WNSF: Giving Women a Voice in the Sustainability Debate

WNSF%20logo.gifMany believe that business will be the primary driver of change as our society moves toward more sustainable practices and lifestyles. A recent Havas Media survey confirms this assertion: 70% of consumers surveyed say they look to business rather than government to lead the way on issues related to the environment and social justice.
The Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future (WNSF) believes women in business will play a significant and unique role in this transformation. The New York-based non profit provides a forum for business and professional women to meet, reflect and act on the convergent issues of corporate social responsibility and sustainable development. WNSF will hold its first West Coast Summit on Thursday, May 21, 2009 at Intel Headquarters in Santa Clara, CA. Triple Pundit recently had a chance to speak with their Executive Director, Ann Goodman.

Triple Pundit: What is unique about the business women’s view of this topic?
Ann Goodman: We feel there are particular workplace initiatives, like sustainability, where women can play a key leadership role. For example, the push for more work-life balance in the work place was an initiative that was primarily led by women. We don’t necessarily believe women are better at sustainability, but we think they feel more strongly about it. And by the way, men are welcome to join our organization. But our primary mission is to give women a voice in the sustainability debate.
3P: What industries are represented in your group, and what types of job functions?
AG: We include a wide variety of industries and we welcome participation from women in all parts of business including marketing, communications, legal affairs, investor relations, human resources, finance, strategy, philanthropy, environment health and safety, and corporate citizenship. WNSF welcomes anyone to participate in its general activities and has recently launched a Leadership Circle that convenes top voices in sustainability.

3P: Can you give us the highlights on some of the activities and resources you offer?

wnsf-foto2.jpgAG: We host Peer Learning Sessions where we focus on pertinent sustainability issues. The topic of a recent session was the impact of the economic crisis on climate change initiatives. We had about 100 people there and featured speakers including the Director from the New York Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. You can read the highlights from the discussions on our website. We also host an annual conference in New York and are about to hold our first conference on the West Coast. We have also developed a training workshop for emerging women leaders.
3P: How much support is your group getting from the business community?
AG: Well, we’ve been active for over 6 years now, and the interest and response from the business community has been very strong. Our current corporate sponsors for the first West Coast Summit include Symantec, Adobe Systems Incorporated, Applied Materials, and Hewlett-Packard. We also have some real leaders in the field on our Advisory Board, like Ray Anderson from Interface.
There’s still time to register for the West Coast Summit, which is designed to increase understanding of clean technology and the potential contributions that the technology industry can make to advancing sustainability. Mary Nichols, Chairman of the California Air Resources Board, will be the keynote speaker. Others scheduled to speak are: Lorie Wigle of Intel, Nancy Parmer of UPS, Bonnie Nixon of HP and Mary Dent of SVB Financial Group.

Jim Witkin is a writer and researcher based in Silicon Valley focused on business, technology and the environment. His work has been featured in the New York Times and Guardian newspapers on topics that include: sustainable business practices, clean tech, the environment and next generation transportation technologies. He holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School. Contact him at jameswitkin@gmail.com

2 responses

  1. Ladies:
    We are a small community, Boerne, Texas, located in the Texas Hill Country.
    Recently we have gone “green” to encourage water and energy conservation, sustainability, recycling and promoting social responsibility.
    Working closely with our local government, we have encouraged non-profit organizations to participate in the process of promoting “green.” In return, we would like to add value and benefit our local charities by encouraging their members to buy and promote “green” products.
    We are interested in supporting Women-In-Business as we have an active local organization.However,can you recommend quality companies that would allow us to promote and sell their products allowing the non-profits to share in the revenue to help benefit the charity or organization?
    Any suggestions you can share would be appreciated.
    Phillip Bell

  2. “The Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future (WNSF) believes women in business will play a significant and unique role in this transformation.”
    So do I. I do believe women are much more caring persons to take real good care of our commum activities, and they do deserve (highly indicated to) giving the orders on this new world we’re just starting. Man’s supremacy is by far too long and uneficient. We, people, deserve it.
    “And by the way, men are welcome to join our organization.”
    This is a very democratic thinking. And:
    “But our primary mission is to give women a voice in the sustainability debate.” is highly needed to be put onto practice.
    I support you, ladies.

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