Aspen ESG Summit Agenda

Aspen ESG Summit | Agenda

July 9th—11th, 2024  |  Aspen Meadows Campus, Aspen, CO
Agenda Themes for 2024

BIG Ideas: Join us to brainstorm the next frontier of sustainability and social impact innovations.
Stories of Transformation: Deep dives into how firms are reinventing products, practices and business models for a sustainable, equitable economy.
The Equity Imperative: What will it take to embed equity more fully into sustainable business strategies, while preparing for increasing challenges from AI and other economic shifts?
Evolution of Governance: How are sustainability professionals influencing the board, c-suite and finance teams, and integrating ESG into day-to-day operations?

ARRIVAL DAY: Monday, July 8th
3:00pm Suggested Arrival
5:30pm Welcome Reception @ Hotel Jerome (founded 1889), Aspen Town Center 

Join us for conversation and cocktails as we kick off the event.

DAY 1: Tuesday, July 9th
8:00am – 10:00am Networking Breakfast
8:30am – 10:30am Optional Morning Activities

Text-Based Dialogue: Reflections on Leading in Divisive Times
Leading change, especially in today’s polarized environment, requires the ability to understand and forge alignment among people with diverse values systems.  Join the Aspen Seminar tradition to reflect on how conflicting beliefs might impact your work, and how your own values and leadership philosophy can help you achieve your goals.

Led by Todd Breyfogle, Executive Director of Leadership Seminars, Aspen Institute

The Iconic Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake
View the stunning Maroon Bells mountain peaks and Maroon Lake, “the state’s most photographed wilderness scene”. The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies will lead a short hike and discuss the ecosystem, native plants and animals, then provide ample time for you to soak up this iconic scenery.

10:30am – 12:00pm Optional Mid-Morning Activities

Watercolor Workshop @ Red Brick Center
Tap into your creativity with a watercolor painting class at the Red Brick Art Center, alongside Business & Society Program’s Executive Director Judy Samuelson (a noted watercolor enthusiast). A local Aspen artist will teach you the fundamentals of watercolor, including composition, scale, brush work, and color selection.

Historical Downtown Aspen Walking Tour
Explore downtown Aspen with a guided walking tour, and hear about the town’s transformation from mining outpost to artist enclave to ski town. The Aspen Historical Society will guide you through the history and buildings of Aspen, focusing on the oldest architecture and the stories behind them.

Workshop: Building Resilient Leadership and Resilient Teams
Working to address society’s most pressing challenges requires a lot of grit. It can feel like continuously “pushing a boulder uphill,” often without knowing how much farther you’ll need to go. And if you’re leading a team of changemakers, you must also inspire others to keep pushing, to stay committed over the long haul. This workshop will explore how to strengthen your own ability to thrive in your work, and how to help your teams do the same.

Led by Michael Koehler, CEO & Certified Executive Coach, KONU

12:00pm – 1:30pm Luncheon 
1:00pm Registration & Networking
2:00pm Main Stage Opening

The Transformation Journey
Demands on business are accumulating at a rapid pace, requiring a fresh look at the business model and innovative approaches to everything from supply chain management to workforce engagement. The road ahead promises to be a challenging one. Can leaders ignite change at sufficient speed and scale while building trust with employees and communities?

Keynote speakers: Linda Hill, Author, Management Professor, Thinkers50 Award-Winner & Leadership Expert, Harvard Business School; Kristen Siemen, Chief Sustainability Officer, GM; Neil Russell, Chief Administrative Officer, Sysco; Judy Samuelson, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Business & Society Program

Stories of Transformation

3:30pm Afternoon Break
4:15pm Dialogue Stream A

When Does It Stop Being “ESG”, and Just Become “Investing”?
ESG is not an asset class, but rather a critical input into the investment process. Yet many investment institutions still silo ESG professionals from ‘mainstream’ product and deal teams. What will it take to break this barrier?

Discussants: Marian Macindoe, Managing Director of Sustainable Investment Strategy, Parnassus Investments; Thomas Kamei, Portfolio Manager – Counterpoint Global, Morgan Stanley Investment Management; Machal Karim, Managing Director/Head of ESG, Blue Owl Capital; Paula Luff, Director of Sustainability, DSC Meridian Capital (moderator)

BIG Ideas

Dialogue Stream B

The New Landscape for Talent
As corporate diversity initiatives come under attack, the imperative for an engaged, upskilled workforce to drive innovation has not changed. How are talent programs and policies being reimagined to account for specific challenges, while also advancing the skills of our workforce to build a sustainable future?

Discussants: Ellen McGirt, Editor-in-Chief, Design Observer & Founder, Fortune’s raceAhead; Karin Reiter, SVP Sustainability & ESG, Adecco; Sofia Martos, Partner, Kirkland & Ellis; Eli Malinsky, Deputy Director, Aspen Institute Business & Society Program (moderator)

The Equity Imperative

Dialogue Stream C

Stories of Transformation: Spotlight on the Energy Transition
There’s no more urgent issue than finding practical pathways to transition our energy systems, infrastructure and business models that were built for a carbon intensive economy. How are firms approaching this massive transformation, and accelerating the emerging innovations and policy alignment that are needed to design an ambitious yet practical approach?

Discussants: Roger Martella, CSO, GE Vernova; Katherine Neebe, CSO & SVP, Duke Energy; Arnab Pal, Department of Energy; Mike Boots, EVP, Breakthrough Energy; David Monsma, Director of Energy Programs, Mitchell Foundation (moderator)

Stories of Transformation

Dialogue Stream D

Sustainable Innovation in the CFO’s Office?
Through collaboration, corporate sustainability professionals and their finance functions are uncovering new opportunities for enterprise value creation. We’ll dive deep into how firms are financing greater investment in sustainable innovation.

Discussants: Dr. Mark Steen, VP of Sustainability, Corning; Eric Myers, Director, Waste Management; Jim Cannon, CEO, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership; Judy Samuelson, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Business & Society Program (moderator)

Evolution of Governance

5:30pm Cocktail Reception
6:30pm Networking Dinner at Aspen Meadows with Guest Speaker 

Featured Guests: Sanda Ojiambo, Executive Director & CEO, UN Global Compact; Greg Ratliff, SVP, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Moderated by: Judy Samuelson, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Business & Society Program

8:30pm Close of Day
DAY 2: Wednesday July 10th
8:00am Breakfast Discussions with Special Guests
9:15am Main Stage Discussion

The Future of Finance Comes Into View
Sustainable capital flows are essential to create an economy that works for everyone and safeguards natural resources. Market structures are shifting and being reworked to not only finance the energy transition, but to accelerate investments in a range of critical sustainable projects and interventions. We’ll take an inside look into the innovations and barriers to get sustainable capital moving at scale with two financial luminaries.

Keynote speakers: Anne Simpson, Global Head of Sustainability, Franklin Templeton & Steering Committee, Climate Action 100+; Melissa James, Managing Director and Vice Chair of Global Capital Markets, Morgan Stanley; Tim Mohin, Partner & Director, Climate & Sustainability, BCG (moderator)

BIG Ideas

10:00am Morning Break
10:45am Dialogue Stream A

Transformational Deep Dive: Tackling the Urgency of Water
While carbon reduction has become the top concern for sustainability leaders, a daunting global water crisis has arrived. In this session, we will highlight organizations driving ambitious action on resource stewardship and place-based sustainability strategies. How should we right-size ambitions, unlock capital, and promote change within industries and across coalitions?

Discussants: Michael Kobori, CSO, Starbucks; Kim Marotta, Chief Environmental Sustainability Officer, Suntory Global Spirits (Beam Suntory); Amy Saltzman, Sr Program Officer, Mississippi River Initiative, Walton Family Foundation; Amanda Gardiner, Head of ESG, Meta (moderator)

Stories of Transformation

Dialogue Stream B

Seizing the Common Ground: Overcoming Polarization to Advance Our Work
Collaboration and partnership are more essential than ever in order to meet corporate commitments. This data-driven, participative dialogue will draw out emergent strategies business leaders are using to communicate, engage and bring stakeholders along without polarizing (especially in an election year).

Discussants: Neil Russell, Chief Administrative Officer, Sysco; Val Smith, CSO, Citi; Alex Thompson, Chair of Global Corporate Affairs & Impact, Edelman (moderator)

The Equity Imperative

Dialogue Stream C

Yes In My Backyard: How Companies Succeed by Investing in their Communities
How might we ensure that our local responsibilities aren’t lost among global priorities? This session explores how leading companies strengthen their brand and their bottom line by investing in local environments and economies.

Discussants: Sarah Keh, VP of Inclusive Solutions, Prudential Financial; Andrea Wood, Social Impact Consultant & Former VP, Best Buy; Christina Keller, CEO & Chair, Cascade Engineering; Maureen Conway, VP & Executive Director, Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program (moderator)

Stories of Transformation

Dialogue Stream D

The Next Sustainability Battleground: Corporate Governance
Close collaboration with boards and legal teams in the midst of increasing public scrutiny and heightened regulatory requirements is essential for sustainability leaders to drive change. Given these leaders often have different incentives and different mandates, what does it take to partner effectively?

Discussants: Carmen Lu, Counsel, Wachtell Lipton; Elliot Stultz, SVP, Deputy General Counsel and CSO, AllState; Rob McKeehan, VP & Assistant Corporate Secretary, J&J; Michelle Greene, Board Director, LTSE and BlackStone Credit (moderator)

Evolution of Governance

12:00pm Networking Luncheon
1:30pm Thematic Roundtables – Topics to be Announced

Roundtables offer participants the chance to actively exchange on an issue of shared interest. Registration will take place onsite and sessions will be capped at 12 participants, who should arrive ready to engage in conversation. 

2:30pm Session Travel Time
2:45pm Working Group Sessions or Paired Walks

Working Groups offer participants the chance to roll up their sleeves and work together to chart a path forward on a pressing challenge.  

4:00pm Afternoon Break
4:30pm Main Stage Discussion

Corporate Voice, 2024 Edition: Mitigating Risk and Managing Relationships
In a divisive political environment and amidst conflicts about business leadership on issues from political spending to new regulatory rules—how should business leaders align with their lobbying and trade associations to manage these risks, while also considering risks caused by these relationships?

Keynote speakers: Witold Henisz, Vice Dean of the ESG Initiative & Professor of Management, The Wharton School (moderator); Daniella Ballou-Aares, Founder and CEO, Leadership Now Project; Katherine Neebe, CSO & SVP of Sustainability, Policy & Philanthropy, Duke Energy

Evolution of Governance

5:15pm Depart for Evening Excursion
5:45pm Cocktail Reception at The Sundeck on Aspen Mountain (via gondola ride)
6:30pm Networking Dinner at  The Sundeck on Aspen Mountain
8:30pm Evening Concludes & Return Shuttle Departs
DAY 3: Thursday, July 11th
7:30am Morning Workshop

Breaking Through the ESG Sound Barrier: Communicating Impact with Authenticity
Today’s fragmented media landscape requires a significant shift to get messages on sustainability and social impact across in a way that builds trust, avoids blowback, and navigates the nuance of splintering perspectives and media diets. In this workshop, participants will chart an actionable path for telling their impact story in ways both authentic (to your firm) and relevant (to your audiences).

Workshop Leader: Gary Knell, Former CEO of NPR, National Geographic and Sesame Workshop

BIG Ideas

8:15am Networking Breakfast 
9:15am Dialogue Stream A

Spotlight on Private Capital and the Corporate/Supplier Conversation
How are corporations working with their suppliers on commitments that flow through the supply chain, and how does this translate into new opportunity for private capital firms as they think through the value creation potential of their portfolio companies?

Discussants: Ryan Schweet, Partner & Amy Silverstein, Partner, e2p Private Equity; Heidi DuBois, Global Head of ESG, AEA Investors; Beth Hart, CSO, McDonald’s; Miguel Padró, Assistant Program Director, Aspen Institute Business & Society Program (moderator)

BIG Ideas

Dialogue Stream B

The Outlook for Employee Voice—Who’s at the Table?
Employees continue to propel corporate action to raise the bar for how companies show up in the world.  Which business issues are employees shaping in 2024? And how should leaders respond to capture the full value of employee voice?

Discussants: Jorge Fontanez, CEO of US & Canada, B-Lab; Jennifer Silberman, SVP & CSO, Dollar Tree; Nancy Reynolds, Chief Integrity Officer, Western Union; Cydney Roach, Global Chair, Workplace Advisory, Edelman (moderator)

The Equity Imperative

Dialogue Stream C

Regenerating Agriculture: A Lab for Innovating at Scale
Transforming global food production is critical in the fight against climate change. It is also a laboratory to examine larger questions about sustainable investments: how to change an industry ecosystem, how to move the capex needed, how to find the financial return. Join us for an inside look with leaders scaling from pilot project to landscape-level change, working to regenerate natural systems and improve livelihoods. 

Discussants: Julie Gehrki, Vice President, Walmart; Paloma Lopez, CSO, Bel Brands; Megan Rock, CSO, CHS (Agribusiness); Shalini Unnikrishnan, Senior Partner, BCG & Global Leader, COP28 Action Agenda on Regenerative Landscapes (moderator)

Stories of Transformation

10:30am Morning Break
11:00am Main Stage Closing

A.I. and Its Disruptions
How should organizations start to govern AI, addressing the implications it poses to trust, equity and jobs, as firms embrace its potential to solve big challenges? How can the sustainability field position itself to be at the forefront of responsible AI?

Keynote Speakers: JoAnn Stonier, Fellow of Data and AI, Mastercard; Jonah Smith, Vice President of ESG Strategy & Programs, IBM; Ellen McGirt, Editor-in-Chief, Design Observer (moderator)

The Equity Imperative

12:00pm Networking Luncheon
1:00pm Close of Aspen ESG Summit
2:00pm Optional Afternoon Activity

Bayer Center Tour
Discover the art and legacy of Herbert Bayer, an influential modern artist and designer who exemplifies Bauhaus style and shaped the early artistic and programmatic vision of the Aspen Institute. The Director of the Resnick Center for Herbert Bayer Studies will lead guests through a tour of Aspen history, its connection to Herbert Bayer, and the museum’s summer exhibit.