Kevin Carroll is a Katalyst for Sustainability at the University of Washington 

On November 30, 2022, Net Impact and ReThink, two sustainability clubs at the University of Washington Foster School of Business, hosted Sustainability: Ideation to Implementation. Kevin Carroll’s Katalyst grant generously provided $1,000 of funding for food, beverages, promotional materials, and other expenses. The panel event brought together multidisciplinary experts and amassed an audience of ninety UW students, faculty, and professionals for two sessions: ESG In Practice and Energy & The Built Environment. Net Impact Co-President Nicholas Birkhead organized and moderate the event alongside a fantastic team of other students, notably ReThink President John Reilly, and Net Impact Co-President T. J. Oliver. 

During ESG in Practice, T-Mobile’s Senior ESG Sustainability Manager Angela Null defined Science-Based Targets for the audience and emphasized the importance of short-term milestones to achieving long-term climate goals. Nasdaq’s Global Head of ESG Solutions Randall Hopkins underlined business agility as key to driving positive impact for stakeholders, saying “there’s no better engine to change than all changing together.” Both panelists also shared career skills they recommend the younger audience members develop such as nimble-mindedness, project management, data analytics, adaptability, and authenticity.  

Energy & The Built Environment featured Therese Miranda-Blackney, Senior Director of Innovation at LevelTen Energy; Yixiang Xu, Research Director at Breakthrough Energy; and Hasti Afkham, Urban Designer at LMN Architects. Audience members learned about terms such as Additionality, which refers if a renewable energy credit brings new clean energy online versus falsely crediting existing projects. Xu presented a map of a future potential net zero US grid and highlighted the major bottleneck of transmission lines to bringing more renewables online. There is currently a 1,000 GW backlog of renewable energy that cannot connect to the grid because of permitting challenges. According to Yixing, the only way to achieve 70% clean energy in the US by 2030 is through large scale transmission lines. Communicating a wholistic vision to communities will be challenging, especially when new renewables construction involves cutting down trees and disrupting rivers. 

If you are interested in attending a similar sustainability event in the future, follow @netimpactuw and @rethinkuw on Instagram to be notified first.