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NHLI  2009 Executive Leadership Training Conference & Mujer Awards

2009 Conference Wrap-Up

Read more updates by clicking on links below.

Overview | Kick Off Luncheon | Welcome Reception | Rising Stars | Green Sustainablity Workshop | Mujer Awardee Videos


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Going Green: Sustainable Businesses and Sustainable Living

By Melissa Morales

An engaging panel of experts educated attendants on the merits of sustainable business practices and what it means to go “green” in today’s’ economy. The panel represented a variety of perspectives and experiences, ensuring that anyone present could take away useful and practical information. The panelists also had a clear agenda: to challenge, provoke, and incite those who were willing to learn more about the topic.

Sponsored by Wal-Mart, one of today’s leading companies in the move towards green business, the session featured Melissa Bradley-Burns, Senior Strategist at Green For All, Roger Guzman, Senior Manager for Hispanic Markets, Wal-Mart, Astrid Chirinos, Principal of Calor Energy Consulting, and moderator Carmen Bauza, VP of Beauty Division at Wal-Mart and NHLI Board member.

Bradley-Burns, representing a community-oriented approach to sustainability, stressed the importance of building a diverse and inclusive clean energy economy that will engage individuals and communities who could be easily excluded from the sustainability movement, such as women and people of color.

This, she said, will be imperative if we are to tackle our current economic, employment, and environmental crisis in a comprehensive manner. According to Bradley-Burns, the green revolution, unlike the high-tech revolution, will require public funding and widespread interest, making inclusiveness a necessary hallmark of private and public action.

Roger Guzman

Roger Guzman
Senior Manager for
Hispanic Markets,
Wal-Mart

Guzman’s presentation focused on innovative strategies at the corporate level. Because Wal-Mart is one of the largest multinational corporations in the world, it is worth mentioning that its approach cannot be replicated by all businesses. However, there were a number of lessons and facts to be learned. For example, Guzman shared examples to demonstrate how and why Wal-Mart is pressuring its merchandise suppliers to become more green. Because 92 % of the company’s carbon footprint comes from suppliers, its efforts cannot be undertaken alone. They must involve its suppliers.
Wal-Mart hopes to lead the charge in revolutionizing how corporations view and tackle sustainability. With about 200 million people walking through Wal-Mart’s doors every week worldwide, the potential is substantial. At its core, Wal-Mart’s campaign will feature consumer education, including sustainability labels similar to the Nutritional Facts shown on food products, which will allow consumers to make more informed choices.

Finally, Chirinos closed the session by providing a practical and market-savvy take on sustainability for business owners. Speaking on tactics that will reduce costs and drive revenue, she emphasized that these goals are not incompatible with the culture of going green, and that embracing the emerging paradigm can actually generate a competitive edge. By engaging facilities and human capital, she argued, businesses can become competent and change their behavior while regaining control of the environment and resources.

Showcasing individuals from different sectors of the sustainability movement ensured that small business owners would not be the only ones to benefit from this session. The information was equally useful to consumers, community members, and family leaders, who also play a crucial role in greening our economy and planet.

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