Each fall for the last several years, Good Housekeeping has co-hosted Raise the Green Bar, an annual event aimed at helping consumers, companies and industries be more sustainable. Typically we host this event at Good Housekeeping's home, on the spectacular 44th floor of the Platinum LEED-certified Hearst Tower, but this year we shifted to a virtual format.
Together with our organizing partner, Made Safe, we planned everything — including the panel discussions, fireside chats and special presentations — from a distance. "We weren't sure how participants would respond to this new format," says Laurie Jennings, director of the Good Housekeeping Institute. "But now that it's over, we can say it's been one of our most successful summits ever, with 600 registrations and over 40,000 viewing hours recorded during the live event."
Take in the whole summit below, or keep scrolling for highlights and replays of individual sessions.
Raise The Green Bar Kickoff
GH Institute director Laurie Jennings and Made Safe founder Amy Ziff opened the event, recognizing the critical role each organization plays helping consumer make more sustainable choices. At the Good Housekeeping Institute, we've seen a tremendous growth in consumer demand for more sustainable products and we continue to guide consumers and companies thanks to the expert advice of our GH Lab experts and our trusted emblems like the Good Housekeeping Seal and the Green Good Housekeeping Seal.
The Future of Health
In this fascinating discussion you'll learn more about endocrine disruptors and the invisible threat they pose to human health, even in small quantities. Featured speaker Dr. Leo Trasande is a medical doctor, world-renowned researcher, Director of the Division of Environmental Pediatrics and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Pediatrics at NYU School of Medicine. He's also the author of Sicker, Fatter, Poorer, a book which explores the health and economic impacts of our everyday surroundings. One inspiring takeaway for everyone: With some very simple changes to your consumption habits you can see changes in the chemical levels in your body within a matter of days, according to Trasande. "And in the months that follow you reduce your risk of chronic disease regardless of whatever you were doing before," he says.
Corporate Sustainability Today
John Melo, CEO of Amyris, the parent company of Raise the Green Bar lead sponsor Pipette, a personal care brand for families and babies, and event supporter Purecane, a sugar alternative, delves into why and how sustainability is so important for the company. Among other things, Melo notes: "A lot of trends we've been experiencing for quite some time have been significantly accelerated... and one of the most exciting ones is the consumer commitment to wanting to do right." He also explains Amyris' technology of using fermentation as a way to produce safer ingredients and reiterates how important it is for corporations to lead when government fails.
Green Catalysts: Leadership In the New Normal
As president of Pipette and Purecane, Daya Fields is leading two brands with health and sustainability at their core. In this session, she delves deeper into how the brands she leads are becoming leaders in too. She also offers some phenomenal advice for anyone working in sustainability when it comes to measuring success as well as a few personal strategies to avoid burnout during the pandemic. Plus some great final thoughts on upping your personal commitment to a sustainable living, including: "Try to encourage the kids not to use the toilet as the trash!"
Fireside Chat: Lauren Conrad & Julee Wilson
Imagine launching a clean beauty brand during the height of the pandemic? Well, that's exactly what beloved TV personality and New York Times best-selling author Lauren Conrad did with Lauren Conrad Beauty. Hear directly from Lauren about everything that went into creating this new brand in her very real, very personal, very informative chat with Julee Wilson, beauty director at Cosmopolitan, one of Good Housekeeping's sister brands. Julee congratulated Lauren for creating a line that "as a black woman, works on my skin tone, which you don't see all the time" and for "walking the walk" with sustainability by focusing on everything from ingredient sourcing to packaging to end of life, and even including instructions on how to recycle each item. Lauren also shares more about her partnership with Kohls, which help her keep every item in the collection broadly accessible and affordable. Lauren Conrad is the founder of The Little Market and several other brands that help support female artisans and offer options for more sustainable living, sustainable products and sustainable shopping.
A Carbon Neutral Future
Tolu Olubunmi, chemical engineer, political strategist and social entrepreneur joins Austin Whitman, CEO of Carbon Neutral and a thought leader in corporate carbon responsibility to discuss how corporations can understand their environmental impacts and achieve Zero Net Carbon Emissions. Learn why this is so critical to a more sustainable future and get ideas for everyday actions that each of us can take to help curb climate change. The duo also touched upon how “countries in the West” contribute to the climate crisis the most but its effects are primarily experienced by “the countries in the global South.” They also talked about other climate impacts, which consumers might not be aware of. Case in point: The manufacturing process for a single “pair of jeans” can use “as much water as one person in seven years.” What!?
Sustainability Start-Ups Bring It Home
New companies that prioritize sustainability are helping consumers green their lives. In this session, moderator Samantha Harris, TV host and author of Your Healthiest Healthy, leads a discussion with three green-trepreneurs — Coulter Lewis of Sunday, Hillary Peterson of True Botanicals, John Mascari of Blueland (also a winner 202o GH Sustainable Innovation Awards!) — on how to create innovative products that are good for people and the planet. The importance of third-party credentials by recognized emblems such as Green Good Housekeeping Seal, Made Safe and Cradle to Cradle were discussed as means of assuring consumers that a brand’s sustainability efforts go beyond marketing jargon. Consumers today seek integrity and transparency from the brands they consume. As Hillary Peterson said, an “authentic passion for products and their efficacy” can fuel the growth of start-ups like never before.
Made Safe News
Made Safe founder Amy Ziff announced the Banned List, which "contains over 6,500 substances compiled from authoritative lists from around the world which are prohibited from use in products that are certified non-toxic by Made Safe."
Behind the Scenes: The Making of Kiss the Ground
Can healing our soil save our planet? The team behind the celebrated new documentary Kiss the Ground, with celebrity appearances including Woody Harrelson, Patricia Arquette, David Arquette, Tom Brady, Gisele Bündchen, Ian Somerhalder, Rosario Dawson and Jason Mraz, share their vision for harnessing the regenerative power of our soil using innovative carbon capture techniques. If you take away anything it should be this: "There's no one of us that is immune to the possibility of becoming a climate refugee," says filmmaker Rebecca Tickell. Then act accordingly.
Greener Plates for a Better World
The importance of making more sustainable food choices came up repeatedly throughout this year's event, but in this session healthy eating was the star of the show! GH's registered dietitian Stefani Sassos was thrilled to sit down with renowned author and food policy advocate Mark Bittman, President of the Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming Kathleen Finlay, and Emmy-nominated actress and author Tracy Pollan as they delved into strategies for making a greener world one meal at a time. In addition to practical and impactful tips on creating a more nutritious plant-based or flexitarian plate, the group examined the broader and long-term impact of how we produce food as well as the growing challenges of food waste. Among other things, Bittman noted that, “The current way we are doing agriculture is unsustainable… and what has to take its place is a more plant-forward diet.” Finlay shared insights on the benefits of regional farming methods and Pollan added that when it comes to greener plates, “Your diet has to be sustainable for you.”
Fireside Chat: Maggie Q & Jane Francisco
Good Housekeeping Editor-In-Chief Jane Francisco was joined by the talented actress, humanitarian and activist Maggie Q to discuss the roots of her activism and her path to founding activewear company Qeep Up. Having grown up in Hawaii, Maggie shares how living on an island impacted her profound respect for the planet and her journey towards creating a brand that uses 100% recycled materials pulled from the ocean and made in the US. She inspires us by sharing small practical solutions that can add up and says, “the reality is that it isn't about how much you do... but collectively, it matters."
Connecting Passion & Purpose
This esteemed group of sustainability champions and changemakers explored the intersection of all the issues before us right now, from environment and climate change to social and racial justice. It's an especially important conversation when you consider at least 100 important regulations and protections have been rolled back in the last four years. "We all need to be silo busters and bridge builders," said Arturo Garcia-Costas of the New York Community Trust. The panel also looks at the role of philanthropy within the environmental movement, the importance of individual giving and who gets capital and why? The message was clear: We are at an all-hands moment. Pick a local issue or passion project and get involved! It's that simple.
Good Housekeeping's 2020 Sustainable Innovation Awards
Good Housekeeping's Birnur Aral, PhD, and director of the Health, Beauty & Environmental Sciences Lab at the GH Institute shares the winners of this year's GH Sustainable Innovation Awards. All the winners were featured in the November 2020 print edition of Good Housekeeping. Read more about all the winners, and stay tuned to find out how to enter our 2021 Awards program.
Fireside Chat: Wallace J. Nichols & Laurie Jennings
When Blue Mind founder and author Dr. Wallace J. Nichols delivered the opening keynote at the 2019 Raise the Green Bar Summit, we never expected to ask him to return a second year in a row. But that was before his family home burned to the ground in the recent California wildfires. Have tissues ready for this one.
Head to live.goodhousekeeping.com to find our more about Good Housekeeping's past and upcoming events, including special events exclusive to GH+ members. Don't forget to sign up for updates, and we can send alerts directly to your inbox!
You Might Also Like