Conference Plenaries

2021 Grunin Conference Plenaries 

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Sustainable Market Creation: Making it Real

This plenary is situated against the backdrop of recent discussions about rearticulating the purpose of the corporation to focus on the longer-term perspective of managers, investors, and workers, and on the increasing number of statements from business on social and political issues. This plenary’s speakers will examine what has to happen to make these statements real. How can we operationalize a commitment to sustainable value creation net of externalities through respectful treatment of stakeholders and society? What does it really mean to align business models and actions with the values businesses are espousing? And, what is the role of the legal profession in advancing these conversations?

Looking Back and Moving Forward: Tackling Twin Crises, Rebuilding, and Reimagining Through Social Entrepreneurship

The pandemic has laid bare what many Americans have known from living it every day. Inequitable systems fuel state-sanctioned violence. Capital is syphoned from disadvantaged communities to wealthy areas, even as the negative impacts of business hit disadvantaged communities with disproportionate intensity. And the country has seen a historic attack on civil liberties, in both the streets and the halls of policy. With the world turning to “recovery,” how do we ensure that innovation drives lasting systemic change and does not continue to exacerbate it? In this plenary session, Cheryl Dorsey will discuss the role of social entrepreneurship as we reimagine and rebuild the world amid a pandemic and nationwide racial reckoning.

Tackling the Climate Crisis with Law Through Global Investment

The world is facing a dual crisis of rapid climate change and unprecedented biodiversity loss. The climate is becoming more volatile and extreme. Longer, more intense droughts threaten crops, wildlife, and freshwater supplies; and extreme weather events are creating more floods and fires. Nature is declining at an unprecedented rate, and many species face extinction. Without urgent action, our global economy and our planet’s diversity of life are at risk, and significant harm to people and planet is inevitable. There is hope for the future, however. We must act now through the rapid decarbonization of the global economy and by investing in our natural capital systems. President Biden’s recent Leaders Summit on Climate has reset the global economic agenda, with government-led commitments backing enhanced policy and regulation, now rapidly accelerating the shift to a net zero global economy closer to 2040 and resulting in significant economic disruption and opportunity. Over the next 15 years alone, $100 trillion will be required to decarbonize the global economy and protect nature. There is a race to build and deliver the investment opportunities that are required. This presents the most significant investment opportunity of our lifetime. Those countries, corporations, and investors that act now will achieve the highest returns and the greatest impact. This session will look at opportunities for investing in the net zero economy and the role of law and policy in driving this. *Please note that the views expressed in this plenary are the speakers' own and do not necessarily reflect the views of their organizations or colleagues.*

How a CDFI is Using Finance to Deliver Sustainable Economic, Social, and Environmental Impact Locally and Around the World

Founded more than 30 years ago, Southern Bancorp, Inc. is one of the largest and first certified rural Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) in the United States. With more than $1.9 billion in assets, 65,000 customers, and 52 locations across the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta, one of the nation’s most persistently poor regions, Southern Bancorp focuses on the net worth building strategies of homeownership, entrepreneurship, and savings.