Executives, Environmental Advocates Mobilize Businesses as “Forces for Good”

Future 500 Summit at EarthX Explores Bold Solutions to Big Challenges

EarthX, the world’s largest environmental festival, recently hosted the fifth Future 500 Summit, which brought top executives together with environmental advocates to discuss how best to mobilize business as a force for good.

The Summit is the nation’s lead gathering dedicated to stakeholder engagement, the practice of building skills and relationships that reduce risk, increase common ground, and advance social purpose.

“We ask our delegates to leave their ‘talking points at the door,’ which helps create an atmosphere of trust,” said Erik Wohlgemuth, chief operating officer of Future 500. “This, in turn, yields unconventional alliances and creative solutions to tough issues, such as climate change.”

The event operates under strict confidentiality rules. Delegates can, and do, speak candidly, opening up new approaches, solutions, and relationships that might not otherwise surface.

One recent participant described it as a “veritable gold mine” of insights and ideas for companies and nonprofits working to tackle climate, forest, and ocean challenges.

Speakers and presenters on the stage at this year’s Future 500 Summit at EarthX included Trammell S. Crow, founder of EarthX; Tony Keane, chief executive officer of EarthX; Bill Shireman, president and chief executive officer of Future 500; and Erik Wohlgemuth.

In panels and other sessions, leaders from opposite ends of the spectrum such as Exxon Mobil Corporation and Washington Businesses for Climate Action discussed carbon solutions.

A conversation on the future of plastic included a senior Greenpeace campaigner and an executive from Nestle.

Meanwhile, another session uncovered insights into what makes “the other side” tick.

The Summit closed with a dynamic session exploring the new trend of major brands taking clear public stands on hot-button social issues.

“We work with Future 500 to build a broader capacity for collective action,” added Keane. “The world’s oceans, forests, and climate systems are no longer just ‘challenged.’ In many places, they’re in crisis. Businesses, policymakers, and the public at large all have a role to play in stopping and reversing the damage.”

The next EarthxFuture 500 Summit will be held in Dallas, April 23 – 24, 2020.

Prospective delegates may request an invitation via future500.org/summit.

Bianca R. Montes

Bianca Montes is an award-winning journalist and former Managing Editor of Park Cities People. She currently serves as a Senior Editor with D Magazine's D CEO publication. You can reach her by email at [email protected] or follow her on Instagram @Bianca_TBD. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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