State of Green Business

Center Stage Podcast

Vien Truong: business leaders can catalyze environmental justice reform

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The conversation about the environment does not actually end with the environment — it continues with environmental equity. Looking at social justice issues with a human-centered perspective is equally important for business leaders to come up with solutions for their environmental impacts. 

VERGE’s Shana Rappaport sat down with Vien Truong, then-president of the Dream Corps, a nonprofit social enterprise and incubator. They discussed how the private sector can lift communities out of poverty by creating more opportunities. The youngest of 11 children born to Vietnamese refugee parents, Truong spoke from personal experience about how disenfranchised communities such as her own are affected by the perils of climate change. "You cannot truly address environmental issues without addressing the social equity issue … This is a united ecosystem," Truong said. 

The Dream Corps also works with lawmakers to push for societal reform, including helping shape the Green New Deal. But the government alone is not enough — Truong believes in the catalytic power when businesses take the lead. She encourages the audience at GreenBiz 19 to seek out and support community organizations that are trying to narrow the gap. 

"The call to action right now for the GreenBiz community is: 'How can we actually all rally together and support and move forward?'" Truong said. "And believe me, a lot of people are waiting and supporting and cheering you on when you step into your power."  

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Technical direction for GreenBiz Center Stage by Isaac Silk.