It was a day to celebrate how far business has come in keeping up with the new paradigm of sustainability, but the speakers and attendees of the one-day Fifth Annual Conference-Workshop of Wharton’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL) refused to let the movement rest on its laurels. They contemplated what was next.

“They have moved beyond the rhetoric to measurement,” said Dr. Robert M. LoBue, W’80, G’89, SAP’s vice president of partner operations services for North America. In particular, LoBue was referring to the speakers of the panel which he was moderating, but the same could be said for many of the conference attendees.

During a panel discussion, Sarene Marshall, G’99, WG’99, managing director, global climate change, for the Nature Conservatory, shared her knowledge about progress on deforestation, particularly in Indonesia and Brazil.

“They are not kidding when it comes to this,” she said of the latter Amazonian country, where the rainforest is a top concern of politicians and a source of national pride for the citizenry. “They have a tremendous amount of pride that they’re going to be the green superpower,” she added.

Brazilians realize that it is in their national self-interest to preserve their forests and re-forest previously decimated areas. For decades, the Brazilian government’s policy had been to level the forests, but officials have come to realize the effects upon their agricultural sector, for instance, and for global climate change overall.

The Nature Conservatory is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.

Addressing the topic of waste management, Nate Morris, co-founder and CEO of Rubicon Global, discussed ways his company has helped clients with their sustainability initiatives and concerns. Morris mentioned the supermarket chain Wegmans, which has explored ways to reuse or recycle old employee uniforms, and several brand-name pizza chains, which sought sustainable ways to deal with leftover dough.

It is through leadership that solutions will be discovered and implemented for ways to green business, and the supply chain in particular, LoBue who added that, as a Wharton alumnus, he was proud of Wharton’s and IGEL’s role is in fostering that process.

Editor’s note: For links to conference presentations, study blogs and other suggested reading, visit the official website of IGEL’s “Greening the Supply Chain” event, which took place on Apr. 26.