Sustainability & Innovation Forum




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On Monday, May 13th, the French-American Chamber of Commerce NY (FACC-NY) was proud to host the inaugural Sustainability & Innovation Forum at the Meredith Center in the Financial District of Manhattan. Over 250 guests, both FACC members and those new to our community, joined us for the occasion.

From the 2015 Paris Agreement, to UN COP24, to the 2019 World Economic Forum at Davos, multinational organizations, governments, business leaders and citizens are heeding the call to implement change for current and future generations. Under the leadership of Mayor Anne Hidalgo and other passionate stakeholders, Paris has implemented numerous green initiatives. Likewise, New York's landmark climate legislation passed in April 2019, referred to as a municipal version of the Green New Deal, the national movement for a multi-trillion-dollar climate-friendly industrial plan, is setting the city on a path of regional leadership despite conflicting messages at the federal level. French and American businesses have both the platform and means necessary to make a difference in this sector, for this reason, this event is one that the Chamber was passionate about coordinating for our community. 

The Forum marked the launch of the FACC Sustainability & Innovation Committee, which joins other key-sector committees in luxury, fashion and beauty, food, beverage and hospitality, finance and banking, HR & mobility, women in business and tech, startup and entrepreneurs. Committees have been entrusted with the mission of providing thought leadership for the French-American Chamber of Commerce NY, providing input and support to FACC programs and engaging with and expanding our network. Sustainability is a topic that many of our members have already engrained into their guiding principles and a field in which both French and American companies and individuals have the power to enact meaningful change. Following this event, the committee plans to re-engage with members of the community during a follow-up event this fall.

Click to learn more about the FACC Sustainability & Innovation Committee

The afternoon began with remarks from FACC President, Elsa Berry- Founder and Managing Director of Vendome Global Partners, who opened with the mission of the FACC- to promote economic ties between France and the United States by facilitating relevant business connections for and between our members. In addition, Ms. Berry mentioned that the Chamber’s multi-faceted mandate of supporting youth and cultural exchange, is fulfilled through the sponsorship of Exchange Visitor Intern and Trainee visas and the 501c3 French-American Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s International MBA Scholarship. Herve Duteuil- Chief Sustainability Officer, Managing Director, Head of Sustainable Finance and CSR Americas at BNP Paribas also addressed the audience, highlighting BNPs active role as a committed and ethical bank.

Keynote speaker Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the United Nations began by highlighting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Ms. Kingo stated: “There's no doubt that when you look at the goals and the indicators behind the goals, they will never become a reality without businesses. And a sort of quick estimate is that at least half of the goals will require business engagement and business action. And that's why it's so important that we are gathered here today at the French American Chamber of Commerce. So, today, the UN Global Compact works through it's 71 local networks across the world. For almost four years we have been working together at making Global Goals local business because these 17 goals, they have to be put into action on the ground by businesses, they will not be fulfilled in nice meeting rooms like this one, or down at the UN for that matter.”

Five, dynamic panel discussions set the rhythm of a robust afternoon. After a brief networking break, a parade of models dressed in boldly emblazoned looks confectioned by talented young designer Lina Mayorga, who was inspired by the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals, led attendees back into the auditorium to convene for discussions on the fashion industry and sustainable tips for individuals.

Innovation Hub exhibitors had the opportunity to showcase the initiatives and accomplishments of their companies in the sustainability field while engaging with the afternoon’s guests. We would like to thank Divine Chocolat and Danone for providing tasting during out networking coffee break, Catchbox for providing the throwable microphone for audience questions, and exhibitors Port Zienna and Fashion Greatness, Lina Mayorga Fashion Design, Kaida Brazilian Wood Objects, the United Nations Global Compact Team, Ernst & Young, Organic India, Maison Beljanski, Fairtrade, Organic India, as well as Maiden + Liberty and Gabriella Wines who provided wines for the cocktail reception.

The reception was animated by a second fashion show, choreographed by Fashion Greatness and featuring the designs of Port Zienna’s sustainable bridal capsule collection.

We would like to acknowledge the support of our event partners, without whom this day would not have been possible: BNP Paribas “Air” level sponsor, HSBC “Water” level sponsor and KMPG “Earth” level sponsor.

To consult and download additional photos from the afternoon, please click here. Use the password 5091 to download selected images for personal use only.

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Legislation and Governance- Shaping a Sustainable Future

Panel 1 was led by Moderator Olga Joseph, Former News Anchor at NBC News Radio, who was joined by John Mandyck- CEO of Urban Green Council, Anne le Strat- Former Deputy Mayor of Paris and Former Chairwoman of Eau de Paris, Patricia Purcell- Head of Partnerships UN Global Compact Cities Programme and Katie Walsh- Head of Cities, States and Regions at CDP.

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Food, Beverage and Hospitality- Innovation From the Ground Up

Panel 2 was led by Moderator Lauren Wilson- Editor-in-Chief at Edible Manhattan, who was joined by panelists Noémie Bauer- Head of Sustainable Business at Pernod Ricard, Viraj Puri- Co-Founder and CEO of Gotham Greens, Hans Theyer- Executive Director of Fairtrade America and Philippe Caradec, VP Public Affairs and Sustainable Development at Danone North America PBC.

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Panel 3 was led by Moderator Emily Chasan- Sustainable Finance Editor at Bloomberg, who was joined by panelists Corey Ershow- Policy Manager at Lyft, Nate McMurry- VP Divestiture and Portfolio Strategy at EDF, Jean-Noël Poirier- Executive Managing Director at Clean Energy Venture Group, Stephanie Lemcke- CEO & Founder of GoKid and Skip Rankin- Partner and Chair of the Global Renewable Energy and Clean Technology Industry Group; Member of the GlobalBanking, Finance and Major Projects Practice Group at Baker McKenzie.

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Panel 4 was led by Moderator Rosemary Feitelberg, New York Correspondent for WWD, who was joined by Patricia Gomes- Managing Director, Head of Global Trade & Receivables Finance North America at HSBC, Danielle Azoulay- Head of CSR and Sustainability at L’Oréal USA, Jessica Schreiber- Founder at FabScrap and Trisha Gregory- Co-Founder and CEO of Armarium.

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Panel 5 was led by Moderator Marcos Salazar- Co-Founder and Executive Director of Be Social Change, who was joined by panelists Candice Lawton- Associate Director of North American Brand Partnerships at Terracycle, Bryan Lew- COO of Fairtrade America and Chris Coady- Director of Community Programs at the Recycling Partnership.

Click to view photos & highlights from panel 5