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Sustainability Solutions Festival to gather business, education and NGO leaders

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Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

February 07, 2017

As some express concern about the future of national and global resolve in addressing sustainability and climate change, a powerful partnership of business, education and NGO leaders will convene in February for the fourth annual Sustainability Solutions Festival, the first major post-inauguration sustainability gathering, in which Phoenix becomes the epicenter of the “getting it done” conversation.

This unprecedented convening with global impact is fostered by partnerships between Arizona State University, the nation’s No. 1 university for innovation and home to the first comprehensive School of Sustainability; GreenBiz Group, the leading media, research and events organization that advances opportunities at the intersection of business, technology and sustainability; and Second Nature, facilitator of the largest group of higher education institutions and their senior leadership committed to carbon neutrality and resilience in the world.

World-renowned experts in their fields will leverage opportunities to collaborate with peers both within their profession and across sectors thanks to an alignment of business, academic, NGO and local community participants — all committed to solving global challenges related to climate, waste, resources, environmental protection, employment, innovation and equity.

Attendees from across the world will come together around two festival anchor events: GreenBiz17 and the 2017 Presidential Climate Leadership Summit. Both conferences and a variety of accompanying partner meetings and seminars will host diverse conversations, strategy sessions, trainings and working groups focused on applied solutions to the complex climate and sustainability problems facing society.

About the conveners:

  • Arizona State University: Home to 424 sustainability scientists, scholars and fellows and a world leader in sustainability research, ASU engages other thought and practice leaders to bring together advanced initiatives and outcomes to create a better world. ASU and its Sustainability Solutions Festival are the primary conveners for February’s events and activities.

  • GreenBiz Group: Advancing the opportunities in business, technology and sustainability through its websites, events, peer-to-peer network and research, GreenBiz promotes the potential to drive transformation and accelerate progress within companies, industries and in the very nature of business. Each year, the GreenBiz Forum brings together more than 900 business and sustainability leaders and influencers to discuss business trends and practices.

  • Second Nature: Second Nature works to proactively build a sustainable and positive global future through initiating bold commitments, scaling successful actions, and accelerating innovative solutions among leadership networks in higher education. The Climate Leadership Commitments, a signature program of Second Nature, is based on the premise that bold commitments to carbon mitigation and resilience by higher education yield positive changes on campus and beyond. The Climate Leadership Network comprises more than 600 colleges and universities in every state and the District of Columbia who have committed to take action on climate and prepare students through research and education to solve the challenges of the 21st century.

Key participating organizations include:

  • World Business Council for Sustainable Development: A global, CEO-led organization of more than 200 leading businesses and partners working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development helps businesses be more sustainable and successful by focusing on the maximum positive impact for shareholders, the environment and societies.
  • GRI: An international independent organization, GRI (formerly Global Reporting Initiative) helps businesses, governments and other organizations understand and communicate the impact of business on critical sustainability issues such as climate change, human rights, corruption and many others. GRI provides the world’s most widely used standards on sustainability reporting and disclosure: the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards.
  • The Sustainability Consortium: A global organization transforming the consumer goods industry to deliver more sustainable consumer products, convening diverse stakeholders to work collaboratively to build science-based decision tools that address sustainability issues that are materially important throughout a product’s supply chain and lifecycle.
  • The Climate Group: An award-winning, international nonprofit, specializing in bold, catalytic and high-impact climate and energy initiatives with the world’s leading businesses and state and regional governments.
  • The Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council: A nonprofit organization with 160-plus members from diverse regions and sectors whose mission is to support and recognize purchasing leadership that accelerates the transition to a prosperous and sustainable future.
  • Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s Change the Course Campaign: An initiative that brings together the public, corporations, and on-the-ground conservation organizations to raise awareness around freshwater, reduce water footprints, and restore flows and health to vital freshwater ecosystems.
  • Forum for the Future: An independent non-profit working globally with business, government and other organizations to solve complex sustainability challenges.

The major sustainability solutions events taking place in February across the greater Phoenix area include:

  • GreenBiz 17 (Feb. 14-16): featuring keynotes by Josie Maran (Josie Maran Cosmetics), Peter Seligmann (Conservation International), Drew Wolff (Starbucks) and Peter Bakker (WBCSD)
  • 2017 Presidential Climate Leadership Summit (Feb. 13-15): featuring keynotes by Veerabhadran “V” Ramanathan (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UNESCO Professor, University of California at San Diego and TERI University, Delhi, India), Joel Makower (GreenBiz), Col. Mark “Puck” Mykleby (USMC ret.) and Tony Cortese (Intentional Endowments Network) 
  • Sustainability Solutions Celebration (Feb. 15): featuring a special performance by Alan AtKisson
  • Sustainability Solutions Family Day at Arizona Science Center (Feb. 20)
  • Night of the Open Door at Arizona State University (Feb. 25) 

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