Kellogg recently hosted the 2022 ClimateCAP Summit, a national conference that brings MBA students and industry leaders together to discuss what MBAs need to know about the business implications of climate change. The biennial summit gives students an opportunity to learn how climate change is shaping populations, industries and markets. A dedicated team of Kellogg students (above) helped plan this year’s sold-out event, which drew 250 MBA students from 23 schools to the Global Hub last month. Read on to hear from student organizers Joan Liu (2Y, 2022) and Sarah Pinner (MMM, 2022) about their experience.
What drew you to get involved with ClimateCAP?
As you might imagine, there were a lot of ups and downs over the past year as we planned one of Kellogg’s first large-scale in-person conferences since the start of the COVID 19 pandemic. That said, in the end, planning and hosting the conference was an incredibly rewarding experience for all those involved. Joan saw ClimateCAP as an opportunity to explore all facets of the work being done related to climate, and she wanted to help shape the speaker lineup to reflect a variety of professional lenses. Sarah came to Kellogg with the goal of driving forward sustainability initiatives, and this was an incredible opportunity to do so in a meaningful way. We also both made wonderful friends along the way.
Can you share a bit about the conference programming? What sessions were highlights for you?
We focused on bringing speakers from a variety of industries, business functions, personal backgrounds and career paths to appeal to MBA students with a range of interests and experiences. At the conference we highlighted this diversity of topics and experiences through a broad range of plenary discussions ranging from a discussion on Climate as Strategy with leaders from Albertsons, Patagonia and E&Y to Climate Equity with perspectives from Elemental Accelerator, Vote Solar and Greentech Noir. We also had eight smaller breakout sessions to deep dive into more specific topics like supply chain and brand transparency, for example. Finally, we hosted networking sessions to help foster cross-MBA connections with climate-minded business leaders. Joan’s favorite session in the event was the food & agriculture panel which included speakers from Indigo Ag, Apeel Sciences and Bain & Company. Sarah particularly enjoyed the keynote presentation on innovation and frontier technologies from GM’s Senior Manager Environmental Strategies and Sustainability, Geraldine Barnuevo.
What is your hope for the attendees after the conference?
The overarching theme for this year’s conference was “The Future We Must Build.” We hope attendees left the conference more equipped and dedicated to collaboratively drive the change needed to protect our planet — because we need to. The disastrous effects of climate change are already affecting our planet and communities, and the burden is borne more heavily by marginalized communities. To paraphrase speaker Sach Constantine from Vote Solar, “If any community is vulnerable, we are all vulnerable.” We heard repeatedly at the conference that tackling climate change is a job for all MBAs and business leaders. It is a challenge that needs each of us to use our diverse backgrounds and unique set of skills and passions to continue to drive progress in every role and every company we are in.