Highlights from Facebook Sustainability @ Scale

Facebook provided some highlights of last month’s Sustainability @ Scale event at its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., in a post on its engineering blog.

SustainabilityAtScale650Facebook provided some highlights of last month’s Sustainability @ Scale event at its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., in a post on its engineering blog.

Manager of Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Bill Weihl described Sustainability @ Scale in the blog post:

Late last month, more than 200 people convened at Facebook’s offices in Menlo Park for Sustainability @ Scale, a daylong conference focused on corporate sustainability. Our hope in bringing this group together was that we could foster some open discussion of the sustainability challenges we all face and identify some opportunities to work together to address those challenges.

Participants came from a range of backgrounds including technology, apparel, materials, consumer products, nonprofits and academia. The conversations throughout the day ranged from the nuances of data collection and modeling, to the challenges of measuring water use, to the complexities of sourcing green energy. We discussed ways to drive internal engagement and consensus on sustainability issues, ways to encourage consumers to practice environmental stewardship and sustainability at home and work, and ways to collaborate with policy makers to drive long-lasting change.

From beginning to end, these discussions were open, engaging and productive. But what excited me the most was the group’s persistent focus on identifying opportunities to work together on these challenges — to find opportunities that transcended any single company’s sustainability goals and instead pushed for systemic change. This is exactly the kind of approach we’ll need to take if we hope to make a real impact on these issues, and it was incredibly energizing to be a part of these discussions.

The blog post also contained the following video highlights:

Opening Remarks: Weihl set the stage for a day of cross-industry conversation and collaborative solution-finding in order to solve our biggest sustainability challenges.

Water Sustainability in a Changing World: Tom Cooper of Intel discussed the challenges associated with operating manufacturing facilities in water-poor areas. He was joined by Desirae Early of Levi Strauss and Eric Olson of BSR for a broader discussion on water sustainability and business operations.

Driving Sustainability Through Consumer Engagement: Two of the biggest levers a company has to scale sustainability are its consumer base and its employees. In a discussion moderated by Emma Stewart of Autodesk, Jonathan Atwood of Unilever, Jill Dumain of Patagonia and Susan Hunt Stevens of WeSpire spoke about how employee engagement programs, in-store marketing choices and communication strategies can promote sustainable products.

Looking at Climate Change Through the NGO Lens: Ralph Cavanagh of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Jodie Van Horn of the Sierra Club, David Pomerantz of Greenpeace and Elizabeth Sturcken of the Environmental Defense Fund stressed the importance of 100 percent renewable commitments, policy changes and public campaigns to drive positive environmental change.

Closing Remarks: Weihl closed the event by echoing the importance of industry collaboration in order to achieve sustainability at scale.

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.