Content and speakers listed are subject to change. Please check back regularly for updates.

Program

9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Working Session

City Summit: Partnerships and Financing for Resilient Infrastructure

Special daylong, invite-only working session focused on how cities and companies are working together to implement innovative technologies and solutions that support resilience and sustainability, including low-carbon and smart-city infrastructure programs. The goal is to identify replicable models that allow cities to invest in clean and efficient energy, water, and transportation technologies. Learn more and request an invitation.

1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Tutorial

Addressing Water as a "Wicked Problem" Through Analytics and Action

This is a reprise of Will Sarni and Lindsay Bass's three-hour water tutorial from last year - and now it seems more relevant than ever.

Get an in-depth understanding of water risk as a business risk. Tools to quantify business value at risk and “managed intelligence” along with project examples from the private and public sectors will be presented. “Soft path” solutions to addressing water risks, such as “ecosystems” and “aligned action” will also be presented. A framework for water stewardship and business growth will be presented – “a license to grow strategy.” Data analytics and visualization dashboards will be used to illustrate water risks and mitigation strategies. The workshop is designed for those new to the issue of water risk and the more experienced stakeholder.

Tutorial

Climate Wargaming

This workshop is designed for executives, sustainability and risk professionals, as well as managers with responsibility for aspects of the corporate value chain vulnerable to climate change impacts (i.e. supply chain, operations, facilities etc.) Its objective is to equip participants with tools and techniques to engage their organization on the issue of climate change as a business risk and opportunity.

Through the use of wargaming and role play, participants identify risks and opportunities related to climate change and develop a strategy to communicate critical issues to key stakeholders – executive leadership, peers, and operational staff — and identify how to tie climate adaptation efforts to KPIs.

Presented by Four Twenty Seven.

Breakout

Beyond Buildings, More than LEED: Tools to Transform Communities

If you think USGBC begins with LEED and ends with Greenbuild, think again. USGBC is adding tools and technologies, partners and platforms. LEED Dynamic Plaque, EDGE, WELL, SITES, PEER and GRESB provide a new, global platform to achieve our long-standing mission of green buildings and communities for everyone within this generation. This session looks at what it takes to apply systems thinking at scale and connect it to the future we want. 

1:45 pm - 2:45 pm

Breakout

Solutions at the Groundwater-Ag-Urban Nexus

It takes data to make good decisions about groundwater, and getting groundwater data has always been difficult and expensive. Even when available, data sets are sparse and hard to use. How can governments and businesses access groundwater data and harness it to create cost-effective solutions to groundwater issues? Various stakeholders will address the proven technologies and models and solutions that can be replicated at scale.

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Breakout

Beyond Purple Pipes: Innovative Solutions in Water Reuse and Recycling

Modern water systems use clean water both to drink and flush toilets and water plants. But new technologies are enabling the use lower-quality water for non-potable uses, saving potable water for human consumption and bathing. Learn about the water reuse and recycling technologies and programs that are being implemented at scale across communities and the built environment.

4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Breakout

New Research Findings: How Corporations Are Tackling Climate Change

As a lead up to the climate talks in Paris, Ingersoll Rand commissioned GreenBiz Group to conduct research to understand corporate approaches to climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction initiatives. During this session, research results will be presented with commentary from senior leaders at Ingersoll Rand, Microsoft and Belk.

1:45 pm - 2:45 pm

Breakout

Scaling Corporate Water Solutions

How can businesses scale their water-reduction strategies cost effectively when water is still so inexpensive? This panel features insights from corporate owners working to address water-intensive processes and operations across various industries about the strategies and technologies that are working. Featured speakers include leaders from Google, Dow and Genentech.

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Breakout

Global Panel: Bridging Cross-Border Divides to Scale Cleantech Solutions

Implementing sustainable technologies and business models across borders requires bridging multiple divides —social, cultural, and political. In this session, participants will share war stories from cross-border partnerships and identify how to reduce the barriers to collaboration. Featured speakers include execs from MNL Partners, Energy Innovation and Autodesk.

Breakout

Financing a New Urban Water Infrastructure

As drought and climate change threaten water supplies, water utilities and their ratepayers are facing increasing challenges. Solutions are available, but because water is inexpensive, solutions aren't cost-efficient. The panel will explore public-private partnerships, innovative financing tools and how to account for the value of water in the future.

4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Breakout

Traversing the Valley of Death: New Models for Scaling Innovation

How can clean technologies leap across the commercialization "valley of death" in a single creative collaboration? This discussion focuses on innovation models that are working to enable commercial players to deploy a variety of financial instruments and techniques to accelerate the development and market uptake new technologies in the built environment.

Breakout

Global Panel: How Will the Internet of Things Transform the Base-of-the-Pyramid?

How will the technologies and solutions showcased at VERGE address the needs of those at the base of the economic pyramid? What can we learn from community forestry projects in Kenya that use the cloud and handheld devices to make microfinance payments to off-grid smallholders? Why do Guatemalan highland households with mobile phones outnumber those with access to clean water and clean cook-stoves? This session shows how communities are leapfrogging challenges developed countries have yet to solve. 

3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Breakout

Will Water Scarcity Dry Up the Digital Economy?

Much of the media attention on drought has focused on the residential and agricultural users. But industrial users such as data centers have largely been ignored. The reality is that the Internet runs on water to generate power and for cooling data centers. What are industry leaders doing to reduce water use and associated risk? How are data center operators being impacted by regional water shortages, what are the engineering or technology options to address these challenges, and what should buyers of commercial data center services understand about those options? This session focuses on the design tradeoffs or innovations that can improve water efficiency in the IT sector.