Sustainable Nation

By Josh Prigge: CEO of Sustridge Sustainability Consulting

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The Sustainable Nation Podcast delivers interviews with global leaders in sustainability and regenerative development every week. Our goal is to provide sustainability professionals, business leaders, academics, government officials and anyone interested in joining the sustainability revolution, with information and insights from the world's most inspiring change-makers.

Episode Date
Dune Ives and Roger McClendon - Lonely Whale and Green Sports Alliance

Green Sports Alliance Summit will be June 19-20 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia

Dune Ives

Dune Ives is the executive director of award-winning Lonely Whale, where she designs and leads initiatives that address environmental degradation and species decline. Through her leadership, Lonely Whale has received global recognition as one of Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas, Huffington Post’s Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Environmental Sustainability, the P4G 2018 Circular Economy Award sponsored by the Danish Government; and more. Prior to Lonely Whale, Dune designed and oversaw Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Philanthropy, co-founded the Green Sports Alliance, and was among the first individuals trained by the Honorable Al Gore to deliver his presentation on global warming.

One of the exciting initiatives at Lonely Whale is Next Wave Plastics. This is an initiative to get companies to use ocean bound plastics within their products. Can you tell us about this and what you're learning, or any successes that you're seeing in this program?

Next Wave Plastics is an initiative that was co-created by Dell Technologies and Lonely Whale. It came out of a request that Adrian Grenier made as he was serving as Dell's first social good advocate. He asked if Dell could help him address, and help all of us, really address the growing plastic pollution crisis. What Dell discovered that they could do is source plastic that was once bound for the ocean, meaning it's within 50 kilometers of any waterways, and they it into their packaging. It was so inspiring for them as a company. Michael Dell himself got very engaged. The employees were very excited. Dell then asked us to engage other companies. So, we launched Next Wave Plastics in December, 2017 with eight companies with the intent of developing a collaborative where companies are working directly with each other. Competitors now are sitting across the table from each other, working with each other within industry and cross industry, to build infrastructure in parts of the world where the issue is the most acute. They then integrate the materials permanently into their products, thereby creating a fully circular economy. It's been very exciting to see. We had HP and IKEA join the list of companies in 2018, and we now have more companies coming on board over the course of the next six months. We see this as being one of those important actions being taken today by companies that are having a real impact. So, this year they're sourcing material and they're preventing it from going in the water. It's very exciting to see these companies take a strong leadership role.

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

Be Curious. Don't think that you know all the answers and don't think you understand the questions that are being asked. Curiosity is what is going to allow us to find the solutions that don't currently exist to the problems that we're facing.

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

There are two things. Number one, even amidst all of the bad news I don't see people giving up. I see people really rolling their sleeves up and digging in to these issues and wanting to just keep fighting the good fight and winning. I also see corporations turning the tide and that to me is really exciting. I think they're pushing themselves harder. I think they're not standing for what they've done in the past and they're really leading this discussion, which is what we need for them to do.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

Years ago I had the fortune of spending about a week on vacation, which is very unusual for anybody these days. I took the book Guns, Germs, and Steel with me on vacation. I'm bringing this up because it was one of the most influential books for me. Just really looking back over time in the history of our species, how we have migrated, how we have evolved, why we've done certain things. It was a very important book for me at the time to really recognize that I am but one small moment in time and there is history to learn from and there are patterns we need to start seeing and incorporate in how we build the vision of our future. There's one lesson learned from that book that I will share with your audience that I just think is hilarious and we have a lot to learn from it. Zebras were never domesticated because when they bite, they don't let go. And I think that's brilliant. Why are some things so difficult to change? It's because we have built in mechanisms to prevent the change that we don't want to have happen from happening. Change is hard for the zebra. The zebra has figured out how to never become domesticated. So how do we take that lesson and how do we apply it to the sustainability work that we do, especially when we're facing attractable change.

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

I spend a lot of time observing how my child interacts with the environment and noticing what he notices. As adults, I think we feel like we know all the answers and we're not always as observant because we've become accustomed to our environment. I like to spend time with people who look at the world differently and at Lonely Whale we actually spend a lot of time thinking about the non able-bodied community. Those who have physical or cognitive impediments. I think we need to start spending more time talking with those who can't interact the way that we've designed things and then I think we'll start learning more.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work of your wonderful organizations?

Lonely Whale is at and Green Sports Alliance is You're going to get a ton of information if you sign up for our newsletters. Follow us on Instagram at Lonely Whale. Come to the Green Sports Alliance Summit. It is going to be really exciting and it's really gonna pave the way for a lot of exciting, very thoughtful and thought provoking conversations about the wave of the future.

Roger McClendon

Roger McClendon is the Executive Director of the Green Sports Alliance. In his role, he leads the Alliance of international sports and stadium executives, as well as sustainability experts, to use sports as a vehicle to promote healthy, sustainability communities throughout the world.

Prior to joining the Alliance, Roger was the first-ever Chief Sustainability Officer for Yum! Brands, whose holdings include Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC restaurants. He also led the development of Blueline, a sustainable design guide for restaurants built on the LEED certification program. Blueline was a global standard implemented in approximately 5,000 Yum! Brand restaurants globally. Due to his efforts, Yum! Was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in 2017 and 2018, as well as one of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens by Corporate Responsibility Magazine.

You're relatively new to the position. Can give us a quick overview of what's going on with the Green Sports Alliance right now and maybe what you envisioned for the organization in the future?

I've been with the Organization for a good four months now and I always say I'm standing on the shoulders of giants. This organization has been engaged with sustainability and sports for over nine years. We'll be coming up on our 10th year anniversary next year. Coming from west coast to east coast, I've heard varying stories about the inception of the Green Sports Alliance, but have to give kudos to Scott Jenkins, who's our chair of our board, and folks like Alan Hershkowitz and Paul Allen who put a lot of funding in early behind it and the impetus of bringing sports teams together to really stand for social and environmental progress. The west coast development, from the Sounders to the Portland Trailblazers to the Seattle Mariners, all those folks got together and decided that they wanted to take a position and push the environmental sustainability agenda.

They saw this as regional and then they saw this as a national opportunity and it was formed. There's another story about the Philadelphia Eagles and the owning family asking an issue about deforestation and where their paper goods products came from. I think that's where Alan Hershkowitz and the folks that were leading the organization back then were able to break through and get them interested in supporting a sustainability position. So since then, the group has formed into the Green Sports Alliance, which is an international organization where we have representation in Japan, Europe and are growing the brand beyond the North American borders.

It's a group of about 500-600 sports teams and venues, from the NFL, NBA, USTA, PGA. I don't want to leave anybody out, but there's a lot of influential sports leagues, teams and venues such as AEG and Staples Center. The folks that own those venues are all part of our membership-based organization. We take that seriously on our stewardship and what we need to do to set our strategy and our goals around this movement of sustainability. I like to break it up into three phases.

Phase 1 is the sustainability 1.0 platform where you have engagement of your operations and your brand, league or stadium owner and you can really improve your operations from a triple bottom line perspective - people, profitability and planet. Phase 2, or the sustainability 2.0, has to do with engaging your fan base, your employees as well as the community. That's a little bit tougher and that happens to be where you spend a lot of time perhaps doing some campaigns and things like tree planting, understanding how you engage fans to participate in recycling efforts and things they can do beyond just the stadium itself. We're still in varying stages with different groups to make that happen. There's a lot of work left to be done there. The third phase, or sustainability 3.0, is defining what's next, but it's in the area of youth engagement, leveraging the Sustainable Development Goals from the United Nations and getting cities and communities to really help with clean energy and help make a bigger impact on what we're trying to do as a society.

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

Continue to be bold and brave and set targets. Tehn, build a coalition and always keep the triple bottom line in mind as you're presenting.

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

The international growth of the Green Sports Alliance. We just signed the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Change and we've just got so much support behind us. It's a commitment to some principles but what it really means is that we can galvanize everyone around it and really get to driving action around it. Now that we've got that under our belt, we see a lot more people like the NBA, the Yankees, USTA and others I'm sure it will be joining us as we move forward.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

Green to Gold is a classic and Food Foolish talks about waste and how much waste we have with the food supply.

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

I've engaged with World Wildlife Fund. WWF has always been a great partner and they've always had great resources globally. I think very highly of them as well as NRDC.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work of the Green Sports Alliance?

You can go to our website at You can actually come to the summit, which is going to be June 19th and 20th in Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field. You can go to our website and sign up. We've got a great forum that we're going to have.

About Sustridge

Sustridge is a sustainability consulting firm providing consulting in sustainability strategy development, GHG emissions calculating and management, zero waste planning and guidance in TRUE Zero Waste, B Corp, LEED and Carbon Neutral certification.


May 21, 2019
Aaron Stainthorp - Sustainability Manager at Jackson Family Wines

Aaron Schreiber-Stainthorp is the Sustainability Manager at Jackson Family Wines (JFW). In his role at JFW, Aaron focuses on implementing systems that drive transformational change with an emphasis on carbon emissions, energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, zero waste and employee engagement.  Using a data driven approach to identifying opportunities and guide decision making, Aaron has worked to make sustainability synonymous with innovation and continuous improvement.  

In addition to his work at JFW, Aaron also runs a small consulting firm, Sustainability Squared, which focuses on embedding sustainability in the food and beverage industry.  Aaron is also a board member with the Center for Climate Protection, focused on speed and scale GHG policy solutions in California. 

Aaron has spent 5 years working in the wine industry, and previously led sustainability efforts at Francis Ford Coppola winery resulting in their 2017 Sustainable Winemaking Leadership Award from the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance.  Prior to working in wine, Aaron managed energy efficiency education programs at the Alliance to Save Energy. 

Aaron Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Importance of Science Based Targets
  • The International Wineries for Climate Action working group led by Jackson Family Wines and Torres Family winery
  • The challenges behind tracking accurate waste data across multiple sites
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders


Jackson Family Wines is looking at Science Based Targets. Give us your thoughts on the importance of Science Based Targets and why they're important to Jackson family wines.

Historically, it's been impressive to see the momentum that private sector has taken towards sustainability efforts and making pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Science Based Targets and the Science Based Target Initiative brings a new rigor to that focus by actually saying, "Here's the math to quantify for your company with your emissions profile and what you need to do to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius." Some of the guidance on that is actually going to be coming out later this month, because previously it had been guidance for how to keep warming below two degrees Celsius. But it's been exciting to have that level of rigor to an emissions reduction target to get things in line with the Paris Accord and what nations across the world are trying to do.

This also gives us a common language to use when we're talking to other partners. Now when we're talking to our suppliers, when they say they have science based targets, that actually means that they've really addressed their emissions and come up with a reduction plan that is actually based on something.

It's also very exciting because, earlier this year, Jackson Family Wines formalized a partnership with the Torres Family and created a working group called International Wineries for Climate Action. Members who join that working group are wineries that commit to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2045 - across Scope 1, 2 and 3. So, I think Science Based Targets have been really exciting for me because we're now able to see how businesses and the private sector can really lead the way on creative solutions to greenhouse gas emissions. It also lets us have a conversation with other leaders in this space who also want to demonstrate that they're taking this seriously and accounting for their company's contribution to climate change.

Tell us about this process of trying to track waste data across multiple locations and what you've found helpful in this process.

When we talk about zero waste, I find this to be a exciting area. One of the challenging places to start with zero waste is actually getting good data. Different sites have different haulers, they have different waste streams, different dumpsters etc.. But a lot of times if a site does not have a roll off container, typically they're getting a waste hauler to pick up their waste, but nobody's actually measuring the weight and they're not quantifying the volume of waste that's leaving the site. So, when we talk about zero waste, we are aiming to zero, but the technical definition that we hold ourselves to is making sure that all sites are achieving a 90% waste diversion rate from the landfill and incineration. That means 90% of our waste by weight is either getting recycled or composted.

One of the solutions that we've done to really address that data challenge is that we've found someone who's willing to be the wastes czar for each one of our sites. We empower this person to really own solutions to managing waste at that site. That waste czar then helps us do monthly reporting on the volume of waste that is leaving that site in the different waste streams - typically landfill, compost and recycling. With that we've now been able to get monthly data for all of our sites. With that monthly data we can start to look for insights, identify patterns and figure out ways that we can improve. People also know now that they're being held accountable. So, if we see a change in their monthly recycling, we say, "What's going on? Is there a way we can help?"

After we've found waste czars to really lead the effort at each site, we then worked on employee engagement. So, waste is one of those things that everybody very visibly sees what they're contributing to every day, so everybody really is able to understand their contribution to that. It's been really exciting to talk to the employees about solutions and have them see themselves as an important part in making changes in both their daily practices, our procurement and how we go about operating our facilities.

Some of the ways that we've engaged on zero waste that I think are kind of fun is we've actually done zero waste of wine tastings. With zero waste wine tastings, we had Recycling Rosé, Composting Cabernet and Zero Waste Zin. It was an opportunity for employees to come together and really talk about strategies to reduce waste and how zero waste ties back to our core business. One of the things that's interesting is because we grow grapes, any organic matter that we compost then comes back to our vineyards as high quality soil. So, we see a direct connection between making sure that we're composting as many organics as possible and producing the highest quality compost, because that compost ultimately goes back to the vineyard and helps improve soil health and wine quality.

Working across so many different sites, we've had to rely a lot on partnerships. We work directly with our waste haulers and a lot of our waste haulers have actually led zero waste trainings at our different sites. So, it is a challenging task to take on just because there's a lot of moving pieces, but it's also been exciting because as people have helped out doing waste audits, doing waste reporting and coming up with solutions, we've been able to see this great engagement and we've been able to achieve a 98% waste diversion at our wineries. So we're very proud of that and we're hoping to build on that momentum as we roll that out across our offices and make sure all of our tasting rooms are also zero waste.

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

I would say dive deep, find a niche and own it. I think being able to specialize in one area means that you're able to have a bigger impact in that one area and once you gain that expertise, it's easy to broaden out and focus on other topics as well.

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

I'm very excited about Science Based Targets, carbon farming and using transparency and collaboration to unlock new opportunities.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

I've heard many people reference on this podcast, and I would be remiss if I did not, and that's Paul Hawkins Drawdown. Within sustainability I find it helpful to read anything that expands my thinking and understanding of the world in a new way. This past year, Yuval Noah Harari has given me a number of new insights into the world with his books Sapiens, Homo Deus and 21 lessons for the 21st century.

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

I actually list Excel at the top of my list and that is because I think for a lot of problems that I'm looking to understand, being able to quantify them is really helpful. While not everything can be quantified, being able to present data in that format makes it easier for me to have conversations with people. A lot of times when I'm looking at a new issue, being able to really represent the opportunity and also the current challenge in Excel helps highlight to people where our next step take place to figure out a solution.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and your work at Jackson family wines?

We regularly share progress on our sustainability journey at and if anyone wants to connect with me directly or see some of the work that I do outside of Jackson Family Wines, please check out my website at

About Sustridge

Sustridge is a sustainability consulting firm providing consulting in sustainability strategy development, GHG emissions calculating and management, zero waste planning and guidance in TRUE Zero Waste, B Corp, LEED and Carbon Neutral certification.

May 14, 2019
Leah Bamberger - Director of Sustainability for the City of Providence, Rhode Island

Mayor Jorge O. Elorza appointed Leah Bamberger as the Director of Sustainability in April 2015. Leah brings a wealth of experience in municipal sustainability efforts. She previously managed the City of Boston’s citywide sustainability initiative, Greenovate Boston. In this role, she worked on policy and community engagement and led the development of the City’s 2014 Climate Action Plan. Prior to this position, Leah served as a consultant to a variety of local and regional governments and nonprofits in the northeast, supporting their climate and sustainability planning work.

The Sustainability Director’s responsibilities include identifying opportunities to reduce the City’s energy costs, working with community groups, residents, and businesses to implement the City’s first comprehensive sustainability action plan, transitioning residents to the Recycle Together program, and other projects.

Leah Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Providence's climate neutral goal and approach to renewable energy and energy efficiency
  • Development of Providence's Climate Justice Plan
  • The importance of stakeholder engagement in moving communities towards sustainability and social equity
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Leah Bamberger on Developing the city's Climate Justice Plan:

Tell us about creating Providence's Climate Justice Plan, what that's all about and what you hope that that does for the city.

We started this process about a year ago, we have this ambitious goal and we are very eager to focus on the intersection of environmental justice and climate resilience in this effort. It was good timing because we had also recently wrapped up a process where we were looking at our Sustainable Providence Plan and it was painfully obvious that equity was not a part of that plan. That plan covered a lot and built a really good groundwork for this work, but it didn't really dive into the equity issue.

So, back in 2016 we started a process with a group of frontline community members, communities of color that have been disproportionately burdened and continue to be burdened by environmental injustices. We wanted to bring equity into our work and we wanted the people who are most impacted to be leading that work. That's a big part of doing this equity work and that's something that I learned. I had the opportunity to attend trainings and workshops to really understand and think about how I need to do my work differently. Oftentimes we get our credentials, we learn a practice and then we become experts and we start to disregard, or not give credit to, the lived experiences of the people that we are doing this work for.

We created this racial and environmental justice committee to really inform the office of sustainability in terms of how we should be bringing equity into this work. We partnered with frontline communities of Providence to tell us how we can and should be addressing racial equity and sustainability. They did a lot of deep work in the community to get feedback and input and created a very robust document called the Just Providence Framework. It's a set of principles and recommendations of how the office of sustainability and local government can be addressing equity. That framework is being used now to develop this Climate Justice Plan.

Tell us about this different approach to stakeholder engagement and how that affects the plan.

The actions and the work that I see in the results of this plan versus many other climate action plans, is that it's been so fascinating to see how different this plan is because our process was so different. Typically in a stakeholder engagement process, you're getting input and it's a lot of the usual suspects at the table. As a result, those recommendations tend to serve and benefit the people that helped create the plan. Because ours was done so differently, it actually looks a lot different and the strategies and actions coming out of that are very different than what you would generally see in a typical climate action plan.

That process I think is so important. What we're working towards, and we are by no means there, is a more collaborative governance structure where it's not government making decisions for people, but it's people making decisions with government as a mechanism to execute what the community needs. It's almost like a total flip of how we generally think about how government engages and is in relationship with community.

About Sustridge

Sustridge is a sustainability consulting firm providing consulting in sustainability strategy development, GHG emissions calculating and management, zero waste planning and guidance in TRUE Zero Waste, B Corp, LEED and Carbon Neutral certification.

May 07, 2019
2019 Green Schools Conference and Expo - Highlights and Interviews

The Green Schools Conference & Expo is the only national event to bring together all the players involved in making green schools a reality: people who lead, operate, build and teach in U.S. schools.

This podcast episode contains recordings from in-conference sessions and onsite interviews with:

  • Jennifer Seydel - Executive Director of the Green Schools National Network
  • Anisa Heming - Director of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC
Apr 30, 2019
Sarah Rhodes - Plastic Free Cambodia
Sarah has worked in the hospitality and tourism industry throughout her career and has a Masters in Tourism Management where she developed a keen interest in sustainable tourism. Following 4 years working for the South Australian Tourism in online marketing management and project management roles, she undertook training via the Climate Leadership Corps, lead by Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States.
After completing this training Sarah moved to Siem Reap, Cambodia where she worked primarily with the NGO sector and responsible tourism practices, during which time Plastic Free Cambodia was formed. Specialising in consulting to businesses and delivering educational workshops on the topic of plastic reduction and other environmental issues. Sarah now also consults to other countries around Southeast Asia thanks to the knowledge she has derived from her experiences and growing knowledge of climate change and plastic pollution issues in the region.
Sarah Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:
  • Strategies for plastic reduction and elimination programs in communities and in businesses
  • Why small actions can have a big impact
  • Waste and recycling problems and solutions in Southeast Asia
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Sarah's Final Five Question Responses:

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

Find a good support network. That would definitely be my advice. Find a good support network so that you've got someone to go through the ups and downs with. It can be challenging, can be very rewarding and it's definitely good to have a good crew of people around or even just one business partner that can support you through that.

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

I think it's the connection with people across the world, that people are really coming together. We're coming together and it's a very uniting thing to work on this. Also, being able to see the changes. When we work with a group of people and you see them light up with this new information and determination to do something. We're building a really strong network and it's across borders and quite phenomenal. I definitely think that's probably the most exciting part for me right now.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

Resolution by Russell Brand. There were some really good takeaways in there for me. He asked a few questions such as if every business decision you made, you ask yourself, "Does this hurt someone? Does this hurt the environment." I thought that was really cool and a good approach.

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

I actually would have to say podcasts. I normally start my day going to the gym and having a bit of a run and listening to a podcast. The gems of information that I've been getting have just really spurred me on for the day. There's some really inspiring stuff going on in the podcast world.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at Plastic Free Cambodia.

They can go to There are a bunch of resources on the website and we're also on Facebook and Instagram with the same name.

About Sustridge

Sustridge is a sustainability consulting firm providing consulting in sustainability strategy development, GHG emissions calculating and management, zero waste planning and guidance in TRUE Zero Waste, B Corp, LEED and Carbon Neutral certification.

Apr 23, 2019
Heather Paulsen - B Corp Consulting Expert

Heather Paulsen Consulting (HPC) works with mission-driven businesses to create an economy (and a world) that works better for all of us: owners, employees, suppliers, customers, our communities and the environment. We provide practical strategies for clients to create positive impact through their daily operations, taking care of the environment and stakeholders while also improving the bottom line. HPC specializes in B Corp and Zero Waste certifications, sustainability-related strategic planning and facilitation.

Heather Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Trends in the business world including collaboration and coopetition
  • The benefits of B Corp certification
  • What the B Impact Assessment teaches businesses
  • Top resaons companies decide to pursue B Corp certification
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Heather's Final Five Question Responses:

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

First thing I would say is to just do it. I hear a lot that people are tentative about making that transition from whatever they're doing to working in the sustainability realm, or even within their current roles in their current companies. I met with a company a while back and as I was describing to them what the B Corp certification is all about, they just stared at me in silence after I was done talking and they said, "This is who we are outside of work. This is how we live our everyday lives. It never occurred to us to bring these values into the workplace and clearly we should." They just couldn't believe that it hadn't yet happened. So, I think that everybody can be a sustainability professional, whether it's making a career change and just having a consulting company, or staying within their existing role in their existing company and bringing those sustainability issues forward within those companies. Just do it.

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

There are two things. One is the shift from the focus on sustainability to regenerative development. The idea that sustaining what we have isn't enough and we have to shift towards a more regenerative approach. The second thing that I'm really excited about, that I touched on before, is the hope and the inspiration that comes from seeing so many businesses doing their unique piece of the puzzle to solve these issues. The more we're in communication about those things, the more we can see how our own piece fits into that mosaic of the whole.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

Well, I'm going to have to say there's two. One recent read is The Regenerative Business by Carol Sanford. She masterfully points out why so many of our best practices that we see in business today are actually undermining to the agency and to the creativity of our employees. She describes this in some detail and then offers alternatives to those toxic business practices. She offers a framework and an approach to build businesses that bring the whole person to work so that people can be creatively engaged, and it makes for a much more resilient, productive company. The next book is the second edition of the B Corp Handbook by Ryan Honeyman and Tiffany Jana. I'm super excited about this because it's a great resource for any company that is thinking about taking that B Corp journey. It highlights hundreds of companies, why they did it and what they're getting out of it. It also gives you a really great best practices guide or being a business for good.

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

My growing network is my favorite tool actually, if you can call awesome human beings a tool. I think I mentioned before that I am not naturally an extroverted person, yet through this work of being in the B Corp world I have discovered that pretty much everybody that I've met at the B Corp Champions Retreat, for example, is awesome. Everybody's got these great tools, skills, talents and perspectives to bring. So, my network is my favorite thing to tap into when I'm facing a challenge.

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

I do have a website: I'm also on LinkedIn and Twitter.

About Sustridge

Sustridge is a sustainability consulting firm providing consulting in sustainability strategy development, GHG emissions calculating and management, zero waste planning and guidance in TRUE Zero Waste, B Corp, LEED and Carbon Neutral certification.

Apr 16, 2019
Jennifer Woofter - Founder of Strategic Sustainability Consulting

Jennifer Woofter is the founder and president of Strategic Sustainability Consulting (SSC). In this role she draws upon more than a decade of experience in the fields of organizational sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and socially responsible investing.

She has worked with more than 50 clients on projects including Green Auditing, Sustainability Planning, Carbon Footprint Analysis, Stakeholder Engagement, Training and Facilitation, and Sustainability Reporting. She currently manages the SSC Consultant Network, an association of more than 650 professionals with expertise in virtually every area of sustainability.

Jennifer Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Key trends in corporate sustainability
  • The ESG and responsible investment movement
  • The evolution of the sustainability consulting industry.
  • The importance of quality data.
  • 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?

Stop being a generalist and get more specific. There's thousands of people out there trying to sell their sustainability skills and if you're not specialized, you're too easy to overlook.

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

The focus on metrics and outcomes is incredibly interesting and I feel like it's changing every single day.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

I would actually recommend that you just read the newspaper every day. I think that understanding what is happening in the world is probably more important in terms of being a good sustainability consultant than relying on a single book.

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

I'm a big advocate of podcasts and simple web reading. I probably spend 45 minutes to an hour every day reading up on e-newsletters from industry groups like Environmental Leader is a great website. I really like to have a broad understanding of what news is coming out, what people are talking about, what they're not talking about, who's doing it, who's leading and who's following. I feel like you have to keep up with all of that information every single day.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and your work?

I would suggest you start with my company website which is I'm also always delighted to connect with people on LinkedIn.

About Sustridge

Sustridge is a sustainability consulting firm providing consulting in sustainability strategy development, GHG emissions calculating and management, zero waste planning and guidance in TRUE Zero Waste, B Corp, LEED and Carbon Neutral certification.

Apr 09, 2019
Kim Holmes - Vice President of Sustainability for the Plastics Industry Association

Kim Holmes is Vice President of Sustainability for the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS). The sustainability team provides support for all sustainability and recycling related work undertaken by the councils and committees at PLASTICS.  The association is committed to maximizing the recovery of all plastics, both post-industrial and post-consumer, across all product categories. PLASTICS has developed a truly collaborative, supply chain approach to identifying new end markets that will create demand pull through for recycled plastics.  During her time at PLASTICS, Kim has worked to develop the Zero Net Waste recognition program, sustainability benchmarking for the industry, and a number of innovative recovery demonstration projects. 

Kim Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Addressing the ocean plastic crisis
  • Designing plastic products and packaging for the circular economy
  • Sustainability of plastics as a material
  • Changing recovery dynamics in the United States
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Kim's Final Five Question Responses:

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

Stay optimistic. Particularly working on plastics recovery issues on a daily basis, sometimes these challenges that we face can seem very overwhelming but it's the progress we make even on a daily basis, whether it's small or whether you have big gains that day, it all adds up. Keep fighting the good fight. I would also emphasize the power of collaboration. Don't be afraid to seek partnerships with unlikely allies. We have gotten so much farther in our work over the past few years because of collaboration and information sharing. So, look for those unlikely allies and stay optimistic.

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

I'm about to go to GrenBiz here in the next week and then Sustainable Brands later in the year. I'm excited about all of the different opportunities that people are working on. I think we have a lot of new opportunities with clean energy, which has huge impacts on the direction of our climate and climate change. Building and construction, and looking at how these opportunities relate throughout society and the improvements that they can make on society. I can't put my finger on one thing. I'm looking forward to hearing about all of these sustainability opportunities coming up at these events. I would say the positive impact that we can have on society regardless of what you're working on. That's what gets me excited.

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

I always come back to a book that I read early on in my career called Fostering Sustainable Behavior: An intro to community based social marketing. This is what my Deb McKenzie Moore and William Smith and it's all about how you can drive sustainable change by eliminating barriers. When you eliminate those barriers, you create new systems and ultimately create new social and cultural norms. I always come back to that book because I think we are learning that you can't just tell people that something is the right thing to do. You have to create meaning behind it to really reinforce it and have it become incorporated into their daily lives and their behaviors. So, I think that book really laid the foundation for that concept and I would refer anyone to check that one out.

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

I would say my greatest resource is the professional network that I have built. Being in a trade association that has hundreds of members, we have a very vast and wide professional network of people. So, while it's not a single resource, I would encourage everyone to work at building out their professional network. There's not a single challenge or question that comes up that I can't pick up the phone and call someone and get the answer to. So, I don't necessarily have to be an expert, but because of that network that I can tap into the answers are easier to obtain.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work of the Plastics Industry Association?

I would check out our website: I am on Twitter @kholmesrecycles. You can always email me if you have plastics questions:

About Sustridge

Sustridge is a sustainability consulting firm providing consulting in sustainability strategy development, GHG emissions calculating and management, zero waste planning and guidance in TRUE Zero Waste, B Corp, LEED and Carbon Neutral certification.

Apr 02, 2019
Nancy Mancilla - CEO and Co-Founder of ISOS Group

Nancy Mancilla is recognized is the CEO and Co-Founder of ISOS Group, a GRI and CDP Certified Training Partner. In this capacity, Nancy has orchestrated 100+ Certified Trainings and assisted some of the world's biggest brands through the complicated sustainability reporting process.

Prior to starting ISOS, Nancy assisted Winrock International in developing their sustainability services and led numerous micro-economic development projects related biodiversity, agronomics and renewable energy. She also developed an innovative technique to analyze the sustainability of Winrock’s hydro-electric projects in the Republic of Georgia as opposed to Russian energy sources. Previous positions included the Little Rock City Mayor’s Sustainability Commission, Arkansas Clean Cities Coalition and the Arkansas Biofuels Alliance.

Nancy Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • The appetite for ESG disclosure
  • ESG data quality and rigor
  • The future of sustainability reporting
  • Engaging stakeholders in sustainability reports
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Nancy's Final Five Question Responses:

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

Schedule out your own personal sustainability because it could be an easy burnout field. That's probably my first and foremost recommendation.

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

I'm excited to see the light bulb go off in the CEO's heads. We're seeing that frequently and across our client base now. That's exciting because when that happens, we know that we've done our job well and we know that the market's moving in the right direction. We know that humanity is moving in the right direction.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

I have a lot right now because I'm also teaching for a few universities. Strangely enough, it's not necessarily sustainability-driven. It's a series on building business models, and that's The Business Model Navigator Set. There's one on value proposition, there's a business model generator and then the original business model navigator. So, I would highly recommend those because it's a very easy read and quick resource that helps bridge the gap between sustainability being a nice-to-have to something that's operationalized.

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

Google docs is a great one. Our team loves working within Google docs, and with our clients we can quickly add notes and work on things together in the same system even though we're in different parts of the world. It really expedites our work.

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

You can go to our website: or sign on to our newsletter. I know everyone's tired with newsletters so we're trying to up the ante on that and do more short videos and tutorials and things, so they're becoming fun. Just give us a call or reach out via email. We're always interested to share knowledge and to just talk shop with people.

About Sustridge

Sustridge is a sustainability consulting firm providing consulting in sustainability strategy development, GHG emissions calculating and management, zero waste planning and guidance in TRUE Zero Waste, B Corp, LEED and Carbon Neutral certification.


Mar 26, 2019
USGBC Education Solutions and the Green Schools Conference and Expo

In the five years since USGBC has launched Education USGBC, they have been committed to continuous improvement. Along the way, USGBC has expanded to over 700 courses, diversified the topics and types of education content available, launched curated playlists and created knowledge-based badges to recognize deeper expertise.

USGBC has also begun hosting the annual Green Schools Conference and Expo, taking place April 8-10 2019 in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Green Schools Conference & Expo is the only national event to bring together all the players involved in making green schools a reality: people who lead, operate, build and teach in U.S. schools.Two days of programming offer inspiring keynote speakers, informative workshops and breakout sessions and the chance to network with colleagues from across the country. In 2019, GSCE will be hosted in partnership with IMPACT, a regional sustainability conference.

In this episode of Sustainable Nation we chat with three leaders from the education programs at USGBC to speak about their commitment to education, educating and preparing the next generation of sustainability leaders and the upcoming Green Schools Conference and Expo. Our guests include:

  • Anisa Hemming - Director of the Center for Green Schools
  • Jenny Wiedower - K-12 Education Manager
  • Jaime Van Mourik - Vice President of Education Solutions

Anisa Heming

You have an upcoming conference, the Green Schools Conference and Expo coming up April 8th in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Tell us a little bit about that conference and what can attendees expect to learn?

Yeah, we love this conference. This is my favorite time of the year. It is a really nice size and a great group of people who really care about better schools for our kids. We're really excited about the programming this year too. USGBC has worked on the conference since it was first launched back in 2010. We took it over fully a few years ago and work alongside the people who founded the conference, which is the Green Schools National Network. USGBC has a lot of expertise in running high quality events and making sure that the right voices are at the table and we have great content for people to hear from. So, we run the conference and make sure that it runs smoothly, has great keynotes and great content for people to enjoy.

Can you tell us what you're learning or any lessons learned from the work that you're doing with these sustainability change makers in the schools?

We have learned a lot. The US Green Building Council was founded 25 years ago to work mostly with companies, and then in 2007 we released LEED for schools, which was one of our first experiences doing work with elementary and secondary schools. By the time 2010 rolls around we decided to launch the Center for Green Schools because we realized very quickly, in working with LEED for schools, that the K through 12 schools market just makes decisions very differently and the incentives for change are very different. Everything about working with schools is different. So, we have learned quite lot over the last number of years. One of the things we've found in the last eight years or so is that there is a core of staff at school systems who are being assigned work related to sustainability. So, in some cases these are sustainability directors or sustainability coordinators, sometimes they are energy managers, sometimes they're called resource conservation officers. There is this really cool group of change makers that work on a system level at school districts and we have found a lot of success in working with that group, making sure they have the professional development they need to do that work well and best practice sharing among that group.

So, it's a very powerful group of people to make change at the system level within their schools. We're learning a lot about the different ways that change happens at schools and school systems. It can really come from anywhere, which is just constantly surprising. All it takes to make a change at a school or school district is to have a few very passionate voices who have the right information and the right research behind the work and are effective at making the case for sustainability action. That can be students, it can be teachers or it can be parents. So, when someone asks me about the path for change at a school or school system, there's really not one path. There's so many and our job at the Center for Green Schools is to equip those passionate people with what they need, because we know that anyone with the right information and the right passion can actually tip the needle at some of our schools and school systems.

Are you seeing signs of progress overall in the green school movement?

Yeah, absolutely. We've seen a lot of progress in the willingness for school districts to push sustainability further. A lot of your listeners will probably have heard of a school in their area that's thinking about net zero energy. There are dozens of those schools around the country and that is just something that would not have been a conversation even five years ago with most schools. We're actually seeing many schools take chance seriously and the most innovative schools are actually thinking about how to take this even further. They are looking at at zero carbon and water resources - using only what we're able to capture.

There's actually many more schools now that are looking at those goals that we would have seen as maybe stretch goals a couple of years ago, and looking at them much more seriously now. So, that is very exciting for me to see. I'm also seeing a lot of progress because of that group I mentioned earlier of sustainability directors at school systems. We can actually measure the growth of sustainability over the last number of years because we do a lot of work to try to find those people to connect them to this professional development network of sustainability directors at school systems. That network has grown by 20% each of the last two years at least. So, we can also see that more districts and systems are hiring someone or assigning someone to work on sustainability issues. That can be in the facilities department or often they bridge the facilities department and the academic departments at a district.

Jenny Wiedower

We're seeing this huge movement around sustainability in higher education and all these universities that are creating programs and embedding sustainability into their curriculum. So, it's great that we're really working to expose these students to sustainability before that in high school and middle school and even elementary school.

Yeah, a really exciting part of my work is thinking about how we are both impacting the experience of school occupants, learners, teachers, professionals today and how we're inspiring and informing students about the possibilities that await them as they enter into their next phase after they graduate from high school. Every green activity within a school is an opportunity for students to think about how they might get excited and resolve to incorporate sustainability in their life, both at school and beyond.

Any trends you're seeing about students around sustainability careers? Are students interested in high school or middle school? Is there engagement around students pursuing those sustainability careers?

Yeah, absolutely. We like to talk about the concept of sustainability natives. We think that kids understand concepts that we unfortunately sometimes teach out of them. So, not being wasteful and appreciating time outdoors. Even at the youngest age, when thinking about careers is not really something that elementary students are or should be thinking about, there's a real opportunity to help teachers keep that core sustainability thinking present in students' minds. That could be taking advantage of outdoor classrooms, talking about concepts of scarcity and abundance, thinking about how to be more mindful and present and really weaving sustainability as a topic across all subjects.

We tend to think of sustainability as being aligned with science, especially as we get into the upper grades, but for our youngest learners sustainability can show up in art projects or writing assignments. It's a great way to take, for instance, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and try to apply those in learning across all subjects. As these younger learners move into middle school, that's where career topics begin to show up. Many of the STEM skills, science, technology, engineering and math, are introduced around middle school and that's also where we see science and thinking about what scientists and engineers do. The practices that they incorporate into their jobs show up in the next generation science standards. So, as they're learning the skills and practices of professionals, it's a great opportunity to make them aware of the green aspects of so many of the professions out there. It's also a really wonderful time to show them careers and positions that are held by people who look like them or sound like them or come from places that are familiar to students. I recently saw a new book that was published about women in STEM careers.

That middle school time frame also is when many students have the opportunity to opt into career technical education programs. When they're in sixth or seventh grade, they might be choosing which high school they will move into in ninth grade and making sure that guidance counselors are equipped with information about green jobs and how sustainability can be incorporated across a number of professions is really important and something that we at the US Green Building Council are focusing on. And then of course, as we move into the high school, students have a lot of opportunities to explore green jobs. Beginning in middle school and all up through high school is a really great time for teachers and schools to be connecting with local professionals. Bringing them into the classroom, having them work with students on projects, or maybe just coming in for a career day are all great ideas.

Jaime Van Mourik

In general, why is education so important for the overall movement of sustainability and green building?

So one of the most fundamental drivers of transformation, both on a personal level and on a market scale, is education. No matter who you are or how you learn best, longterm success is built on continuous learning and growth. So, we know that it's critical to build the pipeline of future green building professionals and citizens of this world who understand that the built environment affects their daily lives. An organization like USGBC needs to advance the knowledge of our current professionals in the marketplace so that we start to see changes happen in the way that we design, construct and operate buildings and infrastructure. So again, education, I really see as that catalyst for change and it's such a critical component to the work we're doing to drive this green building movement.

How do you work to getting your resources into the curriculum in middle schools, high schools or even higher education. What does that process look like of incorporating your educational resources into curriculum?

So our vision at USGBC is to support all stages of a learner's life. It really begins with very young children, all the way through the college preparatory years and postsecondary education, and then of course, being able to provide advanced education for professionals. We work in a variety of modes. We first need to understand the audience that we're trying to serve and what the goals of the audience is, and then of course the best style of learning, whether that be in-person or through online platforms. So, each day as we're working across all these different ages and education levels to provide the different solutions, what we want to be able to do is connect the knowledge on sustainable topics to real action, because it's through this action that the change is in fact going to take place. For our youngest learners, the K12 audience, our goal is to build a foundation of knowledge and skills and behaviors that are going to set up these young people for decades of success, contributing to building sustainable communities, developing relevant careers and having fulfilling futures. To be able to support learners in this stage, we offer an online learning platform called Learning Lab and we have a green classroom professional certificate, which helps to train K12 teachers on the concepts of green building and sustainability. These all together help these educators bring sustainability into the classroom in ways that have a real lasting impact on the students.

When we shift to our postsecondary learners, students in college, our goal is to help prepare them for 21st century careers. So, at this stage of learning, we offer programs and products that help them better define their personal vision and their aspirations and show them a realistic path toward the achievement of their goals. What we've done is really tried to help enhance the curriculum that's being developed and to push innovation in educational practice. We offer high quality education content, curricular toolkits for instructors, professional credential exam resources and an experiential learning course. All that help equip faculty who are looking to bring sustainability concepts to life in the classroom. So again, it's really trying to push on innovation in academia and different methods of teaching and learning and being able to take advantage of the built environment as that laboratory.

What are some of the key skills that USGBC finds important for the 21st century marketplace? What's USGBC's role in developing these skills?

We continue to hear from industry that young professionals and recent graduates lack the core professional skills, or as I like to say, professional competencies. These are highly needed in the workplace. This is across the board, regardless of whether the organization has a focus on sustainability. When we look at the 21st century workplace, the competencies that employers are looking for are skills and communication, the ability to work with a multidisciplinary team, the ability to manage projects and to understand decision making processes, to be able to apply your knowledge and demonstrate your competency and of course problem solve and critically think about solutions needed to drive change in the marketplace. All of that is what needs to happen within creating a sustainable built environment. It's interesting, there's been a lot of articles about this idea of entering the fourth industrial revolution, meaning now we're finding technology taking over the work and really profound ways that we never imagined. The reality is that the majority of jobs that children and young people hold over the course of their lifetime don't currently exist. So, when we look at how to educate and train the next generation, we need to cultivate the skills and abilities that are human and what artificial intelligence won't be able to replace. Much of this is housed in our right brain. So what does that mean for education? Well, we need to be introducing more innovative teaching practices such as experiential learning and project based work that allows students to have hands on experience and thus cultivate those professional competencies I mentioned. The built environment is such a rich laboratory for learning and when you consider the challenges we face on this planet, this becomes a really ripe playground for education. Quite frankly, we need to start thinking and working in a completely different manner to solve the problems of climate change and to create communities that are both healthy and resilient for all residents of this planet.

Learn more about the Green Schools Conference and Expo: 

About Sustridge

Sustridge is a sustainability consulting firm providing consulting in sustainability strategy development, GHG emissions calculating and management, zero waste planning and guidance in TRUE Zero Waste, B Corp, LEED and Carbon Neutral certification.


Mar 19, 2019
Alan Blake - Sustainable Packaging Expert

Alan is a "semi-retired” consultant in Packaging and Sustainability and has recently re-activated his connection with PAC The Packaging Consortium as their PACNEXT US and Food Waste Director. Alan also has 20 years experience with Procter & Gamble in Package Development & Design and was the Corporate leader for their global Packaging Sustainability program.  He has been a  board member of PAC, of the National Zero Waste Council (NZWC) and of Green Blue and served on the the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) executive committee. 

Alan Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • The new packaging take back program, Loop
  • Importance of life cycle analysis in packaging sustainability
  • The circular economy movement and business's role
  • The business benefits of designing more sustainable packaging
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Alan's Final Five Question Responses:

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

Two pieces of advice. First and foremost, if this is something that you are passionate about, then follow your passion and don't give up. There is a huge network of people and organizations out there who share your passion and want to make a difference. So, follow your passion. Secondly, be patient, because as I said, this is a journey and it's a long journey and it's going to frustrate you. So be patient, but know that you're making progress and celebrate that progress.

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

I'm excited about the fact that there's so much activation out there to get going on this journey and to take bigger interventions. I loved the fact that this sort of program, like Loop was getting center stage in Davos. You had Tom Zacky, the head of Terracycle, on stage with company CEO's talking about Loop. That's crazy. That would never have happened a few years ago. So, I'm excited about that and I'm excited about the ongoing discussion around the new plastics economy and this focus on keeping plastics out of the environment and in the economy. These are the sorts of activation steps and momentum that I think we need that's going to help us make the sort of progress that we'd love to see in the next five, ten to fifteen years.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

Yeah, this is an interesting one because things are changing so fast that sometimes you struggle to think what's relevant. But I'll go for an old one, because it was something that really helped me a lot in terms of understanding the challenges out there across the value chain. And it is very simply titled Integrated Solid Waste Management. It was written by several of my Proctor and Gamble colleagues about 15 years or so ago. It's just kind of an encyclopedia all to do with solid waste management. It's a little bit out of date now, but it's just a great resource. A second book that's just come out, and I like this because it's a collection of industry leaders talking the sustainability journey, and it's called The Future of Packaging From Linear to Circular. It's edited by Tom Zacky of Terracycle and I think that's a great read because it's today and it's relevant. It's just industry leaders sharing their stories and approaches and thinking on what it's going to take to get to the circular economy with packaging. So those are the two books I would recommend.

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

This is another good question and it had me scratching my head for a while and then I thought the more my network has grown in the world of packaging and sustainability, the greater the resources available to me. So, my favorite resources are my network and all of the stuff that they share and send to me. They share websites, they share media links, the latest news reports and I find this phenomenal. I welcome it, and I'll be honest with you, my struggle is to keep up with just the wealth of great information that this network sends to me and then sorting through it. One of the nice things now back with PAC is that we have a monthly letter and our challenge is to sort through and come up with two or three links every month that are relevant to packaging.

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

Well, right now, the best place to go is to the the Packaging Consortium's website and that is That tells you everything about PAC and the organization that goes all the way back to 1952. So, it's a long standing organization that is focused on promoting the packaging industry.

About Sustridge

Sustridge is a sustainability consulting firm providing consulting in sustainability strategy development, GHG emissions calculating and management, zero waste planning and guidance in TRUE Zero Waste, B Corp, LEED and Carbon Neutral certification.


Mar 11, 2019
Driving Business Value with Sustainability - Josh Prigge at the Global Best Practices Conference

Josh Prigge speaks about the business benefits of a commitment to sustainability at the annual Global Best Practices Conference in Dallas, TX in January, 2019.

Mar 05, 2019
Rhonda Sherman - Vermicomposting Expert and Author of The Worm Farmer's Handbook

Rhonda Sherman has been an extension waste management specialist with North Carolina State University since 1993. She is the founder and director of the Composting Learning Lab (CL2), which has 26 types of vermicomposting and composting bins. She gives about 40 presentations annually and has authored over 65 publications on these topics. Her new book is The Worm Farmer’s Handbook: Mid- to Large-Scale Vermicomposting for Farms, Businesses, Municipalities, Schools, and Institutions

Rhonda Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • The importance of vermicomposting to address organic waste issues
  • The benefits of vermicomposting over traditional composting
  • How sustainability leaders can implement vermicomposting within their organizations
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Rhonda's Final Five Question Responses:

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

You can see from my career that I never intended to work for with worms, but I left myself open to possibilities and was always looking ahead to what wasn't being addressed. I became wildly successful with it. I was not expecting that. I tell people I accidentally became world famous.

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

I'm so excited that people are finally paying attention to it, you know? I was writing about food waste recycling a long time ago, like in the 90's, and other people just were not paying attention to food waste. So, now I'm thrilled that they finally are. So many different organizations are trying to reduce, reuse, recycle food waste. So, that's very exciting and I'm thrilled that so many schools have garden and that it's part of the curriculum, raising food and preparing it and eating it. And since you always end up with food waste in a garden or in the kitchen, hopefully they're doing some composting or vermicomposting onsite.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

Obviously my new book, The Worm Farmer's handbook. I also have another book called Vermiculture Technology and that's a 600 page book on scientific aspects of vermicomposting. And also, this is an old book, but it's very important - The Population Bomb. I read that when I was in school back in the 70's or 80's. This planet can't sustain an ever increasing population. So, I think we really need to be conscious of that.

What are some of your favorite resources or tools it really helped you in your work?

My scientific colleagues. I really want people to know about Google Scholar. I mentioned it earlier, but Google Scholar is where you'll find scientific articles. I just think it's really for people to read websites that end in .edu or .gov, because they're really good resources that are normally unbiased and research based, and that's so important. So, you just really have to be careful what you read on the Internet as most people know. On a lot of the worm farming business websites, it's not always accurate information, so you really have to be careful.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and your work?

My website is I'm on Facebook, NC state's Vermiculture Composting Recycling Program. I'm on Twitter (Rhonda Sherman) and LinkedIn (Rhonda Sherman) and email - My website is a great source of information. There's so much info on there. It'll take you a couple of days to get through it all. I also have videos and podcasts and all sorts of ways to access the information.

About Sustridge

Sustridge is a sustainability consulting firm providing consulting in sustainability strategy development, GHG emissions calculating and management, zero waste planning and guidance in TRUE Zero Waste, B Corp, LEED and Carbon Neutral certification.


Feb 26, 2019
Kunal Merchant - Green Sports Alliance Board Member and Managing Director at Lotus Advisory

Kunal Merchant is Managing Director of Lotus Advisory. In this capacity, Kunal provides strategic advisory, project management, public affairs, and communications support to a select portfolio of clients in sports, technology, real estate, politics, and philanthropy.

Kunal previously served as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for the Sacramento Kings, where he oversaw several strategic, political, media and community initiatives. He managed the Kings delegation to the 2014 NBA Global Games series in China, formulated the team’s “Greenprint” sustainability agenda, and developed the acclaimed Sacramento First labor and community benefits package for the Golden 1 Center.

In his previous role as Executive Director of Think BIG Sacramento, Kunal served as Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s chief advisor in efforts to develop a public private finance plan for a new downtown arena, win NBA approval to keep the Kings in Sacramento, and facilitate sale of the franchise to a new ownership group.

Kunal Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • The work of the Green Sports Alliance
  • Engaging fans in sustainability through sports
  • Communicating the business value of sustainability
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Kunal's Final Five Responses:

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

Think big and think broadly. So, I get approached all the time by people who have a real passion for green, for sustainability and they want to make it the centerpiece of their jobs. And there are increasingly jobs out there in the marketplace that are these explicit jobs around sustainability, about the environment. But I remind them, you're talking to somebody who used to work for a basketball team, that ended up having a really big sustainability piece of his job. There is an opportunity in all sorts of jobs to focus on sustainability. You just have to be creative enough to pursue it. So, look at those sustainability jobs as traditional categories, but also challenge yourself to see about ways where you could pull sustainability into other jobs and make it a piece of the puzzle as well.

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

As an American, I feel like we are at our best when our backs are against the wall, and you see that play out throughout history. I think finally you're seeing a level of attention to the crisis around climate change and around these issues, and I'm really excited about the level of ambition I'm seeing at a more local level. Obviously, some of these big issues are only going to get solved at a federal or even international level, but state governments, local public policy makers and some of these new governors in Colorado and California are what I'm really excited about. And then, just everyday citizens organizing around elements of this that they are inspired by, and the technological tools and the media tools we have today, you can do so much more than you used to. I'm just so excited about this bottom up approach I'm seeing because we can't afford to wait around for the people at the top if they're not getting it. That really gets me really excited and I want to do everything I can to help support that.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

So, I'm sure there's all sorts of cool books at the cool kids' table in sustainability, but I got to say, there's an old classic that I still have, which you probably remember Josh, it's called 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth. This is a book I read when I was probably eight or nine years old growing up in Colorado. Of course it's a little corny and it's and it's certainly small scale, but I think there's a power of messaging and communication in there. When I was a kid, I read this book and it gave me these incredibly tactical, practical things I could do to do my part. Whoever you are and wherever you are in the green space, we have to explain this issue the right way. We're failing right now. The community at large does not understand what's at stake and it's on us to fix that. So, I think that's a great book. I look at every now and then just to remind myself that you can get lost in all of the jargon and the technical pieces of this and the data and all that, but you have to connect with people. That was a book that connected with me as an eight year old kid and really affected my whole view on the world. We need to be doing more things like that.

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

The obvious one is just the Green Sports Alliance network. I would say that even if I wasn't on the board, because a lot of the work I'm doing on sustainability is tied to sports. But I think even if you're not in sports, I would check out the website, Check out a lot of these resources and playbooks that they've come up with because they're transferable to other industries. We may have customized them specific to sports teams and leagues, but in terms of trying to tell a story to consumers, tell a story to businesses, and what to prioritize and how to organize it, we've spent a lot of time thinking about that. I pull those tools all the time to help me in my work.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and your work?

I would recommend going into my website, or just shoot me an email at

About Sustridge

Sustridge is a sustainability consulting firm providing consulting in sustainability strategy development, GHG emissions calculating and management, zero waste planning and guidance in TRUE Zero Waste, B Corp, LEED and Carbon Neutral certification.

Feb 19, 2019
Karissa Kruse - President of the Sonoma County Winegrowers

Karissa Kruse is President of the Sonoma County Winegrowers. Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW), was established in 2006 as a marketing and educational organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier grape growing regions. SCW has oversight by California Department of Food and Agriculture which supports producer regions.

With more than 1,800 growers, SCW’s goal is to increase awareness and recognition of the quality and diversity of Sonoma County’s grapes and wines through dynamic marketing and educational programs targeted to wine consumers around the world.

In January 2014, SCW committed to becoming the nation’s first 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019. As of December 2015, 64% of the vineyard acreage in Sonoma County has gone through the sustainability self-assessment and 48% of vineyards are certified by a third party auditor. These sustainability efforts were recently recognized with California’s highest environmental honor, the 2016 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA).

Karissa Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Working towards 100% sustainable certified vineyards in Sonoma County
  • Growing the sustainability movement in the wine and beverage industries
  • Engaging small farms in sustainable practices
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Karissa's Final Five Responses:

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

I think it's really important to you work with programs that have that audit piece. Knowing that there is a certification piece to what we're doing, that we're not just saying we're sustainable or saying we have good practices, but there's actually that audit. Validation is important. Then you have to maintain enthusiasm and you have to really believe that what you do matters. And for me, the sustainable farming and keeping our local farmers in business, that is critical. So, I think if you can connect with what you're doing and you believe in the mission, that goes a long way.

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

I love that sustainability is really connecting our grape growers to the climate change agents. They only have to put on a climate hat. It's just helping them look at their entire business, looking at their carbon footprint, looking at the resources they use, looking at the water efficiency and really protecting our natural resources and protecting our land. So, I think that there is a connection that is happening, and it's not even starting something new. It's just continuing what we're doing. It's all really important and that's exciting.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

That's a great question. We just read a great case study, and this is relevant for the wine grape industry, but Michigan Business School put out a case study on a specific winery and climate change. Farming is a unique business. We're not a big corporation. You're talking small family businesses that have been passed down for generations. Their land-based. They're Mother Nature-based. They're responsive. And so, this was a great case study. It was put out by the Michigan Business School and I think you can download from them directly but Harvard business school does a great job of being that repository of business cases.

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

I'm going to go opposite of what would be really tools or resources. I think you have to get out and talk to the people. I learned the most when I'm actually out walking the vineyard with the farmer, I'm letting them show me what they're doing, how they're thinking about farming and what they have implemented. Especially when you go and you say, "Okay, every year you have to have continuous improvement. What are you doing? Where did that investment go? How did you make that decision to spend a dollar on this part of improvement versus a dollar on this other part of improvement?" And so, that's where I learn. I think that is the best. I'm able then to go out and share those stories so when I meet another grower who's struggling with something or trying to figure out what's next I can help out. So, I think there's no better way to learn and be equipped then to get out and actually be on the farm and talk to the farmer.

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

Probably the best place is our website, Or they can email me directly if they have questions. I welcome that. Collaboration is key to all of our sustainability efforts, not just in Sonoma County but with all the efforts going on. So it's Send me an email, keep in touch with me. I'd love to hear what everyone else is working on.

Learn more about SCW: 

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Feb 11, 2019
Cathy Resler - Head of Global Sustainability at Ocean Spray Cranberries

Cathy Resler is the Head of Global Sustainability for Ocean Spray Cranberries - a Farmer-Owned Cooperative - where she leads sustainability strategy across the Cooperative, with Ocean Spray farmers and business partners. Her work on environmental and social responsibility initiatives focuses on building value across sustainable agriculture, operations, supply chain, sales, marketing, and customer and employee engagement,   She led the expansion and first publication of Ocean Spray’s Farm Sustainability Assessment a comprehensive  report of 700+ cranberry farmers performance on pollinator and IPM management, soil health, water, energy, ecosystem conservation, business stewardship, worker well-being and community impact and that in 2018 was benchmarked to the SAI (Sustainable Agriculture Initiative) Platform Farm Sustainability Assessment.  Additionally she launched the first 3rd party social and environmental auditing program for all Ocean Spray production facilities and a cloud-based data collection system for all environmental, philanthropic, and social data. 

Prior to joining Ocean Spray Cranberries, Cathy worked in the fashion, jewelry, and publishing industries contributing to the first industry adopted Restricted Substance List (RSL), Responsible Down and Wool Standards, Environmental Paper Assessment Tool (EPAT), sustainable textiles and leather, sustainable forestry management, a national recycling PR campaign, sustainable packaging design, LEED green store design guidelines, the creation of a water stewardship education project in Brazil, and community giving program development.  She also has worked at the U.S. EPA, Columbia University and holds an MS in Sustainability Management from Columbia University and a BS from The George Washington University in Environmental Studies.

Cathy Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • The benefits of the cooperative business model
  • Leading large supply chain sustainability efforts
  • Regenerative agriculture in the beverage industry
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Cathy'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 be open. You never know where or what great idea, initiative or partnership can come from or whom it might come from. It could be that person who, in the moment, you don't you have time for. You never know which connections might turn into something amazing.

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

I think, as we mentioned, regenerative agriculture. I think that the ability to scale that to have such a big impact and really help have a big impact on climate change, and hopefully putting us in a place where the world has a longterm viability and sustainability. Also, the harmonization of programs where we can really see that ability to have meaningful impact.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

I'm going to give you two. I think the first one is one that everyone should read, and I'm sure other folks say this when they talk to you too, Josh, but Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. I think everyone needs to read that. I think it just set off the modern day environmental revolution and it's so insightful and helpful, and still very meaningful for today's day and age. And then another book I found very helpful, personally, was Environmentalism for a New Millennium. It was written by Lesley Paul Thiele and is about 20 years old now. So it sounds dated, but when you read it, it's still really meaningful because to some extent, if you think about where we are in terms of the environmental movement, we've kind of been stuck and we've been on a bit of a circular movement. We seem to be on a bad circular wheel of not moving forward where we feel like we make a little progress and then we come back. So, particularly in the past two years. So, what's really cool about this book is it takes you kind of through the stages of the environmental movement in the United States, and I know I'm having a US centric voice here, but it helps impact what's happening around the world globally because the US does have such a big impact globally. It just helps to give you that education in terms of policy and science and the politics of what's been happening since the 1800's to the modern day.

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

I think staying connected with people, and I don't just mean social media. Making sure that you're having constant conversations with key stakeholders internally and externally. If you were asked to go to something then go. Make time for it. Make time to have the conversation. It's not a favorite resource or tool that's probably particularly useful, but I think that it's really helpful.

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

So we're getting ready to launch our new website in the next few weeks at and they'll have all our new sustainability content on our seven pillars that we focus on. They can reach out to me at anytime at or they can follow or connect with me on LinkedIn.

Learn more about Ocean Spray:

Learn more about Sustridge:


Feb 05, 2019
Dariush Rafinejad - Provost at Presidio Graduate School

Dr. Rafinejad has had over 30 years of experience as a senior executive in high-tech industries in Silicon Valley. He was a Corporate Vice President at both Applied Materials and Lam Research, both multi-billion dollar semiconductor equipment companies. Prior to PGS, he was Associate Professor, Consulting at Stanford University. He has also served as adjunct faculty at Haas Business School at Berkeley and Dean of Management at Menlo College in Atherton, California.

Dr. Rafinejad is the founding CEO of Blue Dome Consulting serving high tech companies in the U.S. and China to develop product innovation and organizational leadership capability. He has authored several publications including two books on product innovation. His recent book was published in 2017 and is titled: Sustainable Product Innovation – Entrepreneurship for Human Well-Being.

Dariush Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Graduate programs that prepare students to become successful sustainability leaders
  • Sustainable product innovation
  • Leading sustainability change from positions not labeled "sustainability"
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Final Five Responses:

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

It is important that sustainability professionals extend their reach beyond corporate sustainability programs which aim to measure and report. Sustainability professionals should build coalitions with the operating units of the company, starting with the enthusiasts and early adopters in each of these units. Sustainability professionals should become entrepreneurs within the corporations. They should seek opportunities for innovation in every building block of the company to affect triple bottom line change. They should remember, however, the big changes start with the small wins and small steps, and through prototyping solutions to demonstrate viability and to create enthusiasm for the potential outcome.

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

I'm excited by the rise in the awareness of acute need for sustainable development, for social justice and for stewardship of the environment and natural resources. I'm also encouraged by the rise in the recognition that sustainable development is the next innovation wave that will fuel future prosperity and wellbeing.

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

I'm sorry. I have to shamelessly recommend my own book, Sustainable Product Innovation: Entrepreneurship for human wellbeing. That was published in 2017. So sorry about that.

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

I use many resources in the sustainability space. Some examples, for instance, I look at websites of activists and other NGOs. Governmental resources are plentiful and they're invaluable. US Department of Energy and the state of California sustainability sites. Leading corporations and industry alliances have many good resources. I also consult trade journals in addition to scientific journals. Trade journals like Solar Magazine, Green Chemistry and others are also very valuable. United Nations organizations such as United Nation Environmental Program as well as United Nations Sustainable Development Goals websites are great resources. They provide and pull data, provide advice and recommendations. One of the PGS faculty professors has published in GreenBiz as well. So, there are many, many resources and of course the listeners who are interested in the scientific area, there is much research done in the sustainability area in regards to climate change, both in prevention as well as adaptation technologies that are being developed. So there's plenty of those areas of opportunity as well.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and what's going on at Presidio Graduate School?

The best resource is the Presidio Graduate School website at They can email also and ask to join an upcoming monthly virtual open house that we have. PGS also has a Twitter handle and LinkedIn resources they can connect to.

Learn more about Preidio Graduate School: 

Learn more about Sustridge: 


Jan 29, 2019
Bob Langert - Author of The Battle to do Good: Inside McDonald's Sustainability Journey

In The Battle to Do Good, former McDonald's executive Bob Langert takes readers on a behind-the-scenes eye witness account of the mega brand's battle to address numerous societal hot-button issues, such as packaging, waste, recycling, obesity, deforestation, and animal welfare. From the late 80s, McDonald's landed smack in the middle of one contentious issue after another, often locking horns with powerful NGOs such as Greenpeace, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and Corporate Accountability.

Bob Langert has engaged in social responsibility issues since the late 1980s. Bob joined McDonald’s system in 1983 with management positions in logistics, packaging and purchasing. In the 1990s, he had responsibilities for the environment, energy management, animal welfare and Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities’ grants. He was appointed McDonald’s first VP to lead sustainability in 2006.

Bob led the development of McDonald’s 2020 Sustainability Vision and Framework, including McDonald’s commitment to the environment, supply chain sustainability and balanced menu choices. He retired from McDonald’s in 2015 and joined GreenBiz, writing a regular column titled "The Inside View" and helping with the GreenBiz Executive Network.

Bob Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • His new book, The Battle to Do Good: Inside McDonald's Sustainability Journey
  • Prioritizing sustainability efforts
  • Collaborating with NGO's on transformative sustainability initiatives
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Interview Highlights:

You talked about moving from a reactive company and where you were at when this whole movement started within McDonald's with the Styrofoam packaging. Do you think a lot of companies are still operating in that reactive way and why is it important for them to change?

I think so. A lot of the big companies and big brands had moved past this idea that sustainability is either a fad or it's going to go away or let's just play defense and be reactive to things. So, bigger companies, they get. They're coming up with these big goals and frameworks and strategies. It's getting integrated and it comes from the C suite. However, once you get past the big companies, there's a lot more companies that don't see it that way. They see it as a hindrance and that is not the way of the future. Sustainability is here to stay, it's a consumer mandate, an expectation that companies be very responsible and you just can't say that you're a responsible company. You got to prove it with actions and plans and goals and metrics, and sharing this in a very public way. So, companies need to take the ball and run with it and that's one of my main messages as I work with companies and organizations, is that the longer you sit on the sidelines observing and reacting, you're going to be left behind because the consumers got high expectations. The transparent world makes it imperative that you be open and honest about your performance and you need to start proving it every day so that your business can grow. I think the smart companies see sustainability as an avenue for growth for the business, an avenue for a better brand, more efficiency, more employees that stay with you and a stronger supply chain. I can build a business case almost ad nauseum and that's what we really should dominate with every company and organization out there.

So yeah, the McDonald's story is very much that journey that I described. The subtitle of my book is called "Inside McDonald's Sustainability Journey." I think you captured it really well, Josh, as I really felt that we were playing defense for probably a couple of decades. We were playing defense, I think in a good way because we had a good defensive team. We're got attacked on waste and found a great partner in EDF. We came up with a great waste reduction plan. We got attacked on animal treatment and we found a great expert and we really changed animal welfare within really the whole global beef supply system by implementing her program. I cite other examples but it really wasn't until 2014 that McDonald's itself developed a really proactive sustainability strategy. And that's the best place to be, to stand tall for what you stand for and not be defined by your critics or defined by others.

It's interesting just reading through this book and what you just described there about getting attacked by these different organizations. How do you pick your battles when you're such a large organization and you have so many facets of your business? Any large multinational corporation like that can really be scrutinized in so many different ways and I'm sure they are. How do you know where to focus your energy? I know you talk about a formula that you came up with in your book and I'd love to have you just explain that to our listeners and just give them an idea of that process of prioritizing and where you focus your work.

I think it's where you pick your battles. Actually, the big answer to that is by developing your own strategy, because rather than pick battles, you should choose what you want to work with on a proactive way. But the reality is every business is in society, we serve society and things are going to come up that you just don't expect. So you're right, you can't work on everything. I guess the formula that you might be referred to in the book is that when you look at all the pros and cons of what you should work on, I really do think that the amount of resources and effort that you put into it should be in proportion to the impact it has on your business and society. This whole shared value concept. So, let me give you an example that I thought was interesting at McDonald's. We were attacked by Greenpeace in 2006 about soy farming in the Amazon, and we were attacked in Europe for that because a lot of it is exported to Europe. I looked at the issue immediately as we're getting campaigned against, the Greenpeace people dressed up in chickens as they came to dozens of restaurants in the United Kingdom. So, it was a pretty big issue and made a lot of news. So, we had to decide what to do. To your question, is this a battle that we should get involved with? So, in one hand, I think a typical response would be we're 1/10th of one percent through our suppliers of soy. However, you know, nobody buys a lot of soy, it's very desegregated, and we already had a policy on purchasing no rainforest beef. So, within a day we talked to our management team and decided if we have a policy on beef not to come from rainforest land, then that’s the way it should be for all of our products. Within a day we called Greenpeace back and to their shock, we said, we totally agree with you.

I learned later on when I took a trip through the Amazon with Greenpeace, they told us how surprised they were that we agreed with them. But the important thing is we didn't agree with how to solve the problem. They had these strong mandates against McDonald's and we said McDonald's can solve the soy problem by ourselves. We're not farmers and traders. Let's get our suppliers involved. Let's get other retailers to the table, which we did. We ended up solving that problem with a moratorium within three months. So, I tell that story because sometimes you pick your priorities for how important it is your business or you're being consistent with your policies and programs as we were with that program.

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

Develop relationships and develop a relationship where you can build trust with others because as a sustainability leader, what I learned over the years, is that I'm given all this responsibility to help us be a good company, but you're not in charge of really anything. You're in charge of getting other departments and functions to lead on sustainability. You only do that through relationships, influencing them and them having faith and confidence in you. I was blessed with good bosses early on in my career that gave me a lot of rope to learn, travel and meet people. So, that's my first piece of advice. Less focus on getting things done and more focus on developing relationships and trusts where other people want to carry on the work that you're advocating for.

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

I think the amount of collaboration I see on establishing big transformative changes gets me really excited. Certainly, my work in McDonald's gave me the most fulfilling feeling in the world - not only changing animal welfare for example, but changing it for the whole industry. Or when we helped save the Amazon a little bit through what we did. Or when McDonald's announced that it's going to be buying sustainable beef. So, working with the beef industry to change something for the industry. Doing that through partners like Conservation International, like Environmental Defense Fund, like the World Wildlife Fund is very rewarding. So, collaborating for big transformational change is what I see going on and that's the best thing in the world.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

Well, my book. I gave my plug already. I do like the Dave Stangis' book - 21st Century Corporate Citizenship. I recommend that book as well.

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

I think being connected to the networks. I learn best through talking with others, whether talking means in person through the GreenBiz network, which I think is phenomenal, or my connections through LinkedIn and Twitter and so forth. I learn the most from other people, other experts.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you, connect with you, and most importantly, where can they find your book?

Well, I've got a new website: Please read my columns. I put something out every three weeks or so You can find my book right now at It's a good deal. They get a nice discount. You can also get it through my publisher, Emerald Publishing.

More about Bob Langert: 

More about Sustridge: 

Jan 22, 2019
Brittany Bennett - Executive Director of Engineers for a Sustainable World

Brittany Bennett is the Executive Director of Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) where she leads an international organization, tackles messy sustainability challenges, and uses data science as a tool to drive social change. A firm believer that people can engineer change, Brittany uses her data analytical know-how to uncover valuable insights behind the need and impact sustainable projects have in communities worldwide. Prior to taking the helm at ESW, she served as the Development Director for The Climate Mobilization—a national climate change advocacy nonprofit—using data analytics to develop a national major gifts program and peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.

Brittany Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • The important role of engineers in solving the world's sustainability problems.
  • Educating and engaging Millennials and Gen Z's around sustainability.
  • The rise of sustainable engineering on campuses around the country.
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability professionals.

Interview Highlights:

Tell us about the rise of sustainable engineering in these colleges and university campuses.

We know that more and more young people are interested in creating real world change. It may be a cliché to say, Ooh, you know, I want to make a difference in the world." But that's very much the case for students these days and the way we talk about engineering has changed. We now frame it as using science and math for the benefit of humanity and that language is really, really exciting for students entering college. They're the ones driving the change to find ways to apply engineering to solve sustainability challenges. So, colleges and universities are keeping up with this demand by offering more courses in sustainable engineering and at this point you can go get a master's degree in sustainable engineering, and I think a handful of colleges are offering bachelor's degrees in sustainable engineering. But we find that students still want to do more. They want to get their hands dirty working on projects that will make a difference as early as their first year and as early as their first semester as I experienced. That's why ESW has been so successful, because we provide that outlet and opportunity for students to engage in real world engineering with a real impact outside of the classrooms. So, what ESW does is provide an essential part of the student's education on their path to become engineers for change.

How about the overall Millennial and Gen Z population as far as educating them? What advice can you give or recommendations on how we educate these young generations? Is there a different way we need to approach Millennials and Gen Z about sustainability and climate issues?

I believe there is a difference. So, universities and colleges do a great job of teaching the fundamentals of engineering to students. We know that every ABA accredited program teaches students the math they need to know, thermodynamics, circuits, you name it. However, universities just don't have the capacity to teach students everything they need to know before they become engineers. Sometimes the classroom isn't exactly the best place to learn the lessons that these students need to know. So, we believe that students need a chance to get their hands dirty and need to do work outside of the classroom to really become fully fledged engineers. In essence, they need to start applying the skills they're learning in the classroom before they get their first job. I don't know if you've heard this, but in engineering we have a phrase, "You need to fail fast to succeed sooner." So, we give students the opportunity to work on real problems that put their engineering know-how to the test and these students love it. Our ESW members consistently say that their participation in their ESW chapter helped them either land their first job or make that transition from academia to the professional world just that much easier.

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

You should always ask for help and you should always be open to receiving help. But also, education is a lifelong process. Just because you've graduated or have a PhD, education never stops. I feel like I'm constantly learning new things from the projects and innovation that I'm seeing through my chapters and members.

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

I'm actually most excited about the really vocal commitment these Millennials and Gen Z individuals have in tackling some of these big messy sustainability challenges. This generation of engineers, this generation right now, has to solve problems that no other generation has had to solve before and I'm just so confident they can do it.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

Paul Hawkens, Drawdown.

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

ESW is about to release a newly revamped project's database. This will have all the data of all the projects that our members are working on. You will be able to search by type of impact, or size, or budget and you'll be able to download all the materials and replicate that project. So, I'm super excited about that. What I use right now is the University of Kansas Community Toolbox. It just has every single resource guide, toolkit you could possibly need to do any kind of leadership or community based work.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you, the work you're leading and maybe where they can find that new resource that's coming out.

You can check everything out about ESW on our website: You can also follow me personally @theBMBennett on Twitter.

Contact Brittany Bennett: 

Contact Josh Prigge: 

Jan 15, 2019
Nick Martin - Executive Director of the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable

Nick Martin is a senior sustainability consultant at Antea Group and the executive director of the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER). Nick is dedicated to supporting clients with assessing, prioritizing and managing sustainability-related business risks and opportunities.

He has extensive experience supporting private and public organizations with translating sustainability aspirations into successful strategies and collaborative approaches. Nick has leveraged this experience to support a wide range of companies with accelerating their sustainability journey and defining practical roadmaps for implementation. 

Much of his strategic support involves researching leading practices in sustainability and Corporate Responsibility (CR) and utilizing this knowledge to assist clients with benchmarking against peers and developing viable and differentiating strategies.  Specific areas of expertise include: global water stewardship, monetization, context-based decision making, collective action, and corporate transparency. He previously worked in the non-profit sector with the Global Environmental & Technology Foundation (GETF) in Washington, DC and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan. 

Nick Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Achieving precompetitive collaboration to advance sustainability in a competitive industry.
  • TCFD and climate scenario planning.
  • Prioritizing efforts as a sustainability professional.
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders.

Interview Highlights: 

You mentioned climate scenarios, climate disclosure and TCFD reporting. I'd love to get your thoughts on that as BIER has been discussing these topics. If you could tell our listeners, because it's still relatively new thing in the sustainability world, what TCFD, how you're seeing large multinational beverage companies addressing it and the importance of things like TCFD and the emergence of the ESG social investing movement.

That's an evolving topic and it's one we could probably have a devoted podcast to, if not more than one. You know, TCFD is the Task Force for Climate Related Disclosures. It was a group that came together to really help frame some set of core recommendations in terms of what companies really need to think about if they want to embed climate scenario thinking into their strategy, their governance, their metrics etc. They pulled from a number of stakeholders to really consolidate that set of recommendations, where companies can then endorse that concept and endorse the importance of climate scenarios without really committing to a recipe or a particular framework. They've left the door open to have it be really company and/or industry specific. They believe that is really important because every industry has a different operational footprint, a different supply chain, changing markets and consumers etc.

We actually had a representative, a VP with Bloomberg, come in and join our group and really engage our members to talk about what is the latest and greatest science in this space, what have been the leading companies (especially those oil and gas that have been first or early movers on doing climate scenarios) and what does he and TCFD really recommend. You could spend an incredible amount of time looking at scenarios and getting in that whole paralysis by analysis rut if you're not careful. What we wanted to do is step back and say, "How do we bring together our technical knowledge or our business knowledge or policy knowledge and really start to help bring the beverage sector together to organize around a common process, maybe a common set of scenarios?" That'll help everybody better understand the risks and the opportunities. If it is a common language and we're all speaking to stakeholders, to investors and to our own corporate leadership. That can go a long way of moving from analysis into resiliency. That's really what it's all about, how do we become more resilient as a person, a company or a country? So that's kind of where it stands and I definitely hope that it's going to be a core area of BIER but it's going to take up more than BIER. There's a lot of different groups that are working in this space, so we want to try to capture the greatest experience and knowledge and try to make it relevant to the beverage sector, as we do with a lot of our work.

You cover a lot of important issues in the Beverage industry and I'm wondering how you prioritize this work? And maybe you can talk about, in general as a sustainability professional, how should we prioritize what we do and where we focus our efforts?

It's one of those questions that I think is becoming even more relevant in the world we live in, in terms of just the pace of information and technology and this whole concept around radical transparency. The topics of the day can change within a day, a minute, an hour and I think that's even more concerning for a company and for a company's sustainability strategy. A lot of these topics that companies are taking on within their strategies really require a longterm commitment. A company is trying to make really transformative changes, whether it's with how they take their products or services to market, their packaging or their innovation. I think one of the risks is that it's easy to get distracted. It's kind of human nature to get distracted by the shiny object or the latest kind of topic or pressure that is being placed on a company from a stakeholder. It's really more important than ever that companies have to remain agile. They've got to evolve their thinking is as things change, but they really have to figure out how to stay committed to what they know is right for their company. Long story short, I've become a big believer in materiality assessments. You can't have everything be a priority. You can't make everybody happy. As a company, you've got to really check yourself through internal reflection, but also reflection with some key external stakeholders, to determine what is most material, where can we get the most business value and where can we differentiate ourselves within the market, within the eyes of investors and others.

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

I give this kind of advice a lot. I've got a lot of colleagues. I get a lot of inquiries externally asking about how do I get into the sustainability field and where to start. The advice I give is find a topic or a short list of topics that you really are passionate about. What you need to do is to get to a point where you're a go-to for that topic. You're one of the first people somebody wants to call or thinks about. That's where you really start to get involved in sustainability and you can use that as a foundation. For me, water was definitely that topic. When a lot of people think about me. They naturally think about water first, which is something that I love and I've just found that it's a topic that fits me well. Whether its materiality, whether it's water, whether it's energy and carbon and climate change, just find those topics that you can really invest in because becoming a jack of all trades and sustainability is almost impossible. It's too dynamic and complex. You really got to try to focus.

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

I think that it's just becoming more mainstream. Finally. I feel like we've kind of gotten over a bit of a curve where I think there's just a much wider acceptance that it is the right thing to pursue sustainability. We do have needs and it's only going to get worse if we don't really take it on. So, I see it obviously with my kids. I think it's almost inherent with them. They just understand it. It's just the right thing to do. So, I feel like we're kind of at that point, finally. We will see. Things can change.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

The one that sticks in my mind, I've actually got a copy here in my office, is a book called Embedded Sustainability. It was written by Chris Laszlo and Nadya Zhexembayeva. It's a book that stuck in my mind. I can't remember when I first read it. It's a few years old now, but it was one of those first books that I felt like really kind of drove that it's okay for businesses to think about profit when they think about sustainability, as long as they're doing it for a greater reason, a greater purpose ultimately. One of the things I loved about the book is that it had these three connected trends - declining resources, radical transparency and increasing expectations. It was just fascinating because those are kind of the three things that really come down on a company and the three reasons that they should really take sustainability seriously. The combination of those three and it just really resonated with me.

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

There's quite a few of these days. I think it really depends on what I'm in need of. There's some really good common platform resources out there like Environmental Leader, GreenBiz and various associations. I like WRI, Ceres and World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Those three I feel like put out some really good meaningful work and analysis. So, I definitely keep an eye on those three. I also just depend upon Linkedin and different networks I'm involved in. You get a lot of really, really timely and relevant information, more so than five or 10 years ago. At times it feels like maybe too much information, but you really get some good tips on emerging topics and on new initiatives pretty quickly these days.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading for the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable?

Well, feel free to call me for one. I'm always willing to have a good discussion. So, we do have a different sister organizations, but I'm part of the US group and you can find a lot about our sustainability practice. I am on Twitter: @anteasustain. I'm not very active on Twitter compared to LinkedIn and some other areas, but I am on there. Then definitely connect with us. Connect with me on LinkedIn either personally or we do have a BIER Linkedin page as well. We'd love to have you connect there and keep up on what we're doing with the beverage industry.

Learn more about BIER:

Learn more about Sustridge:

Jan 08, 2019
TRUE Zero Waste Workshop - Sustridge, USGBC and Coco Taps

This TRUE Zero Waste presentation was conducted in Las Vegas at the Venetian Hotel on December 7th, 2018.

The presentation talks about the benefits of zero waste for organizations, walks you through the various aspects of TRUE Zero Waste certification program, discusses the requirements for becoming TRUE Zero Waste certified and insights from the first TRUE Zero Waste certified business facility in Las Vegas, Coco Taps.

Speakers include: Josh Prigge (Sustridge), Coco Vinny (Coco Taps) and Stephanie Barger (USGBC).

Dec 18, 2018
Kendra Tupper - Chief Sustainability and Resilience Officer, City of Boulder

Kendra is a licensed Mechanical Engineer with over 15 years of experience in the corporate, nonprofit, and government sectors and is currently serving as the Chief Sustainability & Resilience Officer for the City of Boulder. In that role, she oversees the city's climate, energy and zero waste policies and programs and leads a city and county wide Resilience team.

Her current work includes exploring future carbon taxes and pricing mechanisms, as well as designing and piloting innovative new climate, energy, and resilience programs. Prior to joining the city, Kendra was a Principal at Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), where she led projects ranging from deep energy retrofits, industrial process efficiency, efficient data center design and operation, and the development of carbon neutral plans for cities, campuses, and Fortune 500 companies. 

Kendra Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • 80% GHG reduction goals by 2050
  • Carbon pricing mechanisms
  • B Corp movement in Boulder
  • Resiliency and sustainability work at the city level
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Kendra's Final Five Responses:

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

Focus on relationship building. I think this was a lesson I learned over the years starting on the technical side in engineering. I think I always thought that if I had the right answer and the data behind it, that's all I would need to create change. What you really need is to develop the relationships with the people whose partnership support and behavior change you need to occur. I think that that would be one piece of advice. The other thing would be for sustainability professionals that are maybe starting out, to focus on broader issues than just sustainability, like resilience, equity and economic vitality. This kind of ties into the relationship building, but those are kind of the big ticket items that I have seen come up, in just the last two or three years, focused around sustainability. A successful sustainability effort is only going to be successful when it addresses resilience, equity and economic vitality.

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

I think I'm most excited about what I'm seeing as a recent shift in focus or attention on food choice and food systems and the impact that that actually has on the global carbon footprint. I think that the recent IPCC report that came out in October of this year really did a great job in opening people's eyes to the fact that it's not enough to just transition from fossil fuels to clean renewables, but we have to address how we manage our forests, how we manage our lands and the choices that we make about food. I think that that's been a very taboo topic even in the world of sustainability, and definitely with cities and local government, not wanting to even talk about people's personal food choice. But I think that that taboo is going away a little bit now and it's opening some really interesting conversations about how our food is produced, how sustainable that is in the long-term and what can we do about it?

What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

I'm going to cheat because I have two. The first one, which is the actual academic answer is Paul Hawkens Drawdown book. That's amazing. If you don't want to spend the time reading the entire book, there's a great website called Drawdown. They actually did all these studies and ranked the most impactful actions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. You'd be really surprised that three out of the top five have to do with food and land management. It's not just all energy. The other one I would say is a Sci-Fi book, Ready Player One by Ernest Klein. It's one of my all-time favorite books, but the entire premise of the book is that climate change has occurred and the world is incredibly different from how we now know it. So, people are forced to live in this alternate video game reality. I'm definitely going back to my math team roots here and you're going to see what a dork I am by books, but I love that book. It's such a fun read. It's exciting, but it also has serious undertones of what our world could look like when climate change occurs to a level that climate science is now predicting. I love that one and I think it's a great way to reach wider audiences about this problem.

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

The Paul Hawkens Drawdown website I use constantly. Also, the networks that are available for local governments such as 100 Resilient Cities, the Urban Sustainability Directors Network and the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance. All of these websites for local government, or the public in general, they have great resources, great ideas about quick, actionable things to move the needle. That RMI Low Carbon Cities Guide that I mentioned is great. And then also the GreenBiz newsletters. I find those really useful for just staying up to date on the current news in climate and sustainability.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you are leading at Boulder?

You can go to our website which is That will take you to our home page on climate where you can learn a lot more about all of our programs and projects.

Contact Kendra Tupper:

Contact Josh Prigge:

Dec 10, 2018
Saskia Feast - Carbon Offsets and Renewable Energy Markets

Saskia Feast is VP of Western Region at Natural Capital Partners. Saskia works with companies in the Western Region of North America to ensure they have access to the right mix of market-based solutions to meet their sustainability objectives. Prior to joining Natural Capital Partners, she helped launch a new class of offset into the voluntary and compliance market at EOS Climate.

Saskia has an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School, where she now serves as member of their Board of Directors. She also has a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Liverpool University. 

Saskia Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Carbon Offsets and Renewable Energy
  • Purchasing carbon offsets to meet sustainability goals
  • Global vs local carbon offset purchasing
  • Sourcing carbon offset projects for Natural Capital Partners
  • Carbon Neutral certification
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Saskia's Final Five Responses:

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

The one piece advice of advice that I would give to other sustainability professionals is to spend the time to talk to your colleagues in other business areas - operations, finance and sales. You really need to be able to tie your actions into helping them being successful. So you need to be making the business case.

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

I am most excited about the push for 100 percent renewable energy globally and what that can mean in some of the countries outside of the western world. I think it's happening. It's going at different rates and different countries, but it's already happening. We're seeing the impacts of climate change already and policy leaders and business leaders in other countries are seeing those as well. So, this is a global move towards action.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

Well, this is not really directly a sustainability book, Turning to One Another by Margaret J. Weatley. I have found this to be a very helpful book and it's really about starting conversations for the future, sitting down, listening, talking to each other about different topics. She provides some guidelines in there. We're so busy these days and we're all rushing to achieve something. I think it's really important to spend the time talking and listening.

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

Environmental Finance does the State of the Voluntary Carbon Market Report every year. The ICROA website, which is the best practices for the voluntary carbon market is very helpful. REBA, the Renewable Energy Buyer's Alliance is an amazing organization helping drive renewable energy through the world. As is RE100, this initiative that came from We Mean Business and CDP. I think these organizations and websites are really helpful.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you are leading at Natural Capital Partners? We have a lot of details about the projects. You can look at a global map, click on the little blue dots and find out more about those projects. We also have a YouTube channel - Natural Capital Partners. We host webinars regularly and you can contact me a and connect with me on LinkedIn. I look forward to hearing from you.

Contact Saskia: 

Contact Josh Prigge: 

Dec 04, 2018
Gary Liss - Zero Waste Planning Expert

Gary Liss has over 45 years of experience in the solid waste and recycling field.  Mr. Liss is a leading advocate of Zero Waste and has helped more communities develop Zero Waste plans than anyone else in the U.S. including: City of Los Angeles Palo Alto, Oakland, Burbank, San Jose, Castro Valley Sanitary District, City of Alameda, Oceanside, Glendale and Del Norte County in CA; Austin (TX); Nelson (BC); Telluride (CO); the Big Island of Hawaii (HI), Arkadelphia (AR) and Fort Collins, CO). He also has helped major businesses (e.g. Sandia National Laboratories and Nestle Purina) and colleges (e.g. California State University Long Beach and California State University Los Angeles) develop Zero Waste Plans. He has helped develop electronic guides on Contracts and Franchises and Managing and Transforming Waste Streams for USEPA.

Mr. Liss was the first President of the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council   and now is a GBCI TRUE Zero Waste assessor and instructor.  Mr. Liss is Vice-President of Zero Waste USA and Zero Waste Certifications Committee Chair and a Boardmember of the Zero Waste International Alliance.  Mr. Liss was a founder and past President of the National Recycling Coalition. Mr. Liss is a Certified ZERI System Designer and a SWANA certified Zero Waste Practitioner. He served on Council in his hometown of Loomis, CA and was Mayor in 2010. He has a Master in Public Administration degree from Rutgers University and Bachelor in Civil Engineering (Environmental Engineering major) from Tufts University.

Gary Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • The process of developing zero waste plans for communities
  • Why sustainability professionals should focus on zero waste
  • Where to focus your zero waste efforts
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Gary's Final Five Responses:

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

The key for professionals is identifying what are the things that are most achievable in your given business or community for sustainability, and advocate for those. There's lots of paths to addressing climate change and the key is figuring out which ones people embrace in your community. When I was mayor of Loomis, California, I did a green ribbon taskforce and what I focused on was, "What were the things that will save money for the residents, for the businesses and for the town in moving forward with a green initiatives. Because there's so many things that need to be done and can be done, figure out what people will embrace locally and pursue those as your priorities.

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

Zero waste businesses are leading the way to zero waste. And communities that recognize zero waste businesses and highlight them and promote them in local media can really generate a lot of enthusiasm for pursuing zero waste as a community. When people hear that zero waste is happening in their own community by major employers, it really gets their attention. It's a really positive message. There's great examples of zero waste businesses on the website, (, where the TRUE rating system has been applied to certify those businesses as meeting the goals that were adopted by the Zero Waste International Alliance. And so if you go to, there's about 20 or 30 different case studies there that can highlight great examples of zero waste businesses and promote those locally. And when people ask about zero waste and you tell them about what those businesses are doing, you'll find people are amazed and excited about that. So with all the negative news these days, this is an area that can be a really positive direction that people can work on and achieve in their own communities.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

I think Zero Waste Solutions by Paul Connett is probably one of the best. It was developed about six or seven years ago, and particularly for zero waste communities, it's a great overview of what needs to be pursued.

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

There's a lot of them in terms of where I learn things. EPA does webinars and so does the National Recycling Coalition. There's state recycling conferences like the California Resource Recovery Conference in California. If you go to the NRC website and look up affiliated state recycling organizations, there's links to states all over the country that have the state recycling organizations. The National Resource Recycling conference is excellent for getting information. Trade journals, Resource Recycling and Biocycle are key. There's a lot of listservs out there like Green Yes and NRC members has a Listserv, Zero Waste Communities and Zero Waste Business. Anyone who's interested in getting on listservs could go to my website at and I have a couple of them listed there or email me at EPA has a wealth of information and Zero Waste USA has a toolkit with different tools that are available at the EPA website. There's one particular section called Managing and Transforming Waste Streams with over a hundred different policy and program examples, actual contracts and ordinances that have been implemented around the country.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and your work? is my website,,, I'm on LinkedIn and you can email me at

Contact Gary Liss:

Contact Josh Prigge: 

Nov 27, 2018
Beth Vukmanic Lopez - Sustainability in Practice (SIP) Manager

Beth Vukmanic Lopez manages the Sustainability in Practice (SIP) certification program. Beth Vukmanic Lopez graduated from California Polytechnic State University with a Bachelors of Science in Agribusiness, Marketing Concentration and minor in Music. Beth joined the Vineyard Team in July 2009 and has thoroughly enjoyed overseeing the development and growth of the SIP Certified program.

Sustainability in Practice (SIP) Certified helps farmers and winemakers demonstrate their dedication to preserving and protecting natural and human resources. SIP Certified is a rigorous sustainable vineyard and winery certification with strict, non-negotiable requirements, committed to standards based on science and expert input, independent verification, transparency, and absence of conflict of interest.

Beth Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • The SIP Certified certification program.
  • Why business owners go for sustainability certifications.
  • The evolution of sustainability in the wine industry.
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders.

Beth's Final Five Responses:

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

It's a really good question. I was thinking about this and from my side of working for a nonprofit, we have this really wonderful connection with all of our committees and our board members and our participants, and so you just have access to so many different people who are experts on a lot of different things. I just feel like that's been such a huge benefit for my position here. And even if you weren't working for a nonprofit, just thinking about all the people that you know because we all have great information to share with each other.

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

Well, like I mentioned before, I think the most exciting thing is this constant work being done to do better. So getting that opportunity to go out into the field with the farmers a couple of months ago and see all of this different technology that's being trialed, different grape varieties that are being trialed, different cover crops that are being trialed. I think that is what really keeps the industry moving forward. And then, even trying to continue education. This winery has this really fun program where their hospitality and sales and restaurant staff are all making wine from block to bottle, and it's been this crazy fun experiment for them to all get out into the field and manage this block and see all of the challenges that come across. Last year when we had that really, really hot month and people were just right in harvest. They had to get it done. I think to that staff it was such an eye opener, realizing that this can really happen in the blink of an eye where you just have to get out there and get the work done right away. They made their first bottle and they said it actually was pretty good, so they were happy about that too. I think they we're a bit worried about the quality, originally. So, the creativity is really nice.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

I love to read, but really for my sustainability education, I'm a total podcast junkie if you couldn't have guessed since we have one as well. So, I love listening to podcasts. How I Built This, The Get it Done Guy, Freakonomics and Hidden Brain has come out with some really interesting podcasts recently. I think this is such a great way to consume information nowadays.

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

I listened to a little while ago and it was one of those eye opening experiences that seems like it should make sense, but it was the consistent file naming. So, if you have regular paper hanging files and you have files on your computer network and you have files in your inbox system, naming those all the same. I mean just that simple little tweak can make life really easy to search and be organized and try to find your materials. So that was kind of my more recent tip that I really liked.

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

Well, the podcast is That's for Sustainable Wine Growing. The vineyard team itself,, is where you can find information about our nonprofits. And to learn more about SIP certified. That's at

Contact Beth Vukmanic Lopez: 

Contact Josh Prigge: 

Nov 20, 2018
Michele Grossman - Sustainability Services Principal at Waste Management

Michele is a Managing Principal of Sustainability Services at Waste Management and has 20 years of experience in the environmental field helping customers obtain their sustainability objectives, concentrating on the triple bottom line while ensuring brand and quality is not compromised. Since joining Waste Management in 2009, she has supported a diverse portfolio of projects, sharing best practices among Fortune 500 customers. Her current areas of focus are CSR reporting, sustainable sports and circular economy.

Michele leads enterprise-wide data collection for WM’s greenhouse gas reporting and third-party verification; CDP reporting on climate change, water and supply chain (Climate A List status!); and is currently developing science-based goals. She enjoys working with customers on waste diversion strategies that move beyond zero waste to refocus on the environmental benefits.

Michele Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Importance of waste management and reduction in an organization's greenhouse gas emissions targets.
  • Achieving zero waste at large events such as the Phoenix Open.
  • Evolving sustainability goals.
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders.

Michele'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 suggest be flexible. Be open and flexible about where you fit into an organization as a sustainability professional. Every single business can benefit from your work, but if you're rigid about a hierarchy or where you fit in, you might find it challenging. Not every company has a chief sustainability officer. I know people with a title that is something like sustainability directors that are in HR, Operations, Marketing, government affairs etc.. I think the important thing is to build networks across the organization because you're going to need all of them to get the work done; procurement, government affairs, HR, marketing and sales. You're going to need everyone in order to get the sustainability work done, but being open and flexible about defining that I think is important.

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

I am really grateful and thankful that we are able to do work that has meaning to us and to be able to quantify the benefits from a climate change and greenhouse gas reduction perspective.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

I recently finished The Sixth Extinction: An unnatural history by Elizabeth Colbert, which might be a strange one to suggest. It's so wonderfully written and although it has this daunting title, she makes you take a step back and consider all the times in the history of the planet that diversity has suddenly, geologically speaking, contracted. And then take a look at human beings as a species and how we're in the middle of another major extinction. So, while it's not exactly uplifting, as a scientist, I found it kind of refreshing to just look at the actual concept of species extinction, without her really offering a way out of the mess but just saying this is where we are in time.

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

I turn often to the Greenhouse Gas Institute's website, especially for tools and guidelines that are internationally recognized and useful. We do that internally for Waste Management. We also use it for our customers, so they're super transparent. I turn to GreenBiz often. Their website and their blogs are great for inspiration and learning. I'm also always looking at different waste reduction models.

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

I seem to be less and less on social media, but my twitter handle is @precautionaryp. I'm also on Linkedin. Our sustainability report will be posted at when it comes out in a couple of months. And my email, if you want to contact me is


Nov 13, 2018
Julie Newman - Director of Sustainability at MIT

Dr. Julie Newman joined MIT as the Institute’s first Director of Sustainability in the summer of 2013. She has worked in the field of sustainable development and campus sustainability for twenty years. Her research has focused on the intersection between decision-making processes and organizational behavior in institutionalizing sustainability into higher education.

In 2004, Julie was recruited to be the founding Director of the Office of Sustainability for Yale University.  At Yale, Julie held a lecturer appointment with the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies where she taught an undergraduate course entitled – Sustainability: From theory to practice in institutions.  Julie came to Yale from the University of New Hampshire, Office of Sustainability Programs (OSP) where she assisted with the development of the program since its inception in 1997.  Prior to her work with the OSP she worked for University Leaders for a Sustainable Future (ULSF). In 2004 Julie co-founded the Northeast Campus Sustainability Consortium, to advance education and action for sustainable development on university campuses in the northeast and maritime region.

Julie Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • MIT's next generation approach to sustainability
  • Collaborative efforts to address climate change
  • Managing short-term and long-term sustainability goals
  • Businesses and government learning from sustainability in higher education
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Julie's Final Five Question Responses:

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

Always be a listener. If you're heading into a new organization, always go in and listen first and assess your rapid assessment of the system before suggesting a whole series of solutions.

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

There seems to be an emerging understanding that partnerships are essential in achieving these broad based goals. That's something I have been advocating for almost two decades. And now it feels like it's just a natural part of the discussion, that in order for us to seek and achieve goals such as carbon neutrality, partnerships are essential. Sustainability offices can't do this alone. Often organizations can't go this alone. And I'm seeing partnerships between higher education and industry taking off, partnerships between higher education and their local municipalities taking off and between higher education and utilities companies. When you add all of these up, I think we're going to see greater and greater impact.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

This fall I have picked up Bill Clark's book entitled Pursuing Sustainability and I have found that to be almost like having a refresher course. It's called Pursuing Sustainability: a guide to the science and practice. Few chapters I've gone back and actually read a couple of times. I've read many sustainability books, but I highly recommend that one. Bill Clark and his team really took their time to lay out the complexity and the depth of these challenges in such an articulate thought provoking way and it's very accessible.

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

People. My favorite resource are other partners across the world. I'm part of a very robust, 11-year old network called the International Sustainable Campus Network. I have built a remarkable network of colleagues around the world that I look to for second opinions, for ideas, as catalyst as thought provokers and to seek common ground. It makes the world feel like a smaller place.

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

I'd suggest they go right to our website. I'm really proud of my team for the site that we've put together: It's a great place to learn about the way we have framed our scales of impact across the role of the individual, the campus, the city and the globe.


Nov 06, 2018
Rick Anthony - Zero Waste Expert and Principal at Richard Anthony Associates

Richard V. Anthony began his career in Public Administration in 1971 as a manager of the California State University Long Beach Recycling Center.  He received a MS in Public Administration in 1974.  Rick has worked his entire career in environmental program management positions. As a Manager he wrote and then implemented Solid Waste plans for Fresno and San Diego counties.  He has participated in developing Zero Waste plans as a consultant since 1998. He is an internationally recognized and published expert in the area of Resource Management using the Zero Waste Systems approach.

He has led International Dialogs on Zero Waste in Nanaimo Canada, Berkeley and San Francisco USA Florianopolis, Brazil, Puerto Princesa, Philippines, and Naples, Italy. Richard Anthony is a founder and member of the Board of Directors of the California Resource Recovery Association, the Grassroots Recycling Network, the Zero Waste International Alliance, and the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council.  He has been a Professor of Zero Waste at Irvine Valley College and an Instructor in the Californian Resource Recovery Association Certificate Program. Rick has completed work on the Zero Waste Plan for San Diego CA, and provided “As Needed” Recycling services for the County of San Diego and Goodwill Industries of San Diego County. 

In the last five years, He has worked Zero Waste plans and projects for, the cities of San Diego, Los Angeles, Oceanside, Santa Monica, Glendale, Fort Collins, and the Island of Hawaii.

Oct 31, 2018
Stephanie Barger - Director of Market Transformation and Development for TRUE Zero Waste

As director of market transformation & development for the TRUE Zero Waste certification, Stephanie Barger is responsible for the growth and development of the TRUE program. Barger helped launch TRUE, which is owned and administered by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) in 2017. GBCI is the premier organization independently recognizing excellence in green business industry performance and practice globally and administers all LEED green building certifications. TRUE was acquired by GBCI in 2016 and was previously known as U.S. Zero Waste Business Council, which Barger formed in January 2012.

Barger has been dedicated to meeting the growing need for educational resources, peer-to-peer networking and third-party certification for businesses across the nation related to waste reduction and zero waste. She brings over 25 years of experience in environmental stewardship, employee training, management consulting and business development.

Prior to forming the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council, Barger spent 15 years leading Earth Resource Foundation (ERF), a dynamic high school environmental leadership program. ERF’s campaigns included curbing plastic pollution through zero waste, promoting native plant restoration, advocating for smoke-free beaches and improving watershed management. In 2009, ERF was awarded a Federal Stimulus Grant (the California Green Jobs Program in Orange County) to provide training for at-risk youth in zero waste and career development.

Stephanie Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • The TRUE Zero Waste certification and its value for sustainability professionals
  • The zero waste movement in the United States
  • The TRUE Advisor program
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Stephanie's Final Five Responses:

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

I think having a really great team around you - so energy experts, water experts, etc. And then knowing what you don't know and having a go-to organization or go-to person. Google is a great thing. There's lots of resources out there. Really building that team, and that can be nonprofits and other industry professionals.

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

I think the shift that our consumers and our businesses are getting the simple things, like this wave of eliminating straws. We worked for many, many years to ban styrofoam and ban plastic bags and it seems like with the straws, people are getting it. We just don't need that. It's a little thing, but it's a big thing, and with that there is enthusiasm, especially from businesses. With the commodities market, with politics, with deregulation, there are a lot of things that are taking sustainability backwards. But our businesses believe in it and they see the power of it. They have 20 year goals. So, the cycles of politics don't really affect them and they just keep moving forward. I appreciate that with businesses, the leadership and the longterm goals that they're setting.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

The Blessed Unrest by Paul Hawkens. Basically, anything by Paul Hawkens, even his first books. But The Blessed Unrest really talks about that we're not alone. There are millions and billions of people that are working on these sustainability issues, whether it's in their home that they don't even talk about or in their local community. So, it just inspires me that we're all in this together.

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

So as I mentioned, the EPA, they have their Warm Model and WasteWise. It's really fun to go in and enter your data and they give you great graphics or facts - like how many trees are you saving, how many car trips etc. I think the very simple thing of doing a zero waste in your home. So, taking your zero waste audit, taking our TRUE zero waste rating system, and doing it in your own home. There is power in that to see the challenges and the opportunities that exist

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

Our website is: Or you can go to the US Green Building Council main website at You can see all the different certifications and all the resources that are available. And a huge resource is attending Green Build in Chicago. There's over 20,000 professionals that attend Green Build and it's just this amazing resource of energy and knowledge and networking.

More information on Stephanie Barger and TRUE:

More information on Josh Prigge and Sustridge:

Oct 23, 2018
2018 AASHE Conference - Highlights and On-Site Interviews

Episode Transcript

Meghan Fay Zahniser – AASHE Executive Director

This is always an exciting time for me and I hope for all of you as well. To start off, I wanted to offer a special recognition of the land and acknowledge that the history in Pittsburgh started with centuries of native American civilization throughout this region. Thank you for having us. We are grateful to be here and excited to be back in Pittsburgh. In the year since we last gathered, we face increasing challenges and it's easy to feel overwhelmed by them. But despite these global and local challenges, the AASHE community, those who are working day in and day out to advance sustainability in higher education, students, faculty, administrators, and staff are still making significant progress. We have more institutions being recognized for their sustainability achievements through STARS than ever before. We now have four STARS Platinum institutions. Congratulations to Colorado State University, University of New Hampshire, Stanford and UC Irvine.

To emphasize the important role higher education case in advancing the sustainable development goals, I'm excited to share that the next version of STARS, version 2.2 slated for the launch next spring, will align each credit with the sustainable development goals. This will be a great opportunity to connect to the campus community, not just with a specific achievements noted in STARS, but also to advancing the global goals. After the conference, we'll be excited to launch a new STARS website and benchmarking tool. The ladder is something we've been working on for quite some time and we know has been of interest to many of you. Good's coming. In addition to the progress on STARS, we have more resources in the hub AASHE online resource center than ever before. Thousands of case studies and examples of best practices and lessons learned from our community are there.

We also have more ways to engage and connect with you throughout the year with centers for sustainability across the curriculum, various workshops and webinars, the mentorship program and our online community, which just launched this past spring and been incredibly well received by our members. We're working to help connect each of you with the tools and resources you need to achieve your institution's sustainability goals. AASHE's also working to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout our organization and movement. We have a new diversity, equity and inclusion statement that demonstrates how and what we will be working on, including looking at all of our programs to identify ways to better integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion in everything that we do. As Heather Hackman our closing keynote speaker from last year said "We cannot have a sustainable campus without addressing equity and social justice." In addition to improving our programs and offerings, we're also working to expand our partnerships and connect with organizations and efforts that will help strengthen sustainability in higher education education.

Ann Erhardt – AASHE Board Member and CSO at Michigan State University

We're now joined by Ann Erhardt, chief sustainability officer at Michigan State University and also a board member. So, tell us about the work of AASHE. As a board member, I'd love to just hear your thoughts on the importance of AASHE in Higher Ed and what the organization is working on.

I've been a board member for two years and recently elected vice chair of the board. I'm really excited about being a part of AASHE and being a part of the board and helping shape the future of sustainability in higher education, and what we can do as a community across the country. So the work that AASHE's doing right now, everyone's enjoying our conference this week and learning a lot and we reach a broad audience of institutions, whether you're a small college or a major institution. We have something for everybody and I think the real value of the conference comes in coming together and having conversations with each other, sharing information, finding those connections and having a collective nature to it. And I think that's the future of our evolution is working more together towards the future.

You're going to be speaking on a couple of panels today. Tell us just a little bit about what you'll be talking about just to give the listeners an idea of some of the sessions that are underway here.

One session was with Consumer First Renewables and they are a partner that MSU has had to help construct our large solar carport installation on campus. We have a 10 megawatt system and a Customer First Renewables has been with us through the whole process as an excellent partner. And so, the panel we're on discusses how to get the green light to get solar on your campus or a large scale renewable system, and how that context fits different types of campuses. So, we had a lot of good questions. The other panelists was from Brown, so we had a really good discussion with the audience. Today, I am on a panel with the ISSP, which is the International Society for Sustainability Professionals, talking about the certification programs that ISSP has. They have a sustainable associate as well as a certified sustainability professional. We talked about that and growing that community to really help sustainability professionals really get some leverage and have people understand that this isn't a phase and that this is a science, this is a skillset and people who are sustainability professionals, or employee sustainability as part of their job, it's definitely a value add skill-set to have at any organization.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, because you’re on the AASHE board as well as leading sustainability at a university. How do you think these universities, or sustainability professionals and faculty, can most utilize AASHE? How can they really get value from that organization rather than just being a member of the organization? What are some ways that universities can really realize value from AASHE?

There definitely has been value since AASHE's inception, which has been over 10 years and I'm really happy to have been this doing this work for this long. Going forward, AASHE will be looking for feedback from our members, and we continually do that, but definitely letting audiences that come to the conference and our members know that it's a two way conversation and we want to know what you need and what value do you need from us, so that we can work that into the value that we provide. So whether you're a university, or a business that's a member, or a student group, or any organization affiliated with higher education, it's a two way conversation and we want to know what value you need from us. So please come and talk with any of the board members or any of the AASHE staff, and let us know what you think and what you need and we'll work on that.

Solutions for Evaluating Projects: Quadruple Bottom Line and Financial Models for Carbon Neutrality

I'm from the Sustainability Office at Cornell and will be talking to you today about what we call our quadruple bottom line analysis - building off the triple bottom line for sustainability - and how with this analysis we try to use mission alliance with sustainability impact areas to strengthen our carbon reduction project assessment process. So, rather than focused strictly on the single financial bottom line, or some sort of non-rigorous reputational factors and letting those drive our decision making, we try to do a purposeful metrics framework to assess projects across the traditional people, prosperity and planet, and then also our academic purpose. So one way where we applied this at Cornell, we had a proposal from all the assemblies at the university that we should have advance our carbon neutrality goal from 2050 to 2035. So, there was much more of an in depth process and I'm skimming over a lot of it at the moment, but there was a group that got together and said, "Okay, what are some strategies we could use to do this? Is it technically possible and are the tools even out there for us?" We thought there probably were, but what's it going to cost us? Can we do this from a financial and from a real mission perspective without really undermining the other goals of the university.

So, a high-level senior leaders group was put together to take a look at that and create what we call the Options for Achieving Carbon Neutral Campus report. It's a detailed technical analysis of what we thought were all the feasible technical options, mostly around energy needs of the campus and particularly how we were going to heat an institution in upstate New York - a major research institute in kind of a harsh climate - without burning something. Not that easy. So, we did an updated financial analysis and we also introduced new tools, one of which is this quadruple bottom line analysis. We also looked at the potential impact of upstream leakage of the fuel source and what might be the risk factors of attributing a social cost to that carbon. What if we have a carbon price in the future? So, we think about all of these things that sort of changed our decision making.

Cheryl Wanko – Professor of English at West Chester University

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you're doing at the conference.

So, I'm a professor of English at Westchester University, which is a mid-size regional state institution in Pennsylvania. I've been teaching there since 1993. I was hired teach 18th century British literature, I had a scholarly midlife crisis and I'm now slowly turning my research and teaching interests to teaching sustainability. So that's why I'm here.

You're speaking at the conference as well and you're talking about incorporating sustainability into the curriculum. Tell us a little bit about that and how you're working on that at Westchester.

So, a group of folks back in 2016 decided that they wanted to build on some prior efforts of bringing in experts to talk about sustainability in the curriculum and we wanted to then do it in house. So. We designed this program that we called the Brandywine Project. Brandywine is our region, and there's the Brandywine River that runs through it, so it's place-based education. We decided to design a two day workshop for faculty, in which faculty would work on their syllabus and then submit them at the end of the semester so that we would make sure that we're infusing sustainability content across the curriculum. So my colleague, Eliza, and I ran this two day workshop in January and then reviewed the syllabus at the end of the summer. So, this is one of the ways in which we're trying to infuse sustainability and one of the major ways in which I'm involved campus wide in this effort.

A lot of great work happening around incorporating sustainability into the curriculum. AASHE obviously is a great resource for that. I understand this is your first time at AASHE conference. What are your impressions on the conference and are you learning anything else about how others are doing what you're trying to do?

Well, this is my first day at the conference and I have to admit looking at the agenda of all the sessions, it's overwhelming but then it's just so encouraging to see so many people in so many ways at so many institutions working on sustainability projects. So, that's my initial response to the conference - it's just an embarrassment of riches. I'm so looking forward to spending the next two days exploring this. We were assigned to present with another group from the University of Kentucky, and so they were in our session and it was so wonderful to hear this completely different way of approaching training faculty and helping faculty see how sustainability can work in their disciplines and their classrooms. So, we were able to and contrast, share strategies and share results in order to improve both of our workshops at our two campuses.

Sustainability Employee Discussion on Carbon Offsets and Sequestration

Is anybody right incorporating sequestration into their greenhouse gas inventory?

Not in our inventory but we do it through our carbon offset projects. So, I work within the Office of Sustainability for Carbon Offsets Initiative and we've enabled like 6,000 to 10,000 trees to be planted throughout the US and we've developed our own offset protocol to try to keep these projects local. So, the way we do the measurement is we engage a peer institution to come take a look at our projects. So, we planted a thousand trees in Durham partnering with Delta Airlines last year and we had American University come verify the number of trees that were planted. As those trees grow, we get other peer institutions to come verify and evaluate the growth of those trees. Duke has a massive forest, I think it's about 6,000 or 7,000 acres of forest and we've actually developed guidance material on carbon sinks that is on our website that I'd invite you to take a look at. We don't count the forest in our emissions footprint, because to do that inventory would be pretty substantial and expensive and we don't consider that to an additional impact on climate change.

So, there's no plan for removing that forest and there's a lot of academic value that's gained from having that forest currently. So, when we were initially looking at our climate action plan we were considering, "Well if we just count this forest, we're carbon neutral already, but nothing was going to happen to it." So, there's sort of two different options that we present in this guidance document. One is the tree replacement policy and keeping track of how many trees you have on campus, and then if you're replacing trees that are removed for aesthetic reasons, new buildings being constructed or what damage or a storm or something like that. If you're replacing those, that would occur in the business as usual scenario and any trees you plant above and beyond that, you can count those against your emissions footprint. The other option is, you don't have to do a whole campus inventory of all the trees and track that going forward. You can just designate a plot of land and create a learning forest there. So, you have to show that learning forest wouldn't have occurred in business as usual scenarios and then you can measure how much carbon is there and that will actually count as a carbon sink, because it's additional.

Daita Serghi – AASHE Manager of Educational Programs

Tell us a little bit about what you do at AASHE.

So, I am the education programs manager at AASHE and oversee all of our education and professional development offerings. So, everything from the weekly webinars every Wednesdays at 3:00 PM EST, to the in-person workshops, as well as all the sessions at the conference. So, I managed the call for proposals all the way through review, scheduling and then actually being at the conference.

That sounds like a lot of work that you're in charge of and we all see the webinars and all of the great educational material that you guys are putting out. So, excellent work on all that. Let's talk a little bit about the conference here - AASHE 2018 in Pittsburgh. Tell us a little bit about what you guys have put together and what people will be experiencing over the next couple days here at AASHE 2018.

We're excited to be in Pittsburgh for the second time. This is the first conference where we're coming back to a city. For AASHE 2018, we have over 340 concurrent sessions, twenty workshops and eight films in the film festival - this is a new type of session that we're offering this year. The students enjoyed thirty-four concurrent sessions for the student summit, which is specifically just for students. We had over 400 students attend that today. We're expecting a total of about 2,000 attendees, and 800 of those will be presenters for all those sessions. So, we're excited to be welcoming them. There will be also about 200 posters for the poster session.

A lot of stuff, a lot of information, a lot of schools being represented here and a lot of faculty, sustainability professionals and I've seen a lot of students running around. Looks like it's going to be a great week. How about AASHE in general and the work that you're leading at AASHE? What kind of programs are you leading in the educational space and what can we expect in the next year or so from AASHE?

Thank you, Josh. That's a great question. I also want to mention one more thing about this year's conference, and that is that we have attendees coming from almost 20 different countries and I think that speaks to the theme of this year's conference that we went global, addressing the sustainability development goals. For next year, we don't know what the theme will be yet, but we do know that we are going to the west coast in Spokane at the end of October next year. So, I'm looking forward to seeing you and everyone who's listening next year. We will have another great conference and hopefully at least as many sessions and people attending. AASHE in general, we have another full schedule of webinars. We are continuing to plan for the Centers for Sustainability Across the Curriculum Workshops. We have partnered with fourteen different institutions to run curriculum workshops for faculty. Anyone is welcome to attend and this will be posted on our website shortly. We have centers from Hong Kong to Hawaii to Canada and throughout the US. So, this is definitely a good resource for faculty to look into. We also have regular in-person workshops. There is also a curriculum leadership workshop that AASHE is running, as well as a workshop for diversity, equity and inclusion and the connection with sustainability. Another one that we invite sustainability professionals, staff or faculty to come to is a three day retreat that hopefully will be hosted in Boulder, Colorado next summer.

You had one of those last year, is that right?

Yeah, we have had this for three or four years every summer.

What kind of things can people expect at that retreat? I've heard a lot about that retreat. Just take last year for instance. What did you guys talk about and what kind of programs are led at that retreat?

Yeah, it's a three-day retreat that combines sessions and workshop type of activities with some retreat activities. So, we're trying to also have people relaxed and especially network with a small group that is coming, which is small compared to the conference. It's about 40 to 50 people in general. It's led by Aurora Winslade, director of sustainability at Swarthmore College, and Leith Sharp, who is running the executive program at Harvard. So, they are the ones who designed the agenda, but we do some sessions on how to transform sustainability from the bottom up and top down, and some strategies on working within your institutions to transform our institutions. Everything is on our website. Go under events and education.

Dr. Amy Tuininga – Director of the PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies at Montclair State University

Why don't you start by telling us a little bit about what you do at Montclair State?

I'm the director of the institute as you mentioned. I oversee programs and initiatives for students to engage with faculty and community members and a large range of organizations around sustainability issues involving food, water, energy, any number of different kinds of sustainability initiatives. Some of them include things like our Green Business Recognition program support system. So, in the state of New Jersey there's something called Sustainable Jersey and municipalities can get points and become certified Sustainable Jersey. One of the ways that they can get points is through initiating a green business recognition program that serves small businesses within communities. So, our students go out into several communities throughout the state of New Jersey and help to support those small businesses in becoming more sustainable and identifying initiatives that they can undertake to be more sustainable. We have logos and they get window clings and things that they can market their business as a green business. So, it benefits the business, it generates cost savings for them and then the municipality gets points towards their certification which allows them to apply for other grants for things like solar and EV charging stations in town.

You're here promoting some work in the poster program - your Green Teams program. Why don't you tell us a little bit about that?

Our Green Teams Program started in 2016 when I started at Montclair State University. We partner teams of undergraduates with corporations and other organizations. The students come from a range of different universities. Last year we had 18 universities participate in the program and students coming from 42 different degree programs. So, it's students from a variety of different disciplines working together on a team, a transdisciplinary team, to address sustainability challenges that corporations like Honeywell and Stryker and Hackensack Meridian Health face. So, the companies apply to the program and they give us a list of deliverables. In some cases, that's a nonprofit or a municipality that's applying. And then we construct the teams. We have a multi-institution review panel, so we have faculty and staff coming from different universities that review the applications. Then there's a cut and certain applicants that make the cut are invited to interview. Then, we have this same team interview the students and the students are offered a position.

So, those students that are offered a position, we then construct teams and we maximize diversity. So, diversity in their academic background, in their ethnic background, cultural, in the languages that they speak, the universities that they come from and the disciplines that they represent on the team. Then, we make sure that the composition of that team also has the background to address what it is the companies are asking for. So, some examples of the kinds of things that companies ask us for are helping them put together a dashboard for waste reduction and tracking their waste and waste reduction rates. We did that for Honeywell. We have companies like Earth Friendly Products ask us for assistance with water reduction and reducing the amount of water that they're using in their manufacturing, treating their wastewater and coming up with new methods.

We have companies that ask us to help them with their energy such as New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance and Hackensack Meridian Health hospital systems. So, the students do a lot of research. They put together a lot of information for the companies and the companies actually use it. So, you can find on ADP's website or Honeywell's website, information that the students have put together in marketing materials or infographics. We've worked with Prudential Financial global investment management real estate group, to help them put together a Get Green Guide for their property managers. Some of these resources that we've put together now are available on our website, on our resources page. The companies have said that this would be a good resource for other organizations to use and so they've opened it up and made it available to others and so that's growing right now as well.

Where can people go check that out online?

So, you can go to our website: You'll find information on the green teams and other initiatives that we have there, but our resources page is there as well. You can also find the student application and the corporate organization application is also there.

It's great that you're here and able to share that with everyone because that could be a great program for any school. Tell us a little bit about what you're seeing at the conference. We're on the last day of the conference now. What have you experienced and maybe a highlight from the event?

I've met a lot of people that are doing similar work. It's a cross cut of people coming from facilities and training programs and administration and faculty, and so it's nice to have that mix. I've been able to network with people at other universities, similar universities that have programs where aspects of them might be things that we want to think about or we can share ideas. So that's great. Then networking pieces is fantastic, and being put in touch with individuals doing similar kinds of things. One of the sessions that I was just at was about Second Nature and the CRUX network, and the campus community partnerships. They discussed how they developed some tools to assess needs within the community, and that's something that we're doing in the city of Newark in New Jersey. So, I'm very interested in the methods and they've made it open source as well. So I'm excited to learn more about CRUX.

Approaches to Carbon Offset Procurement

Matthew Arsenault – Duke Program Manager of the Carbon Offsets Initiative

Sounds like your job specifically relates to the carbon offset initiative and you’re not part of the sustainability office, right?

Well, we are in the sustainability office.

That seems great because this takes a lot of energy and attention to even learn what is out there. I'm curious if institutions that have set a carbon neutrality goal ever wish they had set some other kind of goal that doesn't require offsets? Maybe this applies to you. You're prioritizing this last chunk of emissions with offsets. Do people feel like their efforts could be better served elsewhere?

It's a great question. I think if given the choice for Duke to have our current status quo, which is carbon neutrality by 2024, knowing we're going to lean heavily on offsets in the early term - to have that or the alternate scenario of having a much later carbon neutrality goal, where maybe we can reduce to net zero internally on our own. Given that choice, I think I would have to choose the situation we're in now. We're going to invest in offsetting projects where we're very confident in their legitimacy and doing our due diligence in making sure that we feel really good about them. We're developing some of our own projects that are developing offsets, so we obviously feel very comfortable about those projects. For Duke, I'm happy we have an early neutrality goal, even if it means using offsets, I'm still happy that we have it.

John Pumilio – Director of Sustainability at Colgate University

The scope one and scope two emissions are pretty straightforward, right? You can measure that with a high level of confidence. When you start getting into the scope three stuff, you're doing surveys and you're doing estimates, and it gets quite murky. We've experienced this over the past 10 years. With our first greenhouse gas inventory, I'm fortunate because I did the first greenhouse gas inventory and now I'm doing year number 10. So I've seen the maturation of how we acquire data and I remember the glazed look in people's eyes when we first came to them, asking for air travel data. The institution had no idea how much we were traveling collectively, not in dollars spent and not in air tickets issued or anything. It was all over the place. We've come a long way since then to get more accurate data. So, our footprint isn't apples to apples.

We've gotten a lot better at measuring our data now. I have the economists that I talk to on our campus who vehemently argue that we should not be responsible at all for our scope three emissions. It's scope one and scope two, and we would be crazy to spend any money on offsets or otherwise trying to offset scope three emissions. Then you can imagine people on campus on the other side of things, who want embedded emissions included or the nitrogen footprint included and all of that. So yeah, the perfect can't stand in the way of good. You need to start somewhere and we are higher ed institutions, and we need to be open and welcome to those criticisms and try to figure out the best way forward as leaders.

Oct 16, 2018
Vicki Bennett - Director of Sustainability at Salt Lake City

Vicki Bennett is the Sustainability Director for Salt Lake City, working with both city agencies and the public to create a more livable community. She holds a degree in Chemistry from the University of California at San Diego, and an Executive MBA from the University of Utah.

Vicki’s experience includes sustainability program management, climate change mitigation and adaptation, energy policy, food security, waste diversion and environmental compliance. She has led Salt Lake City’s award-winning Salt Lake City Green sustainability program for 17 years, which has integrated sustainability policies throughout the governmental operations and Salt Lake City as a whole. She is founding member of both the Urban Sustainability Directors Network and the Utah Climate Action Network.

Vicki Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Cities collaborating with energy utilities to meet renewable energy goals
  • Leading local food policies and programs in communities
  • Engaging businesses in sustainability
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Vicki's Final Five Question Responses:

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

I think, especially for younger sustainability professionals, understand that there are a lot of ways to get into the field. You may be wanting to do the technical carbon accounting and working on renewable energy issues. You might be the communications person. You might be looking at it from a broader environmental point of view. You need to approach it in a way that it's what you really love. Just go out, get involved and you'll find the path into the field. It doesn't have to be any one direct method.

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

I'm really excited about the different ways that we're looking at renewable energy. I know it's growing fast. When we first set our renewable energy goals here in the city, I remember we were talking about having 10 megawatts and we thought that was a really exciting number. Now we're already at the gigawatts stage in the state and it's growing fast. And I think that it's something that is going to be more and more integrated and help us over the hump with the reducing our use of fossil fuels.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

Well, we all need to have a sense of humor and my favorite book is the Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey. It is one of the very first books from many years ago, which had some of the environmental terrorists. It just makes me smile to think that it goes back that far.

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

It gets back to all of our networks. If I need something, I go to the sustainability directors network (USDN) or I go to one of our local networks, be it the Climate Action Network or others. We also have a group that works on air quality. Sustainability is something that there's more and more written about it, but it's changing so fast and things are moving so quickly. What really counts is having the people that you can turn to when you need.

Where can people go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at Salt Lake City.

Our website is and everything is there.


Oct 09, 2018
B Corp Spotlight: Sensiba San Filippo

Certified B Corps represent a new type of company. B corps are not only concerned about generating a profit, but also about making our world a better place by focusing on the positive social and/or environmental impacts of their business. Sensiba San Filippo (SSF) clearly embodies the B Corp spirit in its mission to enhance the lives of its employees and make positive impacts in its community. In May of 2018, Sensiba San Filippo joined the movement of people using the power of business as a force for good by becoming the first accounting firm in California to achieve B Corp certification.

With this major achievement, SSF has demonstrated that they are meeting the highest standards for social and environmental responsibility in business and are committed to increased transparency and accountability for their company’s impacts in the future. At Sensiba San Filippo, the company’s priorities are Family, Community and Firm – in that order. I recently spoke with SSF’s managing partner, John Sensiba, about what the B Corp movement means to his business and why its social initiatives are integral to the company’s success.

A company of around 200 employees, SSF is a full-service accounting firm that operates throughout the California Bay Area with offices in San Francisco, Fresno, Morgan Hill, San Mateo, San Jose and the corporate headquarters in Pleasanton. When asked about what it means for SSF to achieve B Corp certification, John replied, “It is something we're pretty proud of. It really is not an end game for us to have achieved B Corp certification, but really a beginning for us to start paying attention at a higher level with some accountability to an outside organization - to try and be the best corporate citizen we can be. We're super excited about it.”

Sensiba San Filippo exists to help people. “We use our professional and personal skills to improve the lives of our families, our communities, our clients and our colleagues,” said John. “Through our service to others, our commitment to integrity, stewardship of the environment, and kindness, we intend to better the lives of those we touch directly. Indirectly, we strive to be a positive force in the global community.”


SSF does its work to have positive impacts in the community. According to John, “SSF is there to help people. By taking away the burdens of taxes and financials, the people we work with have more time to spend in the community and with their families. This is why SSF does what they do.” In addition to this indirect benefit to the community, SSF also has major direct impacts on the community by providing many hours of pro-bono work helping important community organizations with their taxes and financial management. These community organizations supported by SSF are mainly focused on assisting the community’s underserved populations. 

Employee volunteer hours in the community are all tracked. John Sensiba jokingly admits that, “It might be cliché for a CPA firm to track hours, but we have some lofty goals.” Indeed, they do. In fact, Sensiba San Filippo has a goal to contribute a half-million employee volunteer hours in the community over the next ten years. Tracking the volunteer hours is important to SSF because the actual impacts, or outputs, of the volunteer work is a bit harder to measure. “We believe that by being intentional about making the effort, supporting our people and contributing those kinds of hours in our communities, we're going to have a positive output.”


At SSF, 100% of the workforce is paid above a living wage. Performance feedback for employees at SSF is integral to the business and is conducted at least on an annual basis, includes peer and subordinate input, provides written guidance for career development, includes social and environmental goals and follows a 360-degree feedback process. The company also offers job flexibility to employees by allowing flex-time work schedules, meaning employees have freedom to vary their start and stop times, as well as telecommuting and job-sharing options. 

Training and development are also an integral component used at SSF to help employees grow personally and professionally. “We spend a lot of money on learning and development. We have a full time learning and development director. We have class rooms, virtual classrooms and there's an opportunity to learn anything you want to learn. It doesn't all have to be directly related to our business.” SSF will pay for their employees to work towards master’s degrees and other special certifications as well. John mentions, “I think it's important for our folks to know that we'll do that and that we don't tie it to forever employment. We're not trying to handcuff them. If we don't earn their desire to be a part of the team, that's our fault. If somebody leaves us, it's because we didn't provide enough opportunity, the right training or the right mentoring or coaching.”


Though SSF leases all of their office space and doesn’t have 100% control of their facilities, they make an attempt wherever possible to operate in a way that has a minimal impact on the environment. They have implemented comprehensive recycling throughout their six office locations and purchase environmentally preferred products for the majority of their facilities including non-toxic janitorial products, unbleached paper products and recycled content office supplies.

The Business Case

At 100 employees about five years ago, SSF has seen nice growth this decade and is anticipating reaching 250 employees by the end of next year. In regard to growth and success as a company, John Sensiba mentions, “I think our impact on communities makes us attractive to potential employees, and I think it helps us retain people because our values as an organization are very similar to their values as individuals. So, it's a very positive from a business standpoint, but that's not why we do it. We do it because we feel like it's the right thing to do. Yes, making money is important, but that is not the most important thing.”

Final Five Questions with John Sensiba

What is one piece of advice you would give other mission driven or B Corp business leaders?

“Stick with it. Don't give up if somebody makes fun of you for not being Gordon Gecko or for not being solely focused on your bottom line. Continue to do the right thing, have a long-term strategy and I think you'll be very rewarded.”

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

“The niceness. People are running businesses to help their communities to come up with really innovative ways to stop human suffering. We have a client that is so focused on addressing diseases that just aren't profitable, such as those orphan diseases that big pharma won't spend money on. I'm not blaming big pharma. I'm not trying to bash anybody here, but economically, if you've got to report to your shareholders, you don't develop a drug for a disease that doesn't have a big market. There's people doing that stuff now and finding ways to get it funded. I think, not only business, but people in general are more focused on doing good. I'm excited about that.“

How about a book recommendation, John? What is one book you would recommend business leaders or B Corp leaders read?

“Well, one of my favorite books is written by Stephen M.R. Covey, that's Stephen Covey's son. It's called The Speed of Trust. Whether you're a B Corp or never will become a B Corp, I think you should read it once a year.”

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

“I like to read things by smart people, whether it's on the topic of the CPA profession, finance or any other topics. So I look at resources internationally. I look for people who are thinking outside themselves and beyond their own society. So, I just like to read things that expand my mind, and it's not hard to find people smarter than me and I just love reading their thoughts.”

Where can people go to learn more about you and the work being done at Sensiba San Filippo?

“They can find us at our website, which is ubiquitous. They can look at my personal twitter feed, which is @Sensiba. We are pretty well published on LinkedIn. We put a lot of thought pieces out there. We have other social media outlets, but if you google Sensiba you will find us.”

Oct 04, 2018
Flavia Tonioli - Sustainability Manager at the City of Miami Beach

Flavia Tonioli is the City of Miami Beach’s Sustainability Manager. In this role, Flavia leads the sustainability efforts at the City of Miami Beach with the goal of incorporating sustainability into capital projects, operations and regulations through strategic policy, while improving efficiency, cost and longevity.

Previously, Flavia was with The Nature Conservancy as Associate Director of Development for the Latin America Region, where she worked collaboratively with cross-functional teams amongst multiple operating units to advance business deals, develop fundraising pipelines and contribute to the strategic planning and development process for conservation programs. Flavia was also with NOAA as a Senior Researcher, where she advised the implementation of policies, plans and strategic management for sustainable fisheries in Florida and the Caribbean.

Flavia Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Climate and sustainability issues facing Miami Beach
  • Leading sustainability at the city-level in a red state
  • Public-private partnerships used to advance sustainability
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Flavia'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 number one is be persistent. Sometimes things are not easy. You might get a lot of no's, but if you're persistent and create a strong baseline and strong arguments and have good data, your argument to sell it at some point you will be able to do it. So just be persistent. Even though it might take years, at some point you can do this. At the same time, be patient because a lot of times it's very frustrating that you cannot implement some things, that for you might make the most sense in the world, but when you talk to other folks it might not. You always have to look at the three different pillars of sustainability, right? So if it doesn't make a lot of financial sense, the economics are not there, you're probably not going to get it. So this is one of the things that we are always looking at. I think also your network is extremely important. Network with your fellows. Fellows are extremely helpful. In government and I feel like we have several different networks that are extremely useful to build that bridge and to make that connection.

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

I'm really excited to see so many cities being proactive and not relying on the feds or on the state, and how a lot of cities are working together on a more regional level. I think this is really exciting and I think a lot of that has to do with our leadership and with our president. And on the corporate side the same thing. There's so many corporations that are saying that this is important to them. Pushing for a sustainable supply chain and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. So, I feel like it's just really cool to see that because I remember the day after the election, coming to work and it looked like a funeral. Right? Everybody was really depressed and was just really sad. So, I was really excited to see all the cities coming together and just being proactive, and corporates too.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

I read so much at work that in my free time, I just want to go outside and play. I don't want it to be able to. I don't want to be ready. I'm not the person to really recommend any books. But all the sustainability folks that I know have the book Drawdown by Paul Hawken on their table. Including myself, I have that book. I think one that I really like is from the founder from Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, Let My People Go Surfing. I love Patagonia and I just love how they can really balance business and sustainability.

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

I think all the networks such as the Urban Sustainability Directors Netowrk (USDN). USDN is definitely my favorite organization by far. I use their resources every day. I feel like I'm so connected to so many different sustainability folks here in the US and in Canada because of USDN and they have several consultants that we can use to help us develop work. They also provide funding. We also have SSDN and FSDN here in Florida, it's specifically for folks here, which for us is extremely helpful given that we are in a red state and all the things that we're trying to develop.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leaving at Miami Beach?

They can go to our portal, which is actually a brand new portal: There you can see everything that we are doing regarding resiliency and sustainability. We are also creating a resiliency app that will be a virtual tour of our resiliency projects. So this is coming soon too.

Oct 02, 2018
Erik Distler - Director of Partnerships at Green Sports Alliance
Erik Distler is the Director of Partnerships for the Green Sports Alliance. In his role, Erik has internal and external facing responsibilities, including organizational management and strategy, business development, and oversight of members and partnerships, in addition to leading the organization's strategic partnerships and collaborations, most significantly with ESPN and various professional sports leagues.
Prior to joining the Green Sports Alliance, Erik was most recently with PwC as a consultant within the firm's Sustainable Business Solutions advisory practice. Erik's experience prior to PwC includes business development, management, accounting & finance consulting and public accounting.
Erik Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:
  • The sustainability movement in professional sports
  • Getting athletes to become sustainability advocates
  • 2026 World Cup North America and sustainability
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Erik's Final Five Responses:

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

The advice I would give is to remain flexible and strategic around how you embrace or create opportunities for yourself. So, we are building the plane as we fly it in this space of sustainability. It's often that the jobs individuals have in sustainability were created by someone being inside of an organization who saw an opportunity to establish this new focus for their organization, and many who have roles that touch sustainability in some way, shape or form, probably contributed to establishing the job description or the role or title. So, just consider where and how you can get creative in developing and advancing in this space and creating opportunities, not only for yourself, but for others who are coming out of school or have passion in doing a career change and ultimately want to contribute to effecting change in the space.

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

I'm just so thankful and appreciative of the ability to do the work we do and get to connect on a daily basis with the sports industry and all of those who are in the stadiums, at the venues, at the league level in colleges and universities that are doing the hard work, rolling up their sleeves and doing the work. We get the pleasure of being able to tell the stories and inspire others to do the work as well, but I'm always humbled by how hard and how dedicated the people are that are in this space. So, I feel a great sense of gratitude to all those who are out there on the front line, so to speak, leading this work. From an excitement standpoint, the upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup, obviously the united bid across the three countries and the LA 2028 Olympics. Having the eyes of the world on this continent and on this country is a great opportunity for us to advance and drive and affect change in this space.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

I have to go back to my graduate school days. Thinking In Systems by Donella Meadows. It was one of the foundational reads for our program and it really addresses a core tenant of sustainability, that systems thinking model. I reference the book consistently in my work today.

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

I try to keep up on sustainability news as much as I can. So GreenBiz, Triple Pundit, Sports Business Journal. Really using some of the thought leadership and the insight that's coming out of what is happening in and around this plane as we're building it. So it's all sort of happening in front of us on a daily basis and there's various partners of ours, such as associations and groups we work with, that are constantly putting out new ways of thinking and new ways of advancing the focus that we have in this space. So I try to keep myself well read in my free time.

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

Check out our website, We also have active social media presence across Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram. We are constantly pushing out stories of the work our members and partners are doing, and that's part of our focus on amplifying and spreading the word of this great sports greening movement that we get to work in.

Sep 25, 2018
2018 AASHE Conference - Interviews with AASHE Leadership

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 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, 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.


Sep 13, 2018
Josh Prigge - Founder and CEO of Sustridge

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.

Sep 11, 2018
Stacy Savage - Chief Operations Officer at Zero Waste Advocacy

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 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 We're also on LinkedIn and Twitter as well as Facebook. People can reach out to us by email, you can email me 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.

Sep 04, 2018
Debbie Rafael - Director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment

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, 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.

Aug 28, 2018
Scott Breen - Associate Manager Sustainability and Circular Economy Program

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 For the podcast

Aug 23, 2018
Michael Oshman - Founder and CEO of the Green Restaurant Association

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 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.

Aug 21, 2018
Anne Kelly - Senior Director of Policy at Ceres

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 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.

Aug 16, 2018
Barbara Buffaloe - Sustainability Manager at Columbia, Missouri

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 or else you can find me at Twitter @BarbaraBuffaloe.


Aug 14, 2018
Eric Nelson - Waste Reduction Manager at University of Kansas

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.


Aug 09, 2018
Jennifer Green - Sustainability Officer at Burlington, Vermont

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.

Aug 07, 2018
Suzanne Savanik Hansen - Sustainability Manager at Macalester College

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 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.


Aug 02, 2018
Joel Solomon - Author of The Clean Money Revolution

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? 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, 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, 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.

Jul 31, 2018
Amanda King - Director of Sustainability at Bentley University

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, You can also find us on twitter. We're @sustainbentley and on Instagram

Jul 26, 2018
PAC-12 Sustainability Conference Highlights (2018)

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.


Jul 24, 2018
Kristina Joss - Head of North America Strategy for Salterbaxter

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 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.


Jul 19, 2018
Kristofor Lofgren - Founder and CEO of Sustainable Restaurant Group

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,, or you can go to or, or So any of our company websites all kind of tell a different story. But all weave up into one common focus and theme.

Jul 17, 2018
Mick Dalrymple - Director of University Sustainability Practices at Arizona State University

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, 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.

Jul 12, 2018
Pranav Jampani - Director of Sustainability at Las Vegas Sands Corp.

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

Jul 10, 2018
Ann Erhardt - Chief Sustainability Officer at Michigan State University

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, but our sustainability page is, where you'll see a lot of what we're doing from a campus perspective. I also suggest our facilities website, which is, 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:

Contact Josh Prigge:

Jul 05, 2018
Erin Cooke - Sustainability Director at San Francisco International Airport

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 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.

Jul 03, 2018
Ryan Honeyman - Author of The B Corp Handbook

Ryan Honeyman is a consultant and author of The B Corp Handbook: How to Use Business as a Force for Good (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, October 2014). Ryan has helped over 30 companies--like Ben & Jerry’s, King Arthur Flour, Method, Klean Kanteen, and Nutiva--become Certified B Corporations and maximize the value of their B Corp certification. He also trains aspiring impact consultants via his recurring "Secrets of B Corp Consulting" courses.

Along with his LIFT Economy team, Ryan helped cofound the Force for Good Fund, a $1M fund that invests in women and people of color-owned, "Best for the World" B Corps (e.g., those that score in the top 10% of all B Corps worldwide). He is also a co-host of "Next Economy Now," a podcast highlighting the leaders who are taking a regenerative, bio-regional, democratic, transparent, and whole-systems approach to using business for good. 

Ryan Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • The Force For Good Fund
  • The B Corp Movement
  • Importance of Social equity and diversity in the sustainability movement
  • Benefits of becoming a B Corp
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Ryan's Final Five Question Responses:

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

One thing that stands out is, again, that you don't really need a particular background or experience to do sustainability or to make the jump. For example, even if you've done social studies or chemistry for 10 years, doesn't mean you can't be a sustainability consultant or professional. So I would just say it's more about connecting it to your passion and making the leap, then having some particular background lined up.

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

I think a lot of sustainable businesses, who are sort of deep in the eco movements, are starting to realize that things like diversity, equity, inclusion and racial justice are just as important. Sometimes as sustainable businesses we can sort of nerd out on the way that carbon in the soil gets sequestered, but the neighborhood a few miles away is burning because of economic inequality and sort of like fighting between racial fights. So I started to see more businesses in the community, and also in sustainable business movement, start to say, "What are we doing about inclusive hiring practices? How are we looking at not just having a diverse group of people but also making them feel included and belonging?" So really looking at, is the product or service serving different communities, people of color, women, LGBTQ, immigrant communities? So it's been really exciting for me looking at sustainable business and regenerative development beyond just the environmental lens only. 

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

This is a book that I read that was pretty powerful. It's not necessarily narrowly within the sustainable business category. Charles Eisenstein wrote it, it's called A More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible. So, Charles Eisenstein's a pretty cool guy, a philosopher, but also interested in climate change and regenerative ag. But this book is really looking on a deeper level, how do you really make personal changes and perceptual changes that can help you in your career? And so I think that it's applicable to sustainability professionals as well.

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

Definitely and the Those are two free tools for folks who are just interested in benchmarking their social and environmental performance. I definitely love podcasting, as Josh knows. We have our own podcast, Next Economy Now, the Lift Economy podcast. I'm super excited there's more people like you, Josh, who're doing this sort of like pumping out more information about regenerative development. Just keep following Josh's podcasts.

Finally, where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you are leading?

Yeah, so our website is Our podcast is Next Economy Now and we're on iTunes and Google Play and Soundcloud. If folks want to check us out on twitter, I think it's at @lifteconomy. And then my email address is on the Lift Economy website as well if folks want to reach out directly.


Jun 28, 2018
Jack McAneny - Director of Global Sustainability at Procter and Gamble

Jack McAneny, Director of Global Sustainability, has been with P&G for 20 years.  During that time, he has had a variety of assignments in the Health, Safety & Environment and Technical External Relations functions. In his current role, he coordinates P&G’s Environmental Sustainability efforts. Prior to joining P&G, Jack worked for the Federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration as an Industrial Hygiene Compliance Officer.

Jack Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Leading sustainability in a multinational corporation
  • Science based targets for sustainability goals
  • P & G's Forest Positive initiative
  • 2030 goals including 100% renewable energy and 50% reduction in GHG emissions
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Jack's Final Five Responses:

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

I think the one thing that I would offer would be really building and maintaining your networks internally and externally. That's not advice that would be unique to sustainability professionals. Right? I'd probably give that to anybody entering the private sector, but I do think it's especially important for folks who are playing in the sustainability space, especially folks who might be in more of a corporate or oversight role. And the reason I say that is we work really, really hard to embed ownership of sustainability into the business and into the line organization so it becomes a way that we just do business. And so, as a consequence of that, it's not like we have a large corporate sustainability staff and we get a lot of our work done and manage by influence. Having robust networks can really be a powerful tool in terms of influencing. I'm not talking about having 10,000 connections on your LinkedIn profile. I'm really talking about a very strategic, deliberate and proactive approach of understanding who you need to develop relationships with and who you need to maintain them with. Certainly that applies internally, but also externally. So, I would just encourage folks to really spend some time thinking about their networks internally and externally, and the role that they play in advancing their work.

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

This theme of collaboration. I think more and more people are coming to recognize that if we're really going to address these big issues like climate change, deforestation and solid waste and you name it, those are things that are bigger than any one company. They're bigger sometimes than any one country. So, we know if we're going to drive change at scale, it's going to require collaboration, not just amongst industry but also across governments, civil society and the private sector. Now we're seeing some examples of that here in the US, you have the closed loop front and you see organizations like the Trash Free Seas Alliance that are helping to build collaborative efforts. I think more and more folks are coming to that realization and I really do think that's going to be key to really tackling some of these big thorny issues. I'm just excited to see momentum building behind that approach.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

That's a tough one because there are so many good ones out there. There's lots of good ones out there that talk about how you build the business case and pragmatic case studies, which I've enjoyed. There've been books out there around reinforcing the importance of the work we do. I think the one that I would offer is a book by an author named Lee Thompson. She is a professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, and she wrote a book called The Truth About Negotiations. We don't really think about it a lot of time in these terms. We think about the importance of trying to integrate sustainability into the business, and as I think about going to talk to a business leader who has P&L responsibility for a large business or a large brand, typically I'm they're asking for resources, asking for people, money, time or to share a voice or a commitment. These folks who are leading these businesses have finite resources and they have lots of people coming to them asking for very important help and assistance. So, you don't think about that as a negotiation for resources, but I found a lot of tips and tricks in that book, The Truth About Negotiations, that I found helpful. So, that is one that has a proven helpful for me.

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

For me, it's anything that helps bring the outside in. I think part of my job, and I suspect the job of many sustainability professionals out there, is understanding what's going on externally today and what we can expect in the future, in terms of some of these big sustainability trends. Bringing that perspective into your organization to help inform decision making and to help develop strategy. Having those resources that bring you that external perspective can be incredibly important. So whether it's news feeds or industry associations or peer groups that you're a part of. I think it's anything that helps bring that outside in has proven helpful. Now obviously depending on your category, your business sector, your, role, you might need to specify those to more topical areas. But beyond that, I would encourage folks to make sure that you have one or two of these, whether their news feeds or subscription services, that give you that really broad view across both environmental and social space in terms of current trends and events, because it's really important to maintain that broad perspective. It has helped me connect dots that I wouldn't otherwise normally have seen. So yes, it's important to be topical and focus, but it's also important to keep that broad view because it helps you from developing blind spots.

Finally, where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work you're leading at P&G?

Yeah, they can go to As I mentioned before, we operate against a very broad citizenship framework, environmental sustainability as a part of that. If they go there they can see our most recent citizenship report and have just some great examples of the work that we're trying to do. I think more importantly, given who your target audience is Josh, it'll help folks understand where we're focused and what we're trying to do, and if folks see potential linkages our synergies there, we certainly would welcome any thoughts or ideas that they may have.

Jun 26, 2018
PAC-12 Sustainability Conference and Sustainability in Sports

Today we have a special episode of Sustainable Nation. We're talking sustainability in sports and the PAC-12 Sustainability Conference. 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 and monitoring their progress in engaging fans and communities in greener practices.

The PAC-12 sustainability conference signals in 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. Today we're interviewing two members of the PAC-12 sustainability conference committee, Dave Newport and Jamie Zaninovich.

Jamie Zaninovich - Jamie joined the PAC-12 Conference as Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer in July of 2014. He's responsible for all aspects of the PAC-12's administrative operations, including television administration, sports management, championships, football bowl relationships, PAC-12 global, compliance and officiating. During his first two years at the PAC-12, Jamie helped guide the conference through unprecedented governance changes, major increases in its international efforts, and continued high level success of its 23 sponsored sports.

Dave Newport - Dave launched the first US college sports sustainability activation with corporate partnership for the Florida Gators when he was the University of Florida's director of sustainability in 2002. Later he became director of the University of Colorado Boulder Environmental Center and founded the nation's first comprehensive NCAA Division One sports sustainability program, Ralphie's Green Stampede. Dave is also secretary of the Green Sports Alliance board of directors, former board secretary of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, an award winning publisher and editor and a former elected county commission board chairman.

Jamie Zaninovich

Jamie Zaninovich. Welcome to Sustainable Nation. Thank you so much for joining us.

Thanks for having me, Josh. Looking forward to it.

I gave the listeners some background on your professional life but tell us a little bit about your personal life and what led you to be doing the work you're doing today.

College sports has been a passion of mine since my early days in Eugene, Oregon where I was a faculty brat, son of a faculty member who played basketball in college back in the day and used to take me to all the games at the old historic Matt Court and Autzen Stadium in Eugene as a kid. So that's really where my passion for collegiate athletics started, and I was not a good enough to be a collegiate student athlete, so of course, decided to be an administrator instead. That's how it works. I've spent the last 25 years working both on campus and in college athletic conferences starting at Stanford and then Princeton University, and now here at the PAC-12 for the past four years. Like I said, it's a passion of mine as is sustainability, so we're really excited that we're at least making some progress in putting those two things together here at the PAC-12.

And now the PAC-12 Sustainability Conference coming up in July. Really the first sustainability focused conference put on by a collegiate sports conference, the PAC-12. Tell us a little bit about how that came about and what people can expect at this year's PAC-12 Sustainability Conference.

It's really a reflection of our 12 schools who have taken a leadership position in sustainability, and sports sustainability more specifically, in the collegiate space. So when I came to the PAC-12 four years ago, Dave Newport is the sustainability director at Colorado, showed up on our doorstep and said, "Hey, I'm not sure if you knew this, but all 12 of our PAC-12 schools are members of the Green Sports Alliance. That's the only conference in the country that that's the case and you guys should really look at doing something in this space." So, we said, "Yeah, this is interesting." Myself and Gloria Nevarez, who formerly worked at the PAC-12, both have a passion for sustainability having grown up on the west coast. We sort of took Dave's lead. The PAC-12 at that point joined the Green Sports Alliance and started looking at what a plan could be for us to take a leadership position, really reflecting what our schools have already done. So we created an informal working group within our schools of sustainability officers and athletics department reps. They suggested having a first of its kind conference, so we did that last year in Sacramento at the LEED platinum Golden One Arena just ahead of the GSA annual conference, and that went very well. From there we started thinking about do we do this again and what could come next?

So we'll have our second event this year in Boulder, July 12th. It's going to be a great group of on campus athletics reps, sustainability professionals and industry folks. We have some really great panels lined up including two former NBA players, in Jason Richardson and Earl Watson, two former gold medalists, in Arielle Gold who just won gold in snowboarding at the Olympics - he's a Colorado grad. And Mary Harvey, who's a former goalkeeper for the University of California, who's an Olympic gold medalist for the USA. She has also headed up, which is now a successful, 2026 World Cup North America endeavor, and she's heading up their sustainability areas. So, we're going to have some awesome panels. The folks that I mentioned will be augmented by programmers on our campuses that have submitted proposals in the areas of fan engagement, student athlete engagement in sustainability, and it's going to be a full day of great best practice sharing, networking and hopefully a lot of learning to move forward what is an important initiative.

That's very exciting. Jamie, this is bringing together my two greatest passions in life, the environment and sports. So, I love what you guys are doing and really excited to be there on July 12th. Why have these professional athletes and gold medalists speak? What do you think that sustainability professionals or campus leaders can learn from these accomplished athletes?

I think the philosophy of purpose plus sport, and the power of that, has never been more relevant than today with some of the societal challenges that we face. I think those in the sports industry, college or professional, understand that with privilege comes responsibility, right? And if you have the opportunity to make a positive difference, such as those that have had made their living in doing something like sports, then there is a kind of an obligation to find a way to give back. And I think the environment is very front and center. In a lot of respects, it's almost a bulletproof cause and those are sort of hard to find these days. It's one of those causes were there may be some people on the other side, but in general everybody's for a sustainable future. So I think those are the elements that sort of have gotten this into it and I think are there reasons why we're getting at least some attention, still very early days for us, but some attention from folks that want to be involved in it as an endeavor.

At last year's conference you had basketball legend, Bill Walton, speaking at the event. If anybody has seen him speak, Bill is very passionate person. At the conference last year, Bill said, "Sustainability is good policy, good economics, and it's good for all of us." From a chief operating officer perspective, can you tell us why sustainability is good for business in the PAC-12?

I'm very much a believer in this notion of both doing good and doing well. I think for a long time, issues of social based programs, whether it's sustainability or otherwise, have sort of been perceived as cost centers. Right? Here's something you spend money on and you measure it in the value of maybe the positive PR you get. But what I'm learning, and I think we'll have some interesting news around this at our conference, just to tease that a little bit, is the commercial value around this space in sustainability and purpose based sponsorship and engagement more broadly is robust. And so if you could find the right partners that align with your values, you can drive great commercial value to them and to you, whether that's endemic partners that might be specifically involved in sustainability, or just the DNA of some larger corporations that understand that this is important for the future. I think this has never been more relevant. And what we're seeing in our campuses is this is really market driven. There are students coming to our campuses are not saying, "Oh great, there's a recycling banner. Oh cool, we have solar panels." They are saying, "Hey, where are the solar panels? Where are the recycling bins. We expect this. This is our generation speaking." So part of this is really serving that market as well and aligning interest that way.

Absolutely great points. And I think you can kind of see that happening in professional sports. Some of these leagues like the NHL a NASCAR are really stepping out and leading in sustainability. It's pretty clear that they understand the long-term business benefits of sustainability and visible sustainability programs. Is the PAC-12 conference looking towards those professional sports leagues and learning from what they're doing?

I think certainly. I think they've taken the lead with their green platforms. I think we want to learn from what they've done and put it in the appropriate context for collegiate, which is similar yet different. But I think one of the advantages we have, honestly, is we have these great institutions that are leaders in research and thought leadership. And it's really about leveraging the power of our campuses around this because they tend to be where great ideas start. In our case we happen to have 12 elite research institutions all in the western part of the United States, in centers of innovation. We want to align what we do with their DNA. So we see that as a real opportunity,

If anyone is interested in learning more or attending the PAC-12 Sustainability Conference, where can they go check that out?

So just go a or put it in Google and the website will come up. You'll get the full program there. You can register online. We have hotel partnerships in Boulder that are available and we hope to see everybody there. I think this is a really unique space and it's going to be another great conversation. Last year we had an oversubscribed room and Bill wowed them last year. He's a great ambassador. Bill won't be there this year, we're giving them a year off. But we do have some exciting speakers as I mentioned before, and look for a reasonably big announcement in the sustainability space at the conference as well. So I'll tease that up.

That's exciting. Jamie, we like to end the interview with a final five questions. What is one piece of advice you would give sustainability leaders?

Think big and expand who your partners could be.

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

I think this notion that we can create a commercially viable platforms that bring together sustainability partners and athletics leagues and teams and schools.

How about a book recommendation? Do you have one book you could recommend for sustainability professionals or other professionals?

Well, this is a little bit off the radar and it's probably been read by most, but Cadillac Desert is one of my favorite books related to sustainability and the history of water in the western US. So that's a must read.

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

I think it's just people. I'll go back to finding the right partners. Our best resources are our best thinkers and our best people, and that's why our campuses are so valuable to us. Whether it's student athletes, sustainability professionals, university athletic directors etc.

And finally, we mentioned where people can go to learn about the conference, anywhere else you'd like to send people where they can learn more about you and the work that you're leading the PAC-12,

We have a website and I'd also encourage people to tune into our PAC-12 networks, which is linked from there. We have a lot of great stuff in terms of what we're involved in, including soon, a link to our sustainability platform.

Jamie, I'm very much looking forward to the conference in July and that big announcement. I think everyone's excited about that now. It's so great to hear about the wonderful things the PAC-12 Conference is leading in sustainability. It's just so important to have that top-level support when committing to sustainability, so it's great to hear from you and hear about your passion. Thank you for making the world a better place, Jamie.

Well, thank you. And thanks to people like yourself and Sustainable Nation for making this publicly available. We really need that contagion to catch on in this area even more to do well this way.

Dave Newport

Our next guest is Dave Newport. Dave launched the first US college sports sustainability activation with corporate partnership for the Florida Gators when he was the University of Florida's director of sustainability in 2002. Later he became director of the University of Colorado Boulder Environmental Center and founded the nation's first comprehensive NCAA Division One sports sustainability program, Ralphie's Green Stampede. Dave is also secretary of the Green Sports Alliance board of directors, former board secretary of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, an award winning publisher and editor and a former elected county commission board chairman.

Dave Newport, thank you for joining us. It's great to have you on to chat about the PAC-12 Sustainability Conference, which we'll get to in a second, but first tell us a little bit about you. I gave an introduction on your professional life but tell us a little bit about your personal life and what led you to be doing the work you're doing today.

Well, I guess most people in sustainability come from very diverse backgrounds in terms of their career and their interests, and I'm certainly no exception. I've been a little bit in the environmental arena, one way, shape or form, for a long time. I think personally, what led me to sports sustainability is the inevitable search for leverage. That is, what's the multiplier effect of the work you do? How many people does it affect? How many people can it potentially effect? And of course, sports, there's no bigger platform on the planet then sports. So moving into sustainability in sports was natural from that analytical point of view for me personally and professionally, but like yourself, Josh, I grew up playing sports. I love sports and love sustainability, so let's combine fun with work and boom, here we are. That's what got me here.

That's great. And I understand it all kind of started down in Florida when you were at the University of Florida, director of sustainability, you launched the first US college sports sustainability activation with a corporate partnership for the Florida Gators. Tell us how that came about and how it all started for you.

Yeah, that was cool. It was 2002, and I was getting the sustainability program running on the giant University of Florida campus. Had lot of support and a great president to work with, and one day said, "Hey, let's see what we can do in The Swamp, the Florida field. I mean, there's no bigger icon of American College football, then Florida Field and Florida Gators, and we can make a statement that would be great." I went to see the athletic director, Jeremy Foley, a legendary AD for Florida, and he liked it. He didn't see any downside to it, but what we'll do is due diligence as smart guys do. And so he pulled a lot of people and talked it all through. He said, "Yep, let’s go with it and we're going to reach out to our fanbase well in advance and let them know what's going on." So he put in place a great communications effort. The corporate partner at the time was a petroleum marketer. So talk about our odd bedfellows, but it was a petroleum marketing company that has a series of stores across the Southeast and the Midwest, and as far as Texas, called Kangaroo stores. They had a very progressive CEO who was trying to move basically out of the oil business and into the renewable energy business, believe it or not. So they wanted to do build some stores in the Gainesville area that were the first LEED certified convenience stores in the United States. They put in bio diesel, and things like that.

They were promoting their greenness so it was a good fit. We pitched them and they liked it. We did a pilot on homecoming, at the homecoming banquet, which was huge, and then in the clubs and suites of Florida Field during the homecoming game. I walked around with the AD there and we just visited with the fans, alumni of the Gators, and asked them how they felt about all this stuff. We got 500 comments back and 499 of them were like, this is really cool. The grumpiest comment we got back was from this one old alumni gentlemen who said, "Yeah this is great. How come we haven't been doing this all along?" So that was the worst comment we got back, and after that everything was golden because athletics figured out, hey, there's no downside of this. People intuitively like it and once you get past the inevitable startup problems in implementation and all the operational stuff, which we solved, the fans like it. And so fan engagement is key and has been part of why we've done this right along, is that fan engagement element is very strong.

Sure, that's great. Especially the college level it's mostly young folks and these are the people that are really passionate about the environment and that's great. And then eventually you left and now you're the director of the University of Colorado Boulder Environmental Center. And you founded the nation's first comprehensive NCAA Division One sports sustainability program - Ralphie's Green Stampede. Tell us a little bit about that program.

So, at Florida we started the first zero waste program in the NCAA, and then when we got to Colorado we came first comprehensive one. So we do it in all sports, and it's not just a zero waste, it's zero carbon, zero water, zero net energy in new buildings, no pesticides, local food and a few other things I can't remember. We've got four LEED Platinum athletics facilities, which is half of the number of LEED platinum buildings on the entire campus. And we've got the lion's share, like 90 plus percent, of all of the installed solar on athletics facilities. So, the University of Colorado Athletic Department is the most sustainable department on campus, a fact that bugs the heck out of the environmental science people, but it is what it is. When I got to Colorado and told them both to the Florida story, it got me a meeting with the AD at the time, Mike Bohn.  He listened to what I had to say and he said, "Okay, we can do that here." It was about that easy. So I said, "Hey, you know, this was awful easy. How come you said yes so fast."

And this I will carry with me the rest of my career. His response to me was, "Dave, what you don't understand is people don't come here on Saturday for football. They come here for community. And sustainability is all about community. So this will work." I will tell you that that is a lesson in how to engage fans and what is really going on in sports, that I now see everywhere. I checked it out, I worked on it and we've done research on it. And indeed, sports is a bonding moment for our fans. That's why you come. That's why everybody's singing the same songs, wear's the same shirts, looks at the same environments and all that kind of stuff. Because we are communal species and we want to be part of the community. So, that added to my repertoire of ways to approach this thing and leverage that fan engagement we were speaking of.

That's great. And so now we have the PAC-12 Sustainability Conference coming up July 12th and that's going to be at the University of Colorado Boulder, is that right?

Correct, and come on down.

Absolutely. So, tell us about that conference. How did it come about and what can we expect?

From the time when I started working at Florida and then Colorado in sports, many sports organizations have moved into this space, especially at the pro level and increasingly at the college level. I'm seeing the value of: A) Saving money through operational sustainability and B) Engaging your fans through this leadership. However, no athletic conference or sports network has moved into the space of promoting it as sort of a behavior and a lifestyle, as a conference and as a league, until the PAC-12 showed up. And Jamie's great leadership with PAC-12, and Larry Scott the commissioner, I've met with both of them, and Larry is 100 percent behind this because they get everything I just said.

They get the savings, they get the leadership and the fan engagement. And so, they're now talking about this in game. They're talking about it as a conference. They're talking about it as a leadership position, as consistent with the Conference of Champions and other people have taken notice now. So, their leadership is really a game changer in terms of taking it to the next level and using the sports platform to engage fans to be more sustainable at home, work and play. That is the mission. Running a recycling system in your stadium is great. Using that as an influencer to influence those fans that show up for that community every Saturday, as part of being a good fan of their favorite team, to live the life and to embody that as part of their fandom. That's the strategy. That's what the sustainability conference is all about - How do we do our operational stuff better and how do we use it to influence fans?

You guys have some famous accomplished athletes who are going to be there speaking as well. Professional athletes and Olympic athletes. Tell us a little bit about who will be there.

It's a really good group. We have Arielle Gold, a professional snowboarder and one of our students AT UC Boulder, and part of our Protect Our Winters, and is touring the hallways of Capitol Hill and other places to talk about climate change and how it affects our lives and our sports. So she's obviously our millennial target athlete. Mary Harvey, who I have the pleasure of working alongside of the board of the Green Sports Alliance. She is just fabulous in terms of her overall acumen. She's won gold medals, World Cups, she played with Mia Hamm, she's worked for FIFA back in the day and now she's working with the World Cup, a group here for the United States that successfully landed the World Cup bid for North America in 2026. There's some other great athletes as well. Obviously Steve Lavin, a fabulous coach, ESPN commentator and a spokesman for UCLA. Jason Richardson, another NCAA Championship basketball player and retired from the NBA. Last year you may recall we had Bill Walton show up and give us a keynote and some life lessons, and that was entertaining. I think I've missed a couple, but there's obviously more detail at the

And Jason Richardson retired and left the Golden State Warriors a little bit too early. He kind of missed out on all the fun.

Oh boy, those guys are something else.

So, Dave, some people may not see the connection, but I actually think there's a strong parallel between sports and leading sustainability, having passion and perseverance, cooperation, teamwork, team building and strategy. What do you think sustainability professionals who were leading sustainability can learn from these accomplished professional athletes?

Yeah, I think you said it well, Josh. I think that's exactly right. One of the things that sustainability professionals do is basically giving credit away for everything, and being all about teamwork and not really trying to be a showboat or anything. They're much like hockey players. Where do you hear of an arrogant hockey player? Most of them were like, "Oh man, my team is so great," and all this stuff because they know it's all about teamwork. I think likewise, as you said, in sustainability it's the same thing. We want everyone to be part of it.

And so when you do it inclusively and you bring people together to have a conversation about moving forward sustainably, then you bring in people that wouldn't normally be part of that team, and that's the key. That's how you grow the scope of what you're doing, by getting beyond the usual suspects and getting into folks where this may not be what they get out of bed thinking about every morning. But it's important to them when they have the opportunity to be influential in it. And so allowing for that influence, allowing for people who are doing other things, to be part of this and really bringing them in and getting those ideas, that's how you grow the team. That's how you move towards sustainability. And that is all a process. It is not an end game. Sustainability is not an end game. It's a process. The process is the product. And the process is inclusion and teamwork.

Very well said, Dave. For any of our listeners who would like to attend the PAC-12 Sustainability Conference, where can they go to find out more and to sign up.

So,, or just Google it and it'll take you there. The website is up and running and accepting your reservations. Come on down. We've got all kinds of fun things to do in Boulder on the 11th and 12th of July. And then that weekend, the Grateful Dead are going to be in our stadium playing. So, come for a conference and stay for the concert.

Sounds great. Dave, before we let you go we're going to end on our Final Five Questions. Are you ready?

Five Questions. Who used to do that? It was the original Daily Show guy. Craig Kilborn.

Funny thing about Craig Kilborn, who was actually a great athlete himself and played some college basketball. He's from Hastings, Minnesota, which is the same small town that I'm from. His mom was my middle school English teacher. I remember the first day of class I had with her, she had a picture of Craig on the back of the classroom and said, "That's my son. He's in radio and learn from him. He's a great communicator." Then about a year later I saw him on Sports Center for the first time and I was like, "I know that name somewhere." And it was him, Craig Kilborn. So, he's one of the few famous people to come out of my small town.

He's funny and he was really good at it too. And when he left I thought, "he's going to be a hard act to follow."

Yeah, he was great. So, what is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

Don't think of anything. Have other people think about it and have it be their idea.

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

How fast it's growing. I'm old, so I've observed the beginning and there was nobody. There was five of us doing this job when I started at Florida back in the nineties, and now I've lost count.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

If you don't read any other book in your entire life? You have to read Natural Capitalism.

Excellent. And we had Hunter Lovins on as a guest a few weeks ago, so everyone can check out that episode of Sustainable Nation. What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do?

Being a member of AASHE and using their website and their member community is a daily thing. I'm looking at their email right now. I think AASHE, again, didn't exist when we started. Now it's booming and all the many people that I've never even heard of are now offering information and gaining information through their website,

And finally, where can people go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at the University of Colorado Boulder, Green Sports Alliance and/or the PAC-12 Sustainability Conference?

I'm on LinkedIn. Let's just go with LinkedIn.

They will find you on LinkedIn. Excellent. Dave, it's so great to learn about all the work you've been doing and how this sustainability in sports movement really got started all the way back in 2002. I very much look forward to seeing you in Boulder in July. Thank you so much for joining and thank you for making the world a better place.

And thank you for hosting us today, Josh. Look forward to seeing you in boulder.


Jun 21, 2018
Joseph Brinkley - Director of Vineyards at Bonterra Organic Vineyards

Joseph’s contributions and expertise, including his extensive knowledge of Biodynamic preparations, contribute to ongoing excellence at Bonterra, purveyor of the nation’s leading wine from organically farmed grapes and a trio of acclaimed wines from Biodynamically farmed grapes. “Bonterra has been farming organically for more than thirty years and Biodynamically for more than twenty, and it’s an honor to steward this next chapter,” says Joseph. In addition to his work at Bonterra, Joseph sits on the Board of Directors of the Josephine Porter Institute.

Joseph Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Organic, regenerative, biodynamic and sustainable farming
  • Benefits of organic and regenerative farming vs conventional
  • Climate change impacts on California vineyards
  • 30 years of organic farming at Bonterra Vineyards
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Joseph's Final Five Responses:

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

Look outside wherever your focus may be. I got into wine through biodynamics. When I came to Napa to start 12, 13 years ago, I knew nothing about wine or vineyards, but it was what I knew out of composting and out of soil and biodynamics that really has helped me. So I think there's a lot for us to learn as we kind of expand our view and look at other systems and how they work, to kind of open the view up a little bit larger.

What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainable farming and organic farming?

I was going to say the youth, but honestly the youth always has this energy and idealism, which is beautiful, but at the same time you see that in the older generations as well. We are all starting to come together with how we can make the world a better place and how we can do that, how we can reduce our negative impact and increase our positive impact, and how we can come together from different worlds and different areas of expertise. Because we all see that there's a really great need right now.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

Man or Matter. It is about the man as both material and spiritual being.

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

I think for me, just having eyes to observe. Observing growth, observing life, observing how plants interact, how animals interact. There's so much to be read in the world of nature. If we take the time to really look and see. It was funny, I was walking through the vineyard the other day with my wife and I just looked up into the field and I pointed out like three or four things, and she looks at me and she's like, "How did you see that?" I was like, "Well, that's what I see, you know." But, there's a lot to learn out there if we just take a moment to look.

Finally, where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work you're leading at Bonterra?

I would start with the website

Jun 19, 2018
Dr. Michael Lizotte - Sustainability Officer at UNC Charlotte

Dr. Michael Lizotte is Sustainability Officer at UNC Charlotte since 2013.  He previously filled that role at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, where he was professor of ecology and helped start an environmental studies program and an online MS in Sustainable Management.  Dr. Lizotte has research administration experience with an oceanography institute and NASA. To study the ecology of algae, he made 12 trips to Antarctica and 1 to the Arctic.  Lizotte Creek in Antarctica is named in his honor.

Mike Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Incorporating light rail on campus and impacts on sustainability goals and performance
  • How sustainability affects the products of higher education
  • Raising sustainability issues that may not be popular with all stakeholders
  • Using AASHE STARS to guide sustainability improvement
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Mike'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 the best advice I can give people is that they have to learn that they can't do all of this on their own, but that almost everything you do is going to happen via some kind of partnership with other people. I don't know of any good examples where someone is really given the reigns of the organization or enough resources to actually be able to do that. It's kind of expected right now that we're going to conduct our work through persuasion and various other sort of leadership skills.

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

Well, there is a tendency to get attracted by the piece that's sort of right in front of you, but I'm spending an awful lot of time looking at transportation. I think even in the decade or so that I have left before I might retire, I think things are going to change radically. They may just change because experimental systems need a place to be tested and the universities may be the places that are going to try this. So we may be the first ones that see some smaller scale autonomous vehicle use and test out what does it look like when you really do these radical changes to a community.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

That was an easy question. So the one that I'm always recommending to folks is Bob Willard's Sustainability Champion's Guidebook. It's just the nicest little book and I'm always going back and flipping through it and getting ideas. It is a series of models, so I'll admit I'm kind of drawn to it from that aspect, but I think he does a great job with summarizing a lot of ideas and creating a way that someone who is supposed to lead can configure out, "how am I going to get all these other people involved or how am I going to make these persuasive arguments."

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

One that's been wonderful for me is just the networks that were formed. Before I arrived here in North Carolina, in Charlotte, I belonged to one network of sustainability officers at universities across the southeast. Just having that monthly call is wonderful. An entirely separate network is one here in the city of Charlotte where some fairly large corporate headquarter sustainability officers are available along with other large organizations. So, I get to see things and solutions that aren't necessarily being talked about at the university. There's even a smaller effort here, which is sustainability leaders having to do with the hospitality industry.  So, wherever you are, I would just say try to find those networks. For the most part they're not Internet based, but they are primarily networks of people who are still doing things face to face or via the telephone.

And finally where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at UNC Charlotte.

We hope to be getting a lot more attention through the UNC a main page, that's you We have a new plan coming out and we're hoping that the initiatives get more attention from the university, but they're already fairly good at covering regular events and things like that that we do on campus.

Jun 14, 2018
Nils Moe - Managing Director of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network

Nils Moe currently serves as the Managing Director of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN). In this role, Nils oversees the day-to-day operations of this rapidly evolving North American network of over 185 member communities representing more than 84 million residents. Nils is an experienced, accomplished change agent with over 15 years of successful strategic business development, organizational leadership, and client building. Previously, he served as the Mayor’s Sustainability Advisor for the City of Berkeley, where he helped to implement Berkeley’s Climate Action Plan and worked with the city staff and the community to reduce their GHG emissions. He also has worked as a professor of Organizational Psychology at San Francisco State University, co–founded two values-driven non–profits, and worked in the private sector as a management consultant, specializing in program evaluation of non-profits and 360–degree feedback for Fortune 100 companies.

Nils Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Cities leading the way to a sustainable future
  • The power of networks and collaboration in sustainability
  • Local government leading on climate in the absence of federal leadership
  • Trends in urban climate and sustainability work
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Nils' 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 I'm a bit biased, but going back to this notion of my parallel path between the social psychology realm and the environmental science realm, I think our field can be really technical, talking about renewable energy, land use policies, transportation analysis, which is a critical skillset, but something that can't be underestimated, I think is the power of the soft skills in our work. One of the crosscutting challenges that our cities are facing is this notion around human behavior and behavior change. At the end of the day, much of the work that we're doing is about relationships, influencing people, empowering folks to make some key and critical changes to habits that have been forming over their life. So, how can we really do a better job of leveraging some of the key social sciences out there to help us align our work, empower folks to make those key changes? So I think some of the leadership skills, learning a little more about social sciences is sort of a key piece of the puzzle.

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

We're entering our 10th year now. We built this amazing, connected membership. All of these members are doing amazing work in their local municipalities, local counties. Now what does it look like to do this at scale? So our membership have charged us to look at, is there a menu list of initiatives that we can agree on as a membership of 190-plus cities that we feel have the potential to provide strong impact over the next three years? So I think, in short, it's the power of the aggregate. What does it look like to take on these initiatives at scale with large groups of cities that could really start to move the needle and move markets? What would it look like for 150 cities to commit to procuring renewable energy? How would that drive the market, the transaction costs, the energy costs? What would it look like for 50 cities to get together and go out to their auto manufacturing industry and say, "We want an electric vehicle, light duty truck with these specs." One city isn't going to get the attention of an auto manufacturer, but 50 cities will. So I think it's this power and strength in numbers that is really exciting to me.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

I don't want to sound like a homer here, but a checkout the Guide to Greening Cities. Excellent book by Julia Parzen, Sadhu Aufochs Johnston, and Steven S. Nicholas. It's five years old now, but it still does an amazing job of talking about the challenges, the opportunities, the successes from the city level. S

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

Yeah, check out our USDN website. We've got some public pages around the innovation products that are coming out from our cities which are really intriguing. This aggregate high impact practice work will be on there in the fall of 2018. We've got a great series of equity training videos, Equity 101, that I think could be beneficial to folks at large. Innovation Network for Communities has some great work on their website. We have Paul Hawkins speaking at our annual meeting in San Diego last year. So I think Drawdown is a really compelling story in a way to prioritize the actions that are ahead of us. We're looking forward to Hunter Lovins', Finer Future, which is coming out in the fall. And we work with some amazing partners. The list is really long, so it's tough to choose just a few, but Eco America - Let's Talk Climate. A way to sort of find the middle ground around some of these key and politically challenging discussions around climate change. The Georgetown Adaptation Clearing House is an amazing repository of all the amazing work that's going on around resilience. Your podcast is a good one too. I'm a fan.

Finally, working on our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at USDN?

Reach out to us if you have any questions. We are at Our sister organization, We're @USDN on twitter. Check us out and look forward to hearing from some of you.

Jun 12, 2018
Cindy Klein-Banai - Associate Chancellor for Sustainability at University of Illinois Chicago

Ten years ago, Dr. Cynthia Klein-Banai founded the UIC Office of Sustainability where her team promotes sustainability as part of our campus culture and enhances UIC’s mission of student success, improving public health, and serving the communities of Chicago. The Office promotes the UIC Climate Commitments of Carbon Neutral Campus, Zero Waste Campus, Net Zero Water Campus, and Biodiverse Campus. She has developed applied learning and research opportunities for students through internships, volunteer opportunities, and special projects. Dr. Klein-Banai has a Ph.D. in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (EOHS) from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

Cindy Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Goals for water neutral, climate neutral and zero waste
  • The importance of social equity and diversity in sustainability programs
  • Engaging UIC's Center for Cultural Understanding and Social Change in sustainability programs
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders 

Cindy's Final Five Question Responses:

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

Well, when you get someplace where you start to work, don't assume you know the answers, what's good for that institution, what needs to be done. You have to get to know the organization, the people, and also the assets. What is already going on? And then really reflect the value of sustainability and build on what's already there.

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

I'm actually most excited about the students. Seeing the student engagement. Through our internship we have students that really see this as a social justice issue. For them it's not just solving an environmental problem. And so working with them gives me hope over and over again that we're going to see a shift in the global perspective and we're going to be able to work this out and survive on this planet for a good while longer.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

When thinking about social justice and sustainability, I think one book that's really good is Just Sustainability by Julian Agyeman. It's a good way to help learn about this topic, and not just the environmental perspective.

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

I have to give a shout out to the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. It's really guided me in my work from the first day on the job. Disclaimer, I am on the board. Also Second Nature, when you're doing climate action or resilience planning, they have good resources for that. And a third thing that I've used that has informed me through training is something called Common Ground. It started in Chicago. Leith Sharp, who was the head of sustainability at Harvard originally, has developed some really interesting thinking about organizational change management, that builds on some of the literature that's out there, but is unique and crowdsourced.

And finally where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at UIC?

So, or any of our social media. Our handle is sustainableuic on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Jun 07, 2018
Catherine Kummer - Senior Director for Green Innovation at NASCAR

As Senior Director of Green Innovation at NASCAR, Catherine directs development, adoption, and implementation of sustainability strategies across the number one spectator sport in the United States.  She integrates ESG initiatives across the industry with a program that in just under a decade has grown into one of the most visible sustainability programs in all of sports. Working with partners from the business sector, government and non-profit organizations, she also develops and coordinates programs with NASCAR sponsors and industry that advance sustainability objectives including food donation, recycling, clean water protection and the offsetting of carbon emissions for all of NASCAR's national series racing, employee air travel and quarterly partner summits. The Green Innovation platform provides both societal and business value, but also operates as a brand enhancing business.

Catherine Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Sustainability in professional sports
  • NASCAR's commitment to GHG, energy and waste reduction
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders
Catherine'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 be bold. That's commonly said, but I think it's important in sustainability. Be passionate, but be aware. And what I mean by being aware is ensure that you know who you're speaking to when you're speaking to them. Know your audience. When you're going in to pitch these ideas, know what drives them, what's going to result in them making an operational change or a culture change or whatever that may be. Just make sure that you're aware and you're humble in that approach. That is huge. I would also say that keeping the big picture in mind, always, has proven to be really helpful for me and taking one bite at a time. Do that well. Take that one bite. Make sure that you are crushing that one bite. Own it. Do your best to not spread yourself too thin because there's so much to be done, but identify where you can make the most impact and do it.

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

Materials innovation, biomimicry, that all interests me a tremendously. More specifically though, how it can be advanced through sport. I'm excited to see how that rolls out. I'm excited to see how sport can be the catalyst for these new innovations, for these new technologies or these new mindsets, quite frankly. The opportunity to use sport to drive all of it. I think it's fascinating and I really feel like we're on the cusp of something so tremendous. The leagues are beginning to rally together. I worked directly with Omar Mitchell at the NHL and with Paul Hamlin at MLB, and those programs, they are doing amazing work as well. Coming together to look at how we can drive this impact, and we're so much more powerful if we all row in the same direction. I am probably most excited about how those relationships will continue to develop over time and what that will mean from an impact standpoint across the board when we look at these issues, whether it be social issues or environmental issues, economic issues, whatever that may be. That's really compelling and that's what gets me excited when I walk into this office everyday.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

I've thought about that one and actually spent probably more time than I should have looking at my bookcase. You can take it back to Silent Spring to know the foundation of why we're here. I think that is really, really important. Natural Capitalism, Hunter Lovins, and Amory's Reinventing Fire. I mean those are staples as well, but I gotta be honest. I find myself being more of a podcast person these days. So Greenbiz 350, How I Built This, not necessarily a sustainability podcast, but one that I just think from a business perspective is crazy inspiring for me. And then the Rachel Hollis podcast is one that I also listened to. As a female in the sports world, I think it's super important to continue to push yourself and inspire yourself and to surround yourself by other individuals like minded females specifically that are also doing the same thing. So yeah, this is probably the hardest question that you've asked me. I just have so many thoughts on things that folks should read and dive into.

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

I've been fortunate to have a network of individuals that are just crazy knowledgeable in this space. I mentioned Allen Hershkowitz who has been a mentor for me for quite some time now. Joel Makower and the Greenbiz Executive Network, we are members of that organization. The Green Sports Alliance is doing tremendous work. Sport and Sustainability International is just kind of the global version of the Green Sports Alliance. Again, the networks that you have and learning from others that are also doing and have done this work for years and years and years. I find those to be the most valuable resources out there, and just taking the opportunity to stop and to listen and to learn and to be willing to take criticism and advice and suggestions, and raising your hand when you don't know because those networks are there to lift you up. That's been just a really amazing tool for me personally.

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

So my LinkedIn page has a plethora of different information on the program and work that I personally am doing outside of the organization that kind of tie back to overall sustainability efforts. You could also check out a\green, which is the website for all things NASCAR green. And then follow us on the Twitter at NASCAR Green or feel free to give me a follow up at Catherine Kummer. I definitely do my best and fore warn you that you'll probably get pictures of my kids too.

Jun 05, 2018
Sam Arons - Director of Sustainability at Lyft

As the Director fo Sustainability at Lyft, Sam Arons oversees the company's sustainability and climate impact efforts. Lyft was one of the first companies to join former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s “We're Still In” movement to pledge their commitment to the Paris Climate Accord. Shortly after, the company outlined their Climate Impact Goals to do their part to address the threat posed by global climate change. 

Sam came to Lyft after 10 years at Google where he developed the company’s sustainability efforts as Senior Lead for Energy & Infrastructure. Prior to his time with Google, Sam researched wind energy and plug-in vehicles at Williams College and UC Berkeley, respectively.

Sam Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Lyft's new carbon offset program, offsetting 100% of the GHG emissions associated with Lyft rides
  • Lyft's goals to use 100% renewably powered autonomous vehicles
  • Greening America's cities with shared, electric, autonomous vehicles
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Sam'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 that solving climate change really requires a village and no one of us can do it alone. So for me, I have really reached out to my networks and tried to get to know as many different people as I can because we're going to need to partner with all sorts of different people to realize this future that we all want to see. So I would recommend other professionals think about doing the same thing.

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

One thing that I'm really excited about right now is something called the Three Transportation Revolutions and this is a kind of an initiative and a concept from a professor, Dan Sperling who is at the UC Davis Institute for Transportation Studies. The three revolutions in transportation are shared, autonomous and electric vehicles. Combined, those three aspects of where transportation is headed can have a potentially very positive effect on the world. I'm excited to be involved in helping to make that happen.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

You know, I always liked the classics. I would say, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. That was one of the inspirations for me to get involved in this work.

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

For those folks who may be looking for a way to do corporate renewable energy purchasing, there is a great program run by the Rocky Mountain Institute in Colorado called the Business Renewable Center, BRC. Basically, they run a very effective bootcamp for folks to really get up to speed quickly on how this whole renewable purchase the thing work, how it fits into the electricity grid, how do you convince your CFO to do it etc. It's a great workshop. I've been privileged to be an instructor at that workshop. I'd highly recommend it to anybody who's looking to learn more about that.

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

So we have a few publications that we've put out recently. One is Lyft's Climate Impact Goals - a blog post. You can search for that online. We also have a medium post that describes our recent carbon neutrality announcement, so you can also search for that one online. And finally, my LinkedIn profile has a bit more information as well. So check it out.


May 31, 2018
Julien Gervreau - Director of Sustainability at Jackson Family Wines

Julien Gervreau is a Sonoma County, Calif. native whose career in the wine industry has spanned over 13 years. In his role as Director of Sustainability at Jackson Family Wines, Julien focuses on setting strategies and tactical implementation of water and energy efficiency, onsite renewable energy generation, GHG emissions reductions, and waste diversion. He also works closely in communicating JFW’s commitment to sustainability in the marketplace through sales and distribution channels, as well as activating employee engagement.

Julien is passionate about designing, developing and managing sustainable business systems that enhance the triple bottom line of economic growth, environmental sustainability, and social equity. He employs integrated systems thinking, financial analysis and documented sustainability frameworks to guide business strategy that fosters healthy, more resilient entities, and drives operational savings.

Julien Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Jackson Family Wine's practices to build water resiliency in their operations
  • Leading Zero Waste in a large organization
  • Supply chain sustainability and regenerative agriculture
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Julien'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 was at a conference in October of last year that was hosted by Net Impact and one of the keynote speakers was a gentleman named Derek Kayongo and he's a former refugee who has built some very exciting social benefit businesses over the years, and his advice when he was speaking to this group at Net Impact, which is essentially an organization that's focused on helping young people find purpose in their careers, was very simple and it deems repeating here. He basically says there's two components to it. The first is figure out what you're good at and the second is figuring out what you're passionate about. And from there you can find a place within any organization and make a difference because at the end of the day, there are very few people who actually have the word sustainability in their title. But everybody ultimately has the opportunity to positively influence their organization's sustainability program.

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

I think what I was talking about with regard to our carbon mapping exercises is just really exciting and as I explore just what one company can potentially do with the land that we own and you start to think about extrapolating that across vast swaths of this state, of this country and of this planet, it gets me excited to see that there are people thinking about these solutions. I think the challenge is figuring out how we can change our structure from a financial standpoint and really stimulate investment in things like planting trees and spreading compost. I think the big challenge of today and tomorrow is to figure out how you can make the business case for things like that.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

I would recommend two. Kind of the most recent book that I've read that really kind of blew my hair back was, was Paul Hawkins Drawdown. I really enjoyed the way in which it's presented in terms of being a solutions-oriented book and ultimately as Paul Hawkins said, he just did the math. So there's a lot of really great stuff in there. I also liked Danella Meadows Thinking In Systems, because ultimately as you go into any organization, you pull on one string and it's going to unravel another part of something somewhere else. And it's just really important as a sustainability practitioner to understand the entire system of anything that you're looking at impact.

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

From a water budgeting and footprinting standpoint, the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance has a really great tool that ultimately helps you kind of get to that cost of water and understand where your sources and uses of water are so you can identify and start to prioritize your conservation efforts. The Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable also has a similar tool that is not wine industry specific, but it's beverage industry specific. So for those those colleagues kind of working in beer, wine and spirits, I highly recommend checking out either one of those tools.

And finally working on our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at Jackson Family Wines.

Our corporate website is, and that the bottom of the homepage there's a CR sustainability progress button and you can actually click on that. What we're doing throughout the course of 2018 is releasing progress updates on our 2016 sustainability report. So the goal is by the end of this year, we will have a monthly progress reports on each of the 11 goals that we've established from a sustainability standpoint and that will then inform kind of our next iteration in our next update on our sustainability progress for 2018. 


May 29, 2018
Caroline Savage - Campus as Lab Manager at Princeton University

As Campus as Lab Manager, Caroline works at the campus-based intersection of operational, educational and research activities that result in the advancement of sustainability problem-solving. She designs and implements the Campus as Lab program to encourage and support the Princeton campus community in testing sustainable solutions, engaging all disciplines. Caroline previously served as the Director of the Institute for Community Sustainability at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, IN, where she laid the groundwork for an ecovillage in the community adjacent to the university that is currently in development; hosted regional symposia on infill development and urban food issues in the Midwest; and developed several sustainability and social justice programs.

Caroline Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Using the university as a lab for sustainability
  • Benefits of formalizing the Campus as Lab program in the university
  • Engaging students in sustainability programs and research
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability professionals

Caroline's Final Five Responses:

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

Get outside of your bubble. I think it's really tempting to want to surround ourselves with people who think like us and sometimes that space is totally appropriate, but try to put yourself in uncomfortable spaces or in front of people who don't think like you do whatever that happens to look like for your individual situation. I think that's the only way we grow.

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

Some of the gaps and the end of the Obama era has left, both nationally and internationally, present some really interesting opportunities. So internationally we're seeing leadership from countries that maybe hadn't been on the global stage so much for sustainability. Now they are having the opportunity to step in and fill that gap. And nationally I think we kind of have the imperative to stop using the same language around sustainability that we have, to stop assuming that sustainability is just a good thing and everybody's going to like it to engage. As well as the increased energy and call to action that so many people are hearing to act on these issues.

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

I would recommend, and this is getting a little bit outside of the realm of sustainability, but there's a great book called Doing Good Better by William Macaskill. He talks about this concept of effective altruism and the idea that just because we want to do something, or you want to do some good, we might not automatically come up with the most effective way to do that. So he takes a really hard look at how to do good in an effective way.

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

I totally rely on AASHE, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. They're kind of where I got my start in the academic world. I found a job through one of their newsletters. They're an incredibly supportive community, that I found as a great resource all throughout my career and I've been in sustainability in higher ed for about 10 years now. Even if you're not in higher ed, I really recommend following them for some of the best practices and job opportunities and other events that come out of that community. In a closely related is green schools listserv, that's run through Brown University. I also recommend finding good project management systems in general and being well organized in general. I can't recommend one specific one. I've kind of learned a lot from different styles, but especially for this very project based work, I'm finding something like that that works for you, whether it's lists, post-its check in meetings or taking a course. Having strong systems in place to track progress makes all the difference. And then of course, this podcast as well.

And finally where our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you are leading at Princeton.

Sure, they can go to That will take them to the Campus as a Lab page. If they're interested in that community of practice I mentioned earlier you can go to That is a great compilation of best practices going on all across North America. And then finally, you're always welcome to email me I'm always happy to spread the word about Campus as Lab.



May 24, 2018
Luke Cartin - Environmental Sustainability Manager at Park City, Utah

Luke Cartin is the Environmental Sustainability Manager for Park City, Utah.  He oversees Park City’s goals of achieving net-zero carbon and 100% renewable electricity for city operations by 2022, and community-wide 2032. These goals are the most ambitious in North America for any municipality, and one of the most aspiring world-wide. There are many programs underway, including; electrification of city fleet and buses, bringing on large scale renewables, quantifying open space as carbon sinks, and pursuing net-zero energy buildings.  Previous to coming to the city, he worked in ski resort sustainability for 15 years. His work has been featured in the New York Times, BBC, Outside Magazine, Newsweek, and other international outlets. He lives with his wife, two kids, and many animals just outside Park City. 

Luke Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Setting ambitious renewable energy and carbon neutral goals
  • Climate change impacts on the ski industry and tourism
  • Engaging local farmers in regenerative agriculture
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

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

I would say there's two ways to view the climate crisis, and then also sustainability overall. View as like you're learning a chest match, meaning the only way you're going to get better is by playing and doing. Failure will be an asset to you because you will quickly understand what does not work. And I know folks are scared to fail, but we need to act and you have the silent majority. So the goal is to really focus on trying and doing. Don't put up barriers to say, "well our community can't do that because of this or that." Set these ambitious goals and that'll force you to create the pathway forward.

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

I think it's how quickly things can change once the pathway forward is shown. When we set our 100 percent renewable electricity goal, people thought we were nuts. I mean other communities were like, "what are you guys doing? You're in a state with a regulated utility that's owned by Berkshire Hathaway." But the great thing is the pathway forwards have been created and it seems daunting to get a community that's mostly coal fired to carbon neutrality and hundred percent renewable in 14 years. But the great thing is we've identified major pathways to get there and it's really exciting to be a player in that.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

I'll throw two at you here. So one of them is called The One Straw Revolution. It's a great book because the concept is that there's limits to the human knowledge, but it's using natural systems aligned with your goal. It's the exact same concept we're going with some of the regenerative agriculture pieces in that we just want to help kind of steer in the right direction and make sure we're not doing harm, and it's impressive how the natural environment can help increase that. The other interesting book that I really suggest is 10 Percent happier by Dan Harris. You can get very depressed by seeing all of the horrible things going on and you need to balance yourself out. So 10 Percent Happier by Dan Harris is a great book because it talks about meditation. Just kind of keeping your head on your shoulders. It gives you some really easy techniques to keep yourself balanced. Because I think in this role you're under constant attack.

I think we'd all be okay with being 10 percent happier. That sounds great. What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do?

One of the tools, and you mentioned it for other communities that are interested in this world, even if you don't have a fully dedicated sustainability person, which I would heavily push any community to have because like I said, they can problem solve for your folks. They can help find savings. There something called the Urban Sustainability Directors Network and it's open to sustainability professionals in municipalities and it is a great resource. I know you've interviewed like Gil and a couple of their folks too. It's an awesome community to say, "Hey, who's tried a community composting program?" And you can dive in. "Who's written an RFP for solar on a library?" It's an awesome resource. The other part for my end that's interesting read, there's a great website out there called Utility Dive. It wraps up what's going on in the utility sphere, because there are some pro-coal pieces going on and there's nuclear subsidies or something like that. This gets a little bit more technical and it's great for me to help understand the broad swaths of what's going on in the regulatory market and also what's happening with the energy sphere overall in North America.

And finally, where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at Park City?

So we have the city website, We're actually underway right now to launch another website that'll sum up all of these pieces. So stay tuned for that. Easy way to track me down, just find me through the website or through LinkedIn.

May 22, 2018
Zoe Le Grand - Senior Strategist for the Net Positive Project at Forum for the Future

Zoe Le Grand is Principal Sustainability Strategist at Forum for the Future. Zoe specializes in providing high quality and stretching strategic sustainability advice to businesses and non-profits.  She is responsible for providing critical advice and delivering work programs for sustainable business leaders including The Crown Estate and Sig Global. 

In addition, Zoe leads The Net Positive Project which brings together big corporations such as AT&T, Levi Strauss and Co and Dell, to help set and implement Net Positive strategies and to build the movement of companies who take this ambitious approach. 

Zoe Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • The Net Positive Movement in Business
  • The principals of a Net Positive company
  • The work being led with the Net Positive Project
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders
May 17, 2018
Tod Christenson - Executive Director of the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable

As a consultant to private industry for more than 30 years, Tod partners with clients to develop and implement fit-for-purpose and innovative solutions to drive sustainability across the entire value chain. His skills and expertise in the areas of strategic thinking and planning, facilitation, organizational diagnosis, and global process implementation provide clients with strategies to evolve their corporate environmental and social responsibility programs.

Since its founding in 2006, Tod has served as the Director of the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER), a technical coalition of 19 global beverage companies working together to advance environmental stewardship across the beverage sector (  

May 15, 2018
Chris Castro - Director of Sustainability for the City of Orlando

Chris is currently the Director of Sustainability and Co-chair of the Smart Cities initiative for Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and the City of Orlando. In his role at the City, he works to develop cross-sector partnerships, policies, and programs that support the sustainability, energy, and climate-related goals of the “Green Works Orlando” initiative.

Over the last 10 years, Chris has consulted for governments, academia, business chambers, companies, nonprofits and communities to implement sustainability projects that include a wide variety of topics, specifically smart cities, solar energy development, building efficiency, electric vehicles, local food systems, water quality, ecological restorations and more.

Chris Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Sustainable food systems
  • PACE Financing and its success in Orlando
  • Meeting GHG reductions through energy management
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Chris Castro's Final Five Responses:

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

First and foremost, I'd say build a network and be a part of the growing network of sustainability professionals. So specifically for local governments, there's a group called the Urban Sustainability Directors Network or USDN for short. And this has been an invaluable resource for me as a director of sustainability in the city to better learn and share best practices among some of the largest cities, including Las Vegas, Boston, Austin, Boulder, Chicago, DC, New York, you name it. Each one of these major cities are collaborating together through the USDN or sharing policy and program resources. We're at the end of the day making not only our cities, our regions, but the entire country and the world, a more sustainable place. So I'd say get connected with these networks. It's going to be extremely valuable. As you look to implement your solutions.

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

It's hard not to be excited about a lot of things that are going on. I think that there's a growing interest in the private sector and in governments around the world that are really prioritizing these issues and they're advancing sustainability because they realize that it's directly tied to quality of life, to public health and to long-term sustainable economic growth. And the more that we see that type of momentum, you see corporations that are moving to a hundred percent renewables for their operations, Google and Apple and Microsoft, large banks like JP Morgan Chase that are making commitments to move their entire operations to carbon neutrality and to renewable energy. This is an amazing time to be alive and to be in this field. And no matter what focus area you're in, whether it's food systems, whether it's livability, water, energy, transportation, each one of them has essentially come to an interesting point where technology has become economically feasible. And at the same time, it's making significant impacts. So it's probably the most exciting time to be in the field of sustainability than ever before.

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

Wow. There's a number of them that I use as guidance. And I'll tell you, the most recent one that's been impactful for me is Paul Hawkins Drawdown, the recent study that he pulled together with over a hundred different scientists and researchers around the world to truly identify the top 100 strategies to address the climate crisis and to advance sustainability. It's phenomenal because it's not only economically sound, but it's scientifically sound. It's very much founded in hard science and facts. And it really is a fantastic guidebook and roadmap for cities and corporations and communities to follow, to lower their environmental footprint and to create a more regenerative future for all of us. So Drawdown, I'll have to say, is one of the top ones in my book right now.

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

Yeah, that's an interesting question. I go back to use USDN. That's one of my favorite resources out there. It's again a kind of an intranet repository of different policies and programs that other cities have implemented. It has a forum that allows for sustainability professionals to share these resources and to answer each other's questions and so that resource is valuable, I highly recommend it, especially for people working in cities. And then, depending on the actual initiative you're working on, there's a series of different tools for those working on energy, water and waste within buildings, one of my favorite tools is the Energy Star Portfolio Manager tool. This is a free web based tool that's offered to specifically track and monitor energy and water consumption as well as waste consumption within buildings. And it helps to quantify what the economic, social and environmental impacts are from that consumption. So it's using real world data. It's normalizing that data to your facility and it's helping you get a better understanding of how you compare to other facilities, the same size, of the same year that was built and the same climate region. And so Energy Star does a fantastic job of providing that kind of portfolio manager tool for buildings. Buildings, in my opinion, are one of the most important and greatest opportunities we have to improve. In Orlando, they are 72 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions. In most cities buildings contribute to the greatest environmental impact. So if we can start to drive energy efficiency within our buildings, if we can drive a better operations and even onsite renewable energy generation, we can significantly impact the environment in a positive way. We can drive jobs, we can lower costs. At the end of the day we can be a more efficient and resilient city.

And finally working our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading with the city of Orlando.

I'm quite active on social media, so find me on Linkedin, find me on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Instagram. Those are the main outlets that I use and really encourage you to also look up the city of Orlando's website. It's just, that will route you directly to the webpage on the city's website and you can dive into each one of the focused areas I've been talking about. You can look at our goals or targets. You can download our action plans. I really encourage you, if you do have any questions or comments, to reach out to me directly and share what your thoughts are and how we can continue to really make Orlando a showcase leader in the movement towards a better, more healthier, sustainable future.


May 10, 2018
Bruno Sarda - VP Sustainability at NRG Energy

Bruno Sarda is head of sustainability at NRG, one of the country’s leading power companies, where he leads the development and execution of company-wide sustainability strategy and initiatives. Named one of the ‘most influential sustainability voices in America’ by The Guardian, Sarda actively participates in a variety of cross-industry efforts bridging public and private entities. Sarda joined NRG from Dell, Inc. where he was director of sustainability and social responsibility.

Bruno Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Sustainability initiatives of a large power company
  • Renewable energy and carbon capture technology
  • SASB's role in corporate sustainability
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Bruno's Final Five Question Responses:

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

You have to quickly get comfortable with the fact that sustainability is not the goal .Sustainability is the way. Tie is to the mission. Understand what is the organization trying to do. How does it define success? Show them that sustainability is an unavoidable or better path to go achieve that. Don't make sustainability its own objective. As long as you do that, you start getting a lot more support internally.

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

We touched on that all these ESG movement in the capital markets and the money flows where you look at where all the new money that's going, whether it's from a equity investors or debt lenders, it's all being invested in the right things. Everything else is noise or public money going into the wrong things. I find it very exciting to see that the capital markets are pointed in the right direction.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

A book that I assigned to my students at Arizona State is The Big Pivot by Andrew Winston. Andrew is a great guy. It's a well structured book that touches on the what's, the why's and the how's. Through the lens from a corporate sustainability view more than anything. It's very useful to anybody who wants to be successful in this space.

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

There's a handful. There's such an information overload. I find the Corporate Eco Forum puts out a weekly, very well curated digest. It's a Monday morning religiously at about 8:00 AM Eastern. It's free even to non members. If you subscribed to that, you get a weekly dose of very well curated sustainability news if that's all you get to read, you read that. For years now have also worked with BSR Business for Social Responsibility in terms of access to expertise. I find that they're a great partner and they put out also a lot of new knowledge and content and reports for a non members as well, but anybody can consume peer to peer learning. Mentoring is a important part of sustainability since often there's only a handful of us in any one company doing this job.

We're members of the GreenBiz Executive Network. That's a good resource for peer to peer connections and collaboration. The last one I'll mention that's newer for us, but very exciting. We're using a tool called Beta Moran, which is an AI-powered platform to help us streamline our sustainability work. We're about to do a big refresh of our materiality for NRG. For the first time, we're going to use it using this platform instead of using a people power.

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

It's You'll find everything you need to know about what we're doing here. If you're also interested in what I'm doing on the ASU, you can go to I'm on LinkedIn. It's I'm Twitter @bruno68.

May 08, 2018
Bob Langert - Former VP Sustainability at McDonalds and Editor at Large at GreenBizz

Bob led the development of McDonald’s 2020 Sustainability Vision and Framework, including McDonald’s commitment to the environment, supply chain sustainability, and balanced menu choices.  He retired from McDonald’s, March, 2015 and joined the GreenBiz Group, writing a regular column, The Inside View; and helping with the Green Biz Executive Network. He is President of Mainstream Sustainability, advising companies on sustainability strategies, and a nationally recognized speaker. He is writing a book entitled “The Battle to Do Good; Inside McDonald’s Sustainability Journey,” scheduled for publication in January 2018.  

Bob Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Lessons learned from decades of experience in corporate sustainability
  • Supply chain sustainability in large corporations
  • Working with NGO's - The good, the bad and the ugly
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Bob Langert Final Five Responses:

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

I noticed a lot of great leadership traits in my years of working with suppliers, working with great McDonalds leaders that made changes and with NGO leaders. You have to have courage because when making change you may have to face a lot of pain and grief. Having conviction. I look at Paul Polman from Unilever. It just kind of comes through in a very magical sense, positive sense of cleverness. And you have to be innovative. Never look at the situation in a standard way of being contrary. Being a sustainability leader, I found myself always in a position where everything I was trying to advocate was against the status quo. 

And this often means, oh, you're against. No, that's not what I mean. You need to know how to be contrary in a positive way. Have to be collaborative, and that means listening and really being open to change and adaptation. And the last one is charisma. You don't have to have this magnetic, you know, slapping the back personality. But I think the ability to attract attention and gain trust is what I think is charismatic. You can write those down and then try to figure out how you could develop the plan for yourself to advance all of those in your leadership.

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

I love the big goals that are being set by so many companies. Big goals on climate change and deforestation. When I left McDonald's, that's what's thrilled me the most. We set a goal at McDonald's that we're going to start buying sustainable beef by the year 2016. We didn't even know the definition of sustainable beef when we set that goal. That excites me to see a company's taking a big bold goal and leadership. It's not coming through government so companies are doing a great job and on a great track.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

The book I'm going to recommend reminds me of when I talked to Jim Cantalupo. He turned the company around as CEO from the early nineties. I asked him after a year or two on the job, I said "Jim, what's the biggest aha in your leadership as CEO of McDonald's?" He said, " I can't believe 99% of my job is communication." Once you develop a strategy, it's how you communicate. My answer is this great book on communication called Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath published about 10 years ago. It was my bible. He's got a formula for success in communicating. Sustainability professionals all need to look at this book or the principles of it. 

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

I'm a big fan of the GreenBiz community. The GreenBiz daily feeds and their website are the best daily news you can get. They have a group called the GreenBiz Executive Network. I found that to be the greatest tool around. Three times a year I get to be with 25 leaders from other companies who's going through the same struggles that I'm going through. Commiserating with them and understanding what they're going through and how they're solving problems was the best tool that I ever had.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and your work or follow you online?

The best place is go Look for Bob Langert. Look for my articles there. In the future, I'll be having a website within a month or two. Look me up for the Battle to Do Good that I talked about earlier and people that are interested in getting on the list to learn more about that book.

May 03, 2018
Ian Tierney - Sustainability Lead at KYA Design Group

As Sustainability Lead at KYA Design Group, Ian Tierney is working to change the way Hawaii develops by incorporating sustainability principles into projects and actively volunteering on the USGBC Hawaii Market Leadership Advisory Board. Ian has worked on numerous sustainability projects across Hawaii including the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport Sustainable Management Plan, the University of Hawaii West Oahu Admin and Allied Health Facility, and the Kamehameha Schools Sustainability Benchmarking Initiative.

Ian Tierney Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Energy benchmarking in buildings
  • Managing and selling LEED certification projects
  • Sustainability initiatives throughout Hawaii
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Ian'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 look into Mark Jewel. He is a best selling author and his classes on selling energy efficiency really taught me a lot about why people buy specifically into ideas and energy efficiency projects. And he provided me with the tools to do financial analysis and business acumen to communicate to business people in the c-suite. And then he also provides support and blog posts daily to keep my saw sharpen.

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

I'm probably most excited to be living in Hawaii in this time with all the sustainability goals that the government has set and also seeing it carry over into the big industries here, tourism, construction, military. The goal for 100 percent clean energy by 2045, it's bringing a lot of investment to the state infrastructure and then the Rockefeller Foundation funded the Honolulu Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency and it's really off to a great start in it's first year, and I just went to a presentation by them the other day and they're collecting so much good information to really inform decision makers about what the public thinks should be the number one and number two and number three priorities to address climate change, sustainability and resiliency. And I don't think anyone's really done that in the way that they have. So that's what I'm super stoked on right now.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

I think Abundance by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler. I recently read it and it kind of flipped the way that I think. It's very easy to think that it's all doom and gloom and sea-level rise and blah blah, blah and the negative thoughts are very easy to creep in when you're working in sustainability. But Abundance is all about the technologies that are on the way and poised for exponential growth, and for the costs to come down. I'd really appreciate it if everyone read that book because I think it would change the outlook that people have on the future of the world.

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

For me it's been networking. So I believe that your network is your net worth. I don't know where I heard that from, but to joining associations like the US Green Building Council Hawaii, the AIA Boma, the University of Hawaii Alumni Network has really allowed me to make connections with people inside and outside of my industry, and that's really helped elevate me to achieve what I previously thought I couldn't achieve.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you are leading at KYA?

We're pretty humble. We don't really like to talk too much about what we do. We kind of just like to do and then people can obviously find out on our website if they want to. You can check me out on Linkedin. Just check out what the US Green Building Council Hawaii chapter is doing. I am on the board of directors for that. I think that's probably more exciting for me is the kind of movement that I'm a part of, not necessarily my own individual or company achievements.

May 01, 2018
Jillian Buckholz - Director of Sustainability at Cal State East Bay
Jillian Buckholz is the first Director of Sustainability on the California State University, East Bay campus where she is responsible for managing campus sustainability efforts including: an annual greenhouse gas inventory; 5-year climate action plan; comprehensive campus sustainability assessment and plan; project-based student internship program; campus sustainability committee and associated task forces; and educational programming. Prior to coming to The Bay, Jillian was the Senior Programs Coordinator at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). 
Jillian Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:
  • Leading sustainability as a team of one
  • Involving students in sustainability through internship programs
  • Sustainability reporting and climate action planning
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Jillian's Final Five Responses:

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

Take time to build relationships. It's easy to be excited, especially in a new position and want to do a lot of great work, but making sure that you know where other people are coming from and what their interests and assets are very important. If you're going to be at an institution for quite some time and make some valuable change.

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

I'm excited how the social aspects of sustainability are becoming more and more a part of the movement. It's not about recycling and energy efficiency. You're starting to see campuses looking more at the people aspect of sustainability and social justice. I'm excited to see more of that .

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

Anything by David Orr and This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein is a good one.

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

The AASHE website resource center, their Hub STARS, their bulletin. I'm always defaulting to AASHE whenever I need something. Also, the Green Schools Listserv at Brown University is a great resource.

When I was in higher Ed managing sustainability, that was my number one and most visited website was  AASHE. They have absolutely everything you need. I submitted a Sustainable Nation podcast as a tool there, so hopefully that'll be up soon.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at Cal State East Bay?

Just go to and scroll down on the main page, you'll see a big box where students are holding up solar suitcase light bulbs. You can click right there to get to the webpage. I'm on LinkedIn as well. We have @SustainEastBay as a hashtag or a handle for all of our social media, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Apr 25, 2018
Dave Stangis - Chief Sustainability Officer at Campbell Soup Company

Dave Stangis is Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Chief Sustainability Officer for the Campbell Soup Company. Dave created and now leads Campbell's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and sustainability strategies. As such he oversees the company's execution of CSR and sustainability goals,policies, programs, engagement, and reporting, from responsible sourcing and sustainable agriculture to social impact metrics in the community. Dave co-authored 21st Century Corporate Citizenship and The Executive's Guide to 21st Century Corporate Citizenship.

Dave Stangis Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Leading sustainability in large organizations
  • Linking sustainability to business strategy
  • Sustainability programs supporting an organization's purpose, vision and strategy
  • How Campbell's is using technology to advance sustainability
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

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

I'll try to keep it to one. The one that I haven't mentioned is to really reach out and don't be afraid to network and ask questions of other leaders. You may not get a positive response from everybody, but we take care of our own in sustainability. It's still a fairly small circle. Look for some advice and learning outside of your sector. Don't just think you have to join food or automotive or travel or hospitality or in a government agency. I would try to reach out to somebody that's across the wall in terms of another sector and see what they can help with. 

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

I'm a fan of the life sciences as well as the technology. I grew up in Detroit, so I'm an automotive guy as well, but I think what is happening in the way we're able to deal with some of the systems out there, what is happening in terms of designing plans, people, whether it's good or bad, the ethics around some of these ethical lives, some of these technical choices and how we communicate them, help our companies understand them, and either bring consumers along or educate them enough so they can make an informed choice. I think this is really a big opportunity.

That's where you're going to see kind of the old school sustainability people focused on energy and water and waste, which we always have to focus on, but some of these new sustainability people are bringing another layer of expertise to their companies or their agencies.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

I would recommend reading lots of books. I read a great book called the Inevitable by Kevin Kelly around technology coming to bear. I read A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing, a book that Jennifer Doudna wrote about gene editing and how it comes into play out with people and in plants. I'm reading a couple of books now on artificial intelligence and algorithms. I think there's a lot of stuff to just keep reading. Force yourself and pick up something that you're interested in and study a little bit. There's a lot of great books out there. Some of the books that I read early on were some of the work by John Elkington from sustainability. Some of those were ones that sent me on my path.

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

I set up a lot of feeds that come to my computer and email every day. I follow a lot of different key topics and people on Twitter or Linkedin. It's really the feeds that I follow in their online newsletters. I sign up for a lot of things that compile news on topics I'm interested in. So I'll get hundreds of these newsletters every day. You just need to scan them for headlines and find stories that are interesting.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work they were leading at Campbell's?

There's a few places I would suggest. The Campbell CSR websites just launched. Its We also have a Campbell CSR Twitter account. There's a lot of good news stories and what we're doing on there. The team is also pretty active on Twitter and Linkedin as well. Just searching around for Campbell and Campbell Soup, Campbell CSR on Linkedin and Twitter. You'd be able to track down some of the teams that are working on sustainable agriculture and working on our core team and follow us there.

Apr 23, 2018
Hunter Lovins - President of Natural Capitalism Solutions and Co-author of Natural Capitalism

L. Hunter Lovins is an author and the President and Founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions (NCS), a  non-profit formed in 2002 in Longmont, CO. A renowned author and  champion of sustainable development for over 35 years, Hunter has  consulted on sustainable agriculture, energy, water, security, and climate policies for scores of governments, communities, and companies worldwide. Within the United States, she has consulted for the Presidential Cabinet, Department of Defense, EPA, Department of Energy and numerous state and local agencies.

Hunter Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • What has changed since writing Natural Capitalism in 2000
  • Sustainability as a competitive advantage
  • Regenerative economies
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability professionals

Hunter's Final Five Question Responses:

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

This comes from my friend Kate Wolf, the folk singer who said, "Find what you really care about and live a life that shows it." There is so much important work that needs to be done. Whether in early childhood education or cleaning fossil fuels and carbon emissions out of our economy or getting plastic single use plastics out of our lives. Whatever it is that you're passionate about, commit to it and commit to adopt. Do one thing. Every day, what's your dot? At the end of the day look back and say, "Did I do my dot?" If every day you do a dot, you will move the world.

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

With a group from around the world, we created a new organization called We-All( Wellbeing Economy Alliance). There's so many groups around the world. What we did was take a number of them and combine them. There are now about dozens of new economy groups literally from all over the world who are committing to work together to spread this concept of an economy that works in service to life. An economy that works for a 100% of humanity. Watch this space. We've just launched the website at the moment it's just a landing page, but in the coming days we're going to be flushing it out. I'm also pretty thrilled about my new book, A Finer Future. We're going to be launching a website for that, where I will be having an ongoing discussion, posting all the cool new things that keep happening. I put the book to bed the end of January, and since then, so much stuff has happened and continues to happen. That is good news. Things that individuals can do that we can all make a difference with. We're going to make it a living website for the book. It'll be

Then the work of Natural Capitalism Solutions. My little NGO, which is part of We-All, part of Fullerton's Regenerative hubs. We're working with groups like the Savory Institute on Regenerative Agriculture. We're resurrecting work. We did a few years back for small businesses to teach students how to go out into their community with a set of tools we develop that enable small businesses to cut their carbon footprint profitably. We're just going to give it away. Watch this space. Watch the Natural Capitalism website. Watch for my book A Finer Future: Creating an Economy in Service to Life.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

I believe it's called A Finer Future coming out in September. If you don't want to wait for that one, Kate Raworth's Doughnut Economics and Freya Williams' Green Giant's. Freya lays out a whole set of principles that the next billion dollar companies are following to build their profitability.

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

SASB - Sustainability Accounting Standards Board should hit the streets this year. This is a effort by Bob Eccles at Harvard to transform accounting so that sustainability practices that are material, which is to say a reasonable investor would want to know about them, will now have to be accounted for as part of financial accounting. When this hits the streets, it's going to transform everything. The Savory Institute's ecological outcome verification. How do you know if a product is regenerative? Savory Ins. is developing this with scientists to enable ranchers, farmers to be able to demonstrate year on year that what they're doing is increasing the carbon in the soil, is increasing biodiversity, increasing a whole range of ecosystem indicators, and then certifying it so that when you go to a grocery store, when you buy a fashion brand, there'll be a little label on it. This is regenerative. If you as a consumer preferentially buy products that are certified regenerative, you'll be part of the solution.

Where can our listeners go to follow you and learn more about the work that you do and learn about all these exciting things you're working on?

Keep listening to your podcast. Our website is Natural Capitalism. The Finer Future website is Also, I'm on Twitter @hlovins. I'm on Facebook and come September, I'll have a new book out.

Apr 20, 2018
Susan Hunt Stevens - Employee Engagement and Sustainability

Susan Hunt Stevens is the Founder/CEO of WeSpire, the leading employee engagement technology platform that forward-thinking global companies use to design, run and measure positive impact and sustainability initiatives. She is a recognized expert in the use of social and game mechanics to drive positive behavior change and was named an EY Entrepreneur of the Year in 2015. 

Susan Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Importance of employee engagement in advancing sustainability
  • Increasing employee organization at your organization
  • Using the WeSpire platform to engage employees around sustainability
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Susan's Final Five Question Responses:

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

Network, lead through influence, borrow from others. Networking so you know what others are doing and can learn from this community. It's an amazing community.

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

The materials innovation that is occurring in sustainability is going to open up huge opportunities for monumental shifts in carbon use and ideally carbon reduction. Materials innovation is something I'm really fascinated by in general in sustainability.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

I love everything that Andrew Winston has written. He writes it in a way that's accessible for people who are new to sustainability. If you haven't seen Green to Gold is probably a great place to start.

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

These aren't necessarily a sustainability specific tools on. I am a huge proponent of Slack which we use as a front end communication platform for chat internally. It reduces email which I appreciate immensely. I love video conferencing. We just switched over to Zoom and being able to video conferences, see people who are clients or prospective clients around the world makes them feel like you're sitting there, but without getting on the plane, which is really good for reducing carbon emissions. I am a big fan of the old fashioned notebook. If I were recommending a non-sustainability book to everyone, productivity wise, there's a book called The ONE Thing that has great approach to creating a sustainable life for yourself and being able to really execute well against goals in personal, spiritual business, things like that. That old fashioned notebook, that's where you set your goals and what you're going to do each day to hit them is underrated.

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

It is easy,

Reach Susan Hunt Stevens at:

Reach Josh Prigge at:

Apr 18, 2018
Jamie Moore - Director of Sustainability and Sourcing at Eat'n Park

Jamie Moore is the Director of Sourcing and Sustainability at Eat'n Park Hospitality Group. Jamie quickly noticed a need to develop and maintain an innovative program that would separate Eat’n Park from their competitors. With this in mind, Jamie developed a local purchasing program called FarmSource. This program ensures that 20% of all site’s food supply is purchased in and around their communities. The FarmSource program has received national recognition in 2009 by the Glynwood Center for Connecting Communities, Farmers and Food. 

Jamie Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Implementing local and sustainable food programs in restaurants
  • Developing relationships to advance sustainability initiatives
  • Sustainability opportunities in the food service industry
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Jamie's Final Five Responses:

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

Build upon things that you and always be someone that can educate versus again, I guess it's not educate, listen, and then hopefully return with something that you can educate someone on that made sense, but I think education is a big thing and listening is another.

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

I'm excited about the local incubators that are starting to pop and new makers that are starting to enter the marketplace.

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

I loved Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma. That was a great book and I'll call it a textbook to some extent because I feel that it was written very similar to a textbook. He did a good job on about our food system. I felt that Omnivore's Dilemma was a great book for it.

What are some of your favorite resources or tools that help you in the work that you do? It could be anything from websites, associations, technology, software programs, any type of resources?

A new organization that I just joined is the IFT Institute of Food Technologists. It is an international organization that focuses on food scientists. I went to a local group here in Pittsburgh and I was blown away and these were people that are in the same space. Food safety is a big part of that equation. One of the things that I noticed of the people that were in attendance to this meeting or some of the same little small makers that I've run into the I've certified or inspected over the course of my time here doing what I do. I was very taken back that they were in that room. They were active. They were trying to understand science behind food, which was really cool. The IFT is what I would recommend.

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

We have a website. I wish I could give you a Facebook page, but I don't have a personal Facebook page, but our website is


Jamie Moore:

Josh Prigge: 

Apr 16, 2018
Shannon Pinc - Environment and Sustainability Coordinator at St. Louis Park, MN

Shannon Pinc is the Environment and Sustainability Coordinator for the City of St. Louis Park.  Her interest in protecting natural resources led her to pursue an undergraduate degree in biology from St. Catherine’s University and a master’s degree in environmental management systems from the University of Minnesota.  Her goal of educating others on the importance of protecting natural resources and maintaining them for future generations is a lifelong passion. 

Shannon Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • History of sustainability leadership at St. Louis Park
  • Climate Action Planning at the city level
  • Involving the youth in the sustainability movement
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Shannon'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 get questions along this line quite a bit. I have a lot of people who contact me wondering how I got my job and what should I do to get there? The question I get most frequently is, "Should I get a degree in sustainability?" or  "Should I go back and get my master's degree in sustainability?" What I say to that question is, "If you are already working on that kind of degree, great!" But if you have not already pursued that, maybe to consider what they already have expertise in. It could be communications. It could be design. It could be chemistry. It could be supply chain and a million other jobs where you can impact sustainability, and what you already do by adding that lens into how you operate to do your job. Sometimes I think education's the answer, other times it's to find how you can make change within what you're already doing or what you already have expertise.

For those who may be wanting to focus more in sustainability or maybe even do a career change, then I do recommend that if they're not interested in going back for a degree but are struggling to get kind of in that first job that perhaps they might want to look at some certification programs that would give them a little bit more credibility on the resume to show that they've got strong understanding and ability to implement sustainable principles.

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

Even though I don't focus much anymore on waste, it has always been a passion of mine to avoid this problem of all the waste we create. The circular economy is kind of like my fun little topic that I look into and read about because I just love seeing the different businesses and partnerships with universities and researchers that are going on to stop the take, make dispose type of mentality and try to engineer that waste out of that system. That's always been a real interest of mine because I started out in heavy manufacturing as a consultant and working on a manufacturing events and things like that and trying to engineer out these risks and these costly on processes that produce a lot of waste. I get very excited looking at the circular economy topics.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

That's a tricky question. Right now, I have not been reading a lot of books about sustainability specifically. I have been reading more on how to stay positive because there's a lot of anxiety and stress for people in our field right now with so many rollbacks of environmental protections, continued climate change denial and unknown future legislations and things like renewables. I've been reading Declutter your Mind by S.J Scott and Barrie Davenport. To be able to keep me positive and focused on the job at hand and not get mired down in how frustrating it can be in the larger federal level where things are not happening. If I were to recommend any other book that was focused on sustainability, I would want to know more about what level of expertise that person is at or what kind of challenge they're having with their job, before I would want to respond with any particular book.

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

You asked about the green step cities program and that's actually definitely one of them. I also get some great information from the International Society of Sustainability professionals and their webinars. I'm looking at their credentialing program as well for sustainability professionals and considering studying for that exam myself. I'd like to promote that going forward. I also work a lot with USGBC, so the Green Building Council LEED principles and ideas, I'm very involved with the local chapter even though I don't do LEED buildings. We do principles and we have a green building policy that allows any kind of project that's going to be having some sort of funding attached to it to adhere to that green building policy. Therefore, US Green Building Council LEED program or other green programs are to be used as part of that assessment and following in line with our policy. Those are some of the resources that I use. The resources I have from my peers in the metro area. We share pretty much everything that we feel we can and try to help tailor that to the different challenges and barriers we may have because not all our cities are all the same.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about the work that you are leading at St. Louis Park?

They can go to our regular St Louis Park website, .Then, you can go and look at either our climate action plan page. Our environment and sustainability page. You can search for me on there, but I don't have my own page on that site. I'm also on twitter @pinc_pinc and on LinkedIn.


Apr 13, 2018
Michael Kobori - Vice President of Sustainability Levi Strauss & Co.

Michael Kobori has led sustainability at Levi Strauss & Co. since 2001. He developed and leads the company’s sustainability strategy, which includes integrating sustainability into all global functions and regional businesses and open sourcing the company’s sustainability innovations to the rest of the industry.

Under Michael’s tenure, Levi Strauss & Co. has been an industry pioneer on initiatives such as the Better Cotton Initiative, Water

Michael Kobori Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • History of sustainability leadership at Levi's
  • Sustainability through a company's entire value chain
  • Key qualities of a strong sustainability leader
  • Competition versus collaboration in the apparel industry
  • 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?

Know the business and understand your business.

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

I'm excited about this emerging idea of regenerative, development, and restorative. Some people call it net positive. The idea that as an entity, a corporation can do more good than harm. That they're positive impacts in the world can outweigh the negative impacts of their footprint. That's really interesting. 

What is one book you would recommend sustainability leaders read?

There is a wonderful book that was written a couple of years ago by one of the real leaders in our field and has been a mentor to me. Jonathon Porritt, who founded Forum for the Future in the UK and founded the Green Party in Britain. Jonathon's written many books. His latest book is called, The World We Made. It is written from the perspective of a school teacher in the year 2050. He is writing this book as a memoir reflecting on all of the things that happen to get the world to this place in 2050, where it is in balance and sustainable. Brilliant work.

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

I used Twitter a lot. I get a lot of good information and insight from Twitter. It's partly because of following people like Jonathon Porritt and John Elkington and other leaders in the field. I see what they are thinking, what are they talking about, what is top of mind for them. That gives me a lot of insight. I find it to be a useful tool.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at Levi's and follow you on Twitter?

My handle is @KoboriGrillsCSR. I have the handle because I don't like the term CSR much prefer, I think it's outdated. I much preferred sustainability. I like to grill. I love to cook. That kind of combined them, Kobori Grills CSR, that's the handle.

Apr 11, 2018
Allison Jordan - Executive Director of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance

Allison Jordan is Vice President, Environmental Affairs for Wine Institute, a public policy association of nearly 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses. She also serves as Executive Director of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, a non-governmental organization incorporated in 2003 by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers to promote environmental and social responsibility in California – the fourth largest wine region in the world – through the Sustainable Winegrowing Program and Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing. 

Allison Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • The state of sustainability in the California wine industry
  • Benefits of sustainability for wineries and vineyards
  • New sustainability certification logo on wine bottles
  • Adopting the California Certified Sustainable Winegrowing framework for other industries
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

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

I would say my best advice is to partner. Sustainability is so broad. It's challenging to be an expert in all of the areas, so building those alliances is important. In our case we have a joint committee, 50 growers and vintners and a board of directors that are actually made up of the vineyards and wineries. So we really rely on those partnerships for what we're doing and making sure that it's going to be valuable to the industry. We also rely on scientists from academic institutions, from NGOs with their expertise in certain areas, and other experts. That was important when we put the code together, when we develop certification, when we evolved certification to become a product logo out for the wine label in all areas. We relied on getting input from all of those key partners. Sustainability professionals are really bridge builders. We advanced that multi-sector approach when we're looking at both private and public problems.

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

It's the mainstreaming of it. It's amazing to me that just how much we're able to move the mark as an industry where we have 4,700 wineries and were able to get this information out so it has a really big impact. The other part is, I'm a mom, and so I just am so excited about the work that my kids do to understand climate change and to be able to explain it so simply, and to go out and pull out invasive species and riparian habitat, and they're just incredible and give me a lot of inspiration.

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

I was thinking back to graduate school and all that I’ve read since. One of the most exciting ones I remember reading is the Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.

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

I'm so looped in with the wine industry, so I'm not sure how much of it would be for your broader listeners. I feel like there's so many great conferences and Sustainable Brands is one that just came to mind that I went to a couple of years ago when I hope to be able to go to again in Vancouver. It's really exciting to see what big brands are doing, but also what little ones are doing with the creativity that exists in the space. I would check out Sustainable Brands.

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

You can go to several different websites. We have .Which is the California sustainable wine growing alliance's website. It's detailed and it's full of resources for growers and vintners. You can also download the code and our regular sustainability reports as well as our new certification, our certification annual report. There's also  That one is more about our consumer facing trade, facing website, about California wines in general. We have a great interactive, sustainable winegrowing section on that. If you're really interested, you can actually take a one hour free online course. Then if you pass a test at the end of it, you can actually download a customizable, little certificate that says, "You're a California Sustainable Wine Growing Ambassador. "  It's a great way to learn a little bit more about us. Also, is our general information website or email address. Also, in Facebook, you can just search for a California Sustainable Wine Growing Alliance, CSWA.

Apr 09, 2018
Dawn Rittenhouse - Director of Sustainability for DuPont

As the Director of Sustainability for DuPont, Dawn Rittenhouse is an industry leader on the intersection between business and the environment.  As a key advisor and ambassador for DuPont, she guides its C-suite, businesses and customers on policy and fosters relationships with NGOs and organizations around the world.

Dawn Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Sustainable innovation and R & D at DuPont
  • The evolution of corporate sustainability
  • Using the UN Sustainable Development Goals for your corporate strategy
  • Cross-sector collaboration
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders  

Final Five Question Responses:

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

I'd like patience and perseverance. I found like when I would go to overall business council for sustainable development meeting, there were people who were all in the same space as I was and we were all kind of support each other and you could leave regenerated again. Find whatever it is that can help regenerate too because it can be a challenging space to work in full time.

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

The sustainable development goals. They're going to help us particularly as countries start to say this is what we're trying to drive through our policies, through our programs, through what they are investing in terms of how government does their investing. It is going to help set a much better stage for companies to bring their innovations to the market.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

This was a tough one. I stared at my bookcase for about 10 minutes the other night, trying to figure out which one of the books I would recommend. I came up with Profits with Principles which was written by Ira Jackson and Jane Nelson. It was published in 2004. They've still captured a lot of the essence of what you need to do to be able to accomplish sustainability.

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

The work of World Resources Institute is really good. They've got a lot of tools. They got the aqueduct so you can go in and look for water scarce and stressed areas. We were able to map all of our sites globally to see what our risks are from water. They've got forest watch for deforestation issues. WRI has created a lot of fabulous tools to help companies really get the science behind it.

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

You can go to our sustainability pages there is probably the best place to see what DuPont is doing.

Apr 06, 2018
Chris Laszlo - Author of Embedded Sustainability and Flourishing Enterprise

Chris Laszlo, PhD is Professor of Organizational Behavior at Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management, where he leads the Quantum Leadership initiative, which conducts research and practice into elevating consciousness as the highest point of leverage in transforming leaders into agents of world benefit. He is the author of Flourishing Enterprise (2014), Embedded Sustainability (2011), and Sustainable Value (2008)

Chris Joins Sustainable Nation to Discuss:

  • Embedding sustainability into a company's core strategy
  • Moving from sustainable to flourishing 
  • Transforming consciousness for sustainable change
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Final Five Question Responses:

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

Get a solid grounding in business operations as well as whatever knowledge you might have about environmental sciences or sustainability communications. All of those are important. If you can get a couple of years of experience in a more of a line management position early on in your career, you will never regret it because you will always be able to speak to people who are running a business or a division or our heads of a functional heads such as head of marketing or head of sales and business with a kind of equal footing that you won't have if you are only in a sustainability background.

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

Direct intuitive learning is a catch phrase that speaks to moving beyond the typical kind of cognitive analytic, cognitive learning that we have, whether it's in business school or in training programs in the workplace.

I think business leaders need to engage in practices. Practices of connectedness or narrow sense or mindfulness practices. Whether it's mindfulness meditation or nature immersion. Yoga is popular, but art and aesthetics, appreciative inquiry. There are range of different kinds of practices of this kind. It's even beyond these sort of more esoteric eastern type practices. It's a high quality relationships with friends. It's having a glass of wine with a friend. It's for some people it might be a fishing or going horseback riding. I was speaking to a colleague of mine who said that that's really where they feel, able to feel whole and connected to themselves and to nature and others. The point is that we live in a multitasking world where we're jumping from one electronic screen to another and heavily dependent on analytic cognitive, way of being all the time. To change this consciousness that we spoke about earlier. We need to introduce in the workplace practices that heal people, make people feel whole, that's the next frontier for sustainability professionals will be to emphasize and encourage a lifestyle for all organizational leaders at every level so that before they can focus on flourishing organizations in service of a flourishing world, they themselves as individuals are also able to flourish. 

How about a book recommendation? What's the one or two books that you would recommend every sustainability professional read?

I really liked Frederic Laloux Reinventing Organizations. It's quite popular. I'll point out that the subtitle of that book is a guide to creating organizations inspired by the next stage of human consciousness. It has had a very big impact on certainly on to their PHD students and executives that I've worked with in the last couple of years since it came out.

What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you out in your work? It could be anything, websites, software, technologies, guidebooks, any type of resources.

I would like to recommend a website called There you will find thousands stories were more businesses that are doing well by doing good. These are sort of the untold stories from around the world of businesses that are agents of world benefit.

With all the negative news that we have in the world, for those of us that are looking at the role of business, it's encouraging to see just how many businesses, the variety of businesses that have found ways to succeed, financially and economically, by doing good in terms of environmental restoration or social community well-being and personal well-being. 

I also have a number of tools in embedded sustainability. I have a new book. I have a co-author, Fred Tsao in China. He's the chairman of a multi-billion dollar shipping and real estate company in Asia based in Shanghai and Singapore. And he and I have coauthored based on his experience as a leader at this company. A new book called Quantum Leadership: New Consciousness in Business. It will be coming out probably later to see from Stanford University press and we will have many of the points we've covered in this podcast in-depth book. Look for it will be Tsao and Lazlo, Quantum Leadership, a new consciousness in business.

Where can our listeners go to learn more about your work? Follow you, a website or any type of information where they can follow what you do.

I would welcome being connected to this community of like-minded professionals. You can read, I met the Weatherhead school of business at Case Western Reserve University. The link there is a You can find me on LinkedIn. My twitter handle is @embedsustain.

Apr 04, 2018
Matt St. Clair - Sustainability Leadership at the University of California

Matthew St.Clair is the first Director of Sustainability for the University of California Office of the President, leading sustainability efforts across the 10-campus UC system since 2004.

Matt St. Clair joins Sustainable Nation to discuss:

  • Leading sustainability for the third largest employer in California
  • Using best practices from campuses to implement change across the entire system
  • University of California's ambitious climate, energy and waste goals
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Final Five Responses:

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

Be a good listener. As a sustainability professional, you have to change what people do, what organizations do. And so in order to get people to work with you to make that change, you need to be a good listener to understand the pathways that are easiest to make that change and to gain the trust of the people you need to work with to change things.

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

I would say one of the technological developments I'm most excited about is that electric vehicles seem to finally be taking off. And transportation is one of the hardest nuts to crack in terms of a global greenhouse gas emissions reductions. So the fact that we have campuses that are telling me that every year at least they're doubling the number of parking permits to electric vehicles, that's really promising that that EV market is finally taking off. Especially coupled with what I said about renewable electricity now becoming available to power those cars.

Now, if only all states could be moving as quickly as California and Hawaii on electric vehicles, that would be great. What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

That is so hard? This is a going back to a classic, but John Mcphee is a great natural history writer and has written a couple books, one of which I'm blanking on the name actually, but it tells three stories of what happens when men feel like they can control nature. The Control of Nature. I knew I'd come to me. I think it provides some common understanding of a systems perspective and the interaction between human and natural systems, that we have to try to bring a greater awareness and understanding with everyone we work with on on sustainability topics.

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

Well, working at a university, AASHE the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. It's a great resource. Their weekly bulletin is great. Similarly, the National Green Schools listserv is this great hive or group brain, that all of us in the community access when it's helpful. It helps the whole movement move forward through venues like that to connect and learn from each other.

And finally, where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading at the University of California? our main sustainability website. There's contact information for myself and others in our system wide sustainability team on that website.

Apr 02, 2018
Aly Khalifa - Circular Economy Design Expert

Aly Khalifa joins Sustainable Nation to discuss:

  • Cradle to Cradle and the circular economy'
  • Engineering and designing for a sustainable future
  • Ocean plastic and designing with recycled materials
  • Recommendations and advice for sustainability professionals

Final Five Questions:

What is one piece of advice you would give other sustainability professionals or those working in the circular economy that might help them in their careers?

I think there's a principle that I like to use called boundary conditions, and that's something I learned from engineering school. If I'm looking at like the structure of a building and you say "calculate that structure," it's like an impossible task. You need a computer to sort of figure out what happens and the wind load. But what you can do is isolate a single beam and just draw your boundary conditions around one beam, and calculate for that. And as you get more sophisticated in your modeling, your boundary conditions might grow. You might draw around a bigger boundary. You also might say, "I'm going to announce think about temperature also," or I'm going to think about what if there's a rocking party on top of that beam and there's a lot of vibration? So the boundary conditions define for you the problem that you're going to address.

And I think in many cases we draw that circle very tightly and we say, "well, I'm just going to deal with this," or in many cases those boundary conditions are never firmly addressed at the beginning because. And we do the same thing in life cycle analysis, right? We have to consider my carbon footprint from here to here, but I'm not going to go outside of that picture. But sometimes it's when you actually list what you're going to define and the things that you can address, and here's the things you are not going to address. Sometimes it's a wake-up call because reflexively, we will attack problems like we've always attacked them and think, "I'm not going to deal with fair labor. I'm not going to talk about realization or I'm not going to talk about these things," without really having acknowledged to yourself that you're not going to do that. Or vice versa. When you do take something on, maybe it's not appropriate to address that. So I think there needs to be some real rigor as a professional about what's inside the boundary conditions for each project, especially on the sustainability side. What are you willing to take on and address, and what do you not want to be distracted by? Because this product has to get done. Frequently, I think there's one stretch that you can take. You can add maybe one set of criteria to it from a sustainability perspective, without having to like eat the whole elephant in one bite. You can say, "I'm just going to take one bite here. I'm really going to reach for this one particular thing without having to address all of it."

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

One thing it's been great for us on the Ocean Work side is blockchain technology. The whole notion that we can have communities that help us develop a transparency to the way information is shared is very exciting. I have limited knowledge on the topic, so please don't ask me any more about block chain. There's much more qualified people about that. But I do think it's really exciting thing because it's a technology that's not necessarily just for technology's sake. It seems like the heart of the technology is transparency and community building. And I think that's fantastic. I think there must be other technologies we haven't developed, whether it's open source engineering systems, I think there's many different ways that we could develop technologies that are inherently community building and inherently transparent. I'm just wondering what the next one is, but I think this is one of the cases where I feel like I can just build off the work someone else has done and instead of building the tool, get to use the tool. That's really refreshing for me as a sustainability professional. I think in many cases we have to develop the tools more than we get to use them. And in this case I feel like there's a lot to learn about this tool.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

Well, probably the one that first really got me fired up was Entropy by Jeremy Rifkin. I think that was the one, as someone coming into it, just sort of having my head taken off and my brain shaken it up a little bit, and my head put back on. I just felt like I wasn't the same after reading that. I think that's good because I think sometimes we do just need the rational, logical kind of approach to sustainability, but we need the energizing aspect to it. So I felt like Entropy was one that was really great, but there's so many other inspirations for me. I've already mentioned Cradle to Cradle, but I think for me also just the writings of Buckminster Fuller and his call for design science revolution really pushed me on my way.

He has a really fun book called I Seem to be a Verb, which isn't really anything to do with sustainability. It's about how to start a design science revolution and what kind of happens in the mind of Buckminster Fuller. And I think that would be another one I just think is a good one to kickstart some emotions on this topic.

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

Yeah, it just seems like it changes by the day. I think one of the tools that I'm really enjoying in the past few months is the platform called Slack. It's allowing teams to collaborate on a variety of threads all at once, like the simultaneous nature of being able to look at what's developing across similar but slightly different threads. It's fantastic for me. I feel like that's a tool that allows me to just very quickly share and get feedback amongst a multitasking type of research projects. And then there's a lot of different systems that are going on in terms of tracking materials and signals. The idea of materials having intelligence the equivalent of a DNA, being able to understand what the material is very quickly. There is so much happening on that right now as well. I think that's also fantastic. That's exactly what's needed. We need to attach information to our products to understand them 

And finally where can our listeners go to learn more about what you do, learn more about Ocean Works, follow you, whatever you'd like to give out for websites or any way to follow your work.

Well, I think my social media presence is pretty frenetic and its fits and starts. Usually has to do with when am I in research phase and when am I in publishing phase, or different things that I'm doing. But certainly on twitter it's AlygKhalifa and that's probably the quickest, easiest way to get to me. But certainly on LinkedIn, I'm pretty active on that. And then is where a lot of the Ocean Work stuff is happening. My firm Design Box is partnered up with that, so  You can also see a lot of the other projects that were kind of preceding all this big investment into Ocean Works.

Contact Aly Khalifa:

Contact Josh Prigge:



Mar 30, 2018
Matt Lynch - System Sustainability Coordinator at University of Hawaii

Matt Lynch joins Sustainable Nation to discuss:

  • Sustainability programs and initiatives at the University of Hawaii
  • Hawaii's ambitious renewable energy future and UH's contributions
  • Reimagining organizational design for sustainability
  • The Hawaii Sustainability in Higher Education Summit
  • Recommendations and advice for sustainability leaders

Matt's Final Five responses:


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

I'll give the same advice that my grandma gave me: you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. I would say cultivate and practice the skill-set of active listening, and then related to that is go seek out a mentor that can help you with dynamic group process and the skill-set of developing a group design, processes that can facilitate productive meetings. I think if I was to boil down the job description of sustainability professionals, one of the, the minimum qualifications would be something along the lines of the ability to design an agenda that does not result in death by meeting.

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

I really think that this emergent, I don't know what to call it, I don't know if it's a practice or a lexicon, but there's this sense that we're getting from the field - the leading edge of practitioners are all talking about the need to look at, reimagine our sort of organizational design and the ways that we navigate these organizations. So I've heard different language for it. I think Leith Sharp and her group are using the term "Flow State Organizations;" they've connected with Janine Benyus who is focused on the biomimicry world, and are now coming up with additional terms. Locally, I've heard it referred to as a "network based organization," and I think that this tinkering with our human operating systems is by far the most exciting thing, another exciting piece in the field of sustainability right now.

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

Hard to go with one. I'm going to say Social Physics, a book by Sandy Pentland who is a mathematician using big data to study behavioral science at MIT. It's really transformed my understanding of how we make decisions individually and as a group.

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

This is specific to higher ed, but there's a great green schools list that has been in existence for over 10 years, you know when emails lists were a thing, and this has survived because of its utility - and outside of Higher Ed, I've actually have been a long time subscriber to a newsletter called Thoughts from the Frontline and it's published by a hardcore republican hedge fund analyst. I find his financial and geopolitical analysis to be fascinating. He called the mortgage market meltdown. It is not that norm of what a sustainability professional might be paying attention to. So it gives me this completely alternative viewpoint that I can bring back into this practice and I continue to find that a really valuable resource.

Finally, where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're doing at UH?

In our sustainability website is we're starting to focus on developing a larger social media presence as well so you can find us there well.

Mar 28, 2018
Richard Heinberg - Author of The Party's Over and Post Carbon Institute Senior Fellow

Richard Heinberg is the author of thirteen award-winning books including The Party’s Over; Powerdown; Peak Everything; The End of Growthand Our Renewable Futureas well as hundreds of articles and essays. He is a Senior Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute and is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost advocates for a shift away from fossil fuels. He has delivered hundreds of lectures to audiences around the world and has been published in Nature, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, and Reuters.

Richard Heinberg joins Sustainable Nation to discuss:

  • The current state of energy and its contributions to the climate crisis
  • The shale gas and tight oil bubble
  • Community resiliency
  • The transition to a fossil fuel free future
  • Recommendations and advice for sustainability leaders

Richard Heinberg's Final Five:

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

I don't know if it's a piece of advice, but I'd just say, hey you're doing the most important work anybody is doing right now, so even if it's tough, keep at it.

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

One of the things I'm excited about is carbon farming. I think there's a huge opportunity for us to take CO2 out of the atmosphere and put it back in soil, and as a result of that, we could change our whole food system for the better.

And we could reverse climate change if everybody switched over to regenerative agriculture practices. Northern California is definitely doing a lot of great work in that area. What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

Sustainability professionals are sort of keeping up with the latest literature on climate and renewable energy and so on. But I would really recommend that sustainable professionals also read some of the classics in the field going back all the way to the seventies and before. Things like Limits to Growth. If you haven't read that book, you really owe it to yourself to study it closely.

How are we tracking those predictions from that book?

We're very much on track. Not just the team of scientists who produced that book, but also independent groups have gone back and looked at the scenarios and the trajectories that were discussed in Limits to Growth. It's some of the most accurate modeling that's been done on world systems.

That's pretty incredible. Especially, all the controversy surrounding that book when it came out. And here we are 40 years later, 50 years almost, and where we're right on track with most of it. It's kind of scary. What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do?

You know, there's a great website for modeling energy and climate. It's called Climate Interactive. And you can go there and tweak the dials yourself. There's a tool called C Roads that's for carbon emissions, and one called EN Roads that's for working with an energy sources. And again, you can tweak the dials with energy and public policy and so on, and see what actually happens in terms of carbon emissions. If you do that, I think one of the things you learn is that there are no easy answers. There are a lot of tradeoffs and there's no silver bullet.

And finally, where can our listeners go to learn more about you and your work?

There are a couple of websites I've mentioned for my work, Richard is a good place to go. I have lots and lots of archived essays there. And then for Post Carbon Institute I would recommend our public website And that's just a fantastic website to look at every morning to see news about resilience work and sustainability. Not just in the US, but also elsewhere in the world. So those are the best.

Mar 26, 2018
Cheri Chastain - Sustainability Manager at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Cheri Chastain has been the Sustainability Manager for Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. since 2006 where she is responsible for educating employees on environmental issues and programs, maintaining and developing sustainability policies and projects, and representing Sierra Nevada in industry and policy conversations.  Cheri currently co-chairs the Brewers Association Sustainability Committee, is vice chair of the City of Chico’s Sustainability Task Force, and is a board member of the US Zero Waste Business Council. 

Cheri Joins Sustainable Nation to discuss:

  • What's new in sustainability at Sierra Nevada
  • Sustainability in the beer industry
  • Innovations in renewable energy
  • Being a Zero Waste leader
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

More on Cheri and sustainability at Sierra Nevada:

More on Sustridge and the Sustainable Nation Podcast:

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

Make friends.

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

I'm most excited about the momentum that's building. For so long, it was Al Gore and his inconvenient truth and that just rubbed people the wrong way and it ruffled a lot of feathers and it did some of the necessary way. I think we needed that, but all of a sudden, the effects of climate change are becoming so apparent to people all over this country, all over the globe in the momentum that's building the innovative solutions that are coming out of, plays little corners all over the globe. I find that very exciting. I feel like we're kind of at a tipping point and it's hopefully going to tip in a really positive way.

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

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. Book that was written over almost 40 years ago. Still so relevant today and it's such a simple, clear, beautiful message that we should all remind ourselves of.

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

Our friends at series are an incredible resource for helping to guide policy and engaging businesses on policy, work and efforts. My friends and colleagues within beer that are addressing sustainability and craft brewing. They are an incredible resource and we're able to bounce off of each other and feed off of each other.

Finally, where can our listeners go to learn more about your work and what you do?

Our website, There's a sustainability section in there. I'm actually in the process right now of updating our sustainability report and that should go live April first is our target date. So for the most up to date information, check back after April first.

Mar 23, 2018
Jackie Kozak Thiel - Chief Sustainability Officer at Fort Collins, CO

Jackie is the Chief Sustainability Officer for city of Fort Collins where she oversees the departments of environmental services, economic health, and social sustainability. Fort Collins has some of the most ambitious climate action goals in the world, including carbon neutrality by 2050. Formerly, Jackie worked as the Governor’s State Sustainability Coordinator for Hawaii, where she led the launch of the Aloha+ Challenge with the public-private partnership Hawaii Green Growth.

Jackie joins Sustainable Nation to discuss:

  • Leading sustainability programs in local government.
  • Lessons learned from managing sustainability efforts on an island community.
  • Developing and implementing Climate Action Plans.
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability professionals.

Jackie's Final Five Responses:

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

Besides kind of the being both data driven and value based, the other one I would give is being authentic, because so much of what we need to do to be successful is in forging strong partnerships because we are looking at transforming systems. And so I think bringing authentic servant leadership is going to be critical for us to be successful at that. I think that's what I would really recommend to folks. And also, to just recognize we can't know it all, right? And so we're looking at transforming systems to recognize the assets and strength of being a generalist who can help to connect dots and engage experts or sectors that will help you to accomplish things and not necessarily thinking that you need to be an expert in everything. So that's not possible. And also we miss a lot because we don't engage others expertise.

Jackie, what are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability and regenerative development?

I think what is exciting for me, Josh, I think about Paul Hawkins Blessed Unrest and he talked about if you brought the indigenous peoples movement and the environmental sustainability movement and the social justice movements together, just the power of that. And I think what I'm excited about is just that there's so much more conversation about equity and affordability in sustainability than there ever was before. And I think just about the new sector allies. I mean, I just was meeting someone from the health sector today, and not only how excited I am about those partnerships, but the lenses and the expertise and the community engagements that the social sector will bring to sustainability is really exciting to me.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

I know that's a super geeky, but I my did my master's thesis on implementing sustainability plans and policies. Because my question was, why did bad things happen to good plans? And how do we actually honor the planning process by making it happen. And so I've found so much great literature actually from the public administration field actually for local governments for sustainability that are really great. It's not a book, it's more of like a handbook, but I think for sustainability professionals it just is so helpful because it has case studies and also talks to you about what you need to have in place in terms of metrics and goals and partnerships to really execute on the goals you've set. think it’s something like Implementing Sustainability Plans.  But it's been a great tool for me.

What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do? This could be websites, technologies, software programs, guide books, any type of resources or tools that help you out that you'd recommend.

I worked at a state level for the governor of Hawaii and now I'm in a local level and I'm so excited to be part of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network. Being part of that network if you're working at a local level with cities is there's a treasure trove of resources that we share as peers. I can't say enough about that and the whole team here at Fort Collins also, we just joined the government alliance on racial equity. So again, for local governments that are looking at building capacity in terms of supporting equity and inclusion in their communities, the government alliance on racial equity is an incredible resource. So those, you know, in terms of public sector have been just so helpful to me.

Finally, where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're doing to Fort Collins? There's lots to explore there in terms of the sustainability work, the climate work that we're doing on that page and all the related pages.

Mar 21, 2018
Bob Willard - The Business Case for Sustainability

Bob Willard is a leading expert on quantifying the business value of sustainability strategies. He has given over a thousand presentations, has authored six books, and provides extensive resources for sustainability champions. He serves on the boards of Forum for the Future U.S. and the Future-Fit Foundation. 

Bob joins Sustainable Nation to discuss:

  • Selling the business case for sustainability
  • Communicating sustainability benefits
  • The B Corp movement
  • Learning from decades of experience in corporate sustainability
  • Tips and advice for sustainability professionals

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

Find an issue that you really care about and find an organization that you can partner with to have a lot of leverage on doing something about that issue but start with something that you really care about. It could be a social issue, it could be an environmental issue. You've got to have some energy around that at a personal level or you'll just get worn down and you need to be able to recharge your batteries by recommitting to something that you really care about for whatever reason. And then don't try to do it yourself. Partner with other people and increase your ability to make things happen.

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

The point that gives me hope is amazingly simple. It's the dramatic plummet in the cost of renewable energy where it's in many jurisdictions on a par with fossil fuels. So that's fantastic. It makes this transition off fossil fuels much more attractive than it was five or 10 years ago. And combined with that is the requirement for companies to be more transparent about their carbon footprint, led by investors and bankers who say that they need to know that in order to make a more informed decision about whether they want to put their money into a company, and it's not only the companies footprint, but it's supply chain or value chain footprint as well. So it's those two things, the drop in renewable energy and the demand for more transparency from investors and bankers, and they have a lot of influence on the mindset of businesses.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

I need to pick one that's not mine. Andrew Winston is an incredible author on the subject of the business relevance of sustainability. His original book, Green to Gold that he coauthored. I'd put at the top of my list. There are a couple that are a bit older, the Ecology of Commerce, that Paul Hawken wrote many years ago. His prose is as close to poetry as you can imagine. And he's just so good at expressing the obvious in terms of trying to get your attention. So those two books, Natural Capitalism is a bible for me. The one that Amory Lovins and Hunter Lovins and Paul Hawken wrote there. I've got a library surrounding me right now that are just phenomenal books. So, I'll stop there, but there's no lack of really, really good stuff in it there.

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

I subscribed to a bunch of news clip services, Triple Pundit and Green Bizz, whole bunch of those. And that to me is a daily window into what's moving and shaking out there on the sustainability and business front. So, I use them as a lens as to what reports I want to drill down into what a book I want to take another look at what websites I want to track down. So, to me it's that window that's the most important resource. It's the news clips that gives you a nice little soundbite as to what's going on and then you can decide which of those are most relevant to the projects that you're working on at the time,

Sustainable Brands, Environmental Leader, all excellent resources that give daily emails and all that great information on what's happening.

I think there were about a dozen, I should probably check this out before this call, but there's a better, doesn't that I subscribed to and it doesn't take long. Just take a quick look at them, see which ones are of interest to you and it's a great reminder of how much is going on out there. It's very energizing. Yeah.

And finally, where can our listeners go to learn more about you and your work?

That's pretty straight forward the website to help people do that. So is my website. That gives a brief overview of the six books that I've written gives you a sense of some of the other resources that are available, some of the spreadsheets, some of the dashboards, some of the videos, most of which are free, uh, cause I really do think we need to be able to make it easier for people to access tools that are going to hopefully be useful to them. and, um, uh, yeah, that's a, that's a pretty good window into who I am, what I do, um, and resources that may be useful to people in, uh, in the work that they're doing.


Mar 19, 2018
Nurit Katz - Chief Sustainability Officer at UCLA

Nurit Katz joins Sustainable Nation to discuss:

  • Leading sustainability change in a large organization
  • Updates on sustainability programs and research initiatives at UCLA
  • Information on the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge
  • Advice and recommendations for sustainability leaders

Nurit Katz Final Five responses:

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

One piece of advice,  it's interesting, this wasn't what I planned to say, but recently a colleague, one of our alumni who I regard very highly, um, Jamie Knack, shared a book that she had read called The Power of a Positive No. And I've now gotten it and shared it with my team. And I think in these roles you're pulled in so many different directions, that actually learning how to kind of prioritize how to say no. So many of us are such yes-people that we get really excited to help everyone at all times. And sometimes that in of itself is not sustainable.

So as I say to many of my colleagues, you can't sustain the university or the world if you don't sustain yourself. So, I think, you know, learning how to share, redirect and make sure that you take care of yourself is actually really critical to be a successful professional in this field. And then in terms of more traditional career advice, this field changes so quickly that I would really recommend people get out there and attend events and talk to people. So much of what I learned was that way, going to panels, getting out there, networking and it's not as set of a field where you can just read one book or guide on how to be a lawyer. It's just changing so rapidly. And so I didn't even know, for example, that the title of director of a regenerative development existed until I heard you speak on a panel a while back and the role chief sustainability officer didn't exist until some years ago. So I think if people want to stay up to date, they got to get out there, meet people, hear what programs are going on and stay current.

Great advice. What are you most excited about right now in the world of sustainability and regenerative development?

That's tough. You know, part of why I ended up with a job like chief sustainability officer is that I have always been sort of a jack of all master of none generalist type person. I get so excited about all of it. Water to energy, transportation, food, environmental justice and social equity issues. But I think one of the things that's really exciting right now is people are starting to recognize the importance of separation technologies and we've spent so much of human innovation combining materials and putting things together and there's such great potential in figuring out how to break them back apart again until they're useful parts. And I think there's a lot of untapped potential in that area, which really relates to kind of taking what would be a waste product and being able to upcycle it and use it in new and exciting ways

What is one book you'd recommend to other sustainability professionals. 

You know, it's kind of an oldie but goody, but I happened to love Ray Anderson's, Confessions of a Radical Industrialist. I think his journey on the sustainable business side is really worth a read, but there's really so many that I recommend to my students and it's really hard to choose. So I guess for today that's the one I'll, I'll throw out there.

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

Well, again, a lot of great resources. I am fond of collaborations and sharing best practices among professionals. So we have a group we get together of higher education professionals here in southern California and then more broadly, through the California higher education sustainability conference or through AASHE. So getting together with colleagues both in our sector and across sectors I think is really valuable. You know, lots of good resources through some of those organizations in terms of tools and guides that people can use. We definitely work with a lot of kind of cloud based tools now and collaborative work sharing tools. So those can be handy as well.

And where can our listeners go to learn more about the work you are leading at UCLA?

So ucla sustainability's website is You can reach me and my team at That email address will come direct to our central office. Twitter handle is @sustainucla and it's really an enormous team working on these issues. I'm just a nexus and connector here of just an incredible group of professionals across our operational and academic and research areas. And so I'm happy to be that connector. If anyone is interested in any of the fabulous work being done here, I can help point you to the folks who are working on those programs and we'd love to hear from you.


Mar 16, 2018
Gil Friend - Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Palo Alto

Gil Friend, Chief Sustainability Officer at the City of Palo Alt, joins Sustainable Nation to discuss:

  • Leading sustainability in silicon valley
  • The role of a Chief Sustainability Officer in government
  • Addressing the complex issue of transportation in cities
  • Advice for other sustainability professionals

Gil Friend's Final Five responses:

What is one piece of advice you'd like to give sustainability professionals that might help them in their careers?

For sustainability professional, I would say diversify your education and background. We need to be thinking about biology and ecology. We need to be thinking about business and finance. We need to be thinking about physics and engineering. Need to be thinking about a politics and persuasion and fundamentally how to have engaged powerful conversations, even with people who don't see things the same way we do.

What are you most excited about today in the world of sustainability and regenerative development?

Let me answer both of those separately. In the world sustainability, I'm most excited about the growing attention to getting the prices right, to exposing the subsidies that support the fossil fuel industry, and to putting a price on carbon so the marketplace can actually help us make intelligent decisions about where we invest and where we buy. With regard to regenerative development, I think just the fact that that word is on the landscape is a very hopeful sign. You know, sustainability in itself not a terribly exciting concept. It speaks to kind of keeping things the way they have been in the way that they've been isn't good enough. So more and more people are talking about how do we build regenerative economies that actually grow the creative and productive capacity of our communities. And I'm pleased to be participating in a first conference on building a regenerative economy scheduling San Francisco for early May. So we'll see more about that.

And what was the name of that conference?

Regenerative Economies

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

Drawdown. Recently released the edited by Paul Hawken with a team of a couple of hundred, a brilliant researchers who've looked in detail, how do you slow climate change, but how do you reverse it? How do you slow the emissions of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but actually draw them down, reduced carbon in the atmosphere. A hundred analytically vetted, detailed supported strategies that can actually do that. Full of detail, full of inspiration, a really critical handbook for us all right now.

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

Great question. I would say the general class of visual visualization tools, I find really powerful. Tools that help people see the trends and the patterns in the data. Not Looking through reviews of spreadsheets or pages and pages of text, but simple pictures and graphs that show the change of trends over time. The ratios of things we care about. So not just energy use, but energy use per dollar of revenue per capita population. And the comparative benchmarks that show my city, my company, my department in my household is doing compared to others, because that's one of the most powerful ways of unlocking, not just the competitive spirit, but the sense of possibility. If someone is doing the same thing that I'm doing and doing it better than me, in theory, I could do it better. There's something to learn there. So that's been very powerful tool for us.

Finally, where can our listeners follow you and the work that you are leading at Palo Alto?

Thank you for asking. They can follow me on twitter at Gfriend, and on linkedin. They can follow on my website at You'll see my writing there and I've just started doing a monthly column at Green Biz. First one just published last week was about how businesses can learn to navigate the anthropocene. And I think we don't have time for the definition, but you will find it right at the top of the article there.

Mar 14, 2018
William McDonough - Father of the Circular Economy and Cradle-to-Cradle Design

William McDonough is one of the most influential sustainability thought-leaders and practitioners in the world. McDonough joins the Sustainable Nation Podcast to discuss:

  • Cradle-to-Cradle design principles and examples of the Cradle-to-Cradle work he is leading.
  • Cradle-to-Cradle in the apparel industry and Fashion for Good.
  • Moving beyond sustainability to a regenerative and restorative future.
  • A new language for carbon.
  • Advice for sustainability professionals.

McDonough's Final Five Questions:

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

I would say one would be to pull back on the of resources and pull into the notion of relationships. So if we're talking about is economic resources or economic capital, we forget society and we forgot the environment. For sustainability people, we think about economic and social and environmental things, but as long as we keep calling it "resources" or "natural capital" or "social capital" or "human resources", we end up seeing everything as a fungible asset that we can apply statistical significance. And if we do that, we find ourselves with a kind of artificial intelligence based on statistical significance. Not a bad thing per se, but I wonder if we can bring back the whole notion of natural intelligence and do the things we know are right. Not just the things we know are less or more.

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

All the building's I'm designing and the products I'm designing, the systems we're designing and whatever I'm working on at the moment. We're just real busy and excited about it. That's my favorite part of it. Just doing the work, building the buildings, making the products and designing the package. It's fun.

Absolutely. I agree. What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

Cradle to Cradle

What are some of your favorite resources or tools that really help you in the work that you do? Could be anything from websites or associations, technology, software, programs, guidebooks, any type of tools.

Well, again, if a tool is something that we can use to everyone's benefit, then in a kind of a strange way, the things that I rely on the most, to make it possible for me to do what I do, are actually other people. And I don't see them as tools, as much as relationships. I don't see them as much as being resources as being people who I can rely on in a sense to be transparent, to be truthful and to be full of good ideas. I think that's the key thing, is the sharing of ideas, and that is hard to do. So I think being connected to people is the privilege that I've had for so long that I have a lot of people, and when I have an idea, I can go see another person and idea to go with it.

And finally, where can our listeners go to learn more about you and your work?

I think hopefully will evolve into something useful for people. It is showing the sort of diversity of the things we do. If it is possible, therefore it exists. That's the world I live in, cause I guess I'm a professional visionary in a certain way. And so my job is to look out into the future, and then speak of the future perfect in the present tense. So I try to make examples that are hopefully helpful to people as they try to imagine it themselves and try to make it exist. So therefore it is possible for other people. So I'd say look at the work, read the books.


Mar 12, 2018
Aurora Winslade - Director of Sustainability at Swarthmore College

Aurora Winslade, the Director of Sustainability at Swarthmore College, joins Sustainable Nation to discuss:

  • Sustainability in higher education
  • Swarthmore College's internal carbon pricing program
  • Advice on implementing an internal carbon pricing program
  • Advice and insights for other sustainability professionals

Aurora's Final Five Questions (transcribed):

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

Learn how to design systems that engage others to be the problem solvers and the implementers of the solutions.

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

I'm excited about the way that those of us in sustainability are starting to embrace the idea of being change-facilitators and leading change, and integrating the work that we'd been doing on a more technical level, creating metrics and and implementing solutions with creating healthy organizations. Because that is fundamental to solving our challenges, is to be able to work together and collaborate across our organizations and adapt to the pace of change, and scale it up at a rapid rate. I'm starting to see a lot more of that sort of systems thinking being integrated into our work.

What is one book you'd Recommend Sustainability Professionals read?

I have to give you two. I couldn't narrow it down to one. They're very different. The first one is Crucial Conversations. It's a tool for talking when stakes are high. It's written by New York Times best-selling authors and it walks you through how to build your skills in having the difficult conversations that all of us have to have throughout our lives and are particularly important in this kind of role, not only being able to have in yourself but helping others be able to have them because conflict will arise and it can be a source of strength, and one can get better at it. So that's one thing that I found really transformational in my life is learning how to get better and it continually getting better. The second book I think I'm really excited about right now is I recently saw Paul Hawkin,  share his work with project drawdown, the other side of it is what are the actual solutions to climate change. His book is called Drawdown.

And they've analyzed using data and creating a model with the best research that out that's out there. The top 100 solutions to climate change. And I was really struck by how number six is educating girls. And number seven is family planning and taken together. Those two solutions could represent the biggest, the single biggest solution to climate change, understanding balancing the interpersonal and change management skills are crucial conversations offers with sort of looking at what the data tells us and using that to drive our strategies. Which project drawdown is trying to give us some really concrete information about those two books.

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

I do recommend the Facilitators Guide to Participatory Decision Making, sort of sneaking in a third book there, but it's really a set of tools for how to facilitate group process. 

And finally, where can people go to learn more about you and the work that you're doing at Swarthmore?

You're welcome to visit the Swarthmore college sustainability website.  I also organize each summer retreat for sustainability professionals. It's primarily for higher education now every year we have some cross-sector participation which really lends a rich perspective. And this year it will be June 24th through the 27th here at Swarthmore college through the Association for the advancement of Sustainability in higher education act, which is a wonderful organization that itself has a lot of great resources. And also, I don't think I mentioned, but you may have earlier, that I teach leading change in organizations through the Bard College Sustainable MBA program. And that's a really terrific program that offers a great way for working professionals to earn an MBA where sustainability is really big. And I would welcome the contact from anyone who would like to continue the conversation. 

Mar 03, 2018
Katie Wallace - CSR Program Manager at New Belgium Brewing Company

Katie Wallace, CSR Program Manager at New Belgium Brewing Company, joins Sustainable Nation to discuss:

  • The history of sustainability leadership at New Belgium Brewing
  • The importance of life cycle assessment and materiality assessments
  • The benefits of being a 100% employee-owned company
  • Advice and insights to other sustainability leaders. 

Katie's Final Five Question responses:

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

Stay informed and be bold. This is not a time to be shy about taking actions. Follow the passion because we need a lot of focused action right now and I would say ask for help. So many of us are kind of making it up as we're going along, and being vulnerable and opening up and asking for help is not a bad thing.

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

Just to pick one that's tough. I think emerging feminine leadership, and I don't mean that just for women, but I mean feminine attributes and collective inclusive practices for both men and women. It's really exciting and I think that's changing the way that businesses run. Also, a lot of cool carbon capture technologies and other great innovations happening in this space.

What is one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

I would say Jonathan Haidt's book The Righteous Mind: Why good people are divided by politics and religion, because sustainability unfortunately has become politicized and can still be divisive, and I really think that's one of the failures of the movement thus far. And so I think that Jonathan Haidt’s book The Righteous Mind provides a lot of insight into why we think differently and how we can come together, because unifying around this issue is really the one thing that will help us be successful.

What are some of your favorite resources or tools that help you in the work that you do? Could be websites, associations, technologies, software programs, any type of tools that help you in your work.

Well, looking forward, I'm going to say the Sustainable Nation Podcast, but for us, I think the B Corp assessment is just a really nice way to organize it. And it's free for anyone to use, you don't have to go through the formal certification to start, although we've seen a lot of market benefits and recruitment benefits to that certification. But it's a free tool out there, measures the impact you're having on coworkers, community and the environment. And I think it provides an excellent roadmap for moving in the right direction. And then of course, like sticking with the science and contextually based schools, I think science-based targets. It's an interesting model that's emerging right now that a lot of businesses like ours are starting to follow those protocols.

And finally, where can our listeners, go to learn more about you and your work?

Well, crack open a beer, go get yourself a Fat Tire, Voodoo Ranger, or Sour Saison is my favorite right now. I also missed the most important part that if it's not fun, it's not sustainable. And so, we have to remember to take time to enjoy all these things we're working hard to protect. So,, has a lot of information and it will continue to have more around our social and environmental efforts. Personally, my profile on LinkedIn has some interesting information about rituals and belonging in the workplace and how we unify around this movement from the ground up.

Mar 03, 2018
Jay Coen Gilbert - Co-Founder of B Lab and the B Corp Movement

Jay Coen Gilbert joins Sustainable Nation to discuss:

  • Creating and growing the B Corp movement
  • Updates on the state of B Corp worldwide
  • The importance of an inclusive economy
  • Advice and insights for sustainability leaders

Jay Coen Gilbert Final Five responses:

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

Reach out, reach out, reach out. There's power in community that doesn't exist inside your company and seek out or build for yourself a robust community of practice that can help you accelerate your learning and the progress that your company will make. You'll move much faster when you're working with people than if you're working on your own.

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

Actually, I would say what I'm most excited about is the work around building an inclusive economy. I think that the work in sustainability is beginning to orient itself more directly and clearly and explicitly with the here and now needs of everyday people who are feeling left behind. I think that's one of the most exciting things that I see happening right now. And I see that leadership coming not just from sort of social first B Corps, but even from folks who are considered to be a sort of an environmental first B Corp are beginning to do work to build an inclusive economy in their businesses and their supply chains in a way that I hadn't seen two, three, five years ago.

What does one book you would recommend sustainability professionals read?

What is one book that I would recommend sustainability professionals read? You know what, it's a great question. I don't think it's a book about sustainability. And I think that the most important things that I've read have been things that reminded me about the "why" we're doing this and not the "how." So I think one of the most important texts that I think that has been read is Martin Luther King's Letter From Birmingham Jail. I think it's one of the most important pieces of writing in the twentieth century. And I think it speaks to this particular moment in history and not just to one from 55 years ago. It really issues a clear call to action, and asks us to really question whether we are being to moderate in our demands of ourselves or companies, or the companies that we are doing business with. And so for me, that's not a book, but since most people don't have time to read whole books anyway, I would say, get yourself a copy. Google "letter from Birmingham jail." Read that. And think about how it's calling us to move from a place of moderation to a place of being drum majors for justice and sustainability and what that means in our current environment.

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

I'd say the most important resources or the people that I work with every day. I learned a ton from the folks at B Lab, not just in our North American organization but through all of our global partners. And so the most important tool I have is the phone and the computer, so that I can be in touch with leaders around the country and around the world who can tell me all the cool things that they're doing, and then I can benefit from their wisdom and their innovation.

And finally, where can our listeners go to learn more about you and the work that you're leading?

Mar 03, 2018