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ASBN’s First In-person Conference     

This month ASBN held its first conference since the merger of ASBC and SVC. What made this conference particularly special is the renewed sense of community achieved by more than 250 attendees and that it was in-person. With many precautions in place to protect our participants from Covid, we were able to safely create the best experience for all of our community-minded participants and speakers as well as our staff. Isaac Graves, COO of ASBN said, “The moment we realized we could safely produce an in-person conference we organized what our members and stakeholders ask for most – actionable way to restore, regenerate, and re-imagine themselves, their business and the systems that shape our economy.” 

The aim of this conference was to accelerate ASBN’s work towards creating an economy that works for all: one that is regenerative, equitable, and creates shared prosperity throughout businesses, investments, and activities. We would like to thank our amazing sponsors for helping us put together this conference. A huge thank you to Hanson Bridgett, Trillium Asset Management, Amalgamated Bank, Avocado Green Mattress, Ben & Jerry’s, GoodCarts, Green Mountain Power, ImpactMakers, King Arthur Baking Company, Patagonia, and Seventh Generation.

If you would like to become a member join here.  


What's New


New Board Leadership  

On the eve of the start of the December conference, two new board chairs were announced. “We are thrilled to welcome Seungah Jeong, CEO of MPOWERD and Valerie Red-Horse Mohl, CEO and founder of Red-Horse Financial Group, as the new Co-Chairs, and we will deeply miss our retiring Board Chair, MaryAnne Howland. MaryAnne has been an inspiration to all of us at ASBN. Her deeply dedicated pursuit of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion has helped all of us to be better human beings. MaryAnne has been a tireless educator, leader, and unique contributor to us individually, and for our organization. Fortunately, she has recently been reelected to the new ASBN Board, so she will be staying close to all of us in her new role,” said Jeffrey Hollender, ASBN CEO and David Levine, ASBN President. 


Small, Disadvantaged Businesses to Get a Better Chance in This Economy  

The White House announced an executive order on December 2, stating that the federal government will increase its spending with underserved businesses to help more Americans realize their entrepreneurial dreams and reduce persistent wealth disparities. There is also a set of reforms to the federal procurement process that will help with the target of increasing the share of federal contracts to small, disadvantaged businesses (SDBs). These include, releasing disaggregated data of federal contracting spend by race/ethnicity of business owner, a powerful transparency and management tool, implementing major changes to the federal government’s use of “category management” to boost contracting opportunities for underserved small businesses, increasing the number of new entrants to the Federal marketplace and reversing declines in the small business supplier base, and adopting key management practices to drive accountability and institutionalize achievement of small business contracting goals.  

This executive order will help with the issue of wealth disparity and help American SDBS to reach their goals. These changes seek to reverse inequities head on and give small businesses a better chance by creating a more level playing field. Read more about it here

Click To Tweet: I stand with @POTUS and @WhiteHouse executive order to help small, disadvantaged businesses succeed in this economy.


We Are Ready to Cut Emissions and Have an ‘Electricity Sector’   

ASBN celebrated the White House executive order of December 8 to re-establish the federal government as a leader in sustainability and transform Federal procurement. This is intended to secure a transition to clean, zero-emission technologies which will lead to a carbon pollution-free electricity sector by 2035, and a net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050.  

With this executive order directing purchases of the federal government there are five significant environmental wins: 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity by 2030, 100 percent zero-emission vehicle acquisitions by 2035, net-zero emissions from federal procurement no later than 2050, net zero emissions building portfolio by 2045, net-zero emissions from federal operations by 2050.  President Biden also put forth principles and goals that are to be followed when creating operations efforts. These being, achieving climate resilient infrastructure and operations; building a climate and sustainability focused workforce; prioritizing the purchase of sustainable products; and accelerating progress through domestic and international partnerships. All of these are steps in the right direction by the world’s largest purchaser of goods and services to create a more sustainable work environment and to combat climate change at one of the sources. Read more about it here

Click To Tweet: I look forward to the future where net-zero emissions are the norm. Thankful for the executive order for helping to make this a reality.


Working Group Updates

ASBN’s working group meetings were included as part of the December conference and since they included attendees who hadn’t previously participated, they were mostly recaps of the work to-date and discussions of what’s to come in ’22.  

Look for the latest information from ASBN Working Groups on our website and in upcoming issues of Policy Update.

Always Open: Problem-Solving Resources  

You can count on ASBN sending you timely action tips on legislative issues affecting your business, and we also offer busy leaders a wealth of in-depth guidance you can access any time on our website. Want the details on how famous companies of all sizes provide a high-road workplace – and how it boosts their business? Need to make a big media impression (or lots of them) with your firm’s sustainability news? Want to persuade your market why safer, greener products matter? Need to make your responsible business case for better laws to your elected officials at local, state and national levels? ASBN’s online library of resources can help with these and more. Check out the Research & Data and Policy & Action sections on the ASBN website and contact us with your questions or suggestions.  

Media, Blogs & More

  • Worth Magazine: This list of entrepreneurs working to change the world includes ASBN’s CEO Jeffrey Hollender and describes that, “In 2009, he founded the American Sustainable Business [Network], which represents over 250,000 companies and advocates for policy changes that support sustainability, equity and justice.” 
  • Mother Jones published this article on December 3 by Jim Morris and Lauren Berryman about pediatric cancer deaths and cites the research contributed by ASBN from our Childhood Cancer Prevention Initiative. 
  • Sustainable Brands published this article on December 2 by Samantha Veide about the support and input provided by ASBN in the publication of the “Compass for Just and Regenerative Business” report in collaboration with Forum for the Future. 

Welcome New Members

Please note: For details about  ASBN membership levels, benefits and more, visit https://www.asbnetwork.org/benefits-joining-asbn

Devlabs Venture Capital (Core) 
Devlabs is a micro venture capital firm investing in North America, South America, and the Caribbean. They manage an $8 million fund for pre-seed investment in software startups and are closing a $21 million fund for agriculture and renewable energy. 

Verity (Core) 
Verity is obsessed with creating truly sustainable packaging solutions within the beauty and personal care industry. They are on a mission to raise the standards in the packaging industry to minimize single-use plastics and waste. They pride themselves on providing you the highest quality products that can be reused and recycled. They’re shifting the paradigm- hello aluminum and stainless steel!  

Healthy Prophets (Community) 
Healthy Prophets is here to help build resilient communities by ensuring the success of local businesses. Since their founding in 2018, they’ve guided their clients to achieve their unique business goals. Using their proven end-to-end methods, they will equip you and your organization with a plan to succeed. 

Climate Positive Consulting (Community) 
Climate Positive Consulting helps other businesses focus on sustainable and climate friendly alternatives in the work environment.

Planetary CARE (Community) 
Planetary CARE is the Collaboration for agriculturally regenerative engagement. Our Earth does indeed need care. And Planetary CARE welcomes you into a genuine global commons—of farmers, suppliers, distributors, scientists, innovators, investors and advocates—all powerfully and passionately engaged in a shift back to healthy soil-based agriculture. 

GateBridge Community (Association) 
GateBridge is more than a place to eat, sleep, go to work, and repeat. It’s a place to belong and call home, a safe and supportive place to build economic, social, and cultural wealth for residents and community. 


Member & Staff News

ASBN's Colton Fagundes
On December 22, Colton Fagundes, ASBN’s senior policy manager, spoke to the Methodist Health Ministries of South Texas. This talk discussed an overview of food systems and the components that make up food systems historical policy, practices and systems that led to food insecurity, current policies and practices that are still contributing to the causes of food insecurity, and what can be done to address this insecurity. 

AMP Robotics 
Robots in 2022: Six robotics predictions from industry-leading humans 

Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert: ‘A special place in hell’ for companies not fighting climate change 

National Stewardship Action Council 
The first year of California’s two-year legislative session resulted in unparalleled success for the environment and materials management sector, with more than 10 circular economy related bills signed into law. In January the session resumes and the National Stewardship Action Council (NSAC) will support Assemblymember Luz Rivas as sponsor of a soon-to-be-introduced bill that will ban the sale of single-use cigarette filters (butts), filter tips, and electronic cigarettes in California. NSAC will also sponsor a bill that will require truth in labeling for consumer product ingredients and allow for the use of mathematical formulas in lieu of animal testing that will result in more transparency for consumers and fewer products being classified as hazardous and incinerated at end-of-life and reduced costs. To learn more, get involved, and support our work, email jordan@nsaction.us 

Great Lakes Business Network 
Staff from the Great Lakes Business Network were pleased to participate in this year’s ASBN 2021 conference in San Diego. Throughout the week, they deepened their connection with ASBN members, staff, and investors! They continue to invite others to join our strong coalition of business leaders committed to protecting the Great Lakes region from imminent threats to the natural environment. We strive to be the leading business voice for protecting the health and vitality of the Great Lakes and the economy, businesses, and communities that depend upon them. They are fact-based, non-partisan, and focused on pragmatic advocacy to help set a proactive Great Lakes policy agenda. 

ASBN Board member Wiley Rhodes
The December 15 @WH roundtable on economic revitalization of coal and power plant communities featured @TheASBN’s board member Wiley Rhodes sharing details of how he is working to repurpose a retired coal-fired power plant in New Mexico to use hydrogen as fuel. Upcycling retired power generation facilities such as this project keeps employment in communities which may have been heavily impacted by decommissioning fossil fuel facilities; reuses infrastructure assets; fulfills community needs for reliable electricity; demonstrates the safety, efficacy, and environmental benefits of cutting-edge hydrogen energy technology; and in some cases, can yield clean-fresh water for the community, which is produced from the combustion of hydrogen. Congratulations Wiley! 



The following interview of newly appointed Lifetime Member Chris Dykstra has been condensed for this newsletter. For the complete version please click here

ASBN: Tell us a little about yourself, who is Chris Dykstra? What motivates the work you do in the world? 

Chris Dykstra: For the last 30 years, I have focused on combining art and entrepreneurship. I regard my life as an art project painted in daily actions in the pursuit of larger goals - I try to behave my way towards a vision. I had to learn that it was possible to combine visual art with the art of building businesses but try to practice both as paths to awareness and empathy as I make decisions in life. In business, I explore how entrepreneurship can be an act of art, a force for social justice, and a source of abundance for stakeholders. I seek to advance the idea that art and entrepreneurship can function at the intersection of oppression and progress to help us collectively understand and express our humanity and point us towards peace and shared prosperity. I live in my beloved city of Minneapolis, MN with my wife, Lynn. I have four grown sons, Oliver, Mackenzie, Conner and Simon, and two granddaughters, Josie and Isabell.  

ASBN: ASBC and SVC seek to build the NEXT economy, one that is regenerative, just, and prosperous for all. What does building the NEXT economy mean to you? 

CD: Socially responsible business is the most efficient way to address the world’s many grievous problems. Even where effective and necessary government and non-profit endeavors exist, results will be magnified if they are aligned with a profitable, socially responsible business. Businesses create opportunity, wealth, infrastructure and, most importantly, solve problems for people by meeting consumer demand. The solutions to poverty, hunger and thirst, disease, unemployment, illiteracy, political and economic oppression, child labor, global climate change, extremist violence or any source of misery can almost always be defined in terms of increased opportunity, access to resources and infrastructure. 

ASBN: You're involved in a number of fascinating impact-oriented ventures. Can you tell us a bit about the businesses you're involved in and the impact they create? 

CD: Among them are Warecorp is a Minneapolis-based international web and software development firm that has developed an established client base from what might be considered mainstream markets to support projects that build movement infrastructure, incubate purpose-driven companies, or liberate resources held captive in destructive or unhealthy systems in order to deploy them towards more sustainable solutions. 

DrupalSquad provides enterprise Drupal maintenance and support and development services to organizations using the fastest growing open-source enterprise CMS platform in the world.  

GoodCarts is a network of ecommerce stores that connect online for growth via a proprietary traffic exchange. Each network member contributes their “Website Exhaust” to the network. In return, they are able to access customers who have just bought something from another brand in the network. The network has grown to 140 sustainable brands who are gaining new customers. 

ASBN: On the capital side, you're a partner at Brown Venture Group. What's your investment thesis and what is the impact you're seeking to create through those investments? 

CD: Founded in 2018 in Minneapolis, MN, Brown Venture Group (BVG) is a Black-owned venture capital firm focused on Black, Latino, and Native American technology entrepreneurs. BVG provides technology founders of color an environment from which they can launch and scale their startup, including capital, training, and networks. We believe that technology entrepreneurship can bypass many of the cognitive and racial biases that have historically prevented communities of color from flourishing.  

ASBN: Why did you decide to become a Lifetime Member with ASBC and SVC, and what has the organization meant to you over the years in your personal and professional growth over the years?  

CD: I decided to become a Lifetime Member because SVN, now ASBN, was there for me when I was looking for a business support community that wouldn’t tell me I was crazy. Though I have always been an entrepreneur, my desire to practice multi-stakeholder capitalism and to find areas of opportunity in under-served communities made me an oddity in mainstream business communities. I tried all kinds of communities before I found this organization, but when I arrived here 11 years ago, I knew I was home. 

ASBN Members, Let Us Help You Share Your News! 

Your ASBN membership is a valuable networking opportunity to share your news with other mission-driven companies and supporters nationwide. Please send us your product and service introductions, personnel and facility changes, awards, charitable events and other news in your press releases, blogs, captioned photos and videos. We’ll include them in ASBNs monthly newsletter and social media outlets. 

AND....Show your customers, prospects and vendors your values right upfront:  display the “Proud Member of ASBN” logo on your website and marketing materials.  

ASBN appreciates your support for our work and we’re proud to support you all the way! 

Upcoming Events

Join us January 12, at 3PM EST, as we host a webinar with Engine No. 1. This webinar titled, “Revolutionizing ESG from the Board Down” will cover important topics on how to incorporate ESG in the work force from all different angles. Register here

On January 13th, ASBN's Regenerative Agriculture and Justice Working Group will be putting on part 2 of its special speaker series on the farm bill and other policy opportunities for 2022. Featured speakers will be from the Intertribal Agriculture Council, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, the National Family Farm Coalition, and Earthjustice. Mark your calendars.  


American Sustainable Business Network
712 H Street, NE, PMB 42, | Washington, District of Columbia 20002
202-660-1455 | info@asbnetwork.org

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