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Friday, November 14, 2008

The Future Business Leaders of America

I am on my way back from the 2008 Net Impact Conference. If you were not one of the lucky 2,400 to have a place at the event, you missed a wonderful forum. And if you were one of the apparently 400 people on the waiting list, try again next year - it is worth it.

During the conference, I facilitated a panel on Quantifying Benefits of Energy Sustainability Initiatives that included Brian Boyd, Vice President, Worldwide Environment, Health and Safety, Johnson & Johnson; Dan Fiorino, Performance Track Program Director, EPA and Eric Israel, Managing Director KPMG LLP. As you might expect, we addressed approaches to making sustainability tangible through quantifying the benefits. Just for interest we compared the carbon footprint reduction targets of the three companies on the panel. We all quantify our emissions but all use different baseline years, different end target years and different decisions on what we include from scope 3 emissions. It is a lesson in the difficulties of comparing, even among three companies which quantify their activities in this area.

The event continues through Saturday. It was inspiring to see the level of engagement of the participants. The audience of Net Impact includes mostly graduate level students, with many executive MBA participants. It was inspiring to see so many committed people from across the country – many traveling in at their own expense. If this level of interest is carried into peoples' values when they are back in the workplace, I am very optimistic about the future for sustainability.

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