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Investing in Sustainability Webinar Series

South Carolina

Green leaves emerge from a container of soil.
Green Plant A green plant grows in a metal container. © iStock/Ivan Bajic


Ten years ago, “corporate sustainability plan” was often a dressed-up term for “recycling program.” Today, employees and investors are demanding more from the companies they support.

Global powerhouses like Microsoft, Amazon and Volvo have announced ambitious plans for carbon neutrality or made nine-figure commitments to combat the effects of climate change.  But what can you do if you’re not a Fortune 100 company?

Can smaller businesses really make a difference and help change the future of our planet?  Let’s talk about it.

The Nature Conservancy is working with strategic partners around the world to reduce carbon emissions by 26 percent in the next 10 years. Here in South Carolina, we’re working with businesses to better understand their goals and challenges and to offer support with their next best step.

Investing in Sustainability is a three-part webinar series featuring business and thought leaders having an honest dialogue around corporate sustainability. We invite you to join for one, two or all three!

Register for upcoming webinars at the links listed under each event below. You must register to attend — information on how to join the webinar via Zoom will be provided upon registering.

Check in often to watch previous webinar recordings at the links listed on the next tab.

We hope to see you online soon!.


PART I: Getting Started and Why It Works
March 2, 2021
*Visit the PART I RECAP tab for a recording and more information.*

PART 2: The Value of Carbon Forests
April 15, 2021
*Visit the PART 2 RECAP tab for a recording and more information.*

PART 3: Economic Impact and the Competitive Edge 
May 25, 2021
*Visit the PART 3 RECAP tab for a recording and more information.*

PART I: Getting Started & Why It Works

On March 2, more than 300 professionals from businesses around the globe joined the kickoff webinar in our Investing in Sustainability series. The event was co-hosted with the S.C. Manufacturers Alliance and sponsored by Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund. Leaders from Dominion Energy, Milliken & Company and Sonoco shared sage advice and lessons learned from their own experiences with sustainability planning. Professor Weston Dripps of the Shi Institute for Sustainable Communities at Furman University moderated the discussion. 

Follow up on some additional Q&A with the panel.

Getting Started and Why it Works The first webisode, "Getting Started & Why it Works" is co-hosted by The Nature Conservancy and the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance. The series is sponsored by Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund.

Big Takeaways:

  • On sustainability: “It’s caused us to look not only what we’re doing, but what others are doing around us. Whether it be upstream of us, where the challenges are or opportunities. How what we do helps those that are downstream from us achieve their goals, whether it be environmental or other sustainability goals. And even looking across sectors. For instance, if you think about transportation decarbonization or trying to decarbonize the agricultural community. One of the great benefits I see around this is it’s an opportunity not only to change the nature of energy as a sector of the economy, but also other sectors of the economy.” - Rodney Blevins, President & CEO, Dominion Energy
  • “One of [Sonoco’s] founding fathers had a guiding principle which the company lives by today: ‘People build businesses by doing the right thing.’ People want to work for a company they believe is doing the right thing. [Sustainability] helps attract and retain good employees.” - Ed Harrington, Global Environmental Director, Sonoco
  • “One of our greatest challenges is: how do we hit scale? If manufacturing is roughly 31 percent of emissions, we also know that manufacturing is the heart of innovation. We’re going to come up with many of the solutions to drive the change to make net zero achievable.” - Maurie Lawrence, Sustainability Director & Associate General Counsel, Milliken & Company
  • “However you view it -- corporate responsibility, environmental stewardship, or even just good business sense that helps the bottom line -- sustainability is impactful in many, many ways. South Carolina manufacturers employ over 300,000 people and the industry has an estimate economic impact of $200 billion annually to South Carolina. When we think about that presence, it is amazing to consider what the total impact of the sustainable practices of these companies contributes to our state.” – Sara Hazzard, President & CEO, South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance

Part 2: The Value of Carbon Forests

Over 70 landowners and professionals from businesses from around the world logged on to our second webinar, co-hosted with the Forestry Association of South Carolina, on April 15. The Nature Conservancy’s Working Woodlands program director, Josh Parrish, provided an introduction to how carbon forests work and their co-benefits for people, nature and investors. Featured panelists from Bridgestone America's, Inc. and Norfolk Southern Corporation shared how their companies use carbon forests and the voluntary credit market to reach sustainability and carbon-reduction goals.

The Value of Carbon Forests The second webisode was co-hosted with the Forestry Association of South Carolina, and featured a presentation on how carbon forests work and the co-benefits for people, nature and investors. The series is sponsored by Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund.

Big Takeaways:

  • On carbon forest credits: “We’d like to be leaders in this if we can. We want to share how it worked, how it can work for a lot of different stakeholders in a lot of different ways… That’s why I’m speaking and what led us to sponsor these events: to help get the word out that this is an opportunity for landowners, whether they be corporations or individuals or institutions.” – Jim DeMouy, VP Environment, Health, Safety, & Sustainability, Bridgestone
  • “The market’s here. You look at some of the recent reports by McKinsey that are projecting a potential $50 Billion market by 2030 for voluntary carbon and a hundred-fold increase in demand for carbon credits by 2050. You need to get in the game as soon as possible.” –Josh Raglin, Chief Sustainability Officer, Norfolk Southern Corporation
  • “For other companies looking to start to participate and purchase forest carbon offsets, the first thing to do is to educate yourself. There are resources out there. Come to The Nature Conservancy and our partners. We’re always looking to work with and assist corporations on that holistic journey. The best thing you can do, as a company, is to plan holistically. Then, as you look at your unavoidable emissions, think about strategies, and to the extent those include forests and natural climate solutions, we want you to be part of our team and to come talk to us and others.” –Josh Parrish, Working Woodlands Program Director, The Nature Conservancy

Part 3: The Competitive Edge

On May 25, over 100 business and economic development professionals, government officials, and other leaders joined our final webinar co-hosted with Sustain South Carolina. Featured panelists from the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, South Carolina Council on Competitiveness and the South Carolina Department of Commerce discussed our state's competitive edge in sustainability and how our state is poised to fully leverage natural resources to benefit businesses and communities.

The Competitive Edge The third webisode, co-hosted with Sustain S.C., featured panelists from the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, S.C. Council on Competitiveness and the S.C. Department of Commerce. The series is sponsored by Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund.

Big Takeaways:

  • “If you want to be successful and sustainable and profitable in the U.S., you can do it right here in South Carolina, and in my particular case, you can do it right here in Charleston.” -Michael Graney, Vice President, Global Business Development, Charleston Regional Development Alliance
  • “If you’re a smaller company and you want to do business in the state and you want to do business with the larger supply chain companies, you’re also going to have sustainability goals, especially as these larger manufacturing companies push their sustainability goals down the supply chain.” - Taylor Jackson, Director of SC Logistics, SC Council on Competitiveness
  • “When we think about sustainability, it’s about making sure that we’re communicating the best and the brightest resources and that we’re bringing people together, because not one group has all of the answers. We do a really great job in the state. We’re a handshake state. We are Team South Carolina, and everyone has a different piece of the puzzle.” -Anna DeLage, Recycling Market Development Manager, South Carolina Department of Commerce
  • “We are all hearing conversations around net zero, water positive, zero waste, electric vehicles. We want to help connect those goals to local opportunities and ensure that we have the best of both commerce and conservation right here in South Carolina.” -Ethel Bunch, President & CEO, Sustain SC
  • “Bridgestone, thanks to you all for making the webinar series a reality. I hope everyone is as encouraged as I am. Literally hundreds from around South Carolina – all types of businesses, all types of professional backgrounds – have tuned in for these three webinars. It’s a great testament to the enthusiasm in the state for the concept of sustainability, and The Nature Conservancy recognizes the essential importance of businesses in creating a sustainable future for our state.” -Billy Webster, Trustee-The Nature Conservancy in South Carolina