Sustainability is more than a buzzword; it’s a market trend impacting large and small businesses in business-to-business and consumer markets.

To help businesses learn about growth opportunities, reporting requirements and grant and loan options, the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the region’s leading economic development organization, is presenting its first Sustainability Summit on Jan. 24 at the Huntington Convention Center downtown.

Photo of Chris Laszlo
Chris Laszlo

Chris Laszlo, a professor of organizational behavior at Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management, will provide the keynote address that morning: “Sustainability Trends, Challenges and Opportunities.”

“Sustainability and ESG (environmental, social and governance) are moving from disclosure and risk management to business opportunities that tackle the big social and global challenges of our time,” said Laszlo, who provides advisory services to senior leaders in some of the world’s largest companies on sustainability for competitive advantage. “Rising market expectations combined with recent legislation such as the Inflation Reduction Act are driving business innovation in companies equipped with the right skill set and tools.”

In addition to his academic experience and consulting work, Laszlo spent nearly 10 years as an executive at a Fortune 500 building materials company and five years with Deloitte Touche, where he consulted on strategy to global industry leaders.

As one of the originators of the concept of sustainable value, Laszlo reframes sustainability as a business opportunity, turning environmental and social risks into drivers of innovation, greater employee engagement and a new source of competitive advantage.

GCP, with more than 12,000 members, is guided by a board of corporate and entrepreneurial CEOs and focuses on strategic initiatives, business services and advocacy to build a vibrant business environment and region for small businesses, middle-market companies and global corporations.

The half-day conference will consist of keynotes, panels and breakout sessions for large companies and small and mid-sized enterprises.