National Leaders Address Solutions to Spur Economic Growth, Job Creation, Energy Independence, and Global Business Competitiveness
— Minnesota’s top business and community leaders will gather March 23 at the University of Minnesota Alumni Center in Minneapolis for the Sustainable Business Forum. Focused on innovative approaches and cost-saving solutions that grow businesses and the economy, promote energy independence, create jobs and build vibrant communities while protecting health and the environment, the event will highlight common sense, cost-effective sustainable solutions for business.
Hosted by the Alliance for Sustainability, the event kicks off the March 23-24 7th Annual Sustainable Community Conference that highlights Minnesota’s large number of diverse corporate, government and nonprofit organizations that are leading the nation in deploying sustainable practices as part of their growth strategy and commitment to economic, environmental and social responsibility.
“The Forum will highlight the win-win-win game change that is taking place with sustainability, from our military to business and Wall Street,” said Alliance President Terry Gips. “Participants will learn cutting-edge, sustainable solutions from leading Minnesota companies, explore the definitive business case for sustainability and see why sustainability is essential to corporate performance and national security,” added Gips.
Sponsors include Comcast, Risdall Marketing, 3M, Xcel Energy, UBS, Pentair, Jefferson Lines, University Bank, Rainbow Scientific, U of M School of Design, Center for Urban and Regional Affairs and Institute on the Environment, Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, the Met Council, Center for Energy and Environment, Transit for Livable Communities and The McKnight Foundation.
WHAT: First-ever Sustainable Business Forum featuring breakthrough solutions for business that improve profits while benefiting people, the economy and the planet.
WHEN: Friday, March 23 – 7:30 am to 1:00 pm
WHERE: University of Minnesota McNamara Alumni Center, Minneapolis
MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Keynote and Panel presenters available for advance, remote interviews and Col. Mykleby for 3/22 evening and 3/23 in-person interview
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Sustainable Business Forum, Continued
There will be a breakfast welcome from University of Minnesota Provost Karen Hanson and a message from Governor Mark Dayton delivered by Ellen Anderson, the Senior Advisor to the Governor on Energy and Environment. The Forum will feature an 8 am opening keynote by Marine Col. (retired) Mark Mykleby, who served in active combat in the Balkans and Iraq and at the highest levels of the Pentagon as strategic assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Col. Mykleby will speak on “Sustainability as a National Strategic Imperative,” emphasizing its significance for national security, economic growth, energy independence, and global business competitiveness.
“Our challenge as a nation is that the systems we have are not sustainable. It’s not just the environment, but business, education, housing, transportation, the built environment and our communities.” He emphasizes that, “We need a reset. There are positive, sustainable solutions and that’s why we’ve developed the Smart Strategy Initiative to engage everyone – business, government, communities and citizens.”
At 9 am there is a panel of CEOs and senior level business executives sharing how they have successfully integrated sustainability into their operations to save money, improve performance, innovate, gain strategic advantage and become more environmentally and socially responsible. Panelists will include Michele Whyle, 3M Consumer Products head of Sustainability and Quality; Charles Zelle, President and CEO of Jefferson Lines and Chair of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce; and Lynn Gordon, President and founder of French Meadow Bakery & Café and the new People’s Organic Coffee and Wine Café. At 10:30 there will be a series of four workshops.
At 11:30 am there will be a luncheon, new sustainability song by Smithsonian Folkways recording artist Larry Long and presentation by U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (by video). At noon there will be a concluding video link keynote by Harvard Business School Professors Robert Eccles and George Serafeim. They will discuss their new, landmark HBS study showing that high sustainability companies significantly outperform their counterparts over the long-term, both in terms of stock market and accounting performance: “The Impact of a Corporate Culture of Sustainability on Corporate Behavior and Performance” http://www.hbs.edu/research/pdf/12-035.pdf
More information about the Sustainable Business Forum and the 7th Annual Sustainable Communities Conference is available at www.afors.org/2012conference
Additional conference materials and high-resolution speaker head shots available