Online conference looks at how businesses, organizations are working towards sustainability

By KYW Newsradio 1060

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The first ever virtual sustainability conference is being held Friday as part of Climate Week.

The symposium titled “Embracing Resiliency: How Philly Can Rise Up to the Climate Challenge” has 16 sessions, designed to teach those attending about how organizations, businesses and individuals are working towards climate solutions.

Julie Hancher, co-founder and editor of GreenPhilly, said when people think about sustainability, they think about the environment. But it’s much more than that.

“It’s about how we as people can have better futures for our children, have a secure home and job opportunities and have clean water and breathable air,” she said.

Hancher said companies, large and small, are involved and will talk about what they are doing to support sustainability. She said investing in green and equitable values will also be on the agenda.

“We do actually have a session that will be covering how people can look at their investments, like 401(K)s and mutual funds, to determine if they are invested in funds like fossil fuels, or guns or other things that they don’t necessarily agree with,” Hancher said.

Topics to be discussed include how large and small businesses are prioritizing sustainability despite COVID-19, how trees help Philadelphia address climate change and environmental justice, how to ensure your 401(K) matches your values, and more.

Those taking part in the panel discussions include Christine Knapp, director of Philly’s Office of Sustainability Christine Knapp, Eagles’ director of fan experience Philadelphia Eagles Norman Vossschulte,  Circular Economy consultant Nic Esposito, and Campbell Soup Company’s Meghan Maltenfort.

Hancher said companies are reevaluating their values now, and that translates to sustainability.

“How do they really think about people, planet and profit, because all three of those are important to what is commonly called the ‘triple bottom line,’  where companies are not just financially driven but also take care of people and the planet while pursuing their mission,” she explained.

Many cities are reevaluating their financial investments as they move forward, especially when it comes to policies which impact climate change.

“Climate change is already here, right now. Philadelphia is hotter and wetter as a city, and what we really need to do is take this time with all these challenges in 2020, and figure out how to move forward as a sustainable, equal and just city as well,” she said.

The online event runs from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.