Posted by Robbie on Monday, February 07, 2011.

State of Green Business Forum Recap

I just got back from two days at the 2011 State of Green Business Forum. Attendees included members of Fortune 500 companies, large private firms, universities, small businesses, and government agencies. The varied representation from industries was a testament to how far sustainability has come in defining 21st century business.

Standout presentations included Rob Bernard of Microsoft, who looked at the evolution of cloud computing and the potential it offers for addressing and mitigating environmental damage. He looked at current climate models, which can take a month to run and Microsoft’s work in reducing that down to days and then hours, allowing for greater analysis and more precision.

The conference highlighted a growing swath of corporate America that is keenly aware of the role that environmental and social issues play in maintaining and strengthening their bottom line. But it remains clear that this leadership alone is insufficient. Too many companies are remaining on the sidelines, awaiting more consistent price signals and a defined regulatory environment before curbing their impact and helping their customers to do the same. The policy failure on climate and energy has clearly placed business at the forefront of carbon mitigation, but the approach remains far too ad hoc to result in the kind of emission reductions needed to prevent catastrophic climate change. The state of green business is one of great innovation hamstrung by government failure.

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