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NorthStar Initiative launches corporate sustainability webinar series

February 3, 2012

The NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment is launching a free quarterly webinar series this month aimed at identifying new challenges and opportunities for advancing corporate sustainability through research.

The first webinar in the series, “Procurement in Sustainability: From Buying Green Products to Creating Green Solutions,” will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. CST Tuesday, Feb. 21. Featuring four national experts (Kevin Dooley, The Sustainability Consortium, Arizona State University; Nancy Gillis, federal General Services Administration; Timothy Smith, NorthStar Initiative, University of Minnesota; and Rolf Nordstrom, Great Plains Institute), the webinar will explore how procurement might be made more sustainable by sharing the risks of product development with suppliers and creating wider commercialization of successes through standardization and scale.

“We are looking for ways to accelerate the design for sustainability in products, particularly where the market has not yet responded to the increasing new calls from large buyers,” says Smith, the director of NorthStar and an associate professor in the University’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. “We are excited to explore where research into pre-commercial procurement might pay off for business and society.”

The webinar is the first installment of the quarterly Initiative inFocus, NorthStar’s new dialogue-oriented program aimed at identifying new challenges and opportunities requiring collaborative inquiry. The webinars are designed to bring many ideas into the discussion and identify the most fruitful avenues for research and application. Outcomes from inFocus events will directly influence broader dialogue and research conducted at the NorthStar Initiative and partner organizations.

The webinar is open to all interested persons. To register, go to For more information on NorthStar, email Michelle Linhoff at or see

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