Speaker Topics 2017 Conference

We're still adding session descriptions for the 2017 program. Check back daily for the latest program updates.

9:15 - 10:15 AM | Main Hall
Sonoma State seeks to engage students and faculty with local governments, NGOs, and businesses to design real-world, practical solutions to the sustainability challenges they are facing. Students gain valuable practical experience that boosts their academic success and builds their resumes. Local organizations and businesses get access to a more highly trained workforce. Despite the immense advantages, two recurring challenges to these kinds of partnerships are that: (1) sustainability challenges are inherently interdisciplinary, while universities are structured into disciplinary silos, and (2) project needs and timelines do not always fit neatly into academic structures or schedules. One way that SSU is bridging the divide is through programs that regularly seek out sustainability challenges and assist in “crosswalking” those challenges into academic programs. Claudia Luke, Director of the Center for Environmental Inquiry, will interview leaders of four SSU programs that regularly seek to engage students, faculty, and community members in sustainability projects. Through Q & A, we will encourage discussion about ways to enhance these efforts to expand opportunities for student learning and support for regional sustainability projects.
Quantifying Sustainability - Beyond Footprint Calculators
9:15 - 10:15 AM | bennett
Sustainability is a numbers game ... increase what needs to be increased and decrease what needs to be decreased. So how sustainable is your lifestyle? How sustainable are the products you buy? Increasingly customers want to know. Unfortunately, sustainability metrics can be very hard to come by and footprint calculators are often too abstract. As a business owner, manufacturer or retailer, how does your business/product rate on a truly comprehensive sustainability rating scale? It's time we mainstreamed sustainability as a purchase criteria. Join Mark Westwind to look at the challenge of quantifying sustainability and explore how the convergence of consumer demand, Big Data and intelligent technologies can be leveraged to influence markets to sustainable choices. Then participate in an interactive "focus group" conversation about his latest project: the One Planet Sustainability Rating System powered by ImpactTrackr, an AI-driven platform for creating impact profiles and sustainability ratings for every product, every purchase, every place.
9:15 - 10:15 AM | 2nd Floor - Alexander
Businesses have many opportunities to green our practices by implementing projects and operating policies that build toward a more sustainable future. Local non-profit Daily Acts and the County of Sonoma’s Energy and Sustainability Division have resources to help your business lead the way in saving water, conserving energy, diverting waste and preventing pollution while also strengthening our community. Sonoma County’s Green Business Program offers a certification customized for your industry. Daily Acts hosts The Community Resilience Challenge, a campaign offering resources, tools, networks, educational events, and more on your journey to sustainability. Clear Blue Commercial will join us to share how adopting best green practices has increased their success. Learn about simple solutions your business can adopt to lighten your environmental footprint while also increasing profits, leading by example, and engaging your employees and customers with your values. Find out how easy it is to get started!
9:30 - 10:20 AM | sonoma
Sustainability as a best practice is no longer only embraced by individual companies and organizations, it has become a mainstream objective of entire industries and associations. Some entities have developed comprehensive workbooks with criteria, technical guidance and oversight requirements to help make sustainability a uniform standard and ensure compliance through self assessment and third-party audits. At the same time, collaboration has increased among those wanting to expand their understanding and application of ways to implement a sustainable business strategy and incorporate it into their mission, vision and core values. Finally, Investors and those in the financial community are looking for sustainable businesses to fund knowing that the more and more consumers favor, endorse and advocate for enterprises that adhere to sustainable operations and support them with their dollars leading to higher profitability and ROI. This panel will explore all of these trends through the eyes of a trio of subject matter experts working in these fields.
10:55 - 11:20 AM | Main Hall
Sonoma State University Director of Sustainability Paul Draper will describe the mission of the Sustainability Executive Committee (AKA SustainableSSU) with particular consideration of curricular and co-curricular student engagement. Educational administration leader Stan Nosek, Vice President for Administration at Sonoma State University will talk about his work facilitating teamwork between faculty, students and the community and empowering them to create a culture of sustainability. And Claudia Sisomphou, current Sonoma State student and AS Senator of Sustainability, will inspire us with how the campus has embraced sustainability as one of its core values since she's been here.
11:25 AM - 12:10 PM | Main Hall
This discussion explores a disruptively novel solution to several wickedly complex problems facing us as citizens: the cruel gap in material well-being between the rich and poor; degradation and destruction of ecosystems and habitats; our inability to effectively address and reverse climate change impacts; and the continuing inability of the sustainability “movement” to consistently shift the mainstream economy. A New, Regenerative Economy can be forged from innovative use of a well-known but poorly understood and gravely under-utilized business model: the Cooperative. This traverse of Cooperatives will consider the potential for the Cooperative model to transform the material economy from one that is predominantly desperate, predatory, rapacious, and destructive. Envision instead an economy driven by; trust, not greed, well-being, not exclusively financial gain, community, not consumption and long-term vibrancy and resilience, rather than brittleness and short term growth.
1:00 - 1:50 PM | alexander
Buildings that consume net zero energy (and the codes which requires them to) are closer than you might think. The California Energy Commission adopted the goal to achieve zero net energy building standards by 2020 for homes and 2030 for commercial buildings in its 2007 Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR). Join us to learn what to expect and discuss how these changes may impact your business. The session presented by the Redwood Empire Chapter of the US Green Building Council.
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1:00 - 1:50 PM | Main Hall
We live in a big moment with both significant challenges and inspiring local initiatives galore. How can we connect the dots between efforts and groups to create more healthy, just and resilient communities? Join the conversation! After a panel discussion with government, media and grassroots leaders, we will break into groups to connect and discuss the challenges and opportunities of this big planetary moment.
1:00 - 1:50 PM | Interview Stage
Positive risks are things that could go unexpectedly right. These are more than nice things that might happen. These are potential opportunities that, if you are poised to take advantage of them, could mean the difference between mild and wild success for your venture.
Silver Tsunami: Crisis or Opportunity
1:00 - 1:50 PM | russian
It is projected that by the year 2020, about 25% of the U.S. workforce will be composed of older workers (ages 55 and over). Will our rapidly expanding aging population undermine our ability to reduce our ecological footprint to one planet or will we be able to use the rapid social changes it will bring about to meet both challenges and create a better future for all?
1:00 - 1:50 PM | sonoma
This panel will explore how local businesses, nonprofits, government agencies and residents work together, cooperative-style, to shift hundreds of millions of dollars in buying to locally owned businesses. GO LOCAL has entered its 9th year leading this movement in the North Bay. Three GO LOCAL members; a credit union, solar energy company and a new cannabis company will provide insight into this local economic development mission makes progress.
The Business Case for Sustainability
2:00 - 2:50 PM | Main Hall
Sustainability is a key strategy for all organizations. Not only is it a driver for success whether for financial reasons, competitive differentiation, risk analysis, or stakeholder mandate, it is an imperative to meet the needs and challenges of our times. Fortunately, making the business case for sustainability is not difficult. Susan Hopp will interview representatives of organizations who have embedded sustainable practices into their operations and culture. Through the Q & A, we will uncover their motivations, their results, and imperatives as key drivers.
2:00 - 2:50 PM | bennett
The North Bay Climate Adaptation Initiative (NBCAI) is a cross-sector coalition of Sonoma County environmental non-profits and governmental agencies working to promote community resilience in the face of a changing climate. Join us for an update on some of the key projects that have established our region as a national leader in preparing for climate risks.
Economic Sustainability: Mondragón and Local Cooperatives
2:00 - 2:50 PM | russian
Cooperatives are an economic hybrid that transcends capitalism and socialism but embodies qualities of both systems. Successful cooperatives are grounded in business acumen and entrepreneurship, but include a respectful and egalitarian culture that values people before profit. The Mondragón Cooperatives in Spain, the world's largest consortium of worker-owned businesses, is the best example of how cooperatives can succeed on a larger scale while maintaining an empathic, socially just, and environmentally sustainable culture.
3:10 - 4:00 PM | alexander
Our presentation includes a description of 10 different programmatic options to help your workforce to create and achieve organizational and personal goals toward sustainability at work, in the community, and in their personal lives. Meeting for just one hour (weekly or bi-weekly and usually a lunch hour), staff begin designing and applying ecologically sound plans of action...the very first week.
3:10 - 4:00 PM | bennett
Technologies promote sustainable energy including renewable energy sources, technologies designed to improve energy efficiency and technologies to transform waste into energy. Costs have fallen dramatically in recent years, and today most of these technologies are either economically competitive or close to being so. Increasingly, effective government policies in California support investor confidence and these markets are expanding supporting the energy transition from fossil fuels to ecologically sustainable systems.
3:10 - 4:00 PM | russian
How to use the power of SMART goal setting to help your team and organization set sustainability goals, track performance metrics, assign owners and allocate resources. The session demonstrates, through local examples and best practices, how SMART goals work for sustainability strategy execution. (S - specific, M - measurable, A - agreed upon, R - realistic, T - time-based). Participants will learn: What does sustainability really mean? How do we measure sustainability? How do we get it accomplished in our organizations and communities? How do we influence the views and decisions of others with a business case to adopt these principles and best practices? Always a SEC favorite session, the speaker is Chris Yalonis, a Sonoma State Professor of Sustainability, SEC co-organizer, and founder of VenturePad, Marin’s new cowork community and entrepreneurship center, a carbon neutral and zero waste operation.