Leaders from a variety of different industries came together to explore sustainable solutions for businesses and consumers, and their mantras when it comes to helping the environment.
The virtual Sustainability Symposium held over Zoom Friday morning included leaders in shoes, cannabis farms, entertainment, food, construction, energy and financial planning. Each representative had the chance to present their solutions and provide concrete actions viewers can take to do a little more for the environment each day.
Sustainable Future founder Seth Streeter acted as moderator for the symposium speakers, and said one of his and his organization’s goals is to educate the public that “strength in collaboration” is better than “community silos” when it comes to sustainability.
“We have not yet come together. How can we bring the whole community together in one platform?” he said. “We’re here to go far together.”
Sustainable Future created a competitive platform that allows users to log small or large sustainable actions they choose throughout the day and win points. To learn more about it, visit https://www.sustainablefuture.org/platform.
General manager of Teva consumer products Anders Bergstrom discussed the importance of holding businesses accountable for what they actually do, rather than what they say they’ll do in 10 years.
For example, he said Teva converted 100% of its webbing straps on the sandals to recycled polyester, all while keeping the price the same.
“Our fundamental belief is that sustainability cannot become a luxury,” Mr. Bergstrom said. “It can never become cloistered or set behind a walled garden or priced into a sector. You fundamentally limit and block your ability to make any type of impact on the planet whatsoever.”
Learn more about Teva’s practices at https://www.teva.com/sustainability/.
Glass House Farms chief cannabis officer Graham Farrar focused on the “interconnectedness” of sustainability across all sectors. Glass House attempts to reduce its carbon footprint by reusing runoff water, using beneficial insects over pesticides and using solar power rather than grow lights.
“We like to think about things on the triple bottom line: things good for the planet, good for the business and important for the consumer,” Mr. Farrar said. “We are not on top of nature, but we are part of nature. We find ways to do more with less.”
CARP Growers president Tristan Strauss echoed incorporating sustainable tenants into cannabis farming, and said that CARP Growers attempts to sustain not only its business culture, but the community as well.
“All of our companies are only as sustainable as the community that supports them. It’s our responsibility as business owners and community members to ensure our returns are directed back into the local economy,” he said. “If directed properly and ethically, business can be the tool to realize the change you want to see in the world.”
California Green Business Network executive director Jo Fleming shared the network’s app called “Shop Green,” which allows users to search and support thousands of innovative businesses that have adjusted to operate more sustainably.
Ms. Fleming’s mantra is “Vote with your wallet.”
“Be hyper local. Support your local businesses, your local economy. Purchase the more sustainable option,” she said. “We can actually make a lot of difference just by voting with our dollars.”
“Shop Green” can be found on the App Store for iPhone and iPad, and more information about the network can be found at https://greenbusinessca.org/.
Superfood guru and co-star of Netflix’s “Down to Earth” Darin Olien used the motto “Vote with your health.”
He discussed the importance of knowing where food comes from, supporting local growers and “taking care of our inner ecosystem which supports our outer ecosystem.”
“If we’re healthier, then we have more energy. When we’re filled up and have more energy, we’re better advocates for ourselves,” Mr. Olien said. “If you create an environment that’s less conducive for bad bacteria, fungus and vermin to show up, it invites those things out. You create a healthy system by observing nature and listening to nature.”
He has a podcast called the “The Darin Olien Show,” available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher Smart Radio and Google Play Music. His website is darinolien.com.
Allen Construction CFO Lindsay Helmick brought sustainable ways to build homes and sustainable appliances to the table, listing off energy-efficient replacements and electric alternatives, such as bamboo, showerheads with lower flow rates, electric stoves and LED lighting.
“Construction is not always seen on the forefront of sustainability,” she said. “It might seem intimidating, but what people don’t realize is it’s actually cheaper than you thought and it’s easy to get these materials. The cost benefit of more sustainable products is getting better and better.”
Romi Kadri is managing partner at Capella Partners, and brought a clean energy perspective to the discussion. He pointed out that if 100 people shifted their electricity use from the evening to between sunrise and 3 p.m., it would eliminate 72,000 pounds of carbon emissions in a year.
“When we think about clean energy, we often think about renewables, wind and solar,” he said. “Use energy when the sun is shining and you will make a massive difference.”
The symposium was recorded and will be posted on CARP Grower’s website, https://carpgrowers.org/sustainability/.