Leading the Way in Sustainability: Women In Green

The Women In Green Forum event in LA is a premier conference series highlighting women's impact on the environmental industry.

Giving a voice and a stage to women who want to make a difference, their mission is to “create a venue for sustainability professionals to develop the skills necessary for professional success, to promote women’s leadership across the environmental industry, and to channel our efforts on building a better world where both genders have equal access to and are involved in leadership and decision-making.”

This year's event was held at the Luxe Hotel and the day was spent with impressive game-changing women from industries of all sizes who spoke on this year’s topic, How Women Are Leading the Way in Sustainability - Innovate, Impact, Inspire.

We wanted to share our key takeaways, some shocking facts we learned, and what inspired us from the event.

Read to learn more about the women innovators who are forging ahead to combat environmental issues.

 

Innovate

I knew Microsoft valued sustainability, but I had no idea the full extent until hearing what Tamara “TJ” DiCaprio had to say. Not only is Microsoft carbon neutral, but they charge an internal carbon tax and the money spent goes toward environmental initiatives!

Microsoft has purchased over 15 billion kW of renewable energy. WOW.

Here are Microsoft’s three success factors involving sustainability:

  • Have BIG, BOLD, PUBLIC targets for your initiatives
  • Make it easy for people to understand and take action/implement the ideas
  • Take a holistic and systematic approach - put social and economic metrics on every initiative

This is simply awesome! I wish there were carbon taxes on more businesses, whether they are self-inflicted or even better...mandated!

 
Women In Green Tamara DiCaprio Relan
 
 

Vivian Panou is the Director of Special Events and Programs at Earth Friendly Products, maker of ECOS. If there was one company that could inspire you, this was it.

Vivian said, “Dream big. Do more.” From ECOS's beginning to the huge manufacturer they’ve become today, ECOS has stayed true to their values. With over 350 employees, they consider each one like family.

They also take into consideratioin their carbon footprint on the planet. Their 125,000 square foot manufacturing facility only creates enough waste to fill one dumpster of waste per month. Now this is a company that is doing something right!

If more big businesses followed suit, we would be on a path to get out of the mess we have created.

 
Women In Green ECOS Relan
 
 

Impact

The Women In Green Forum Youth Trailblazer Award acknowledges one young changemaker for her commitment to engaging the next generation in sustainability and environmental activism.

Presented by American Honda Motor Co. Inc., this year’s award recipient was an environmental youth activist, Zola Berger-Schmitz.

With her short film titled “What If” and her involvement with Heal the Bay, Zola shows that even youth can take an active role. Zola has spoken around the world and continues to make an impact by demonstrating that age is not a factor when it comes to speaking up for the environment.

 

Inspire

A perfect solution

Alyssa Seibert, LA Outreach Team Lead, is helping us shift our view of food through the organization Imperfect Produce which fights food waste by finding a home for ‘ugly’ produce by delivering it to people's homes for 30-50% less than the cost of grocery stores.

Alyssa blew our minds when she told us that there are over six billion pounds of fruits and vegetables that go to waste in the US each year and, of that, over three billion is in California!

How could this happen?

Retailers dictate the specifications, small bumps, bruises, or “looks” of the food they carry in their stores.

Imagine if we recovered just 30% of what went as waste? That would:

  • feed all 42 million people who go hungry in the United States
  • save 11 trillion gallons of water which goes toward producing the wasted food

Alyssa pointed out that, "Our pursuit of perfection runs so deep it has even seeped into our produce."

 
Women In Green Imperfect Produce Relan
 

Putting waste to good use

Kaitlin Mogentale co-founded Pulp Pantry which uses "your juice’s other half" - the pulp that is left over from juicing. For every one pound of juice produced, three pounds of pulp gets created into what is known as "urban food waste."

When this type of food ends up in the landfill, it creates methane gas and pollutes our environment. Realizing there HAD to be better solution, Kaitlin works with local schools to develop healthy snacks made from unused the pulp, and better yet, at an affordable price.

We think she’s onto something.

 
women in green pulp pantry relan.png
 

Sports Sustainability

For the first time at the Women In Green Forum, the conversation in the environmental space addressed the topic of sports. Our friends from the Green Sports Alliance, AEG, and the 2028 Summer Olympics hosted a panel speaking about the far-reaching environmental impact that can be made through the use of sports outreach.

Teams and facilities are looking to go beyond the playing field and reach fans outside of stadiums in order to make a deeper impact. The LA Galaxy’s Protect The Pitch program, the Seattle Mariner's promotion of games with 100% no soda straws, and AEG 1Earth is among one of many organizations that creates tangible, upcycled products to get their fans to think about sports sustainability in a whole new way.

 
Women In Green AEG Relan
 
 

Relan Wrap-Up

Collectively, we’ve got a long way to go but we are making progress. We can’t express how much we appreciate the community of women who continue to make a difference.

Do you have someone or a company that has influenced or inspired you? If so, we'd love to know about them so click here to send us an email.


Kari Brizius is president of Relan and is a West Point Graduate, certified personal trainer, a US Army Veteran, and a wholehearted entrepreneur. Kari’s passion for the environment, the planet, and healthy living fuels her entrepreneurial spirit. Her mission is to provide thought leadership on sustainability initiatives surrounding healthy living, the environment, and sustainability messaging. Learn more about Kari here.

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