2021 Summit Recap: Our opening panel, Finding Common Ground, set the tone for an open, accessible, and thought-provoking day across a diverse set of speakers. Moderated by Jason Jay and John Sterman, leaders among the MIT Sustainability faculty, we heard from Kate Raworth on sustainable systems, measuring the impact of humans on our environment, and even got to see a feedback loop drawn by her 11-year-old twins.
Next, a fireside chat with Howard W. Buffett dove into academic measurements of social and environmental impact. To round out the morning, we experienced live diplomacy between Kristina Wyatt of the SEC and Antoin Begasse of the EU Delegation to the US. Facilitated by SASB founding chairman and MIT professor Robert Eccles, this panel compared American and European approaches to sustainability regulation, as well as how these regions might work with one another and with the rest of the world to lead the political charge towards sustainability in the future.
After a lunch break that saw summit attendees networking across a variety of topics, the afternoon began with an action-packed panel on Sustainability Coalitions. It was incredible to see the ways in which a more generalist social impact leader, Shannon Bouton from McKinsey.org, could connect with Sanjeev Chadha, the Vice Chairman of the Pacific Institute who is very steadfastly focused on water security and resilience.
The next several panels provided back-to-back-to-back action from some of the world’s most notable leaders in industry, investing, and sustainability. We heard from companies like Salesforce, Amazon, and Google on how responsible business must keep up with innovation in the private sector. In a chat with leaders from CitiGroup, IFC, and Goldman Sachs, we discussed the foundations of ESG and impact investing, how different strategies have lasted, and what lies ahead--particularly from a macroeconomic perspective. Next, this session was wonderfully complemented with a collaborative chat between John Elkington (Volans Ventures), Greg Snyders (Dalberg), Anne Park (SEAF), and Lissa Glasgo (GIIN), facilitated by MIT Sloan’s own finance professor Gita Rao. These innovative investing leaders discussed different financial vehicles and strategies that have risen through the impact investing revolution and how different stakeholders might become involved as the sector progresses.
Finally, we ended the day with a heartwarming and introspective conversation between Aithan Shapira (MIT Sloan), Ame Igharo (Environmental Defense Fund), and Viviana Alvarez Sanchez (Fmr. Unilever). This trio sincerely tried to tackle the ground-level, behavioral changes that must occur in tandem with systems-level, private sector action. They jumped from inclusive capitalism to waste reduction to citizen responsibility, and much else in between. It was a thought provoking and optimistic end to an inspirational day. We hope to see you again next, and this time in person!
Keep up to date on your favorite social media.
Sign up on our e-mail list to hear more about this year's speakers and future Summit events.
Get in touch
Got a question or comment? Do you have someone in mind that you'd like to see speak at the Summit? Or is your institution interested in being a sponsor? We'd like to know more! Send us an e-mail at
sustainabilitysummit at mit dot edu.