VERGE is a global event series focusing on the technologies and systems that accelerate sustainability solutions across sectors in a climate-constrained world.
The event began in 2011 with three events — in Shanghai, London and San Francisco — held within 36 hours and livestreamed to a global audience. Since then, VERGE events have been held in Boston, Honolulu, London, New York, Paris, San Francisco, São Paulo and Washington, D.C. The flagship event is held each fall in Silicon Valley, the world’s innovation hub.
VERGE brings together a unique ecosystem of professionals representing:
- The world’s biggest companies, including those in fleets, facilities, operations, energy, sustainability and other functions.
- Innovative start-ups from around the world, representing leading-edge energy, food, transportation, water, advanced materials and Internet of Things technologies.
- Real estate portfolio owners, including REITS, corporate real estate, public agencies and developers.
- Energy utilities of all sizes and ownership models, along with independent power producers, microgrid developers and renewable energy developers
- Cities, particularly those responsible for meeting their municipality’s sustainability, renewable energy, smart city and resilience goals.
The VERGE audience also includes leading nonprofit organizations, public officials, trade associations, consultancies, government agencies and students and academics.
VERGE Interconnect features dozens of vendors showcasing leading-edge technologies and solutions advancing the clean economy.
The entire event — is powered by the Interconnect Microgrid, a 100 percent renewable energy system built on-site in just one day.
VERGE is the first and only event of its size to be run entirely by a renewably powered microgrid.
Each VERGE event features a fast-paced start-up competition, providing entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their startups to the VERGE audience from the main stage, to both those in the room and those watching the livestream.
Industry experts provide commentary about the presenting companies, and audience votes determines the winner.
VERGE’s plenary and breakout sessions focus on six program tracks: Circular Economy, Connected Transportation, Grid 2.0, Next-Gen Buildings, Smart and Resilient Cities, and Sustainable Food and Water Systems. The program emphasizes the interconnection among these technologies and sectors, and the power of collaboration, including public-private partnerships.
The VERGE program features a variety of formats on both the main stage and in breakouts, from short 5- and 10-minute “VERGE Talks” to longer one-on-one “keynote interviews” and “keynote conversations” moderated by journalists and industry experts. The program largely shuns speeches and slide presentations. Breakout sessions emphasize interactivity, including small-group exercises and experiential, hands-on activities.
In addition, VERGE includes a series of half-day summits — smaller (~100-person) invitation-only working sessions exploring pressing issues at the intersection of technology and sustainability for companies, governments, utilities and innovators. The 2016 Summit Series includes Next-Gen Buildings, Sustainable Transportation, the Utility of the Future and the Circular Economy.
All plenary sessions at VERGE events are livestreamed for free to a global audience, during which online attendees can discuss the program with other attendees as well as ask questions of the speakers on stage. The online conversation is moderated by the co-hosts of VERGE Sidebar at an anchor booth in the main ballroom, who also conduct exclusive interviews seen only by the online audience. VERGE Sidebar helps integrate the online and in-the-room audiences to create a single, integrated event.
VERGE speakers come from a wide variety of sources, including those nominated by GreenBiz readers. The Call for Speakers for the fall event typically begins in December of the preceding year, and is announced in the free GreenBuzz and VERGE newsletters.