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Celebrating a Sustainability Champion

 |  09/12/11 @ 3:34pm

A little over a month ago we lost Ray Anderson, a sustainability champion and chairman of Interface Carpet. Ray integrated business and sustainability with the passion of an evangelist. Ray was able to not only establish the business case for what he called "climbing mount sustainability", but was able to touch the hearts of business leaders, entrepreneurs and students around the world. The journey that he launched for his company rewarded his employees and shareholders with sustained long term growth even amidst growing competition and constraints in his industry sector. He helped to lead the business community into the world of sustainable innovations. On August 8th, Ray passed away due to complications related to his fight against cancer. This day marked the end of Ray's life, but not his legacy or his impact. Ray lives on as a legendary leader in a growing movement to see environment, society and economic prosperity not as either or propositions, but as yes and propositions.


Two year's ago we were fortunate enough to have Ray Anderson as a keynote speaker at our first annual Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit. At the time, I am not even sure that I was fully aware that it would become an annual summit, or that we were launching what is becoming a model for stimulating action towards creating a sustainable economy. Cities around the country are now looking to integrating sustainability plans and economic development plans in their outlook. In addition, communities are now proceeding to adopt whole system approaches to accomplishing their goals in the same way we are leading through SC2019. The cities of Worcester, Massachusetts and Cincinnati, Ohio are both leading AI summits this year.


In just two weeks we will have wrapped up our third annual Sustainable Cleveland 2019 summit. We have a terrific program lined up with some great presenters to bring national and local perspectives with some new ideas and models to consider. I am most excited however to see what ideas will emerge from the summit participants themselves. These are the ideas that will plant the seeds for the next new business or non-profit that will lead to become a part of our future economy. Looking back to the first summit, and looking to the present I see non-profit organizations, new businesses and new programs at existing organizations that are now doing work from ideas that were first brought to our community at these summits. I wonder how many of these were stimulated to take action from Ray's words and from the reflections of their fellow participants. We still have some seats left, so if you want to be part of creating our future together, helping to build businesses and organizations that collectively will create the vision of a "green city on a blue lake", come to this year's summit and particiapate in the creation of our future economy.  


To sign up visit: www.summit2011app.eventbrite.com

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