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RECAP: Stories & Beer - The ROI of Sustainability


This month's "Stories & Beer" at the Impact Hub San Francisco focused on the ROI of sustainability. 

Many companies get their start in sustainability with a few light-green initiatives: New lightbulbs, updated water fixtures and commuter checks are all no-brainers. But when it comes time to extend programs beyond the basics, it can be hard to justify the expense. Or is it?

Sustainability practitioners love to talk about “the business case” -- that is, the idea that money spent on social and environmental initiatives will come back to benefit the company. Financial leadership will probably disagree unless they can actually calculate the payback period for upfront expenditures.

In this conversation, we discussed the ROI of sustainability — what it means and how to track it. We looked at innovative projects from companies and communities, discovered how these projects were approved, and uncovered whether the returns actually added up to a good investment.


6:30 – 7:00 – beers and networking

7:00 – 8:00 – fireside chat and Q&A

8:00 – 8:30 – networking

About our guests:

McGee Young, MeterHero

McGee Young is founder and CEO of MeterHero, a water and energy conservation platform. MeterHero allows companies to fund conservation rebates that consumers earn as they reduce their water and energy consumption.  McGee was a winner of the Midwest Social Innovation Prize, a finalist in the Clean Energy Challenge, and his company was selected for the charter class of startups in the Global Freshwater Seed Accelerator. Prior to MeterHero, McGee founded H2Oscore, while also serving as an Associate Professor of Political Science at Marquette University. He is the author of Developing Interests: Organizational Change and the Politics of Advocacy.

Elizabeth V. Sturcken, Environmental Defense Fund

Elizabeth Sturcken directs EDF’s California Corporate Partnerships team, which develops and implements joint projects with leading companies to create environmental change.  In particular, she leads the EDF team working with Wal-Mart to create broad environmental change in areas including climate change, China, seafood, and packaging. She has also worked with FedEx to develop environmentally advanced heavy-duty delivery vehicles and UPS to create innovative change in their express delivery packaging, resulting in environmental, business and customer benefits.

Marissa Rosen headshotMarissa Rosen

Marissa is the Owner of Climate Social, LLC. She holds a bachelor's degree in communications from Mizzou and a master's in environmental studies from UPenn. 

Read more stories by Marissa Rosen

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