Summit Highlights Sustainable Business
BY Claire Scheumann Contributing Writer
The owners of Berkeley dental practice Transcendentist® shared more than their recycled wallpaper and chemical-free digital X-ray machines at a conference Friday. They offered a simple lesson—sustainability has viable applications everywhere, even the business world.
Twenty-six sustainability groups convened at the inaugural Berkeley Sustainability Summit, held by the city’s Ecology Center at UC Berkeley’s Clark Kerr Campus.
The event was an effort to create a “cross-pollination” where various sustainability entities could network, said the center’s executive director Martin Bourque.
“Sustainability is how to live on this planet for generations, not just for now. It is what we eat, how we live, how we take from this world in a way that won’t endanger our children,” said Bill Briscoe, owner of Bread Workshop, a cafe that specializes in locally grown and organic cuisine.
Briscoe and more than 100 advocates for sustainability, including local government agencies, university offices, school districts, nonprofits and businesses, attended the summit.
The summit extended the center’s goals to connect environmentally conscious people, Bourque said.
“We want to bring people together across the sectors, UC Berkeley, business sectors, nonprofits,” Bourque said. “This will allow for information sharing and networking to coordinate environmental efforts.”
The event offers a venue for a sharp recent increase in environmentally conscious business practices, he said.
“When the Ecology Center started 30 years ago, only a few groups were around, but through a lot of grassroots leadership, there has been an explosion of leadership in the last decade from all sectors,” Bourque said.
Structured networking sessions were designed to encourage conversation between business owners about expanding environmentally friendly business practices.
“These networking sessions have generated great conversation,” Bourque said. “People are making connections that can only help collaboration.”
The ultimate goal of the Ecology Center is not only to act as a switchboard agency to connect people, but also to create a model of sustainability for the nation.
“The collection of people at Berkeley is creative and action oriented. They go to places without fear,” said new Berkeley resident Dugger Shore at the summit.
Shore and Bourgue said they are optimistic about Berkeley’s ability to act as a model for other progressive cities.
Contact Claire Scheumann at firstname.lastname@example.org.