Courtesy of Emily Lin

Students from the Yale School of the Environment and School of Management immersed themselves in discussions surrounding sustainability and corporate responsibility at the GreenBiz24 conference, the largest annual sustainability business conference in the U.S., hosted in Phoenix, Arizona from Feb. 12 to Feb. 14.

The event, which brought together over 2,500 people from various sectors interested in sustainability, served as a platform for exploring emerging trends and sharing insights on environmental challenges. 

“Attending GreenBiz was an enriching experience that provided insights into the emerging trends in corporate sustainability and facilitated valuable connections with fellow professionals in the field,” Lucia Castellares Tello ENV ’25 said.

The conference boasted an impressive lineup of attendees, with nearly 50 percent representing companies with annual revenues exceeding $1 billion, according to their website.  

Throughout the event, students had the opportunity to participate in panels, workshops and networking sessions. Lauren Phipps ENV ’24 worked for the GreenBiz Group for over six years, and this year marked her ninth time attending the conference. Phipps moderated a panel discussion titled “Making Progress on Critical Minerals and Materials.” The session provided insights into the intersection of sustainability and resource management, emphasizing the importance of responsible mining practices in achieving clean energy goals and sharing expertise across organizations.

 “If you want to think strategically about making business sustainable, you need to think beyond the walls of your own organization,” Phipps said when discussing the panel.

Speaking with the News about their motivations for attending, several students highlighted the importance of staying connected with their professional community and gaining real-world perspectives beyond academia. They emphasized the need to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical applications, underscoring the value of experiential learning in shaping their career paths. 

“I loved how applied everything was,” Emily Lin ENV ’25 said. “What I learn at Yale can be different from what is currently happening in space, and to understand and engage with the implementation and barriers beyond academia is so informative. This makes me excited to go into the real world after equipping myself with knowledge and tools I get from YSE.” 

Throughout the conference, students engaged in discussions on a wide range of topics, including the role of agriculture in reducing emissions, the challenges of implementing circular economy solutions and the influence of Gen Z on corporate sustainability initiatives. They also had the opportunity to hear from industry leaders, such as Zoe Chance, senior lecturer in management at the Yale School of Management, who shared stories and insights on driving positive change within organizations. 

Daniel González Pena ENV ’24 expressed appreciation for the willingness of conference participants to share their struggles and challenges, highlighting the collaborative spirit that permeated the event – an energy that González said reflects the collective, interdisciplinary action needed to address the climate crisis.

 “As we are dealing with the climate crisis, there is not one solution. The conference highlighted that we are going to need inputs from people in various industries and from all walks of life,” said González. 

The GreenBiz24 Conference took place in JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.

Correction, Feb. 22: A previous version of this article did not mention Yale School of Management students’ participation in the conference. The article has been updated to reflect the correct information.