The Sustainability Imperative – What Two Leaders Have Learned
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Sustainable Business Network of Detroit Event
Sustainability as a business necessity is rapidly evolving. Goals and practices that once seemed unattainable or impractical are now expected and the norm. Join the Sustainable Business Network of Detroit and Inforum for a compelling conversation with two leaders about how they are approaching sustainability and what other businesses and organizations can do.
Mary Draves, chief sustainability officer and vice president of environment, health, and safety, Dow
Mary Draves is passionate about using science, innovation, and collaboration to drive transformative and sustainable change. She is responsible for corporate EH&S governance and corporate sustainability, including the reporting and disclosure of Dow’s Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) performance. Draves is focused on advancing Dow’s sustainability agenda through collaborative partnerships and was instrumental in shaping Dow’s sustainability targets to address climate protection and advance a circular economy that put the company on a path to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, eliminate plastic waste in our environment and increase our positive impacts on society, our customers and our business. She serves on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Council on Climate Solutions, the Campbell Institute Steering Committee, and the Midland Business Alliance Executive Committee.
Leslie Tom, chief sustainability officer, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Leslie Tom moved to Detroit in 2015, by way of San Francisco and Arizona, to do what she loves – work in the future of greening cultural institutions. The Wright Museum has a multifaceted plan to become the largest green museum campus in the country. One example: permeable pavers in the employee parking lot and the West African Sankofa bird design in its brick courtyard. The museum has been recognized for its green initiatives master plan by the Michigan Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Tom notes that sustainability is a social justice issue. The Rev. Martin Luther King’s work to close the gap in environmental health risks between whites, Blacks, and other people of color helped lead to the Clean Air Act of 1963, the Clean Water Act of 1972, and the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
Matthew Roling, founding executive director, Office of Business Innovation, Wayne State University
Matthew Roling is the founding executive director of Wayne State’s office of business innovation, a hub focused on serving student and faculty entrepreneurship and innovation. In the past, Roling worked in management consulting, corporate finance and entrepreneurship. He has also advised, led, and invested in startups in education, fintech, social impact and sports, and entertainment. In 2015, Roling was named to the DBusiness "30 in their Thirties" list and was also recognized that year as a Crain’s Detroit Business "40 under 40" honoree. He is working on a master’s degree in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. He received his bachelor’s in business administration and his master’s in accounting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
About the Sustainable Business Network of Detroit: In 2020, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation conducted an interview-based study to assess the status of sustainable business efforts in Southeast Michigan. The study revealed that while many local businesses have activated sustainability initiatives, there is an urgent need for collaboration. With global climate change accelerating and equity declining among marginalized populations, the Erb Family Foundation assembled a coordinating team of leaders to join it as partners in a network: the Erb Institute at the University of Michigan, Southeast Michigan Sustainable Business Forum (SMSBF), TechTown Detroit, Wayne State University, and Inforum. The group’s goal is to create a sustainable business ecosystem through a network serving as a hub for idea sharing, programming, content, mentoring, and other activities to advance and accelerate the systemic adoption of sustainable business practices.