New York & New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council Examined Partnerships Between Corporations, Environmental Organizations and Multicultural Green Businesses

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The Council’s “Sustainability Summit: Be Eco Sharp” Saluted Winning Innovations from Minority Businesses Encompassing: Solar Unmanned Airship, Biodegradable Desk Accessories, Organic Fertilizer and Youth Sustainability Leadership

“Sustainability breaks down to people, planet, profit and productivity,” stated Wells. “If a minority business can think in terms of these four P’s, they will certainly thrive in the 21st century.”

The New York & New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council (The Council) explored greentech and cleantech collaborations and opportunities between innovative multicultural businesses, corporate America and environmental organizations at the October “Sustainability Summit: Be Eco Sharp” at Sentry Center in New York City.

"This conference uniquely addressed sustainable green solutions, diversity/ inclusion and building green supply chains within urban communities,” said Kevin V.G. Wells, The Council's general counsel/director of Minority Business Enterprise Services and an environmental attorney, who directed the Summit. “Senior representatives from Fortune 1000 companies and environmental executives from the U.S. and Europe engaged established multicultural green tech enterprises and emerging companies. Multicultural sustainable companies are a group that major corporations are desperate to identify.”

“Be Eco Sharp” ranged from a salute to four minority business owners after a national challenge to identify sustainable products and services to an exclusive screening of the Yann Bertrand film, “A Thirsty World” to a sustainable business “shark tank” Innovation Arena, where multicultural business owners pitched their company to hedge fund investors and venture capitalists. In addition, there were workshop sessions encompassing: sustainable technology; diversity & inclusion in advertising/media; the water market; alternate energy for commercial properties; GRI and SMEs ; financial institutions in the green supply chain; retaining green minority suppliers and a sustainability base-camp for business leaders.

The winners of the nationwide multicultural business competition “Innovation Challenge: Driving Sustainability & Diversity,” sponsored by InnoCentive, Inc. and The Council, were saluted at a special luncheon. The companies were: AirShip Technologies Group in Oregon for a solar energy Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV); Selco Industries in Ohio and NJ had biodegradable desk accessories; Re-Nuble in Virginia for low carbon renewable energy and organic fertilizer from food waste and Green Competitive Advantage in Connecticut for a youth green leadership program. Some of the judges included: Ernst & Young; Obama Administration; The New York Times; BNY Mellon; Environmental Defense Fund and Pfizer, Inc. The top 50 semi-finalists had videos showcased during the summit.

“The “Innovation Challenge” winning companies were representative of several states around the country,” explained Wells. “The result was very impressive because we expanded outside of the New York and New Jersey area. The common issues of sustainable development are not just regional. We had to take a national approach to build green supply chains for future generations in urban communities.”

The Summit kicked off, the night before with a dinner and private screening “A Thirsty World” by filmmaker Yann Arthus-Bertrand at Time Warner presented by FraichePR. “That brought the cache and endorsement of the sustainability summit to the European community, which also encouraged participants from the U.N. to attend the screening and Council dinner,” said Wells. “There’s a political bi-partisanship in green initiatives. The Sustainability Summit had input from U.S. governmental entities from the Obama administration to even New York’s former Republican Governor George Pataki giving a special video presentation."

Speakers at “Be Eco Sharp” included Steven Salsberg, chairman of Global Advisory Company, an entrepreneur and corporate social responsibility advocate; Carolyn Green, president,
Board of Professional Environmental Engineers; Eliseo Rojas, chief procurement officer, Interpublic Group; Bruce S. Schlein, director of corporate sustainability, Citi; Fernando Hernandez, director of supplier diversity, Microsoft; Pamela Lippe, executive director, Earth Day New York; Michael Jones-Bey, director, Con Edison Supplier Diversity Program; Samuel K. Burlum CEO/president and chairman, Extreme Energy; Nancy Gillis director, Federal Supply Chain Program, General Services Administration (GSA); Jeffrey Perlman, president/founder, Bright Power; Joe Sibilia, founder/CEO Meadowbrook Lane Capital; Matthias Rieker, reporter, Wall Street Journal; Glenn J. Hansen, president/CEO, BPA Worldwide; David Davenport, principal, Harlem Greenfit Management; Akil West, founder, Reclamation Energy; Beverly White, president/founder, BKW Transformation Group; Sarav Periasamy, president/CEO, PERI Software Solutions; Daniel Sung Park, president, eClaro International and Andy Wells, founder, Wells Technology located in the Red Lake Tribe in Minnesota.

“Sustainability breaks down to people, planet, profit and productivity,” stated Wells. “If a minority business can think in terms of these four P’s, they will certainly thrive in the 21st century.”

The “Sustainability Summit: Be Eco Sharp” was sponsored by AIG, BNY Mellon, Con Edison, Huawei, Time Warner, Extreme Energy Solutions, HermanMiller, Griffin Security, SHI and Capital One.

PHOTO CREDIT: Laurence Rice/First Look Media

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