Monday, January 6th, 2020

The year ahead

Happy 2020 and welcome back. I hope you had a great holiday and are ready to dig in. I’d like to start the year with a preview of what’s to come.

If there’s one thing you could say about 2019 from the perspective of sustainability, it’s that it was both exhilarating and terrifying. As for 2020, expect more of the same — with the emphasis on “more.”

That is, expect more inspiring commitments, achievements and positive trends in the world of sustainable business and clean technology. And more disturbing news — about the impacts and risks of pollution and the climate crisis on communities, supply chains, markets and ecosystems, and about the efforts by some political and business leaders to drag their collective feet on taking the kinds of actions required to mitigate those impacts and risks.

But enough about others. Let’s talk about us. We've got a busy year ahead. Here’s a snapshot of some of the projects and events we’ll be leaning into at GreenBiz Group during 2020.

  • State of Green Business: Our 13th annual report drops next week, on Jan. 13. As usual, we’ll kick it off with a free webcast. The discussion will feature Richard Mattison and Lauren Smart from Trucost, part of S&P Global, our partners on the report, along with cameos from several of the other report authors. To join in, register here.

  • GreenBiz 20: The report serves as a foundation for our annual February event, our 12th annual, in Phoenix, Feb. 4-6. I won’t go into the details — there’s plenty of information on the event website — except to say that it’s going to be epic. And that the current Early-Bird Rate expires on Jan. 17. (As a newsletter subscriber, you can get an extra 15 percent off by using the code GB20NL.)

  • GreenFin Summit: At GreenBiz 20, we’ll host the second annual GreenFin Summit, bringing together 200 or so companies, institutional investors and ratings organizations for two half-day sessions to identify opportunities to align corporate reporting with investor needs. Also in Phoenix is our third annual Supply Chain Transparency Summit, this year focusing on the food and ag sector.

  • Badass women: On March 8, International Women’s Day, Editorial Director Heather Clancy will offer another edition of “badass women shaking up the corporate climate movement.”

  • State of the Sustainability Profession: This biennial report, publishing on March 17, looks at trends within the sustainability functions of big companies — their size, scope, headcount, reporting relationships and much more. Oh, and not insignificantly, it probes the salaries of sustainability executives and other fascinating factoids. Watch for a webcast on launch day.

  • Earth Day 20: This year marks the April 22 event’s 50th anniversary, so it’s shaping up to be a doozy. We’ll be looking into how the event has changed over the years from the corporate perspective, and what companies are doing to commemorate the event. And, by the way: Has Earth Day outlived its usefulness? We’ll explore.

  • Circularity 20: Following on last year’s sold-out premiere event, this year’s will convene the growing community, more than 1,000 strong, focusing on circular economy strategies, tools and practices. Save the date: The conference runs May 18-20 in Atlanta.

  • 30 Under 30: In early June, we’ll release our fifth annual feature spotlighting up-and-coming sustainability professionals you need to know. Watch for a nomination form in February, and tell us about someone — maybe yourself — who is worthy of recognition.

  • Our 20th: June 21 marks the 20th anniversary of A major milestone, yet just another day at the office.

  • VERGE 20: Our 10th annual VERGE conference is moving to the San Jose Convention Center, Oct. 27-29, where we’ll have plenty of room to spread our wings. Look for an announcement soon of a fifth concurrent VERGE conference (joining VERGE Energy, Transport, Circular and Carbon). You’ll also see a new lineup of summits, tutorials, workshops and more, along with a terrific group of convening partners holding events onsite.

  • GreenBiz Executive Network: We’ll continue to have nine in-person meetings during 2020 of our peer-to-peer network for sustainability executives from large companies. There are three meetings each in January, May and September, where members share their successes and challenges and learn from one another. The first 2020 meetings begin this week.

  • Global event coverage: As always, we’ll attend and cover many of the prime events on sustainability. This year, you'll find us at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, later this month; the Ellen MacArthur Foundation annual meeting, in London, in June; Climate Week NYC, in September; the U.N. Biodiversity COP in Kunming, China, in October; and COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.

That’s just a taste. Add to this all of our daily output of articles, analysis and newsletters; our weekly podcast; and the research reports we publish throughout the year. And who-knows-what-else — one of today’s realities is that you never know what’s coming next.

So, empty your inbox and strap yourself in for another exhilarating — and, quite possibly, terrifying — 12 months ahead. My colleagues and I look forward to helping you get through it all in style.

For now, on behalf of the entire GreenBiz family, please accept our warm, heartfelt wishes for a productive, prosperous and peaceful year ahead.

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