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 twice a 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
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