The 4th National GBENN Summit was held virtually on September 8, 9 and 10, 2021 from 11am CT – 2pm CT daily. Thank you to greenUP! and Western Nevada College for their sponsorship and making this event possible.
GBENN is the nation’s hub for small business sustainability. The Summit is an opportunity for networking and sharing best practices among people who manage and operate green business programs or those that work with businesses to reduce environmental impact.
Please find the presentations and recordings for each day below. Also, get to know all of our session speakers – read all of our speaker biographies here!
11:00am CT: Welcome and Keynote Speaker: Andrew Behar, CEO, As You Sow
Andrew Behar is the CEO of As You Sow, the nation’s leading non-profit practitioner of shareholder advocacy and engagement. Since 1992, As You Sow has used shareholder power to align investments with values and compel companies to reduce material risk on issues including climate change; toxins in the food system; ocean plastics; diversity, equity, and inclusion; racial justice; and wage equity.
Mr. Behar will focus on how major corporations are working to address climate and racial equity initiatives in their corporations and the importance of disclosing information to the general public. He will discuss As You Sow’s Racial Justice Scorecard and share stories of how corporations are facing their truths while putting plans in place to improve environmental, social and governance aspects of their organizations.
11:45am CT: Sustainability, Business Recovery and Resilience: Supporting Businesses During the Pandemic
12:55pm CT: Science-Based Climate Targeting and Data Management for Small Businesses
The time window in which to avoid the worst impacts of climate change is rapidly closing and massive action is needed by all aspects of society, including the small and medium sized businesses. While major corporations are setting science based GHG reduction targets in increasing numbers, this movement has yet to take hold in smaller businesses. In this session, we’ll explore how campaigns to address science-based climate targets for small business can be effective in addressing climate goals and discuss how programs are managing and sharing this data. Speakers in this session include:
2:00pm CT: Thank you and Day 2 Preview; Post-Event Networking
Featured as a 2017 GreenBiz 30 Under 30, Jarami is Chief Storyteller at Bond Studio, a visual storytelling company focused on helping companies, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs build their brands, engage their audiences, and unlock the power of their stories. Jarami also serves as Senior Advisor at GreenBiz.org, advocating for greater BIPOC representation and a deeper focus on social and environmental justice within the sustainability movement.
Mr. Bond will cover how we can build mutually-beneficial relationships that address BIPOC community needs and how to best adapt our programs or services to meet those community needs. He will discuss the best ways to partner with BIPOC communities and organizations to create more space and dialogue around sustainability and the clean economy.
11:45am CT: Advancing Equity through Sustainable Business Programming
In this session, we’ll explore successes, lessons learned, and best practices shared by four programs that have developed services in partnership with community organizations that both advance equity and meet sustainability goals for businesses. Each speaker will discuss their best approaches for building trust with community-based organizations, share program success stories, and highlight key strategies to advance equity initiatives in your community. Speakers in this session include:
1:15pm CT: Increasing Access to US EPA Safer Choice-Certified Products
This session will highlight the opportunities and innovative collaborations ongoing to increase the access to US EPA Safer Choice-Certified products, especially in low-income and traditionally underserved communities. Panelists will introduce the EPA Safer Choice Program, discuss how small businesses are pursuing Safer Choice Certification and how green business programs can help increase the purchase and use of safer chemical products through a variety of tools. Speakers in this session include:
2:00pm CT: Thank you and Day 3 Preview; Post-Event Networking
11:00am: Welcome and Keynote Speaker: Suzanne Shelton – Shelton Group
Suzanne Shelton is the voice and the vision of Shelton Group. Drawing on her extensive experience in energy and the environment – and 25+ years in the marketing and advertising industry – Suzanne provides high-level strategic insights for our clients and guidance for our research and creative departments.
Ms. Shelton will share her insights around customer attitudes towards sustainability and ESG initiatives in businesses across the country. Her session will provide insight on how we can pitch sustainability and ESG initiatives to businesses from a customer perspective and alert us of the latest data on consumer commitments and interest in sustainability in business.
12:15pm: Marketing Green Business for the New Millenia
Building a community of sustainable businesses can increase adoption of environmental practices, facilitate networking opportunities and encourage other businesses to join your program. In this session, panelists will discuss key marketing strategies to reach underserved businesses, build opportunities for businesses in your program to connect, and how to maintain communication with your business network. We’ll also dive into marketing campaign design, metrics and results, providing a number of ways your program can amplify all-star businesses while also increasing program participation. Whether you launch a Google AdWords campaign or test your e-newsletter subject line for better readership, you’ll walk away from this session with a plethora of new ideas on how to reach new businesses and build a great sustainable business community.
12:55pm: Aligning Regional and Local Programs with National Climate Goals
This session will provide an overview of how sustainable business programs and regional EPA representatives collaborate to drive climate impacts locally and regionally. This panel will reflect on upcoming national directives and how regions are planning to address those goals. We’ll explore how sustainable business programs and technical services can align with EPA climate initiatives, as well as uncover opportunities for regional partnerships to advance climate reduction goals locally, regionally, and nationally.
2:00pm: Thank you and Summit Wrap-Up; Post-Event Networking
We’re thrilled to have these distinguished keynote speakers join our virtual Summit. One of these keynote speakers will kick off our panels and discussions each day of the Summit.
Andrew Behar is CEO of As You Sow, the nation’s leading non-profit practitioner of shareholder advocacy and engagement. Since 1992, As You Sow has used shareholder power to align investments with values and compel companies to reduce material risk on issues including climate change; toxins in the food system; ocean plastics; diversity, equity, and inclusion; racial justice; and wage equity. Previously Andrew was a documentary filmmaker and entrepreneur founding start-ups developing an innovative physiological monitoring medical device and grid-scale fuel cells. He is on the XPrize Brain Trust for Abundant Energy and the advisory boards of Real Impact Tracker and 1-Earth Institute. His book, The Shareholders Action Guide: Unleash Your Hidden Powers to Hold Corporations Accountable, was published in November 2016 by Berrett-Koehler.
Featured as a 2017 GreenBiz 30 Under 30, Jarami is Chief Storyteller at Bond Studio, a visual storytelling company focused on helping companies, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs build their brands, engage their audiences, and unlock the power of their stories. Jarami also serves as Senior Advisor at GreenBiz.org, advocating for greater BIPOC representation and a deeper focus on social and environmental justice within the sustainability movement. Learn more about Jarami here!
Suzanne Shelton is president and CEO of Shelton Group, the nation’s leading marketing communications agency focused exclusively on sustainability. She leads Shelton Group in creating a market advantage for the organizations that are creating a sustainable future. Those organizations include Consumers Energy, Cotton LEADS, Eastman, Ecolab, Environmental Defense Fund, Mattel, Pactiv and Papa John’s.
With 30 years of experience under her belt, she’s a pro at helping her clients build brand affinity, market products and start movements. She speaks regularly at conferences, guest writes for the likes of Fast Company, Green Builder and GreenBiz, and has been quoted in Forbes, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and other top media outlets. Learn more about Shelton Group here or visit Suzanne’s LinkedIn page.
Goals for the 2021 Summit