Make an Impact Showcased at SXSW Eco Conference

Make an Impact partner panelists at SXSW Eco 2013Every October for the last three years, environmental leaders, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and academics have converged on Austin, Texas for South by Southwest (SXSW) Eco, a global meeting of the minds in the world of sustainability. This year, out of 300 hopeful applicant organizations the Make an Impact program and its corporate partners were selected to take part in the action.

Lively panel discussion

In an hour-long panel discussion, C2ES, Alcoa, Bank of America and Entergy shared lessons in creating and sustaining programs for engaging employees and communities in voluntary energy conservation. Katie Mandes, Director of Make an Impact, presented the program’s history and current outcomes. Strategies and best practices were shared by Make an Impact champions Jim Hodson of Alcoa, Beth Wytiaz of Bank of America and Patty Riddlebarger of Entergy.

“No longer just a page in the annual report.”

A key focal point of the discussion was the trend among leading corporations to view sustainability as more than just the right thing to do. “It’s no longer just a page in the annual report,” said Katie Mandes. “Companies are seeing measurable benefits to their bottom lines through reduced operating costs, higher stakeholder and customer approval ratings, and increased employee retention.”

Alcoa's Leadership leads to 67 million less pounds of carbon

The Alcoa Make an Impact program was first conceived in Australia in 2006. In 2008, C2ES partnered with Alcoa Foundation to establish a U.S.-based program. Today, the program includes multiple corporate partners and is available in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Brazil, as well as the United States. Make an Impact has now reached more than 300,000 people through seven customized web platforms. An impressive 39,000 people have used the calculator and pledge list to commit to a total of 67 million pounds in carbon reductions.

During the panel each corporate partner focused on the different ways their company delivers the program. “Make an Impact program provides important opportunities to engage both employees and community members in reducing their environmental footprint," said Jim Hodson, Safety and Public Affairs Manager at Alcoa. "It encourages them to reduce the use of natural resources, recycle materials and replenish our planet.” These efforts and relationships are what make the program and its partners a natural fit at one of the world’s leading sustainability idea summits.