Summit to Explore Sustainability as Economic Development Tool

by Rob Keys  on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012 12:00 am  

In an effort to highlight ways cities can leverage sustainability as an economic development strategy, the University of Arkansas' Applied Sustainability Center is hosting the inaugural Sustainable Communities Leadership Summit Oct. 17-19.

The center is part of the UA's Sam M. Walton College of Business.

The summit will be held at the UA Global Campus in downtown Fayetteville. It is designed to explore sustainability as a framework for enhancing economic prosperity, creating jobs and attracting new investment.

"People often think of sustainability from an environmental perspective," Michele Halsell, the center's managing director, said in a news release. "The goal of the summit is to bring together local elected officials and business leaders to rethink sustainability and how it can be used as an economic development tool."

Jerry Tinianow, chief sustainability officer for the city and county of Denver, is the keynote speaker. His presentation will take place from 9-10 a.m. Oct. 18.

"Cities compete on the basis of sustainability whether they know it or not," Tinianow said. "They are competing for investment. Investors want stability and predictability, and a successful sustainability program is the best way to assure them that they'll have it."

Other scheduled speakers include Kate Elliott, sustainability director for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and Andy Seth of Climate Communities, a Washington, D.C.-based coalition of cities and counties committed to educating federal policymakers on sustainability-related issues.

The summit is result of the Home Depot Sustainable Cities Institute Grant the city of Fayetteville received in 2010. For more information, visit



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