linkedin, I'm there too. That's probably where our social media outreach is right now. We're not on Snapchat. We're not that hip.

  • Jennifer Green is Burlington, VT’s Sustainability Officer with duties that include oversight of the Climate Action Plan and work on Burlington’s transition to net-zero energy in the thermal and transportation sectors. Jennifer is based at the Burlington Electric Department, the city’s municipal electric provider and responsible for making Burlington the first city in the country to source 100% of its electricity from renewables.

    Jennifer’s work experience also includes time with the Peace Corps, CARE International, and the World Resources Institute. In addition to working for the City, Jennifer teaches sustainable development courses at the University of Vermont.

    Jennifer Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

    Incorporating social equity initiatives into climate change efforts History of sustainability leadership in Burlington Burlington's transition to net zero energy Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

    Jennifer's Final Five Question Responses:

    What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

    I think successful sustainability directors are doing this because they know they need to, but it's building a base and a network of colleagues and stakeholders that can do the work where you can't, or can act as your sounding piece where it's maybe appropriate for you not to. Again, sort of back to this idea of partnerships and collaboration. I think the most successful sustainability officers or directors know that they can't do it alone. So, you sort of put your pride aside and you reach out to the people that you know can help out where you may not be able to do it alone. Progress is going to happen with all of us working together and in tandem. I guess that would be my first piece of advice. The second piece of advice I would say, sort of at the risk of wanting to have things perfect before you roll out a program or project, there's a lot to be said with taking a stab at it and then regrouping, evaluating and monitoring your success or progress or where you fell short, and sort of tweaking things and carrying on. I think oftentimes in government we wait for things to be perfect before we roll them out, until we've got every "I" dotted and "T" crossed and where you have the opportunity to sort of dive in, to the extent possible, with the understanding that you can group up and make tweaks as necessary. There's so much information out there. Also, never being afraid to reach out. It's amazing what you can do when you call somebody on the phone and ask for advice. Here in Burlington, we're exploring ideas like advanced metering infrastructure for our electric meters. We've been talking to the water department to ask, "What would it look like if we had a meter that did both water and electricity." We have cities in our network who are doing just that and so we can talk to them for advice and guidance on how it's working and what we need to be aware of. This may be a long time out in Burlington, but there's no reason why we can't reach out to peers and other cities now to begin to chart a course.

    What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

    One thing I'm seeing that I find exciting is this idea of equity no longer being sort of a topic that only a few people are talking about in isolated cases. I'm seeing equity and this idea of bringing everybody into the fold. Everybody's talking about it as an important theory and means by which to move ahead. I think equity, which was once a sort of a conversation that a few cities and a few people in a few cities we're talking about at one point, has now become the status quo and a critical part of the sustainability movement. And I see that as exciting and hopeful.

    What is the one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

    I can tell you that we've been referring a lot to Drawdown. Paul Hawken edited Drawdown last year and it's available. It's pretty hopeful. I've heard Paul Hawken twice now. First at the University of Vermont where he came as a keynote speaker and then more recently at the Urban Sustainability Directors Network annual meeting. So it's been great to hear his message twice. You know, it hits home and it's a little digestible when you hear it twice. But the Drawdown book is just a wealth of information and inspiration and I think that would be the book, at the very least, I would recommend that sustainability officers, directors, or really anybody who's interested in the field, at least flip through and sort of familiarize themselves with.

    What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do?

    For cities that are unfamiliar with the STAR Community Index. This is a good opportunity to make a plug for STAR. It's a tool by which cities can collect and analyze a whole plethora of sustainability data over time. It not only allows cities to talk to cities and compare apples to apples versus apples to oranges, but it also allows a city internally to be looking at setting targets and goals based on their trajectory of their data over time. So I think the STAR communities index can be a really great tool. The USDN and the funding that they have in place for cities tap into has been a really invaluable resource for me and for Burlington. There's a tool that is perhaps less relevant to states outside of Vermont and California. Here in Vermont, the Renewable Energy Standard provides what we refer to as sort of tier three funding to help Burlington, and other cities with municipalities, transition to electricity away from fossil fuels. So we use our tier three resources to strategically electrify, essentially. So it's the $200 that we can offer a Burlington electric customer or a resident towards an electric bike through tier three, which allows us to bring down the cost and eventually help transition people away from a single occupancy vehicle to perhaps an e-bike as an alternative. So one of the important tools that we're using here at the Burlington Electric Department is what we refer to as tier three funding.

    Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work you're leading at Burlington?

    I would start with the Burlington Electric Department website. There's not a lot yet on our transition to net zero energy, but stay tuned for that. The city of Burlington website is also a helpful resource. I'm really proud that the city of Burlington was one of the first cities along with Chicago, that downloaded a lot of the EPA data and research that was available online, and that we feared would no longer be available under this new federal administration. I think one of the best resources that you'll find on our city of Burlington website is actually EPA data that we in essence house in order to ensure that it stays sort of safe and available to all.

  • Dr. Suzanne Savanick Hansen is the Sustainability Manager at Macalester College and teaches occasional courses for the Environmental Studies Program. She earned her PhD in conservation biology from the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree in environmental management from Duke University, and a bachelor’s degree in geology from Carleton College.

    She was the first paid sustainability staff person in the region when she started the Sustainable Campus Initiative at the University of Minnesota as a graduate student. She has co-organized three regional faculty development workshops focusing on sustainability in the curriculum. She also has significant faculty development experience through her work with the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College.

    She often publishes academic articles on using the campus as a living laboratory and she originally started the Upper Midwest Association for Campus Sustainability. In addition, she has reviewed proposals for the National Science Foundation and recently wrote a commissioned paper for a National Academy of Sciences workshop.

    Suzanne Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

    The early days of sustainability in higher education and the midwest Climate action planning and joining the American College and University's Presidents Climate Commitment Embedding social aspects, including health and wellness, into sustainability strategies Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

    Suzanne's Final Five Question Responses:

    What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

    I would say, take time to build relationships with people inside your organization that you're trying to change. A lot of people don't realize how important it to maintain the relationships with the people that you're working with. Sometimes they think, "Oh, this is a great idea. Of course everybody's going to be on board and of course this is the right thing to do." But I find that I actually have to spend a fair amount of time having coffee with the professors, with the study away office, with the department of multicultural life staff and I plan those out. Every once in a while I set up a coffee with someone who could be a potential collaborator with what I'm doing. That has made all the difference. When I haven't done it or I've gotten too busy. that's when you run into the internal politics issues. So if you can try to avoid that by realizing that setting up of the relationships is actually really important and keeping those relationships strong. Because you're not in every meeting but somebody else is and hopefully they'll remember that you should be in there if it's a meeting that would be appropriate for you. And that takes some time.

    What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

    We reworked our sustainability plan recently and we still have our numeric goals - climate neutrality by 2025 and our zero waste by 2020 and our 30 percent local organic and fair trade food. But we have three other non-numeric areas and one of them is sustainability education. Being able to help faculty get these into the classes is one of the areas that we're working on right now. But we also have a couple other areas that are pretty exciting for us. One is urban sustainability. That's one of our new topic areas in our sustainability plan. It's also in our college wide strategic plan. But as the world is becoming more urbanized, we really need to focus on urban sustainability. How are we going to, as a society, urbanize and do this sustainably? So it's really important. We're one of the few liberal arts colleges in a urban area, so it's a little niche for us. So it's one of our areas that we're beginning to focus on more directly right now. And then the other piece that we put in our sustainability plan is a focus on health and wellness. We took the standard Venn diagram that is used for sustainability with the social justice environment and economics. Well, we changed it a little bit. We got this from Bemidji State in Minnesota. They took a big circle and put it in the back of the three circles. And that's the environment because everything's based on the environment. And then we still have a circle for social justice and we still have a circle for economics. And we added a circle for health and wellness. And I find that my colleagues who are more social justice oriented really like this diagram because they can see the connection between social justice and health. So we're trying here to to collaborate with our health and wellness office and see if there's more things we can do in this area. We know we have mental health issue is on the rise and can we do anything about that? I know I have 19 year olds who were saying, "Uh, we're all screwed in climate change and there's nothing we can do about it." That's a problem. We have to get to the point so that we aren't expecting people to destroy their health in order to try to change the world to be more sustainable. So trying to take this, both for personal health standpoint, but also looking at these other connections between health and sustainability on the community scale and on the national and international scale. One other thing that's a little bit close to this too, is I see a lot more interest in the social justice aspects of sustainability. This is a new theme that I've seen in the last five years or so. Social justice has always been part of sustainability is part of the definition, but a lot of times we don't articulate it very well. But I see a lot more people trying to articulate this and trying to both articulate and do projects that combine the environment and the social justice aspects of sustainability.

    What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

    I really like The Nature of College by Jim Ferrell. The subtitle is - How a new understanding of college life can save the world. It's written by Jim Ferrell, who was a professor at Saint Olaf in Minnesota. He passed away a couple years ago, but he co-wrote this book with his students. And when you read this book, you never look at the dining hall or any other aspect of campus life, the same ever again. He's really good at pulling out the environment and the social aspects of sustainability and how college culture is really a subset of American culture. Once you know that, you can really see how we need to work on our culture. So it's a really good book. I love it. I use it in my class all the time.

    What are some of your favorite resources or tools that help you in your work?

    We've already mentioned STARS. That's the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education program. It's a pain to do, but it's really a good tool. I like that one a lot. The International Society for Sustainability Professionals also has a set of really good webinar classes. They're not set up for higher ed specifically, mostly for businesses, but some of their tools are very good. They have all sorts of stuff. They even have a database of tools. So if you're a member of their organization and you're looking for some kind of tool, there's a database that will tell you what options you have. So that was really quite good. There's a listserv that a lot of the sustainability professionals in higher ed are on, called the Green Schools Listserv. It started out of Brown University and it is still going quite strong. That one is great for putting out a call for, "Hey, has anybody ever had this problem? Does anybody know?" Examples of speakers that came up recently or recycling programs. I put something on there recently about sustainability certificate programs and diploma programs and where can you find out what the curriculum are. You get really great responses on that list. That's the wisdom of the hive.

    Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at Macalester college?

    Our website is the best one and that's www.macalester.edu/sustainability. And we have lots of things on our website. The sustainability office also has a Facebook page too and you can search and find us on there. And we try to put our news and things on there too.

  • Joel Solomon chairs Renewal Funds, a $98m mission venture capital firm, investing in Organics and EnviroTech. He is Co-Producer of the RSF Social Finance “Integrated Capital Fellowship Program” and is a Founding Member of Social Venture Network, Business for Social Responsibility, Tides Canada Foundation, and Chair of Hollyhock. Joel serves on the University of British Columbia Board of Governors and is Co-Author of The Clean Money Revolution, a call to move trillions of dollars from damage to regeneration.

    Joel Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

    The Clean Money Revolution The growth of impact investing Mission venture capital investing Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

    Joel's Final Five Responses:

    What is one piece of advice you would give sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

    Spend time on finding out who you are and what your personal skills are and improve them. How do you handle conflict? How do you handle self-doubt? How do you handle difficult challenges? So many people are trained on the financials and the technical side, but they've ignored these other things. What about love? How do I get to feel good about myself? This is actually a tone that is set by the entrepreneur and the leader that affects your ability to recruit and retain good employees. There's more transparency. If you act badly, this can damage your company. We have all kinds of societal stories about that right now. The second part of it for me is, look back from your deathbed regularly. What was your contribution? Why are you here? Who do you care about? What do you care about and how are you acting it out with your business?

    What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

    Well, there's clearly an awakening going on about the fact that we do live in a finite planet. I've mentioned population and practices that were innocent at one time and now we know much more. I don't think people went out to damage and destroy. But, when we had 1 billion people it was a vast untapped Garden of Eden. So, I'm very excited that something I've felt, just as an idealistic and maybe naive idea 40 years ago, is becoming regularized, professionalized, systematized. And as you mentioned those figures early on, there are now trillions of dollars beginning to be influenced by this. So the excitement is everywhere. I look all across this continent, the number of conferences, the incubators and accelerators, the consumer demand and the new products, the grocery store shelves changing, how we get our energy, what our cars are like. Everything is now in shift. So it's a very exciting time of innovation, ingenuity, and actually there's a lot of room for bright people who are motivated to get in that. So that's very invigorating and it gives me some hope.

    What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

    Of course, besides the Clean Money Revolution. Think about what are the deepest curiosities you have and use the modern tools and go start searching, because I was influenced by a wide diversity from spiritual to psychological, too political to practical, how do businesses work, how does politics work? But I think we live in an era where information of course is too much for us and we can't even begin to absorb it, but we do have the ability to follow our instincts. And here's one thing about the books - don't limit yourself just to your field. I'm going to be the best cigar maker. I'm going to be the best renewable energy producer, and all you read is how to be an entrepreneur. I think it's important to be a well-rounded person. You're starting to see in Silicon Valley the philosophy and arts students are starting to find new roles and being lifted up because creativity and ability to think laterally, and to think uniquely, and non-structurally. So be sure and keep yourself broad and diverse as well.

    What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do?

    I'm a very relationship centered person. I learn a lot there. I find resources. I gain friendships. It's time for me to use another four letter word - I find love. The love I'm talking about is a sense of feeling good about myself, a feeling that I'm being the kind of person that brings good energy to me from others, which then causes me to go deeper in my own practice. Be honest sooner or be honest always. But talk about the tough things sooner. So I'm really committed and have done an unbelievable amount of attending conferences, networks, gatherings. Being very people centered, which is not everybody's form. You cannot believe the opportunities that exist today, whether in person or online to connect and to do, you might say peer learning or peer coaching. There's a lot of exuberance about how we're going to make the world better. And so get out and go to places where you're outside your comfort zone and where you meet new people.

    Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading?

    JoelSolomon.org. That is based around the book and there are many of these podcasts and other kinds of interviews and resources that you could find that hopefully will help you on your journey. In my own name on social media, Joel Solomon, I'm on most of the major ones and I am fairly active and I try to put a diverse kind of information and links and connections to things that might not be easily visible otherwise. And you can have a look at renewalfunds.com, which is our model of an impact venture capital type investment business. But you can translate it down to seed capital, startups and kind of everything you do with money as well. Also, hollyhock.ca for Canada. At Hollyhock you will find a number of resources that cover things I've talked about here for our personal development, inner development, but also really great entrepreneur conferences and those kinds of gatherings that are unbelievable ways to make great connections and learn a lot.

  • Amanda King serves as Bentley University’s Director of Sustainability and Special Advisor to President Gloria Larson. Ms. King oversees Bentley’s Office of Sustainability where she guides initiatives aimed at engaging the campus community in the university’s carbon and environmental footprint reduction efforts while educating students on the business imperative of “triple-bottom line” thinking: considering social and environmental measures along with economic results.

    Amanda joined Bentley in July, 2009 after working for Environmental Resources Management (ERM), a private consulting firm, where she assisted Fortune 500 companies in solving complex environmental problems within their operations.

    Amanda Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

    Leading sustainability at a business school Engaging students in sustainability work on campus Systems thinking and sustainability Advice and recommendation for sustainability leaders

    Amanda's Final Five Question Responses:

    What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

    My piece of advice is to meet people where they are, develop your champions within the organization and develop them in a way that incorporates their ability to engage with you on sustainability. I think it's incredibly important to understand that everybody's coming to the sustainability story from a different place and if you're able to kind of listen and understand somebody's, perhaps even misgivings or the things that make them a champion for sustainability, you can really engage a lot of support. It's getting people on board in a way that makes sense for them.

    What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

    Renewable energy.

    What is one book you'd recommend sustainability professionals read?

    I was hoping that I could recommend a film actually. So, we do a sustainability film series here at Bentley and we have an incredible library of sustainability documentaries. So the number one I'd recommend is Merchants of Doubt. Merchants of Doubt is a very interesting film that basically covers the political process and I'd say the political process outside of Washington, which has to do with changing the public opinion on a certain topic. So it looks at the history of smoking in the United States and the history of tobacco companies and what needed to be done to keep tobacco companies in business. It kind of applies that same logic to the climate change challenge that we have now. Climate change really shouldn't be this partisan issue and it's a very interesting exploration of how you kind of frame and reframe a topic for the general public.

    What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in your work?

    For me, and probably for most people that work in this space, reading current affairs is likely the most important thing that I do everyday. So, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Bloomberg Business Week and Bloomberg Climate Change are the four places that I watch. Being able to be an expert on sustainability within an organization, it means that you really need to understand what's going on outside of the organization. It's a global challenge. It's very complex and staying up to date on what's happening, both in politics here in the United States but also globally, is of critical importance to me.

    Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at Bentley University?

    You can find out more on our website, www.bentley.edu/green. You can also find us on twitter. We're @sustainbentley and on Instagram sustain.bentley.

  • Highlights of the PAC-12 Sustainability Conference held at UC Boulder on July 12th 2018. This podcast episode includes presentations and interviews from:

    Jamie Zaninovich – PAC-12 Conference Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer

    Richard Gerstein - UNIFI Chief Marketing Officer

    Mary Harvey – Former U.S. Women’s National Team Goalkeeper, Olympic Gold Medalist and FIFA World Cup Champion

    Jason Richardson – Retired NBA Player and NCAA Champion

    Paisley Benaza – Ph.D. Student and Communications Strategist at Arizona State University

    Arielle Gold – Professional Snowboarder and Olympic Bronze Medalist

    Consistent with its reputation as the Conference of Champions, the Pac-12 is the first collegiate sports conference to convene a high level symposium focused entirely on integrating sustainability into college athletics and across college campuses.

    All of the Pac-12 athletic departments have committed to measuring their environmental performance, developing strategies and goals to reduce their impact, monitoring their progress, and engaging fans and communities in greener practices. The Pac-12 Sustainability Conference signals an elevated approach to enhancing sustainability efforts within collegiate athletics departments, designing new collective initiatives, and sharing best practices to transform college sports into a platform for environmental progress.

    Transcript of PAC-12 Sustainability Conference Highlights:

    Jamie Zaninovich – PAC-12 Conference Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer

    We're very proud of the thought leadership platform we have at the PAC-12 and I think everybody in this room fits in really well and speaks to what we're trying to do in this space as leaders in the collegiate athletics sustainability movement. I think one other thing that's really exciting about today is the diversity we have in this room. For those of you that will engage with each other throughout the day, we have multimedia rights holders, we have sales teams, we have marketing professionals, we have sustainability industry professionals and of course school reps representing both sustainability offices as well as our athletic departments. It's really a only of its kind event that brings together this diverse group within college athletics and sustainability. So, thank you everyone for participating. We have a great program for you today. I won't get into it in detail, but we hope it will spark a lot of conversation around new ideas and expanding existing ideas in the collegiate sports sustainability space and hopefully extend that throughout this global movement. We really challenged our program committee this year to outpace what we did last year, which was very difficult for those of you that experienced Bill Walton and others at last year's conference. Let's say it was memorable. But I think it's safe to say that they went above and beyond to find an incredible group of speakers and panelists for this year's event.

    Today you'll be hearing from professional athletes, former professional athletes, NBA champions, NCAA champions, former and current Olympians, as well as Colorado's own Arielle Gold, who recently brought back a bronze medal from the Olympics in the halfpipe snowboards. And Arielle, as you will learn later today, has now dedicated herself to helping effect climate change which she experienced firsthand in her experiences in the Olympics. So without that, Mary referenced that we have an announcement today. As you might've seen on your way in, or in the backdrop, or on these pillows, or on a free pair of a Repreve branded socks that everyone will get today and are very cool and already flying off the truck. We have a very special announcement today in that we're announcing the formation of PAC-12 Team Green, which is a first of its kind, collegiate athletic sustainability platform which will serve to promote all the phenomenal greening efforts in the PAC-12 and around our campuses. I think it's safe to say this is a historic day, honestly, in collegiate athletics. There's never been a college conference that has embraced a collectively like our schools have a sustainability initiative like this.

    While our league office and member institutions have already been executing phenomenal sustainability initiatives for years, PAC-12 Team Green will now allow us to have a collective home and brand all of those efforts, including amplifying them on our own media company, the PAC-12 Network. So, from our PAC-12 zero waste challenge campus recycling competition, to our constant efforts leading sustainability activities at our multiple sports championships, to the formation of our sustainability working group, which is again one of its kind, a working group that's been working for a year which is composed of both the sustainability professional and athletics professional on each of our campuses. We are united now under PAC-12 Team Green to further cement and strengthen our leadership position in sustainability in collegiate athletics. But wait, there's more. As part of the launch of PAC-12 Team Green today, we are also honored, thrilled, so excited to announce our new partnership with Unifi Manufacturing, as the founding sustainability partner for our PAC-12 Team Green platform. Unifi's goals and missions align perfectly with those of PAC-12 Team Green and our conferences. They have led the way in innovation as a leader in the emerging circular economy movement. We are thrilled to welcome them as the first and only founding partner of this new exciting platform, PAC-12 Team Green. As part of this multiyear partnership, and as an official partner of PAC-12 Team Green, Unify will serve as a prominent partner at all PAC-12 championships, will provide funding to all twelve of our campuses to promote zero waste efforts and will work with PAC-12 networks on the creation of custom content to further promote some of the industry leading sustainability efforts being executed on our campuses.

    Richard Gerstein - UNIFI Chief Marketing Officer

    So, while universities are playing a big role, surprisingly professional sports are also leading the way on sustainability. In 2015, the Mariners recycled or composted 87 percent of all waste generated at SAFECO Field. In 2005, only 10 years earlier, the rate was 12 percent. Nearly everything used at Safeco Field is recyclable or compostable. They put bins out, replace garbage cans with recycling bins, and cleaning crews hand separate plastic and compostable waste after every game. As a result, they've diverted 2.7 million pounds in 2015 of waste from landfills, and just as importantly saved $125,000 in landfill costs. This can be good for the bottom line as much as it's good for the world. So what if every PAC-12 stadium was landfill free? And Nike's making a difference in professional sports, as all the replica NFL jerseys are made from recycled polyester. And they're doing the same with the NBA replica jerseys as well. But I would, ask why shouldn't that also be true for the PAC-12?

    So my hope for today, is that together we can challenge the norms, overcome the obstacles, and set audacious goals. So let's ask, "what if?" What if just one PAC-12 school demonstrated the power of a circular economy and converted it's student apparel to 100 percent recycled polyester fiber. So let's say we converted 415,000 shirts for one school. We would take 5 million bottles out of landfills. We would save enough electricity to power 51 homes for a year. We'd save enough water to provide 630 people with daily drinking water for a year. We would improve the air quality by avoiding 140,000 kg's of CO2 emissions. And the great news is, it doesn't take a $50 million dollar capital project to get it done. However, it all starts with recycling. Unfortunately, we are woefully low as a country and I wish I could tell you that our universities, with all our millennials, do better. But in most cases, they don't. China recycles at more than double our rate, but by asking "what if?"

    I truly believe we can make a difference demonstrating the power of the circular economy, and the people in this room have the ability to lead that change. So we have a great day ahead of us. It's all about asking "what if?". So, I encourage you to think beyond the expected, beyond the obvious and set a goal and path towards becoming known, not only as the conference of champions, but as champions of sustainability. So I leave you with a reminder of those that have come before us, from the halls you will all return to at the end of this week, and what they achieved by simply asking, "what if?".

    Mary Harvey – Former U.S. Women’s National Team Goalkeeper, Olympic Gold Medalist and FIFA World Cup Champion

    Interviewed by Josh Prigge – Founder and CEO of Sustridge

    Mary Harvey, tell our listeners a little bit about who you are, a little background on your personal life and what brought you to be doing what you're doing today.

    I'm a former athlete. I'm a former member of the US Women's National Soccer Team. I played eight years for the US Women. I'm also a PAC-12 graduate of a couple of schools. So my undergrad was at UC Berkeley, or Cal as we call it in the athletics world. Then I got my MBA at UCLA. But the other thing that is germane to why I do this work, is growing up in northern California. I was quite young, but still old enough to remember the drought of 1977. So, conservation of water was something that I've never forgotten. And that combined with early experiences with recycling that I had due to a neighbor that was actively involved in it. This really shaped me at a very young age around why environmental protection is so important. So fast forward, I chose to get involved in it as a volunteer. I'm the vice chair of the Green Sports Alliance, which is a marriage between sports and environmental protection and a labor of love for all of us. And finally, I've had the incredible opportunity to work as an advisor on sustainability for the successful 2026 World Cup bid to bring the 2026 FIFA World Cup to Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

    So, let's talk about a little bit about that marriage of sustainability in sports. Why do you think that's an important issue? How can sports help drive sustainability forward in our society?

    Well, lots of lots of ways. Sport has a very special place and it touches people emotionally, so it has a very special place. As a result of that, people convene. So people convene in stadiums and ballparks and on fields. People come together. And when people come together and are connected by the love of something, it's also an opportunity to associate that with other things that are also powers for good to drive change. So, when you look at, either mega sporting events like the Olympics or the World Cup, or collegiate football, or even just local recreational sports, you're convening groups of people together and people who have a shared interest. But also as a byproduct of that, we have an opportunity to talk to them or educate them in a way that's appropriate. Right? They're there to watch sports or enjoy sports, but talk about how we can collectively make a difference. And that's what sports offers the opportunity to do in a fairly effective and an efficient way.

    Now, how about sustainability leaders? What can they learn from athletic leaders? What do you think sustainability professionals can learn from professional athletes like yourself? What do you think are some of those similar traits and qualities of sustainability leaders and professional athletes?

    Well, I think it's about driving performance. As an alumna of the US women's team, we talked about what drives performance on a daily basis and how do you get there, how do you maximize it, what affects it, and how you achieve it on a sustained basis. So performance is always going to resonate within the athletics community. Translating that into sustainability, there are lots of ways to do that. So, be it metrics where you're looking to perform against diversion rates or whatever the metrics are that you have set for yourself. But also it's an opportunity to look at the financial performance as well. So there's a strong correlation between measures that improve your sustainability performance and savings. There are many opportunities to decrease some of your cost drivers by implementing sustainable practices. But at the same time, we're finding increasingly, that there's also opportunities for driving revenue. So things that were considered waste 10 years ago are now raw materials for another process. So as you look at that, and the opportunities for that. For example, the oils that are used for the fryers in restaurants is now an input for the biodiesel process. So those things all have value. So it's also about capturing value, which drives performance around sustainability.

    We've been hearing a lot about waste at a lot of these sessions today. We heard a lot of great examples of these universities leading zero waste and, and also how to communicate the financial payback and the economic opportunities behind a focus on zero waste.

    And making it fun. We just heard about tailgating and best practices around diversion rates, and hearing about key learnings. And they said, "Listen, it's got to be fun. It's got to be easy for fans and it's got to be fun." And if you combine those two, people really take to it. The engagement from fans, even though they're not yet in the stadium, is a lot higher.

    And it's one of the important points here today, is it's not just about reducing our impact but it's also about the community and building community, engaging the community and also hoping that they take these practices home and those values start to permeate throughout the community. What else have you seen that at the conference today? Any highlights? Any points that you'd like to share with our listeners?

    I love the keynote. I thought we started off very strongly with a keynote from the CEO of Unifi around "what if?". Applying "what if?" to sustainability and environmental protection specifically. So, what if we were going to try to bring close loop into all these different things like single use plastics? What if we were trying to eliminate single use plastic items? These are propositions that people have posed and done and achieved, so it is possible. So we look now at, what if we were able to successfully get rid of ocean waste? What if we were able to get rid of single use plastic items? What if? I thought that was a great way to frame it.

    I think that that's going to be a fantastic partnership. And having that leadership from the top is just so important. Throughout my career in sustainability, I've learned that leading sustainability in an organization is a lot harder when you don't have that top level leadership. And having Jamie Zaninovich here talking about things that he's obviously passionate about and what he wants to see happen in this conference is exciting. And, and to have that top down support is crucial.

    Critical. I'm doing a session at the end of today which is around when it became personal or when it, when this started to matter to a person. I will be up there with Arielle Gold, snowboarder Olympian. We're going to be talking about at what moment did protection of the environment and being more responsible happen for you? I can articulate it growing up in the late 1970's. I learned every drop of water was precious because we didn't have it. So I actually asked Jamie that same question. I'm going to call on him tonight during that session and say, "When did it make an impression on you?" And he has a story. Sure enough, the guy who grew up to be in a position to then make an impact and say, "You know what, PAC-12 is going to be about sustainability. So much so that we're going to have the PAC-12 Green Team." I've never been so proud to be a PAC-12 alumni because from a conference that looks at this as not only the right thing to do, but tremendous opportunity that can be derived from it. So, you can trace that influential person who makes that key decision, you can trace that back to at some point in this case. He had a moment where it started to matter to him, so that when somebody years later walked into his office and says, "Hey, I want to talk to you about sustainability," he's going to listen.

    And now numerous positive impacts are coming from that - what happened to him that many years ago. Mary, it was so great to chat with you. Such an incredible insights. Before we let you go, I would love to hear your top highlight in your time working in sustainability and your top highlight from your years as a professional athlete.

    The top highlight working in sustainability, I would say was the opportunity to work on the united 2026 bid. Because the bid books were public. We were writing a sustainability strategy that the world would read. It's a promise. Your writing basically a promise when you write a bid book. And so having the opportunity to say "what if?". Right? That whole idea of what if eight years from now we could put on the most sustainable World Cup ever in three countries and transform cities on environmental protection and sustainability. The opportunity to work on something like that was once in a lifetime and now it's about doing it, which is even better.

    We saw the last Super bowl did a great job. They had a great diversion rate, a waste diversion rate, and the World Cup being several years out, we're all very much looking forward to. And how about your top professional highlight as a player?

    I would say winning the Olympics, to be an American and win a gold medal at the Olympics, it hits you in a very special place. To be part of a group of women who would go on...we were kids back then. We're in our early, late teens, early twenties. To be part of a generation of women who in life since then have gone on to be changemakers in so many other ways. But the genesis of it was even before 1996, which is the 1991 Women's World Cup final. For an American to be an Olympian, and especially Olympic gold medalist, it's unbelievable. As a soccer player, it's about winning the World Cup. And so to be a part of the 1991 Women's World Cup team that won the first Women's World Cup ever, I'll never forget it. And it was a tough final. We got out of there with the win, but it wasn't easy. But look at the change it's invoked. So I'm really proud of having been a part of that.

    Jason Richardson – Retired NBA Player and NCAA Champion

    Interviewed by Paisley Benaza – Ph.D. Student and Communications Strategist at Arizona State University

    So, Jason, so what does it really feel like when you're that guy and you're on the court and you're actually the spectacle that we're watching?

    It's pretty tough at first. When you first get into that arena. You're coming out to the stadiums and it's 20,000 people out there. You're like, "Wait a minute, what did I get myself into?" But at the same time, you're out there to do a job. You practiced all your life for it, you worked all your life for it. Eventually to crowd just starts to fade and all you see out there is your teammates and the other five opponents on the basketball court.

    Can you talk to us about that rivalry feeling and does it stick with you?

    Pretty sure everybody knows the rivalry does stick with you no matter what, how old you get, how far away you become from it? To this day, I hate Michigan. There's no question about it. Those colors make me sick. Which is crazy because I actually grew up a Michigan fan. I grew up a Michigan fan all my life. We watched the Fab Five when I was younger, the football team won the national championship, the basketball team won the national championship in '89. And when I had opportunity to go to college, my whole family thought I was going to Michigan and the night before I announced Michigan State. Ever since that day I hated Michigan.

    So a lot of people in this room are either recruiting for their schools, recruiting students for their programs. What was it about Michigan State for you to make that last minute switch?

    I think it started off with coach Izzo. When I was going down there as a sophomore getting recruited on unofficial visits, he felt like a father away from home. And then all the guys on our team we're like brothers away from home. It was just an open family and that made me decide to go to Michigan State.

    So the key is family and I think PAC-12, with all our universities and brands, I think that's a theme that is throughout all of our schools. Bleacher Report, which is like an ESPN for online, they did this whole story on the bottled water obsession taking over NBA locker rooms and it was really interesting to read. And you could see here they have superstars and they have all these different brands of water - Fiji, Dasani and sparkling water. So what did you get out of that?

    Well, it's actually funny when I read this article. I was a part of the team in Philadelphia where they tracked our water, like we were little kids. It was actually pretty amazing and it forces us to drink water and guys started asking, "Hey, can we have Fiji here? Can we have Smart Water here?" And you started realizing all the bottle of the water that were just coming through the system. It was very interesting seeing this article because now you're seeing your favorite player grabbing these water bottle. As a kid thinking, "Oh, Lebron James is drinking Fiji water." Just imagine how many kids are asking about this water. Now you're getting all these bottles involved that are getting put out there.

    If you look at it from a sustainability standpoint, all of the bottles of water are contributing to that plastic trash. How do you think that players could think about sustainability and not just branded water because that's a luxury thing, right?

    I think it definitely is a luxury. I think last year over 90 billion gallons of water bottles have been distributed or used, and I think that's the big problem. Players are like, "Oh I'm drinking Fiji, I'm drinking this water." And now it's a branding issue because now you're getting all these bottles out there. I think the more you educate them, I think guys will be more open to doing stuff like recycling and reusing bottles.

    So I think that's something that we have to think about and maybe it comes from the universities, where we're educating athletes to become advocates for sustainability in that they don't become these single use bottled water drinkers. The MLB told me that they really were hard pressed to find an athlete to basically take the mantle of sustainability. So maybe it has to start from the universities. Maybe we have to train them younger so that they don't feel like they needed branded designer water. So, any closing thoughts?

    I think sustainability is great. Being from the Midwest, we didn't know anything about recycling. We just throw everything out and the garbage man pickup everything, and that was it. Not until 2009, I started learning about it. A teammate, Steve Nash, was very heavily into it with the NBA. We had a thing, I only think the NBA d does it anymore, called Green Week. He taught me a lot about how to be sustainable and stuff like that. And it was great for me. Once I started going to other teams, I started asking questions about it. I got traded to the Orlando Magic and they had this big banner and it was the first NBA arena to be certified LEED. And I asked questions about it like, "What do you know about this?" I was like, "Hey, Steve Nash, he helped me out with this." But I started hearing more about it. Just last year the Sacramento Kings became the first arena in the world to be 100 percent powered by solar panels, which is great. Hopefully we can push more NBA arenas to be LEED certified.

    Mary Harvey - Former U.S. Women’s National Team Goalkeeper, Olympic Gold Medalist and FIFA World Cup Champion

    Arielle Gold – Professional Snowboarder and Olympic Bronze Medalist

    Mary - Now let's get to the winter sports. Arielle, tell me a little bit about when this got personal for you.

    Arielle - So, I'm a professional snowboarder. I'm halfpipe snowboarding, and I grew up actually in Steamboat Springs, which is just a few hours away from here. I spent pretty much my entire childhood doing things outside. I always had a love of the outdoors, in particular snowboarding. And one of the great opportunities that snowboarding has afforded me is the chance to travel around the world, pretty much year round. One of my first big trips that I went on was my first Olympics, which was in Sochi, Russia. I was 17 years old. That was in 2014. And I remember going into that Olympics with obviously very high unrealistic expectations. It's the first Olympics and you want it to be kind of that dream experience. I got there and remember going up to the half pipe for the first day of practice, and it was about 60 degrees Fahrenheit, which is not the best.

    Unfortunately our first practice actually ended up getting canceled because the half pipe was so soft that we couldn't even ride it. And the following day we showed up to practice hoping that the conditions were going to be better, once again, it was really warm and they were actually spraying these blue chemicals all over the halfpipe to try and preserve the snow long enough for us to just have a practice session, which is usually about two hours. That didn't necessarily work very well. So, we ended up going into the day of our event having had next to no practice, just kind of winging it and hoping the halfpipe held it together long enough to have a good contest. I unfortunately was doing my second run of practice and doing a trick that I've done hundreds of times, and ended up hitting just kind of this ghost of bump in the flat bottom of the half pipe, which threw me onto my stomach. I ended up dislocating my shoulder and wasn't able to compete. So essentially, that's how my first Olympics ended. Had to have that put back in, go through the whole process of trying to get healthy again, getting home and rehabbing. But one of the biggest takeaways I had from that was obviously seeing those conditions firsthand and realizing that there was something wrong. We were really far up in the mountains. A lot of people actually go up there to back country snowboard, so that was definitely not a year to be doing that.

    Mary - So we have these experiences as athletes or as kids. Then we go on to, in your case, life still competing, and in my case life after competing. With this moment you described, how have you taken that experience and brought it forward in things that you say and do with respect to the environment?

    Arielle - Well, one of the first things I did when I got home from Sochi, was I started researching what I could possibly do to kind of reduce my own environmental footprint. Obviously I travel all the time, so I know that I have a larger footprint probably than a lot of people do. So I just wanted it to do whatever I could to try and reduce that impact as much as I could. One of the first things I did was start speaking with a group called Protect Our Winters, which was actually founded by a professional snowboarder, Jeremy Jones. So a lot of professional ski and snowboarders are pretty involved. What they do is essentially provide a platform for athletes like myself to use their influence to have a positive impact. So I started out really basic - going and speaking at middle and high schools in the Colorado area, speaking to kids and just kind of trying to raise a little bit of awareness, especially in the next generation, because they are the future.

    That's kind of what I did for the past four years is just some of that lower level, just kind of speaking around these schools and just trying to spread the word as much as possible. I'm doing my own duty, trying to recycle and ride my bike as much as I can and kind of doing all of those basic level things that we should all be doing. It should be second nature at this point. Then, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go back to this past Olympics a few months ago, which was really an exciting experience for me just to kind of have the chance to get a little bit of redemption after the way that the last one went. We were fortunate to have some pretty incredible conditions in Korea, so I had one of the best halfpipes I've ever ridden and was able to come home with a bronze medal. So that was definitely a bit more of the result that I had initially expected. And one of the great things about that, aside from just enjoying that overall experience, is coming home and just having all of these new incredible opportunities arise such as speaking at this conference. I just got an opportunity to speak at a conference in Argentina. Just doing all of these different things that I probably never would have had the chance to do had I not been able to go back and get a little better result. So, just being able to use my platform for something positive is something I've always wanted to do and always respected other athletes for doing.

    Mary - If you look closely, everybody's got something. There's something that happened, an experience, something you lived through. And we heard earlier today about when you're talking about engaging athletes or engaging people, it's about getting to know them and finding out what moves them, what drives them, what they're passionate about. And if you can find that anecdote. So, the anecdote that Arielle shared, my anecdote, Jamie's anecdote, whatever the anecdotes that were shared today. If you can tap into that, that's 100 percent authentic. And you will find that when you tap into people's authentic experiences, insecurities about what car they drive or whether or not they're the best ambassador for sustainability - those things start to not matter because that experience is 100 percent authentic and true to them. And you'll find, hopefully, if we can get more athletes to come off the sidelines and start to talk about that, it probably starts with understanding that piece of it. Arielle, what are your thoughts?

    Arielle - One of my favorite quotes, and I may butcher it a little bit, was actually one that came up in one of the PowerPoints that I presented to some students at a local school in Colorado. The quote essentially says, "The forest would be a very quiet place if the only birds that sang were those the sang best." So essentially, what that tells me, and hopefully what all of you will get out of that, is that you don't have to know everything about something to be passionate about it. And that's something that I've always been a little bit apprehensive about, especially going into something like sustainability and climate change. So for me, just to have this opportunity to speak to all of you and have the opportunity to share my own personal experience and try and kind of fuel the fire a little bit, is what I'm grateful to have the chance to do here.

    Mary - Now, to wrap things up this evening, I'd like to just mention that this sustainability conference is a wrap and the next PAC-12 Sustainability Conference will be on June 25th and 26th of next year at the University of Washington. So go Dogs and we'll see you all next year.

  • Kristina Joss is Head of Strategy, North America for the leading sustainability communications agency Salterbaxter, a specialist sustainability agency committed to helping companies and brands step up to the changing relationship between business and society. In her role, Kristina leads Salterbaxter’s thought leadership and business development in North America, executing against the company’s vision and developing service offerings that deliver client success. Kristina also advises Fortune 500 companies on sustainability strategy and communications – from strategy development and materiality, to stakeholder engagement and reporting. She specializes in advising multinational companies on how to integrate sustainability into the business to drive change as well as the most impactful ways to reach key audiences.

    Kristina’s sector experience cuts across technology, retail, hospitality, automotive, food & beverage, extractive, and media. Recent clients include BNY Mellon, FedEx, Hilton, Lockheed Martin, Nordstrom P&G, Shire, and Time Warner.

    Kristina Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

    The new era of corporate sustainability reporting Engaging stakeholders in sustainability reporting Moving the Goal Posts - Salterbaxter's new report on sustainability reporting Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

    Kristina's Final Five Question Responses:

    What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

    I would say read as much as you can, as often as you can. It's one of the most important things that I do in my job. Just reading articles, newsletters, books and just keeping pace because it's a constantly moving field. So as much as you can immerse yourself on a day to day basis, the better.

    What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

    The corporate leadership that is stepping up today in the face of some of the societal challenges that we have. I think it's also a fairly controversial one that's worthy of another discussion for another day, but I do think it's really interesting - the CEO's and the corporations stepping up on leadership.

    What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

    Well, it's actually been awhile since I read a specific sustainability book, as I've been focused on some more issue focused memoirs as of late. But I would recommend, Don't Even Think About It by George Marshall. It's really important look at the psychology of sustainability. I think that is a field that is particularly pertinent right now.

    What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do?

    I love newsletters and I'm quite well known for keeping track of a lot of content that way within Salterbaxter. So just a few of the ones I love are The Broad Sheet, Reconsidered, Sustainable Brands and Climate Nexus. They all provide really great material on a day-to-day basis.

    Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at Salterbaxter?

    So more about Salterbaxter is at www.salterbaxter.com. You can find me on LinkedIn under Kristina Joss and my Twitter account is @kjoss_, so you can find me there. I'm sending out content on a fairly regular basis.

  • Kristofor Lofgren is a founder, CEO, and investor based in Portland, Oregon. As a consummate creator, Kristofor views business as the ultimate platform to impact positive change in the world. Kristofor has shaped his life and work off of one motto instilled in him at a young age – “Be the change you want to see in the world.”


    After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley in 2006 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science & American Studies with Honors, Kristofor initially desired to be an environmental lawyer as he understood even then that sustainability is one the biggest issues of our time. However, after looking at the rise of the farm-to-table movement in the culinary industry, Kristofor thought about conquering the impossible by taking the practice to the next level with one of his favorite foods: sushi. In 2008 Kristofor set out on a mission to build the most innovative and creative group in America, the Sustainable Restaurant Group (SRG). SRG is the living embodiment of this mission, whereby the environment, people, community, and profits are all accounted for at the highest level, in unison. Today, under Kristofor's command, SRG runs two successful concepts (Bamboo Sushi and QuickFish Poke Bar) in six locations around Portland, Oregon and Denver, with 10 more slated to open in the next two years, including in new markets such as Seattle and San Francisco.


    When Kristofor is not working to foster and grow the culture and people of SRG, you can find him engaging with thought leaders around the world on sustainability, leadership and culture. As well, he is frequently working with suppliers, environmental scientists, and policy makers to create deeper impact for his companies. Kristofor enjoys spending his time outside of work with his wife, family, friends and participating in adventure and adrenaline sports.

    Kristofor Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

    Sustainability in the chain restaurant industry How to source local and sustainable while also providing affordable products Impacts of sustainability on employee engagement Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

    Kristofor's Final Five Question Responses:

    What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability leaders that might help them in their careers?

    Think with your heart as much as your head and don't be scared.

    What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

    I'm most excited about, I would say technology helping to move sustainability forward at a faster rate. So things like, for example, having laboratory ground meats, and things like that, that would actually remove animal cruelty and the need for so much methane gas to be produced by the factory farming of animals.

    What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

    I don't necessarily have one particular book that I love in sustainability. Anything by Bill Mckibben is always great or William McDonough. Kind of anything in those worlds is always good.

    What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in your work?

    Probably my iPhone is probably the best thing. I don't actually have a computer and I don't use tablets very often. I literally just do everything with my phone now. I have a computer but I never use it. I turn it on maybe once every two months. So I would say that for somebody who's on the go as much as I am, my phone is my life.

    Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you were leading with the Sustainable Restaurant Group?

    You can either go to my website, kristoforlofgren.com, or you can go to sustainablerestaurantgroup.com or bamboosushi.com, or quickfish.com. So any of our company websites all kind of tell a different story. But all weave up into one common focus and theme.

  • Mick Dalrymple and the team at University Sustainability Practices help the Arizona State University community reach their ambitious internal sustainability goals. Mick is a seasoned leader, communicator, and educator in multiple fields who connects stakeholders and technical experts to get positive impact work done, successfully.

    He managed Arizona State University's inter-disciplinary research and marketing work for the three-year, $27M Energize Phoenix program.

    Dalrymple, a produced, feature-film screenwriter, frequently authors articles and serves as a media resource and public speaker on sustainability topics. Committed to sustainability improvements in his personal life, he continues to remodel his 1975 home towards net zero energy, minimal waste, food production and reduced water usage. The Business Journal of Phoenix named him Green Pioneer in 2009 for his national and local contributions to the sustainability movement.

    Mick Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

    The history of sustainability leadership at Arizona State University Focusing on behavior change to achieve climate goals Moving towards climate positive and regenerative strategies ASU's Circular Resource goals Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

    Mick's Final Five Question Responses:

    What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

    I would say always look for the unintended consequence and for the stakeholder that you're not envisioning. Who's affected by the system that you're analyzing and you're not thinking of? Because that's the thing that's always going to trip you up.

    What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

    You touched on regenerative design and I'm really into regenerative and also into biomimicry. I just think if nature has got 3.8 million years of R&D, we should be tapping into that rather than trying to pretend we're creating everything ourselves.

    What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

    I have no time to read it. If I sit down and read for five minutes, I'm asleep. And so I've got literally 20 books stacked on my nightstand all the way back to Ecology of Commerce that I still have not gotten through because of this lack of sleep. I have so much to do or just running so fast that I can read magazines and articles on the web all the time, but cannot get through books. But Paul Hawken's new book Drawdown is good. I've seen Paul present on that and that to me is the type of work that we need right now - let's take all the pieces apart and figure out how can we address each of these individual pieces and in which ones are the most important to focus on. That's the most practical book right now that we can be looking at.

    What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do?

    I actually have been spending more time lately on the green schools listserv that Brown University keeps, as well as AASHE's new communication platform, because that is something where my peers are out there and for the first two and a half years of this job I was so much in a tunnel just trying to take hold of the fire hose. I'm now starting to look out more at what my peers are doing. Those are fantastic resources to just find out what other universities are doing and what challenges they're having that maybe we can help out with. And then the other one that I'm very involved with is the International Living Future Institute. I think the Living Building Challenge and the Living Community Challenge are really where we need to go. It's all about regenerative design and regenerative thinking and systems thinking. And that's where I go also to get recharged every year is go to the Living Future Unconference. It is very uplifting because our profession can be very draining. So you're going there and being amongst kindred spirits and really kind of talking about successes and failures and challenges and things you've gone through together. It's s a fantastic way to get recharged for the next year.

    Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at ASU?

    Well, if you go to cfo.asu.edu, and then look for the sustainability tab. That is kind of the gateway to get you to what we're doing. And we do report to the CFO, or under the business services arm of the university, which is a little bit unique I think. But it's a great place to be. And being under the CFO keeps you grounded in the economics of everything at the same time.

  • As Director of Sustainability at Las Vegas Sands Corp., Pranav Jampani is part of an all-star team of leaders and responsible for leading the Sands ECO360 Global Sustainability program. Sands ECO360 encompasses four pillars: Green Buildings, Environmentally Responsible Operations, Green Meetings, and Stakeholder Engagement.

    Pranav Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

    Sustainability leadership in the Las Vegas resort industry Leading large facilities towards zero waste Smart water management for operating in the desert Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

    Pranav's Final Five Question Responses:

    What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

    We have talked about sustainability in length, and I'm sure you and I agree that without any doubt sustainable businesses are more profitable, productive, and better equipped to face future challenges. So one piece of advice I would give is to position sustainability as a driver for innovation. We are seeing so many new startup companies whose main business model, or at least one of the primary guiding principles, is focused around sustainability and they're able to generate significant economic value and also receiving huge amounts VC funding. And similarly, I think innovation also plays a wider role in maximizing the value of sustainability, be it promoting this responsible production and consumption, cost rationalization, operational efficiency, nurturing and rewarding employees, ensuring ethical and sustainable sourcing, generating economic value or reducing environmental impact. So I truly believe that innovation and sustainability go hand in hand and both must be at the heart of any organization and must be happening in all friends and touching every part of the business.

    What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

    I think sustainable business continues to be exciting and inspiring to watch as corporate leaders continue to push the barriers of what's possible, including transforming themselves into net positive and regenerative enterprises. Obviously we see more and more companies continuing to ratchet up their commitments and achievements when it comes to renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable supply chains, water stewardship, the circular economy and other aspects of a sustainable enterprise. But I would say that one thing I'm most excited about is the circular economy and applying those concepts and principles at our organization. I think there's a growing awareness in the business community that the circular economy is not only here to stay, but it will continue to gain traction in the coming years. And clearly companies are moving away from the traditional cradle to grave, make-use-dispose economic model to a more circular strategy. So, I'm most about circular economy.

    What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

    That's a really difficult question because I have a lot of favorite books, but I am really a fan of Paul Hawken. I truly think he's a great visionary and a brilliant voice for finding real solutions for our problems. His books including The Ecology of Commerce and Natural Capitalism are, in my opinion, really beautiful, inspiring and deeply satisfying reads. I recently read his new book called Project Drawdown. The book actually describes the hundred most substantive solutions to global warming based on some of the great research done by leading scientists and policy makers around the world. For each solution the book actually describes its history, the carbon impact it provides, the relative cost and savings, the path to adoption and how exactly each of the solution works. I would recommend Project Drawdown to anyone who wants to get an understanding of what they can do to make an impact.

    What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do?

    There are tons of really invaluable resources out there. Some of my favorite resources include the US Green Building Council, who administers the LEED certification programs. I also really like the Department of Energy, as they do tons of energy efficiency and renewable energy research and are continually developing innovative cost effective energy saving solutions. On the sustainable procurement side of things, I like the Sustainable Procurement Leadership Council as they have comprehensive literature on sustainable purchasing guidelines, training tools to help organizations to implement strategic, sustainable procurement programs. For the emerging sustainability leaders or seasoned professionals who are looking for any leadership programs, I would recommend Harvards Sustainability Leadership Program. I've went through this program and the program is for senior leaders who are or trying to integrate sustainability their core businesses as a driver of innovation and growth. So really the leaders can learn powerful new strategies for enacting high impact sustainability leadership that positions sustainability is a driver of organizational engagement in authenticity, innovation, and also change capability.

    Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at Sands Corporation?

    The best place to look up information about me would be my LinkedIn profile. I also have a twitter account which is @pranav_jampani. And if anyone wants to get in touch with me, they can email me on LinkedIn, and also if anybody is interested in learning more about the ECO360 sustainability program they can always go to sands.com.

  • Ann Erhardt is currently Chief Sustainability Officer for campus facilities and Director of Strategic Initiatives at Michigan State University.

    After serving 4 years as Director of Campus Sustainability at Michigan State University, her focused changed to a more strategic role that concentrates on core business integration of sustainability into all infrastructure systems. Formerly the Director of Energy Programs for the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, Ann received her sustainable business/environmental science degree and masters of management and organizational leadership from Aquinas College. She also achieved an advanced study certificate in design and innovation from Ferris State University. Ann‘s 12+ years of experience in the sustainability field and her contagious passion for sustainability make her an invaluable resource and natural leader.

    Ann has built collaborative relationships with key leaders in administrative and academic divisions as well as external organizations and developed and implemented communications, outreach, and marketing strategies resulting in widespread campus participation in energy conservation and waste reduction initiatives. She effectively engages and brings together diverse stakeholders to implement sustainability best practices and cross disciplinary programs.

    Ann Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

    The importance of systems thinking skills in sustainability leadership Adaptive operating systems in sustainability Using AASHE STARS to guide sustainability reporting Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

    Ann's Final Five Question Responses:

    What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

    More anecdotally, I'd tell them to be open minded and bring their passion to their work. I think also it's good to have a specialty. If someone's really passionate about food systems, focus on food systems and come to the table with that. There aren't many generalists out there, or positions for generalists like myself. I'm kind of Jack of all trades, basically, but I think it's good to know you have a specific passionate interest in one area, whether it's an industry or topic, and focus on that. You'll find the connections through that.

    What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

    Two things. I'm really excited about this We're Still In movement. As you know, the United States has pulled out of a lot of these commitments globally, but there are so many universities and organizations that are part of this We're Still In movement and still committed to climate goals and making change. I think that's really exciting. I'm also really excited about the talk of SDG, sustainable development goals, in higher ed. That's been around for awhile, but more conversations within higher ed, or how to apply those on campus and use that as a baseline for moving forward. So, finally seeing this larger impact of what we're doing beyond our own community.

    What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

    One of the seminal books that I read years ago that got me hooked, was by Daniel Pink called A Whole New Mind. I do read a lot of texts on sustainability and trends, but the systems thinking and how to approach problems from a different perspective is so important. I read that book and it really changed my perspective on what I do and how I do it. So I definitely recommend most of Daniel Pink's book, but specifically that one.

    What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do?

    Reading and networking. I read a lot of magazines, not just sustainability, but Harvard Business Review, books on engagement, leadership development and all of this ties in. I'm also part of several organizations including AASHE, the Association for Climate Change Officers and the International Society for Sustainability Professionals are just a wealth of resources and contacts. Even more valuable are the people I've gotten to know in this industry because they're always providing insights, information and best practices and just kind of developing this next level of awareness to sustainability.

    Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at MSU?

    Our main website is msu.edu, but our sustainability page is sustainability.msu.edu, where you'll see a lot of what we're doing from a campus perspective. I also suggest our facilities website, which is ipf.msu.edu, which really gets into the sustainability infrastructure that we're working on. So there's a lot of layers, a lot of places to find information. I am also found on Linkedin, and will connect and be happy to answer any other further questions that anybody has.

    Contact Ann Erhardt: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ann-erhardt-mm-issp-sa-362b9212/

    Contact Josh Prigge: https://www.sustridge.com/

  • Erin’s career is focused on assessing how climate risks affect varied agencies and the publics they serve while building pathways to cut carbon and achieve resilient outcomes. Currently, she serves as SFO's first Sustainability Director, where she brokers sustainability and net zero investments across campus projects and develops and implements the Airport's Strategic, Sustainability and Climate Action Plans, including annual reporting.

    Erin previously served the City of Cupertino as its first Sustainability Manager and, next, Assistant to the City Manager working to oversee a portfolio of energy, water, and materials programs earmarked in the City’s Climate Action Plan, including the launch of Silicon Valley Clean Energy and Silicon Valley’s Climate Adaptation & Resilience Plan, etc. Erin also supported environmental initiatives through work at the Conservation Law Foundation, Goddard Institute of Space Studies, and National Park Service. Erin is a LEED AP and holds a MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University.

    Erin Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

    Sustainability issues in the airport and airline industries, including sustainable aviation fuel Leading sustainability while engaging multiple stakeholders including passengers and airport tenants SFO's low carbon and zero waste future Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

    Erin's Final Five Question Responses:

    What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

    Don't be afraid to be a Jack of all trades. I think this field is certainly evolving and there's an opportunity for specialty and specialization, but the more you dabble in more fields and aspects of sustainability, the more empowered you'll be in a conversation, in a decision or in the execution of a bold, ambitious target for the organization that you're looking to serve.

    What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability?

    I'm thinking back to the Jack of all trades comment. Obviously, I dabble in so many different things. It's hard to narrow to one thing. I'm sure my energy came across relative to sustainable aviation fuel. I think that is a perfect example of an industry coming together to really transform a marketplace and to recognize the richness that comes from collaboration. So whether it's public-private partnerships or public-public partnerships, just the collaboration intensity that I think is elevating the game for sustainability and achieving really big results for this sector. Every single day, just the opportunity I have to engage with so many thoughtful, insightful and progressive leaders is incredible and I don't know a lot of industries that are as ambitious but also do so not in competition but in direct collaboration. So continuing that is something that I look forward to every single day, getting out of bed and biking my way to the airport.

    What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

    I'm obviously loving Paul Hawkins Project Drawdown right now, as you heard earlier, recognizing the challenges in central plant operations at our airport, not just in natural gas but also in refrigerant management. I heard him speak on that and I think it's just fascinating how it's so critical that we don't lose sight of the operations and maintenance schedules of things before we put forward big bold goals like zero net energy. We need to make sure that our infrastructure is sound and safe and well equipped, and that we've got a robust set of operators that know how to manage and maintain and really transform this infrastructure that they're working on. So, that to me really resonated as well as just the richness of the subject, the values and needs of empowering women, giving people access to good education and food resources and how that can actually transform into direct results in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. It was a great set of research, so definitely pick that up or schedule a call with me and we could have a book club.

    What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do?

    Just on the collaboration topic, SFO is very lucky to team up with Ceres recently, an NGO that works on really progressive environmental and climate action policy through their investor network. So we recently joined two of their programs, Connect the Drops for water conservation and BICEP - businesses investing in clean energy policy. They've been hosting a series of different advocacy days, here in Sacramento as well as at the capital. I think that really the champions of change come through collaboration and having a unified voice. I saw that happen firsthand and certainly that resonated with our electeds and I really look to those types of networks for influence, and opportunities to really push and continue to stretch. We've been very grateful to partner and team up with The Airport Council International, and also locally we have the California Airport Council that's been working to have more unification in the progressive policies and also best practices that are happening as a new standard in the airport space within our great state.

    Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at SFO?

    SFO has a great website flysfo.com. We have a twitter handle and also a Facebook page, so definitely visit those things. We are always happy to receive comments and questions from folks that are traveling to and from our airport, or generally wanting to up the environmental or sustainability game of our airport. So our contact information is also saved there. Please reach out. Obviously our strategic plan is set and our city is driving and directing, but we want to be as responsive to the folks that we're looking to serve on a daily basis, which is our traveling public and of course the airport employees that help our airport to thrive and create a great environment. So check us out there and keep us posted on what should come next.