Introducing the FACC Sustainability & Innovation Committee

Chapter News | May 17, 2019

The FACC Sustainability & Innovation Committee was launched in 2019 to unite the diverse sectors of FACC membership. From luxury, food, hospitality, to consumer goods, legal, manufacturing and beyond, sustainability is now a key driver of innovation. On May 13th the Sustainability & Innovation Forum served as the first committee event, an ambitious project engaging over 250 attendees for an afternoon of panel discussions, fashion shows and high-level business networking.

Why Sustainability? As a keystone organization for international business, the FACC-NY strives to foster an environment in which business challenges are anatomized through the exchange of best practices, action-oriented dialogues and innovative solutions. The FACC is fortunate to count some of the most respected, established and promising companies and individuals in their fields. Of growing importance to our community is a desire to embrace sustainability business practices.  Many of our members have already taken to heart the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, a guiding light of global objectives in the field of sustainability. We recognize the valuable impact members are making, and the potential for others to build upon their dedicated efforts to effect positive change.

The mission of the Sustainability & Innovation committee is to empower and engage FACC members in identifying implementable solutions for businesses and individuals to embrace sustainable development on the local, regional and global levels. The committee plans to host a second, follow-up event this fall.

Since its official introduction at the May 13th Forum, the committee is still evolving and accepting candidacies. This opportunity is reserved for FACC members who have joined at the active level or higher. Drawing on their rich experiences, both in the United States and France, an active FACC committee member commits to invigorate the life of the French-American Chamber of Commerce. By providing thought leadership for discussions, offering mentorship for members, and strengthening the business relations for the FACC community, committee members help animate valuable work of the Chamber. Committee involvement also allows for relevant speaking opportunities at FACC events, as well as recognition at FACC Board of Directors meetings.

View Highlights from the May 13th Sustainability & Innovation Forum

Meet the current Sustainability & Innovation Committee members:

Committee Chair- Clyde ‘Skip’ Rankin- Partner Baker McKenzie

Clyde E. Rankin, III is a member of the Firm's North America Banking, Finance and Major Projects Practice Group based in the New York office and is Chair of the North America Projects Practice. Mr. Rankin is fluent in French. He has been named one of the Best Lawyers in America from 2006 – 2018 and is highlighted in Legal 500 US 2010, 2011, 2015, 2017 and 2018 for his work as an advisor to sponsors in project finance and renewable energy. He has also been named a New York Metro Super Lawyer in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Mr. Rankin advises clients on project finance and infrastructure transactions, mergers and acquisitions, privatizations, licensing and distribution agreements and joint venture agreements. Mr. Rankin has extensive experience in advising clients on significant renewable energy projects in the US and abroad, including the project financing of such projects, and he has been active in the wind energy sector for over 25 years.

Additionally, Mr. Rankin serves on the Executive Committee of the French-American Chamber of Commerce-NY as Vice President.

Wendy Gerber, CEO, International Consulting Group

Wendy is an innovative strategy, business development and marketing executive who creates and drives key corporate strategic initiatives for leading global brands. She has advised Fortune 500 CEOs on highly visible issues. Wendy has worked with global iconic brands including Citigroup, Ralph Lauren and Kenneth Cole. She is a forward-thinking, agile, dynamic multilingual strategist with global experience building brands, creating and executing strategic business and marketing plans, and leading high-performing cross-functional teams. Wendy is known for building core businesses, spearheading innovation, driving transformational change, innovative product development and brand positioning, including digital and social strategies, and expansion into new businesses and markets. 

Amy Hall, VP of Social Consciousness, Eileen Fisher

As Director of Social Consciousness and a member of the Leadership Forum for women’s clothing designer EILEEN FISHER, Amy supports the company’s efforts to practice “business as a movement.”   Amy collaborates internally and externally to guide the company toward ever-increasing human, environmental and economic sustainability, including co-leading the company’s Vision2020 work.  Amy played an instrumental role in shepherding the company toward its highly-anticipated B Corporation Certification.

Amy came to EILEEN FISHER in 1993, following a fundraising career with Asian-American cultural, educational and social service organizations in New York City.  Her educational background includes a B.A. from Georgetown University, an M.A. from Teachers College-Columbia University, and a sustainable MBA from Green Mountain College.  She currently chairs the advisory board of Social Accountability International and serves on the boards of Made-By, the American Sustainable Business Council, and the New Conversations Project of Cornell University.  Amy teaches “Sustainability in Fashion Merchandising” at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and is a frequent guest speaker on CSR and Sustainability-related topics.

Nathalie Gilet, Manager, Sustainability & CSR Services, Mazars

Nathalie has over 7 years of experience in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability management and consulting. She has a strong background on sustainability in the Manufacturing & Distribution, Real Estate, Financial Services, and Utilities sectors. She works with all types of public and private companies (small, mid-cap, large and global), as well as with government and municipal agencies.

Prior to joining Mazars USA, Nathalie was part of the Corporate Responsibility & Sustainable Development Consulting team in Mazars’ Paris, France office, where she managed sustainability audits, due diligence and consulting, and developed a service line on sustainability innovation assessment. Previously, she has worked in project management, corporate sustainability management, sustainable investment (ESG assessment) and the not-for-profit sector.

Ron Gonen- CEO, Closed Loop Partners

Ron is the Co-Founder and CEO of Closed Loop Partners, an investment firm focused on the development of the circular economy via investments in sustainable consumer goods and packaging companies, innovative recycling technologies and advanced supply chains. Investors include many of the world’s largest retailers and consumer goods companies as well as family offices interested in investments that provide strong financial returns and tangible social impact.

Prior to Closed Loop Partners, Ron was the Deputy Commissioner of Sanitation in New York City in the Bloomberg Administration. He oversaw the collection and processing of NYC’s paper, metal, glass, plastic, textile waste, electronic waste, organics, and hazardous waste as well as public policy. In 2013, NRDC and Earth Day New York named Ron as the Public Official of the Year in New York City.

Ron has been an Adjunct Professor at Columbia Business School since 2010. In 2012, he was the recipient of the Social Enterprise Center Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Jean-Noel Poirier- Executive Managing Director of Clean Energy Venture Group

Jean-Noel brings over 20 years of global executive management and entrepreneurship experience, with a focus on environmental businesses. His background includes leadership positions at Honeywell International, in solar energy startups including First Solar and Global Solar Energy, and in specialty chemicals. He was CEO of Inventec Performance Chemicals USA which he co-founded. Jean-Noel is also an investor in and a mentor to a number of cleantech companies. He is a lead mentor at the Cleantech Open and an Entrepreneur in Residence for NYSERDA.

Clean Energy Venture Group is an investment group which provides seed capital and management expertise to early stage clean energy companies. The group is comprised of seasoned operating executives with strong capabilities in the energy and environmental sectors. Their mission is to invest in and support early stage clean energy companies that have the potential to mitigate climate change and achieve attractive financial returns.

Ann Tracy- VP Safety, Sustainability & Supply Chain Strategy- Colgate Palmolive

Since 1991, Ann Tracy has held successive roles at Colgate Palmolive as Supply Chain Director for Africa and the Middle East, VP of Manufacturing, VP of Customer Service, Logistics and Sustainability and VP of Safety, Sustainability and Supply Chain Strategy.

Colgate strives for transparency in their sustainability efforts, publishing progress reports toward their 2020 goals. In 2018, Colgate reduced water use per ton of production by nearly 46% vs. 2002, avoiding enough water use to fill 250 billion glasses of water. Colgate continues to scale up their Save Water campaign globally to promote water conservation awareness with on-package messaging, in-store communications and social media, and through a partnership with the Nature Conservancy in the United States.

Additionally, Colgate’s contributes to the Water For People’s Everyone Forever program, which helped the organization reach more than 450,000 people since 2013 with water, sanitation systems and/or health and hygiene education in Guatemala, Peru and India.

Philippe Caradec- Vice President of Public Affairs and Sustainable Development, Danone North America, PBC

Philippe Caradec’s rich career at Danone has encompassed multiple roles from Vice President of Regulatory and Corporate Affairs to his current position as Vice President of Public Affairs and Sustainable Development.

Danone began their journey to protect water resources two decades ago, with a signature partnership with the Ramsar convention on wetlands in 1998. In addition to water stewardship, Danone is working towards achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, protecting soils, empowering farmers, promoting animal welfare and contributing to a circular economy. Through their commitment to social and economic progress, and their passion for bringing health through food to as many people as possible, Danone aims to generate profitable, sustainable growth now and for many years to come.

Hans Theyer- Executive Director, Fairtrade America

Hans worked in the financial and technology sectors in Chile before joining Microsoft in Seattle, WA. After working in South East Asia and India, he joined Argos International in 2009. Next, Hans set up Washington state’s first B Corp to assist companies weave social impact into their business strategies. In 2013, he joined Fairtrade America.

Hans cares passionately about rural and generational poverty, as well as finding a way out for farmers. He now works to establish the Fairtrade International values in companies in the US. Fairtrade's vision is "a world in which all farmers and workers can earn a sustainable livelihood and have the ability to shape their own futures." The benefits of Fairtrade go beyond extra income for farmers – they also address issues like Gender Equality and Climate Change. The Standards ban Child Labor and protect Workers’ Rights.

Hervé Houdré- Founder of H2 Sustainability Consulting

Hervé Houdré is among Europe’s and America’s most respected hoteliers. He has enjoyed a rewarding hospitality career managing prestigious hotels such as the Plaza Athénée-New York, the Hôtel de Crillon-Paris, the Plaza Athénée-Paris, the Willard InterContinental-Washington D.C. and the InterContinental Barclay-New York.

Hervé has been one of the world’s strongest advocates of sustainable hospitality since 2004. He ensures the hotels he runs become standard bearers of a business model integrating the Triple Bottom Line of Profit, People and Planet in their strategy. Since late 2015 he has been using the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals as a platform for the hotels he manages. He has always been engaged in the local community where he has operated and held board positions in various associations such as New York State Hotel Association, United Nations International School, American Hotel & Lodging Association, Downtown D.C. BID, Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Interested in connecting with the committee members to help implement sustainable practices in your business? Log into the FACC member directory.