Thank You for Attending the 2020 Virtual GoGreen Conference!

During the week of September 8-9, 2020, we wrapped up our first ever virtual GoGreen Conference.  In a time where the conversation of green sustainable initiatives is more important than ever, we are so grateful to all of our attendees, sponsors, presenters and partners whose compounded efforts brought this virtual conference experience to life! We spent two days learning, growing and connecting on how sustainability in the business setting is a powerful and indispensable tool for navigating the tumultuous waters of today’s global economy and solving our climate woes.

The discussions we had around sustainable, green business practices between the public, private and community sectors during this pandemic era were nothing short of inspiring, and we are so grateful for your participation. As large regions of the west coast battle wildfires, we are reminded yet again of the importance of a Green New Deal, greening business operations in both public and private sectors and of the need for thought-leadership and action around sustainable solutions.

If you were unable to attend a session or if you were hoping to revisit your favorites, you will be able to access all conference content through our app for the indefinite future. As a paid attendee, you can return to our GoGreen Socio app to watch and rewatch sessions at your leisure, follow up with connections made during the event, and reach out to our sponsors and partners for collaboration and with any questions you may have for them. If you weren’t able to attend the conference live and want to view our recorded session content, you can purchase a ticket to view program sessions here.

We were thrilled to be able to bring you this year’s conference content virtually and we cannot wait to be back with you in-person and virtually in 2021.

Thank you to all of our attendees and collaborators for sharing your enthusiasm on social media using #GoGreenSEA! You can view a recap of all conference social media postings for #GoGreenSEA here.

We owe a huge thank you to our media partners, community partners, and sponsors for helping build awareness about the event and putting your support toward this year’s virtual GoGreen Conference. Special thank you to Washington Business Alliance and the Low Carbon Prosperity Institute, our 2020 Title and Program Partner, who made the conference possible. From spreading the word via email and social media to sponsoring sessions and sharing in our passion for environmental change, thank you one and all for helping to make GoGreen happen!

We hope you will join us next year for a return to an in-person hybrid event structure in Seattle on April 6, 2021. Register and reserve your spot today!

If you are interested in learning more on how to confirm your support as a sponsor for GoGreen 2021 please contact GoGreen Conference Partnership Manager Savannah via email at savannah@gogreenconference.net

Top 5 Reasons to attend the 2020 Virtual GoGreen Conference

In today’s ever-changing world, it seems that there are hundreds of thousands of virtual events and conferences circulating, all offering amazing content, learning experiences and networking opportunities for their attendees. With so much to choose from, we know it can be difficult to nail down which conference will be the best opportunity for you to attend as an individual or an organization — that’s why we’ve gone ahead and compiled our top 5 reasons to attend this year’s Virtual GoGreen Conference!

Keynotes from top industry leaders in green technology, carbon negativity and climate activism including:
Microsoft’s Chief Environmental Officer, Lucas Joppa
Sendle’s Chief Executive Officer, James Chin Moody
Zero Hour’s Founder and Co-Executive Director, Jamie Margolin
Climate Voice’s Founder and Executive Director, Bill Weihl

Breakout sessions & plenaries with ample time for Q&A from industry leaders in both public and private sectors with content on topics of:
-Climate Action
-Bridging Urban Rural Divides
-Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
-Building Decarbonization

Session Highlight | Sustainable and Equitable Communities: How Sustainability Intersects with Equityequitable communitiesView the full 2020 program with session descriptions and speaker biographies here!

Virtual Event Format and Ticket Price
This year’s virtual format and ticket price make the conference more accessible than ever! With no travel barriers for interested attendees both within and outside the Pacific Northwest, the GoGreen Conference has the capacity to reach sustainability professionals on a national level. Attend programming and connect with other industry professionals from across the country from your own workspace. We know sitting in front of a Zoom screen all day isn’t always ideal when you have other work to attend to, that’s why we made the transition to a 2-day format with strategically planned content to be done by lunchtime each day!

Content Galore on the 2020 Virtual GoGreen Conference Event App
-All event sessions will be recorded and saved in the app following the conclusion of the event for ticket holders to return to as frequently they please. No more fretting over which breakout session you want to attend most, because you’ll have access to them all following the event!
-In-app networking allows for attendees to make connections and contacts with other industry professionals from around the country – collaborate, share ideas, drive leadership and generate solutions!
-The sponsor hub within the app will have resources, special offers and meeting opportunities for attendees to directly connect with our event sponsors.

It’s affordable!
Attend the virtual conference for just $75 (that’s $200 less than the in-person event) to:
-Receive access to over 17 sessions of content live with Q&A.
-Revisit and rewatch any content you didn’t get to join during the event with recordings of every session available for attendees in the app at the conclusion of the event.
-Participate in networking opportunities in-app and scheduled into the conference programming.
-Receive access to special offers, resources and meeting opportunities provided by our sponsors!

 

Going Further and Faster with Sustainability: A Conversation with Lucas Joppa, Microsoft’s Chief Environmental Officer

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Q: We saw the recent news that Microsoft will be carbon negative by 2030 – that is impressive! How will Microsoft use innovation and ability to scale to make this happen?

Microsoft is proud to have been carbon neutral in our operations since 2012. Now, with our new more ambitious goals and detailed plans we are putting our technology and expertise to the test across our business. This includes our existing expertise in energy finance and research, work with our suppliers, and investments in equipping environmental change-makers with AI and cloud tools through our AI for Earth program. Our commitment also means making use of our role as a major technology company; we will leverage existing and new partner and customer relationships to spur change, as well as invest $1 billion dollars in carbon removal projects and technology.

Q: At the upcoming GoGreen Conference you will share how leading global organizations like Microsoft can use operations, investments and technology to bring down emissions and lessen the impact to our climate. Can you give us a preview of what we will learn by attending?

I’ll be speaking about what Microsoft is doing itself to reduce and remove our carbon footprint. More expansively, I’ll cover the conversations we’re having with customers about how they can meet their own sustainability goals. A key part of that is to understand what your emissions are and the tools at your disposal to address them.

Q: You are clearly a leading climate champion as Microsoft’s first Chief Environmental Officer and in starting Microsoft’s AI for Earth program back in 2017 – a cross-company effort dedicated to delivering technology-enabled solutions to global environmental challenges. What is next on the horizon for you?

For me it is all about continuing to go further faster with sustainability at Microsoft. This is an area where we must be constantly innovating, and one where we can never become complacent. In the short term we are continuing to build the infrastructure to meet our carbon commitments and partnering with innovators and customers to develop the tools and technology to reduce and remove carbon. Beyond that we’re also looking at the additional focus areas of ecosystems, waste, and water.

 

Innovation’s Role in Building a Sustainable Future: A Conversation with James Chin Moody, Founder of Sendle

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Founded in 2014, Australian based delivery service Sendle has now launched in the states as America’s first 100% carbon neutral package delivery service and a certified B Corporation. With carbon neutrality at the forefront of their business model, gone are the days when doing good for the environment would cost you extra. Making door-to-door package delivery simple, reliable, and affordable allows customers to choose a delivery service that is both cost-effective and conscious of the environmental toll of package delivery.

We are thrilled to welcome one of Sendle’s founders James Chin Moody to the Seattle GoGreen Conference stage on April 9 to discuss the importance of Decoupling Economic Growth from Resource Consumption. We had a chance to talk with James leading up to the conference and hear his thoughts on the importance of innovation in the effort to separate consumption of resources from economic growth. “Since the industrial revolution, the tide of progress has ebbed and flowed,” he said. “Five distinct waves, each starting with disruptive new technologies and ending with a global depression, have transformed our industries, societies and economies almost beyond recognition.”

“In this next wave, we’re going to see increasing demand for resources, and at the same time, resources are becoming increasingly scarce. This will cause massive shifts in business, where there’s suddenly a price on things that were never priced before (i.e., a ton of carbon, a liter of water, etc.).”

What James predicts though, is that with innovation, economic growth will no longer rely on the over consumption of resources. As new thought leaders and technologies arise, we’ll see business models that thrive by actually using fewer resources, not more.

When it comes to a sustainable future, innovation is critical to changing the way we view and use the earth’s resources. “In a world of limited resources, there’s a limit to what we can consume. It will be the new, innovative business models that can crack the concept of growing while actually reducing their reliance on the environment, that will truly de-risk themselves for the future, and succeed,” James told us.

We cannot wait to welcome James Chin Moody to the GoGreen stage in Seattle, WA alongside other leading voices in the sustainability movement. Join us on April 9th to celebrate ten years of advancing our mission of empowering attendees with the strategies, tools and connections to green their organizations with profitability in mind. http://seattle.gogreenconference.net/



Event Details:
The GoGreen Conference will take place Thursday, April 9, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Elwha Ballroom, located at 808 Howell Street, Seattle, Washington, 98101. Tickets are available at seattle.gogreenconference.net or call 206.459.0595.

 

 

Voices Leading the Next Generation: A Conversation with Jamie Margolin

The commitment that comes with being a change activist isn’t an experience many of us will have in our lifetime, and to dedicate so much of your life to a cause as a youth is even less likely. As the discussion around the climate expands, some of the leading voices calling for action are from the youth — rallying together for an earth they will have to inhabit long after the current regulatory bodies, politicians and public leaders are gone.

 

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Jamie Margolin is one such youth leader. At 16 years old she founded Zero Hour, a youth-led movement creating entry points, training, and resources for young activists and organizers wanting to take concrete action around climate change. This September she testified in front of Congress with Greta Thunberg in the panel “Voices Leading the Next Generation on the Global Climate Crisis”. A few weeks ago she was awarded the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes. And somehow, while balancing school, life and climate activism, she found the time to write a book.

Youth to Power will hit the shelves in June 2020, and is said to offer the essential guide to changemaking for young people. We asked Jamie what youth could expect when reading Youth to Power and she said, “There’s no magic trick, but it gives you an idea of how to navigate the waters.” Each chapter explores a different aspect of changemaking as a youth including managing a strong social media presence, taking care of your mental health, prioritizing time management, balancing school, activism and more. Jamie makes it clear that Youth to Power is not an activist’s autobiography, but a breakdown of the essentials unique to young organizers that she’s learned throughout her own experience. Her first piece of advice to youth: start with something you’re good at, something that comes naturally to you or something that you’re passionate about. Writing has always been Jamie’s outlet, and Youth to Power is certainly not her first or last foray with this medium. 

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Jamie will join us at the GoGreen Conference in Seattle April 9, 2020 to address leaders in the business and public sectors. When we asked what insight she hopes they will gain she shared with us a phrase she’s used often “Don’t take pictures of the work I do, listen to the words that I say.” With the wave of youth activism garnering public attention, there’s a huge sect of professionals, business leaders, politicians and more complimenting the drive of the youth, but, in the words of Jamie, “being inspired by us isn’t enough.” What Jamie and all youth activists are after isn’t a pat on the back, but for their words to influence action. Youth activists aren’t talking points for political gain, they are writers, creators, doctors, actors, singers, designers, journalists, students, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, and everything in between. They are fed up. Jamie and young change activists all over are seeking a drastic change in our society. “The climate crisis didn’t just pop up because we started coal mining,” Jamie notes. For centuries we have been brought up in a world where our planet’s well-being isn’t prioritized, and now we’re seeing the effects of it first hand. As more people wake up to the climate crisis, now more than ever it’s time for action. From Jamie’s perspective, it’s time to change the fabric of our society. Now is the time because there is not much time left.

We are thrilled to welcome Jamie Margolin to the GoGreen stage in Seattle, WA alongside other leading voices in the sustainability movement of all ages. Join us in April to celebrate ten years of advancing our mission of empowering attendees with the strategies, tools and connections to green their organizations with profitability in mind. http://seattle.gogreenconference.net/ 


Event Details: The GoGreen Conference will take place Thursday, April 9, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Elwha Ballroom located at 808 Howell Street, Seattle, Washington, 98101. Tickets are available at seattle.gogreenconference.net or call 206.459.0595.

 

Fighting Not Drowning: The Youth Who are Leading the Climate Revolution

Fighting not drowning.
As the seas rise, so do we.

These are just a few of the rally cries that were heard on Friday, September 20th, 2019 as youth across the globe organized and gathered for the Global Climate Strike. There were 4482 strikes registered globally, with over 1000 of them taking place in the United States. Portland’s strike began Friday morning with a youth-led rally outside City Hall where groups spoke of the destruction to Frontline Communities dealing with the harshest repercussions of climate change despite doing the least to aggravate it, called for the adoption of a Green New Deal phasing out fossil fuel infrastructure and investing in renewable energy, and demanded climate justice.

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Youth from all backgrounds, some representing the Pacific Islands and Indigenous tribes, some with plans to run for congress, led the rally. Speaker after speaker stood in front their peers and they shared their call for action – a cry for justice. With these speeches in mind, tens of thousands of Oregonians marched across Hawthorne bridge. At its height, the march spanned nearly a mile, filled with protesters.

With globally known young leaders like Greta Thunberg (16) and Jamie Margolin (17) speaking for the voices of the youth to be heard, the movement for climate action is a largely youth led initiative. Young people across the world are fighting for their right to an inhabitable planet long after those who contributed most to climate change are gone.

Just last Wednesday, Thunberg and Margolin testified in front of congress in the panel: Voices Leading the Next Generation on the Global Climate Crisis. “The reality is, my generation has been committed to a planet that is collapsing” Margolin emphasize in her testimony, “On college applications I keep getting asked what I want to be when I grow up; the media, pop culture, politicians, businesses, and the whole world tells me that I and my whole generation will have something to look forward to that we just don’t.”

margolinMargolin ended her testimony with a call for action on behalf of the youth. Her dialogue came to a close with the declaration of her generation, Generation Z as the era of the Green New Deal, a congressional resolution that lays out a grand plan for tackling climate change.  “People call my generation, Generation Z, as if we are the last generation. But we are not. We are refusing to be the last letter of the alphabet.”

In the wake of the week long Global Climate Strike, we are all the more thrilled to welcome This is Zero Hour founder Jamie Margolin to the podium at our GoGreen Conference in Seattle April 9, 2020.  For ten years, the GoGreen Conference has been the ultimate sustainability learning experience for business and public sector decision-makers in the Pacific Northwest. Featuring regionally targeted content and recognized leaders from the community, GoGreen works across industry silos to foster peer-to-peer learning and collaborative solutions.

http://seattle.gogreenconference.net/

Green Line Series | Meet Michele Crim, New Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Portland, Oregon

Michele Crim Blog GraphicWe were thrilled to have the opportunity to learn more about Michele Crim,  Portland’s new Chief Sustainability Officer, who now leads 40+ staff in the development and implementation of policies and programs focused on climate action, waste reduction and recycling, energy efficiency and renewables, emerging mobility, green building, business assistance, and community outreach and engagement. She led the development of Portland’s award-winning Climate Action Plan (2015) and seeks to ensure Portland’s marginalized communities reap the benefits of those efforts. Check out what we learned and hear more at GoGreen Conference Portland next week on October 10th.

As the new Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Portland, what are some of your long and short-term goals?

We are in a time of tremendous change and there is an urgency to act that hasn’t really existed before. From climate change to racial justice, we are at a critical crossroads that means our collective work – public, private, non-profit, academia, advocacy – is more important than ever before. My short-term goals are to continue the important work we already have before us (as outlined in the Portland Plan, the Climate Action Plan and the Comprehensive Plan) and ensure we deliver on the commitments we’ve already made. In terms of mid and long-term goals, I’m eager to push hard on some of our seemingly impossible challenges. We no longer have the luxury of nibbling around the edges of some of the big stuff we know we need to tackle, from  our energy systems to addressing emissions from the goods and services we consume – and everything in between.

You will be a part of our Closing Plenary, where you will discuss how climate change impacts our generation. How do you see climate change and the economy as interrelated?

Portland’s early work on climate created opportunities for local companies to develop clean technology, innovative products and sustainability expertise that have since been exported around the world. Our local policies and programs and initiative from sustainable business leaders drove that demand. As Portland considers future policies and programs, we must be more intentional about driving economic opportunity. Special care and intention must be paid to ensuring that those opportunities extend deeply into those communities that have historically been left behind and not benefited from climate action, most especially communities of color and low-income populations.

What is an example of a policy that the City of Portland has enacted that integrates equity in its design?

Portland is known internationally for our work to integrate equity into the 2015 Climate Action Plan. From high level vision setting, to specific actions and policies, that plan was greatly informed by the perspectives and expertise of Portland’s frontline communities. That work built the capacity of our staff and community members to understand the linkages between equity and climate action. However, it didn’t go far enough. The City of Portland and Multnomah County will be updating the Climate Action Plan in 2020. To go farther we won’t be looking to our frontline communities to simply inform our work. Instead, we’ll invite them to be collaborators in the design. The design community describes this as co-creation. It will require us to build new skills and mindsets as designers, and create structural and institutional changes in order to be successful.

For more information about join us at GoGreen Conference – Portland on October 10th, 2018. Visit portland.gogreenconference.net for more information and to purchase tickets.

Keynote Preview with Governor Jay Inslee

Governor Jay Inslee from the state of Washington will kick off the 2018 GoGreen Conference with an Opening Keynote Address, speaking to the imperative of local and state governments in the fight against climate change.

Here is a preview of what we can expect:

There has been a lack of climate action on a federal level with the current administration. As Governor of Washington, you’ve been an outspoken advocate for environmental progress and climate commitment.

Why do you feel it is an imperative to act on climate change without the support of the federal government?

governorOur region has a long history of environmental leadership. If the federal government fails to take action, it is imperative that the states step up and act. We cannot stand idly by while the federal government does nothing, or worse puts policies in place that have a harmful and long lasting effects.

When the Trump Administration announced its intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, it was crucial to deliver the message to the world that the U.S. was still in for the fight against climate change. We must have a wide collection of U.S. voices stand in as the collective, representative voice of U.S. action on climate.

Washington state has been working with California, Oregon and British Columbia for a decade through the Pacific Coast Collaborative to ensure a united front in the fight against climate change. Last year, I joined forces with California Gov. Jerry Brown and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to launch the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of states dedicated to the goals of the Paris Agreement, which is now 17 governors strong.

The Climate Alliance is committed to achieving the U.S. goal of reducing emissions 26-28 percent from 2005 levels and meeting or exceeding the targets of the federal Clean Power Plan. With input from all participants, the U.S. Climate Alliance will also act as a forum to sustain and strengthen existing climate programs, promote the sharing of information and best practices, and implement new programs to reduce carbon emissions from all sectors of the economy.

Together, the states are leading the way toward a more sustainable future for us all.


Register to join us April 4 at the GoGreen Conference! Tickets available at the door, or visit gogreenconference.net/registration.

Green Line Series Interview | 2018 Keynote Speaker, Brenna Davis

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Brenna Davis | Vice President, Social & Environmental Responsibility, PCC Markets

We are excited to welcome Brenna Davis, Vice President of Social & Environmental Responsibility at PCC Markets, as our closing Keynote speaker at the 2018 GoGreen Conference on April 4. Brenna leads PCC’s strategic initiatives related to sustainability, supply chain quality and community engagement. Prior to joining PCC, she worked for 20 years advising businesses on sustainability in a variety of roles.

Brenna shared with us some of her insights from her long career working in sustainability, and some of the takeaways we can expect from her talk.


This year’s GoGreen conference is focused on the Climate Commitment Leadership Imperative. How has PCC Community Markets worked to take responsibility on climate action in the absence of federal intervention?

It’s wonderful to see GoGreen have that focus this year. It’s more important than ever for businesses to take the lead on climate.  PCC has been leading on environmental issues for decades, so this is not new to us.  We built the first LEED Gold grocery store in the country, and have been tracking our carbon footprint for over a decade.  Our organic supply chain itself is a climate change initiative – we know that well-managed soils sequester more carbon.

As a sustainability professional, what drew you to work at the PCC? How are food, community, and sustainability related?

I love PCC. As a kid, my mom used to take me there to shop, so I have fond memories of growing up in PCC.  We are local and community owned.  We are a triple bottom line organization, and that approach is integral to everything we do.  And that commitment is not new, but one that has been living and breathing in our stores for years.  Good food does good – it protects the ecosystems that we depend on for life and builds sustainable communities.

What is one of your goals or initiatives for PCC related to sustainability?

Our quality standards are the crowning achievement of our work in sustainability.  We vet the food before we put it on our shelves so shoppers don’t have to.  Our standards range from animal welfare to sustainable packaging.  And we are continuing to improve them day in and day out.  Another emerging initiative is our recent commitment to 100% renewable energy – which challenging to accomplish. We truly never rest!

What is one take away you hope to leave attendees after your Keynote address at this year’s GoGreen conference?

There are many iconic brands in the Pacific Northwest, and together the business community has achieved so much to protect the environment for future generations.  PCC isn’t shy about speaking out on issues, and moving our supply chain towards greater social and environmental responsibility.  My talk will focus on our deep and very exciting history of brand activism – from our humble beginnings in a Seattle garage in the 1950s to having some of the strongest supply chain standards in the country.  It’s been an exciting road.


You can join us to hear Brenna give the closing keynote address at the GoGreen Conference April 4 by registering here.

Green Line Series Interview | Serilda Summers-McGee

Serilda Summers-McGee HeadshotSerilda Summers-McGee is the Owner of Workplace Change, LLC, a company that exists to help organizations assess their workplace culture, creatively resolve identified workplace challenges, recruit under-represented executives and staff, and retain high quality employees in an inclusive, positive, and high functioning work environment.

She is also the author of the book Change the Workgame: Building and Sustaining a Diverse Workforce, which instructs readers on the best and worst practices of recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce through the use of case studies from Serilda’s consulting experiences.

Serilda will be leading the Value of a Diverse Workforce workshop at this year’s GoGreen Conference on April 4 and shared with us some of her takeaways.


GoGreen: The terms ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ have become quite cliche in today’s work environment. What does ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ mean to you?

Serilda: Diversity is about the “who”- who are you allowing to have access to your organization. Inclusion is the “how”- how are they treated once they get there.

The reason why it is cliche, and why we need to unpack it, is that organizations tend to tokenize the “who”, saying they need one or two of a particular group. They are focused on whatever group they feel the most guilty about- black people, Latino people, disabled people, etc.

They aren’t talking about changing a system, a system that lends itself to people not having access. They are talking about placing one or two people in their organization for aesthetic purposes. That is not the essence of diversity and inclusion, but instead dilutes the purpose and intentionality behind the terminology for why it was originally created. We need to have an environment where people from underrepresented backgrounds can actually thrive, be exactly who they are, and bring all that beauty to the table to create more beauty when aggregated with people from other walks of life.

GoGreen: Why should Diversity and Inclusion matter to businesses when hiring?

Serilda:  There are a ton of studies, proposals, and presentations about how diversity and inclusion strengthen your bottom line. That’s a very capitalistic, self-centered, and selfish stance to have on why it is in the best interest of a leader to have an inclusive environment.

It’s true, their business will thrive. But it is also in their best interest because it is the right thing to do. Today in the Trump era, humanities is an after thought. But for me, I’m in this work because I see the way people are hurt in their workplace and they come home and they are not the best mother or partner they can be. Stress, anxiety, anger and resentment manifest themselves in very physical ways. So, business people should care because diversity and inclusion create a healthy environment for people to prosper.

Managers and leaders should care because it is human nature to take direction from the people in power. If the CEO doesn’t care, you won’t care, and it is a vicious cycle of hurting people. And by the way it also helps your bottom line. But if that’s all you care about you’ll never fix the challenges in the workplace.

People bring the best versions of themselves to the workplace when they are happy and if you don’t have a supportive work environment and you have an exclusive work environment, people who are not part of the majority will not be the best versions of themselves. And that can hurt productivity. But it is bigger than that.

GoGreen: Can you speak to the intersections of Diversity in the workplace and sustainability? How can diversity support your bottom line?

Serilda:  I will always pivot away from the discussion of capitalization of underrepresented people. This is controversial, but I’ve been saying it and I’ll continue to say it: the commodification of underrepresented folks, predominately black and latino people, could be equated to slavery. It’s just like saying “how can slaves make your business more sustainable?” You aren’t talking about them as a person and creating an environment for them to thrive in. It is the same argument that was made for why slavery should have been sustained. It was all about business, profitability and capitalism.

The whole bottom line narrative is very loaded and very problematic. A lot of people are jumping on the diversity bandwagon and bringing on people of color and women but treating them  like crap when they get there. We tell them that they are there to help them grow the business, but they don’t get a voice. The moment they actually have a voice and are articulating the challenges that exist is the moment they are kicked out. The white leadership get afraid because they moved into the diversity realm from a position that it is going to benefit the bottom line and not from a humanistic perspective. It is based entirely on self-interest and capitalistic in nature. And capitalism is about exploitation. But sure, diversity will sustain your business, but only if you treat people properly once they are there.

GoGreen:  That is an interesting point, which brings up the question of how can we get business owners to care about diversifying their workforce not to benefit their bottom line, but because it is the right thing to do?

The right-thing-to-do argument will fall on deaf ears because business owners generally have bought into the American dream and capitalism. My objective is to enlighten and open people’s minds to what is going on inside their organizations. I want to go beyond the bottom line and talk about how people are treated once they are in the system. We need to stop treating people as a commodity.

People will do better if they knew better. Once people are aware, they have the choice of whether they want to extract and exploit, or include and invite and then capitalize on the beauty that they create.

GoGreen:  Your workshop at GoGreen will be discussing how to change the status-quo. What are some challenges that you anticipate business leaders will face when Diversifying their workforce?

Serilda: There are two arguments for the challenges of diversifying the workplace: “I can’t keep them”, or “I can’t find them”. It is hard for me to believe that someone can create a business from concept to completion, but can’t find minorities for your workforce. I think that is hogwash – it just means you aren’t passionate about it. You need to go out there and do the work.

I will be making these points at the conference, but also I’ll be providing tools for your toolbelt on how to get you there, along with some inspiration. I know that people care, and I know we get there. If you are brilliant enough to start a business, you are brilliant enough to solve this problem. You can figure out how everyone can be treated with the same amount of respect and integrity that the predominate community gets treated.


To hear more from Serilda Summers-Mcgee, join us for The Value of a Diverse Workforce: Change and Activate Your Company Culture at the GoGreen Conference on April 4. Register here.