Look who’s coming to Brainstorm Green

Next April, FORTUNE will again bring together some of the smartest people we know in sustainability for Brainstorm Green, the magazine’s annual conference on business and the environment.

This is will be our 5th Brainstorm Green–hard for me to believe, since I’ve been involved since the beginning–and we’ve again got a first-rate lineup of leaders from corporate America, the  environmental movement, the investment community and government, as well as a scattering of interesting writers, thinkers and doers about “green.”

Once again, the event will be held at the spectacular Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel, CA. Dates are April 16-18, 2012.

Alan Mulally

New faces for 2012 from the corporate world will include Alan Mulally, the president and CEO of Ford; Rob Walton, the chairman of Walmart; Andy Taylor, the chairman and CEO of Enteprise (they buy more cars than anyone in America); C. Larry Pope, the chairman and CEO of Smithfield Foods (they make more hot dogs than anyone in America, as I wrote in Smithfield Foods: Sustainable Pork?); Vance Bell, the chairman and CEO of Shaw Industries (the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, see my blogpost, This carpet has moral fiber); John Faraci, the chairman and CEO of International Paper; Gary Hirshberg, the CE-Yo of Stonyfield Farm; Russ Ford, the executive vice president of Shell; Bea Perez, the chief sustainability officer of Coca-Cola; and Trae Vassallo of Kleiner Perkins.

Other newcomers will include former EPA chiefs William K. Reilly and Christine Todd Whitman; he’s now with private equity firm TPG, and chaired the BP oil spill commission, she’s an energy and environmental consultant and nuclear-power advocate. We’ll talk politics and climate with  John Podesta, the chair of the Center for American Progress and former chief of staff to President Clinton. John Warner — the Ph.D. chemist, not the former U.S. Senator — will explain the promise of green chemistry.  Bonnie Nixon will deliver insight into The Sustainability Consortium. And I certainly hope that Jared Diamond, the Pulitzer Prize winning author and geographer, will counsel us on how to avoid Collapse.

Frances Beinecke

Although we meet just once a year, I like to think of Brainstorm Green as a community, albeit an ephemeral one. That’s largely because many of those who came for the first Brainstorm Green, back in 2008, have come back again and again. In particular, we are joined every year by the leaders of our programming partners–the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International. EDF’s Fred Krupp, NRDC’s Frances Beinecke, TNC’s Mark Tercek and Glenn Prickett and CI’s Peter Seligmann will all be back in 2012.

Many other Brainstorm Green “alums” will return, too. In no particularly order: David Crane, the CEO of NRG Energy; Fisk Johnson, the chairman and CEO of S.C. Johnson; Jim Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy; Mike Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club; Scott Griffith, the chairman and CEO of Zipcar; David Neeleman, the founder and CEO of Brazil’s Azul airline; Ted Roosevelt IV of Barclay’s; Dara O’Rourke of Good Guide; and water expert Will Sarni of Deloitte.

[I’m also hoping that the incomparable Chuck Leavell — keyboardist with the Rolling Stones, award-winning tree farmer and all-around good guy — will return in 2012. My FORTUNE colleague Brian Dumaine, who is co-chair with me of Brainstorm Green, also functions as our musical impresario, and he tells me he’s doing his best to persuade Chuck to come back.]

As always, there will be plenty to talk about–the shale gas boom, the future of renewable energy, the continuing “greening” of corporate America, the 2012 election, consumer behavior around green, corporate water strategies, electric cars, etc. The theme of the conference is, how can business help profitably solve the world’s big environmental problems?

The program remains in flux, so if you want to propose a speaker or call our attention to a new topic, please do so here at the Brainstorm Green website. You can also request a delegate invitation on the registration page. I hope to see many of you in Laguna Niguel in April.


  1. says

    Marc, I attended Brainstorm Green this year for the first time and found it to be an excellent event overall. I think we met briefly after one session because I think you told me you were traveling to Japan soon and may be meeting with Hitachi Limited leadership. In any case, I know the founders of RecycleMatch well (www.recycylematch.com) and I offer you the strong recommendation for them to present their view of managing waste streams. I think it will be an interesting alternative view to David Steiner’s presentation this year.
    Best regards, —Todd Price, Hitachi Consulting, Environmental Sustainability Solutions, U.S. Practice Leader, 214.682.5341

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