University of Vermont

UVM Innovations

UVM Hosting National Summit on Emerging Climate Economy

Paul Hawken to deliver keynote speech Wednesday evening

Historic UVM buildings on University Row

The University of Vermont is hosting the Catalysts of the Climate Economy (cc:econ) September 6-8, a national innovation summit that will bring together entrepreneurs, investors, and thought leaders to gear up for the next stage of economic development and prosperity in a low-carbon future. The event's goal is to accelerate progress toward the significant economic opportunities associated with solving the unprecedented challenges presented by climate change.

The summit will feature speeches, roundtables and discussion groups with industry leaders from around the country in clean energy, green building, agriculture, transportation, tech innovation, efficiency improvement, smart growth, and more.

The keynote speech for the event will be delivered by environmentalist, entrepreneur, activist, and bestselling author Paul Hawken, who will speak on Wednesday from 6:10 to 7:30 p.m. at the Ira Allen Chapel. The speech is free and open to the public.

Other speakers include Jigar Shah, co-founder of Generate Capital; Danny Kennedy, managing director of the California Clean Energy Fund; Mary Powell, CEO of Green Mountain Power; Gary Hirshberg, chairman and former CEO of Stonyfield Farm; Helen Mountford, program director of the New Climate Economy Initiative; Stephen Lacey, editor-in-chief of Greentech Media; Alex Keros, manager of vehicle & advanced technology policy at General Motors; Lila Preston, aartner at Generation Investment Management; John Replogle, president and CEO of Seventh Generation; Dan Reicher, executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University; and many others. 

In addiiton, the summit is hosting an innovation and pitch contest for entrepreneurs from around the country to exhibit their ideas for a better future. Winners will receive a cash prize and the opportunity to present their work to an audience of investors and other interested parties.  

The final day of the event will consist of a series of “innovation tours” around Vermont, guided by summit speakers and other changemakers. The tours will let participants see the climate economy in action, showcasing businesses, farms, utilities, policy, initiatives, and communities as models of energy production, efficiency, and economic development. Each tour will specialize in a particular area of interest, including Green Building and Design, Distributed Generation and the Rural Grid, and other themes central to the summit agenda.

Registration details and other information including the full schedule and speaker lineup can be found at

The summit is produced by the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD). From local, citizen-led efforts to policy councils that build collaboration between state, federal, nonprofit, and private sector leaders, VCRD brings Vermonters together across political lines and organizational boundaries to create a better future.