One question the GreenBiz Group team fields often from those both inside and outside the corporate sustainability community is whether hosting in-person gatherings is the “right” thing to do in a world where responsible individuals are seeking to reduce their own personal impact on climate change as much as possible.
Time and again, the value of face-to-face connections and revelations helps balance the dilemma.
Last week, 1,500 sustainability-minded individuals including CEOs, CSOs, policy experts, NGO representatives, in-the-field practitioners and students gathered at the Camelback Inn in chilly Scottsdale, Arizona, for GreenBiz 20 — twice the attendees we hosted at the same GreenBiz conference there four years ago.
From the over-subscribed, two-day GreenFin Summit to our now-annual biomimicry hike in the Sonoran Desert, it was a week full of reflections, revelations and reawakenings.
Getting back to nature
Biomimicry professionals Joe Zazzera and Michelle Fehler led a morning hike Feb. 4 in the Phoenix Mountain preserve, where they discussed some design principles that have made life in the Sonoran Desert prolific. Through the use of the tools of biomimicry and Shinrin Yoku (forest bathing), they encouraged the walkers to integrate some of these strategies into their business lives.
“It was great to talk to people along the trail, but there was also plenty of silence, stillness and observation using all of our senses,” reflects Victoria Mills, managing director of the Environmental Defense Fund, who contributed the photo. “We were present.”
Putting down roots
What will it take?
Corporate reporting on environmental, social and governance (ESG) data has moved from the margins to the mainstream: It now sits squarely on Wall Street, where it is being factored into a growing number of investment managers’ portfolios, as well as the strategies of pension funds, university endowments and other large investors.
The second annual, invite-only GreenFin Summit convened 200 attendees — representing more than $22 trillion in assets — focused on strategies for leveraging capital markets to drive the global economy toward sustainability.
The next generation of leadership compares notes
Past honorees of the annual GreenBiz 30 Under 30 list share experiences and ideas during the opening reception Feb. 4. Pictured from left: Alhassan Baba Muniru, Recycle Up!; Michael Rinaldi, Rabobank; Josh Weiner, MetLife; Alexandra Criscuolo, formerly with Kickstarter; Alejandra Sánchez Ayala, C&A; Deonna Anderson, GreenBiz; Heather Clancy, GreenBiz; and Alexsandra Guerra, Nori.
Look for the nomination form for the 2020 30 Under 30 list in late February, or email [email protected] to receive it when it goes live.
Career advice, face to face
In the Coaching Corner, leadership coach and GreenBiz columnist Shannon Houde, left, shared 15-minute personalized coaching sessions with professionals at every stage of their leadership development. Here, Houde chats with Camila Gomez Wills, a master’s candidate in public policy, with the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California-San Diego.
From action to alignment
An overflow crowd watches a demo of the new SDG Action Manager, a tool co-developed by the United Nations Global Compact and B Lab for tracking commitments related to the Sustainable Development Goals. That pattern of engagement was echoed in an at-capacity summit on the SDGs before the official start of the GreenBiz 20 event, and in several breakouts related to this issue.
An awe-inspiring avian inspiration
The resilience of nature was on display at the seventh annual Sustainability Solutions Celebration on Feb. 5, hosted by Arizona State University Walton Sustainability Solutions initiative. This young bald eagle, rehabilitated by rescue organization Liberty Wildlife, fell out of her nest as a fledgling after being attacked by killer bees. This year’s winning solution — an approach to solving water problems proposed by a team of middle-school students — was highlighted during the GreenBiz 20 plenary session later that day.