Where are they now? A status report on previous 30 Under 30s
Since 2016, we've designated 90 individuals as GreenBiz "30 Under 30." Still early in their careers, these young sustainability professionals are continuing to make an impact in a wide variety of roles, organizations, fields and geographic regions. As we announce the 2018 honorees, we asked some our honorees from 2016 and 2017 for an update.
Our Public-Planet Partnerships methodology was selected as an Expo 2020 Global Innovator and awarded with an impact grant. As it expects to welcome over 25 million visitors to its Sustainability Pavillion, Expo 2020 aims to be the most inclusive world’s fair in history in terms of human innovation, and we hope to ensure that it’s also the most inclusive of other species.
I also co-founded Diversity On Board, the first regional platform that curates highly accomplished Arab women in business, government, civil society and the sciences to help organizations in the Mideast-North Africa region identify and appoint them to executive board positions.
Since becoming a 30 Under 30 awardee, disruptive innovation has been a key theme of my work and mission, knowing that in order to solve complex environmental and social challenges we need to support thinking beyond the status quo, foster cross-sector collaboration and invest in the big ideas that can propel us towards solutions.
Through this, I’ve moved from Etsy to an entrepreneurial path of both working on building a sustainability-driven startup, LOLI Beauty, and leading the Environment Program at the J.M. Kaplan Fund. At the foundation, I’m working to support organizations with emerging environmental ideas through our grants and the foundation’s Innovation Prize. Within LOLI, I’m focused on paving the way for toxin-free, food-grade, upcycled and zero-waste products and pivoting the beauty industry.
I'm working on vegan advocacy, education and research via Effect Partners, a social change consulting agency. We recently produced a commercial that aired during the closing ceremony of the Olympics featuring Olympians who have gone dairy-free, and plan to expand the campaign through the 2020 games in Tokyo.
I have begun partnering with Interface’s Americas HR team to advance the region’s vision and strategy for diversity and inclusion, including the exploration of internal and market-facing communication campaigns, culture-building programs as well as community outreach initiatives. Recently, I spoke on a Net Impact webinar on how our country’s racial history has influenced the diversity, equity and inclusion dialogue in the corporate space.
I sit on 11 nonprofit boards, all focused on sustainability ... Inside of work, I've been promoted by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer to be the mayor's senior adviser for environmental affairs, director of sustainability and co-chair of the Smart Cities program for the city of Orlando. A few exciting things we've been working on:
- A bold commitment to transition to 100 percent renewables by 2030 for municipal operations and 2050 citywide. We became one of the largest cities to make this commitment.
Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) has launched a new "Collective Solar program," which allows homeowners to access more affordable solar PV installations through bulk purchasing. OUC has expanded 20 MW of community solar (the first in Florida) and has installed 40 KW of "floatavoltaics," a floating solar array on retention ponds, with 10 MW of floatavoltaics in the pipeline (including at the airport).
I lead CDP’s water security program in North America. One of the things I’m most excited about is how we’re aligning parts of the CDP water questionnaire with the United Nations’ sixth Sustainable Development Goal. This is essentially a roadmap for clean water for all by 2030, and calls on the private sector to help us get there.
The private sector will be critical to achieving Agenda 2030, and CDP can help drive companies towards that action and also track their progress and feed it into the official process. Companies are starting to pay attention to the SDGs, but it’s not always clear how they can contribute.
We've grown to a team of 10 people and are expanding our network to over 1,000 moringa farmers across 11 countries.
We also have partnered with an incredible entrepreneur named Pierrette to help her build a moringa processing center, and empower more widowed and otherwise disadvantaged women in her community. I traveled to Benin to meet her and then brought her with me on a trip to Ghana to help her learn best practices from other moringa farmers in our supplier network.
I have joined Wells Fargo’s environmental and social risk management team and work most closely with our energy portfolio. It has been a very rewarding move. There are, of course, a number of critical challenges to face in my current role, but it is rewarding to move from a place of providing guidance and consulting services to directly implementing my perspective and contributing to the strategic growth of this aspect of Wells Fargo.
I have dedicated a lot of my time to building a team and engaging in collaborations ... Sustainable construction requires new ways of working and new partnerships across the value chain. And for me, knowledge sharing and innovation mindset are at the heart of the transition towards a more sustainable world.
We have, for example, taken the decision to switch our electricity supply to green electricity. We also have worked in Sweden on a web-based service to help architects and contractors achieve the green certifications — such as LEED or BREEAM — they are looking for.
I have been working on product stewardship and the lifecycle approach; eco-innovation to develop more sustainable solutions; sustainable buildings with a focus on energy and carbon but also health and well-being; and on circular economy.
After seven years working in the sustainability and environmental sector, I've returned to school at MIT, pursuing an M.S. in civil and environmental engineering and an M.B.A. with a focus on analytics and sustainable business solutions. I'm actively involved in the MIT Water Club and will be a co-director of the MIT Water Innovation Prize next year. After school, I hope to explore roles at the intersection of sustainability, food and agriculture, water and tech.
One of the most exciting opportunities I’ve had in the past year was to help convene a stellar advisory council for a report about growing Ohio’s economy through energy innovation. The council included senior leaders from standout companies such as JPMorgan Chase and Walmart, and the vision they outline in the Powering Ohio report shows that today’s decision-makers realize smart energy is smart business. I’m looking forward to continue working with these and other leaders to build the case for states to accelerate clean energy investment over the next few years.
I am associate manager of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. I track North America’s progress and engage internal and external stakeholders on Unilever’s sustainability initiatives. I spent a considerable amount of time brainstorming how we can become less wasteful as a company beyond our zero-waste-to-landfill commitment.
Unilever has doubled down on our climate commitments since Trump’s decision to leave Paris. The "We Are Still In" mentality is stronger than ever, and we are continuing to lead the pack in making bold targets. My team is constantly reminded of the importance of living our purpose through trust and transparency, forming deep alliances and pre-competitive collaboration to overcome the roadblocks to a sustainable world.
I have been growing my social enterprise The Guild full-time, and launched Whole Systems Collective, an impact consulting and ecosystem-building company focused on building a just and regenerative economy. The guild has raised a small pre-seed impact investment, and we're expanding our footprint. Whole Systems Collective is focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Project Drawdown and Impact Investing as main topic areas.
We were a small team of three last June, just starting to make progress with large manufacturing companies, but we are now a team of 17, with over 150 industrial facilities managing their stormwater, SPCC and hazardous materials compliance programs with Mapistry. A big part of our ability to grow so much this past year was our success in raising a $2.5M seed round led by the SaaStr Fund.
I have been busy working on our sustainability compliance team securing IKEA's global code of conduct, IWAY, in its supply chain in North America. I have been working throughout our Mexican supply chain to ensure that both our own minimum social, labor and environment conditions are met through IKEA's business requirements and Mexican laws (which are quite extensive on these issues as well) are followed and complied with.
By being a socially and environmentally conscious client and stakeholder in Mexico, IKEA is raising the bar for what a healthier, safer and more environmentally friendly supply chain looks like amongst the factories it purchases from and the thousands of workers that produce on behalf of it. Foreign trade and investment, in this case, have been critical tools to ensure a more sustainable marketplace.
Our sustainability team has been developing a tool to evaluate the maturity of business areas (such as supply chain and corporate strategy) to manage various sustainability issues such as energy reliability, climate change, and physical and cybersecurity. We also have established the company's first green team (Employees for a Sustainability Future) and will be offering employees seed funding to support grassroots sustainability projects.
In addition, I had the opportunity to participate in the Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership Program through Harvard's Center for Health and the Global Environment. The program provided various change management tools and methods to advance new ideas through an organization.
I’ve continued to manage the Adobe Digital Academy, an alternative and accelerated pathway into tech careers, and am now managing expansion into our Lehi, Utah office. I’m really proud of how the individuals from the program have gone on to be successful in their program, and their nontraditional backgrounds have brought a lot of value to our teams at Adobe.
As the world’s leading rubber franchise, Halcyon Agri’s integrated global network gives us control over the entire value chain of how rubber is grown, sourced, produced and distributed. We own more than 30 processing factories in most major rubber-producing origins and produce sustainable natural rubber under our proprietary HEVEAPRO brand.
There’s been a spike in local action from corporates to cities and local organizations, in part sparked by the U.S. leaving the Paris Climate Accord. We are working with Fortune brands, developers and architects who have taken on climate change initiatives at a faster pace than ever.
I've been focused on working to obtain B Corp certification for Danone North America. As of April 12, we are the largest Certified B Corp in the world. My manager and I co-led the entire project and successfully beat the deadline by two years. I pulled together 150 internal stakeholders, thousands of data points to answer over 1,500 questions, and managed the audit process to obtain the certification. We want to show other corporations that big companies can do good, and redefine success in business by not just looking at the financial bottom line, but also the triple bottom line.
It is not only heartwarming but mindblowing to think that the "dream job" I set out to do when I was a junior in high school — a goal to prove to big corporations have the power of making decisions that are not solely based on financial metrics but also protecting the environment and communities around the world — could have come to fruition the way it has today.
I got married (woot!) and tested out a bunch of solutions to try to make my wedding low carbon. I write a lot about the clean energy industry and major trends, but sometimes I feel like the individual element gets lost.
We had a battery and small solar panel from GoalZero powering strings of lights, we had solar lanterns from Solight Design and LuminAid, we used compostable cups from Repurpose, we bought carbon offsets from TerraPass ... and we drove guests around our rustic wedding venue in a Chevy Bolt on loan from GM. We also found an affordable white wine that was certified sustainable, our flowers were grown across the street from the venue, virtually eliminating transport costs, plus our food was seasonal and we ate on plates made from fallen palm leaves.
Still, I'm sure we had a net carbon impact ... The kicker is that the California wildfires burned down half of my wedding venue just a few weeks after we got married there, which really brought home the reality of the climate risks we face.
The other major update is that I launched a podcast called Political Climate, all about breaking through siloed conversations on energy and environmental issues.
In this role, I advocate for the use of healthy and safe material inputs, optimize the health of our products, create environments that promote well-being, and drive circular and regenerative economies, while advancing a just and sustainable world. I’ve hit the ground running and among other aspects of my position, I have completed two product certifications for the Living Product Challenge, a rigorous certification challenging manufacturers to develop healthy products.
On a personal note, our family grew. We welcomed a baby girl in December.
I’ve been kept fairly busy with preparations for the launch of the Illinois Green Business Association’s new online experience for our green business certification program. We are excited to bring this groundbreaking app to Illinois businesses thanks to the simple user interface as well as the groundbreaking ability for states to exchange valuable environmental data to make these green business programs more impactful across the country.
Illinois will be hosting the Green Business Engagement National Network 2018 Summit in Chicago on Nov. 8 and 9. There are some exciting developments occurring in green business engagement programs across the country and this summit brings the leaders of these programs together in one place.
In October, we partnered with Stanford University’s Codiga Resource Recovery Center ... We’re in conversation with multiple city agencies in San Francisco about additional pilots with our technology ... Our fundraising has been very successful — we just surpassed $1 million — and we recently hired an excellent new director of engineering.
And finally, a major real estate developer with whom we’ve partnered has filed applications for multiple projects along the West Coast that include our technology — in fact, we have received initial approvals to include our technology in a planned 55-story high-rise in downtown San Francisco.
I'm headed to graduate school at the Berkeley-Haas School of Business to pursue my MBA. I hope to gain a better understanding of how to leverage businesses as a force for good and how to scale environmental and social impact.
I am joining Cargill’s sustainability team in its Global Edible Oilseeds division. After five years with Land O' Lakes, I am sad to leave my friends but am excited for this new adventure.
Last year I moved to the Innovation and Business Development arm of Land O’ Lakes' sustainability division, where I launched a new financing service through LOL Finance Company. SUSTAIN Innovation Financing provides equity-based loans to dairy members to implement new technologies or management systems focused on driving measurable outcomes for air, soil or water.