School of Business Symposium will Honor Local Business Committed to Sustainable Practices

a modern cement and glass building with a row of trees and a green lawn
The Massry Center for Business is the site of Friday's ESG symposium. (Photo by Brian Busher)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 14, 2021) — Three Albany area companies have been chosen as finalists for the inaugural High Peaks Impact Awards (HPIA), given by the University at Albany School of Business to recognize a Capital Region business that demonstrates a commitment to environment, social and governance (ESG) practices.

UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez will bestow the award at 5:50 p.m. Friday at a symposium at the Massry Center for Business, co-sponsored by the School of Business and the New York State Writers Institute.

The symposium, A Community Celebration of ESG, will bring together business leaders, policymakers and academics to share best practices on how ESG benefits businesses and their stakeholders in various ways. The event will feature speakers, panel discussions on financial reporting, portfolio construction and technology trends driving ESG, networking time and a reception following the presentation of the HPIA award.

The three finalists for the HPIA are Davies Office, which specializes in refurbishing office furniture; Key Capture Energy, an energy storage company; and Vyv, a health tech company.

  • Davies Office focuses on the remanufacture and refurbishment of office furniture, from chairs to wall panels. The company collects and reuses the accumulating supply of excess office furniture, reducing landfilling, while using remanufacturing methods that reduce VOCs and energy use.
  • Key Capture Energy develops, constructs and operates utility-scale energy storage projects across the United States as part of its commitment to better utilize large-scale wind, solar and other renewable energy sources. The company chose to place its headquarters in an economically disadvantaged neighborhood, and encourages employees to use alternative transportation and volunteer at local community organizations.
  • Vyv is a market leader in antimicrobial LED lighting for homes, public places and industry. The company’s patented light technology not only illuminates but also creates an inhospitable environment for bacteria, fungi, yeast, mold and mildew to grow. The goal is to create sustainable and healthy lighting systems.

“All three of these companies demonstrate a strong commitment to the kinds of principled practices that address social, environmental and workplace responsibility — and can also increase competitiveness and enhance value for businesses, investors, employees and the local and global community,” said Nilanjan Sen, dean of the School of Business. “Our symposium offers an opportunity to take a deeper dive into ESG practices and initiatives, and a place where our faculty, students, alumni and business leaders can share best practices and promote ESG initiatives in our local businesses.”

A Community Celebration of ESG begins at 1 p.m. Friday in the Massry Center, with a welcome from Dean Sen and opening remarks from O’Leary Professor Emeritus Paul Miesing, the founding director of CAUSE, the Center of the Advancement and Understanding of Social Enterprises, at the School of Business.

Daniel Esty, the Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy at Yale University, will be the keynote speaker at the symposium. Esty is the author or editor of 13 books, including the prizewinning guide to corporate sustainability, Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage (2009); A Better Planet: Forty Big Ideas for a Sustainable Future (2019); and his most recent book, Values at Work: Sustainable Investing and ESG Reporting, published in 2020.

Esty is scheduled to speak at 3:15, after an introduction by NYS Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl.

“This is a critical moment in history, when we face the existential threat of climate change and reckonings on racial and social justice,” Grondahl said. “Dan Esty is an ideal keynote speaker for this forward-thinking symposium that captures the national zeitgeist and plays a vital role in creating meaningful dialogue at the intersection of public policy, corporate governance and social movements. Through his writings and public service, Esty has championed fresh thinking and practical results. We look forward to his inspiring remarks.”

Registration for the symposium, both in person and via Zoom, is open through today.

To develop this symposium, the University worked closely with a consortium of small businesses that embrace the concepts of ESG. Sponsors, in addition to the School of Business and the NYS Writers Institute, are the Center of Advancement & Understanding of Social Enterprises and the University at Albany Foundation.