For the next three days, many of the plenary sessions at the event, which is being held at the Ritz Carlton in Dana Point, Ca., will be shown on the web. People who sign up to attend online will be able to ask questions, I’m told. This is an experiment, an effort to see how a virtual conference will work and, of course, to expand FORTUNE’s business. (Hint: You can tune in for free this year, but that may not be the case in the future.)
As the co-chair and creator of Brainstorm Green, I’m obviously biased but I think we’ve got a great lineup again this year. I’m going to take a break from blogging for a few days to focus on the conference. Here are some highlights:
Today (Monday) at 3:05 p.m. (all times are listed as Pacific Time, so this is 6:05 in the East), Lee Scott, the former CEO of Wal-Mart who is now chair of the executive committee of the Wal-Mart board, will talk about Wal-Mart’s sustainability efforts with John Huey, the editor in chief of Time Inc. John is a great interviewer who once wrote a book about Sam Walton, so this session should be a treat.
Following that session, at about 3:50 p.m., I’ll be asking some of America’s most important environmental leaders: What Do Environmentalists Want? Joining me will be Frances Beinecke of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Mark Tercek of The Nature Conservancy, David Yarnold of the Environmental Defense Fund and Mike Brune, the new head of the Sierra Club. We’ll talk about the outlook for climate legislation in Washington, as well as such hot topics as nuclear power and geoengineering.
Later Monday, I’ll talk to Sally Jewell, the CEO of REI, about “sustainability as a team sport.”
On Tuesday at 9:15 a.m., David Sokol, the chairman of MidAmerican Energy Holdings and a director of Chinese electric car company BYD, will talk with FORTUNE managing editor Andy Serwer. Sokol is a fascinating guy, a plain-spoken Midwesterner who may be in line to succeed Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway, so we are calling the session Warren Buffett’s Power CEO.
We’ll follow that with a panel called Renewable Energy—Hype and Reality. I’ll be speakng with Jeff Broin, the CEO of POET, the big ethanol company; David Crane, CEO of NRG Energy; Bill Gross, the founder of eSolar; Katrina Landis, who runs the alternative energy division at BP; and Martha Wyrsch, president of Vestas Americas.
Later on Tuesday, we’ll webcast panels on nuclear energy and electric cars as well as one-on-one interviews with Lew Hay, the chairman and CEO of FPL Group and venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, who is never dull.
On Wednesday, I’m going to lead a discussion about sustainable consumption. The basic question: How can a company or an economy grow its business, generating things we want like jobs and wealth, while at the same time limiting or shrinking its environmental footprint, so we get less of what we don’t want, like pollution and greenhouse gases. Tackling that topic will be Cliff Burrows, the president of Starbucks U.S., Scott Griffith, the CEO of Zipcar and Robin Johnson, the chief information officer at Dell.
Also on Wednesday, my co-chair Brian Dumaine will moderate a penal on sustainability indices, notably the one being led by Wal-Mart. Andy Serwer will interview Yvon Chouinard, the legendary co-founder of Patagonia. And Andy will wrap up with a conversation with Bill Ford, the executive chairman of Ford Motor.
It’s going to be a great three days, I hope. I’ll take lots of notes and report back when I come up for air.