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8th Annual SEER Symposium Featured Diverse Thought Leaders Who Discussed The New Purpose of Business

On Friday, February 28 Pepperdine Graziadio had its 8th annual SEER Symposium (Socially, Environmentally, and Ethically Responsible) that featured fascinating talks by influential thought leaders about how social change is evolving rapidly and the instrumental role businesses play in promoting a flourishing society for the benefit of all.

Our diverse lineup of speakers included leaders who are pioneers in using open data and technology to solve everyday problems and improve residents’ lives. Specifically, Jeanne Holm, Deputy CIO and Senior Technology Advisor to the Mayor for the City of Los Angeles, talked about how they are using data and cutting edge technology to further the city’s sustainable development goals, increase equity and deliver a high quality of life for the city’s residents. She also discussed how historical data tends to be biased and how the city is working to develop a code of ethics so they can address unintended biases and ensure equity.

Michelle Dunstan, Global Head of Responsible Investing and Portfolio Manager, Alliance Bernstein, talked about how most investment funds focus on consensus champions, companies that are already are driving positive change, and she challenged the audience to think more broadly about the role investors can play in driving performance in more controversial sectors such non-renewable energy.

In a panel conversation about the future of recycling, Brandi Harleaux, Chief Operations Officer, South Post Oak Recycling Center, said she is a big believer in tying her personal values into business. As such, they have prioritized having an impact in communities in which they operate and have developed on-the-ground partnerships to educate residents about the importance of recycling as well as create jobs for “second chance hires.” Asami Tanimoto, Recycling Technical Advisor, discussed some of the system wide challenges with recycling including the need for additional funding and how the business community plays an important role by getting buy in from communities for products that are recyclable, reusable and compostable.

A huge thank you to all of the remarkable speakers who shared their journey about creating profitable companies and effective municipalities that are making the world a better place and to all of the attendees for engaging in this critical conversation about reorienting capitalism to serve all stakeholders.