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Jul 19, 2023

Achieving a Net Positive Future: Reflections from GreenBiz 23

By Jules Oringel, Luther Hodges Scholars Class of 2024

As I reflect on my junior year at Carolina, my time in Scottsdale, Arizona attending GreenBiz 23 stands out as a highlight of my career development thus far. GreenBiz is the premier annual event for sustainable business leaders that attracts corporate executives, nonprofit innovators, and policymakers alike. Thanks to the generous Luther Hodges Scholars Exploratory Fund, I served as one of the few undergraduate student volunteers at the conference in February.

Throughout the event, I attended sessions about becoming nature positive, carbon removal technologies, public-private sector sustainability partnerships, Scope 3 emissions, and much more. However, my favorite discussion focused on integrating climate justice into business transformation. The panel opened with a simple question: “If you were to bake a climate justice cake, which 3 ingredients would you use?” Speakers mentioned everything from empathy and active listening to science and scalability. After learning more about the climate justice projects pioneered by Fortune 500 companies and their community stakeholders, we split into small groups to discuss our ingredients’ importance in the pursuit of social and environmental sustainability.

Beyond these informative seminars, I learned the most from sustainability practitioners who took me under their wing and kindly offered themselves as mentors in my personal and professional development. Total strangers quickly became friends over dinners and walks through the red rock canyons – emphasizing how tight-knit the corporate sustainability community truly is. Ultimately, I left GreenBiz with empowering role models, newfound confidence, bountiful industry knowledge, and a fierce motivation to continue my work in sustainable business.

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