Highlights from the 2012 Illinois Green Business Summit

Keynote Speakers

Joel Makower

Joel Makower Head shotChairman and Executive Editor of GreenBiz Group Inc. and creator of GreenBiz.com

For more than 20 years, Joel Makower has been a well-respected voice on business, the environment, and the bottom line.

He is executive editor of GreenBiz.com and other websites, events and business information services produced by GreenBiz Group Inc., of which he is co-founder and chairman. He also hosts GreenBiz.com’s annual State of Green Business Forums, the annual GreenBiz Innovation Forum, and other events. Joel is author of more than a dozen books, including his latest, Strategies for the Green Economy (2008), along with GreenBiz.com’s annual “State of Green Business” report. The Associated Press has called him "The guru of green business practices."

Jim Hartzfeld

Jim Hartzfeld Head shotManaging Director at InterfaceRAISE

As Managing Director of InterfaceRAISE, Jim leads this important corporate consulting resource for Interface, Inc., which was created to educate others seeking to implement the necessary steps for becoming sustainable. For over a decade, Jim has been pursuing the objective of equipping others through education and knowledge to make sustainability understandable and accessible in the marketplace.

Now leading the newly formed venture InterfaceRAISE, Jim is formalizing the knowledge he has gleaned to bring the tools for technical and cultural transformation to other companies who seek to follow Interface's lead to become more sustainable.

2012 Summit Recap

On September 7th at the Hilton Garden Inn in Champaign, the first Annual Illinois Green Business Summit featured 40 speakers on nine panels. They discussed practical sustainability practices for businesses -- the challenges of going green and demonstrated examples of successes and benefits from industry professionals that can be replicated in your business. Speakers discussed topics such as reducing consumption, green certifications and technology, local purchasing, transformations in the food industry, financial incentive programs for sustainable projects, creating a sustainable company culture, and more.

Three Tracks were featured: 1) Where's the Green? Financing and Managing Sustainable Projects, 2) Why Green Makes Cents: Green Business Certification, and 3) Growing a Green Economy: How to Bring it Home. 

We heard keynote Joel Makower from GreenBiz.com talk about the national green business scene and why telling your green story is important. Over lunch, speaker Jim Hartzfeld of Interface Inc. talked about the transformation of a company widely regarded as one of the most sustainable manufacturers in the country and how it affected their bottom line. Cassie Carroll from the Illinois Green Business Association (IGBA) presented the EVP of Busey Corporation and IGBA Board President Donald Schlorff with the 2012 Green Champion Award for his hard work with Busey and dedication to IGBA. 

2012 IGBA Summit Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors

  • University of Illinois Office of Public Engagement

Gold Sponsors

  • Busey
  • University of Illinois Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership

Bronze Sponsors

  • One Main Development
  • Bloomington Normal Economic Development Council
  • Illinois American Water
  • Ameren Illinois
  • USAgain

AM Break Sponsor

  • Illinois State University College of Business

PM Break Sponsor

  • Radius Custom Solutions Group

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The Lineup

2. Why Green Makes Cents: Green Business Certification

Benefits of Integrating Green Technology

10:30-12 pm

Are there green technologies that would work in your business? Join this discussion to learn more about current green and renewable energy technology on the market that will help reduce your environmental impact and save money. Also, hear from experts about research in the green technology field –learn more about what is up-and-coming in the green technology world.

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3. Growing a Green Economy: How to Bring it Home

Farm to Table: Transformations in the Food Industry


Increased demand for locally grown, organic food has created significant opportunities for businesses related to the food industry. This panel discussion, led by University of Illinois Professor Emeritus Wesley Jarrell—an expert in sustainable production and management of food—will explore areas of promise in various commercial areas, including restaurants, grocers, farmers markets, farmers, and more.

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Reducing Water, Energy, and Material Consumption

1:15 - 2:45pm

Conservation is important for reducing your company’s environmental impact and saving money. Join this discussion on strategies and methods to reduce your business’ water, energy, and overall material consumption. The panel will cover purchasing and waste-handling strategies, employee engagement, and low hanging fruit (easy opportunities) for decreasing water and energy use.

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Certification: Why it is Important for Economic Transformation


Certifications are launching locally, state-wide, and nationally. Traction in Illinois has been made with certification, but there is a long way to go to develop green business in the state. Transformation in the workplace brings change in employees and their organizations. The panel of state luminaries and leaders will discuss green business and standards, and how it certification can help develop the Illinois green economy.

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Growing Green Economies in Illinois

1:15- 2:45 pm

Leaders across the State of Illinois have embraced sustainability in order to grow their community’s local economies. In this session, you will hear how various cities throughout Illinois have taken steps to significantly strengthen their economies through sustainability.

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Private and Public Sector Financing Programs

3:00- 4:30 pm

Financing green projects can be difficult, and businesses can feel overwhelmed with trying to finance a green project. This discussion will investigate private and public sector financing programs for businesses and NGO’s. Ameren Illinois, Nicor Gas, Illinois Energy Now, and Busey Bank speakers share opportunities and challenges for funding green projects, as well as loan and incentive programs. Discover creative financing solutions so that your business or organization can integrate green effectively and cost-efficiently.

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Creating a Sustainable Company Culture

3:00 - 4:30pm

The value of creating a sustainable culture in the workplace goes well beyond energy savings and environmental impact. Learn how going green can help support your company’s marketing and human resources goals by attracting new customers and recruiting and retaining the most qualified and talented staff. Experts from the University of Illinois and leading corporations will discuss ways to further your company’s goals.

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Sustainable Purchasing and Local Sourcing

3:00- 4:30 pm

Many businesses are willing to become more sustainable but find it challenging to locate sustainable and locally-sourced products. This session will provide you with a wealth of information for finding the products you need to be successful.

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