blockchain for sustainable solutions conference

How can we design blockchain products and solutions that address urgent environmental and social challenges?


Join us on Friday, March 2nd 8:00am - 14:30pm at Burke Auditorium, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies for an all-student-initiated "Blockchain for Sustainable Solutions" conference that brings together students and blockchain innovators from corporate, academic, startup and non-profit organizations. At the event, we will explore how the technology can be harnessed to address issues like climate change, deforestation, and humanitarian crises. Speakers will discuss emerging applications for blockchain that range from energy and water trading, food and fashion supply chain transparency to voting and conservation finance.

Location: Burke Auditorium | Kroon Hall, 3rd floor | 195 Prospect St.

Time: Friday, March 2nd,  8.00am - 14:30pm

Breakfast starts at 8.00 AM. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

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8:00 - 8:55 am - Breakfast and Registration

9:00 - 9:05 am - Business and Environment Club-Student Interest Group intro and Acknowledgements

9:05 - 9:15 am -  Business & Environment Club Presentation

9:15 - 9:45 am - Blockchain Basics: an intro on use-cases for sustainability

9:45 - 10:35 am -  Panel I: ENERGY & WATER

10:45 - 11:45 am - Panel II: SUPPLY CHAINS

11:45 - 12:00 pm - Coffee Break

12:00 - 13.00 pm - Panel III: GOVERNANCE

13.00 - 13.10 pm - Closing Remarks: Next Steps at Yale & Beyond

13.10 pm - 14.30 pm - Lunch and Networking

confirmed SPEAKERS & BIOS

9:45 -9:45 energy panel

Martin Wainstein. Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale

Martin is the 2018 Open Innovation Fellow at the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale, and research associate at the Yale department of Electrical Engineering. He is an advisor and collaborator at the Digital Currency Initiative of the MIT Media Lab. Martin did his PhD at the Australian-German Climate & Energy College in the University of Melbourne, Australia and holds an undergraduate degree from The University of Southern California where he focused on Geo and Astrobiology. Thinking holistically about big picture sustainability and translating this into innovative entrepreneurial action is what he enjoys the most. Originally from Argentina, he developed social enterprises that provide products and services for the low-carbon transition. As an entrepreneur, Martin has developed projects in renewable energies for the built environment, biofuel projects for large agriculture farms, forest conservation initiatives, retail stores on wellness living, marketing and corporate social responsibility campaigns for multinationals and established a network of sustainable architecture to engage in social innovation.

Doug Miller - RMI

Doug Miller - Rocky Mountain Institute, Team Member at Energy Web Foundation (EWF)

Doug Miller is an environmental and behavioral economist with over 5 years of experience developing clean energy market solutions and providing related advisory support for diverse industry leaders. At Energy Web Foundation (EWF), Doug is responsible for managing the development of EWF's "Origin" application and engaging key market actors around its global deployment. In his previous role at Rocky Mountain Institute, he co-founded the Residential Energy+ initiative—for which he created solutions for real estate, home performance, and media professionals to motivate, simplify, and finance homeowner investments in energy upgrades—and developed actionable resources for commercial building investors and city leadership to scale clean energy investments. Doug received a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and MSc from Imperial College London with top academic honors.

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Christian Bilcheck - Avangrid Networks, VP Smart Grids Innovation

Christian Bilcheck, currently VP for Avangrid Networks Smart Grids Innovation and Planning, began his career with United Illuminating in 1986 as a Technical Aide in the Electrical Test Department. He progressed through numerous positions in the organization, including as a Transmission Operations Engineer, Maintenance Engineer, Supervisor of SCADA and the System Operations Center, Manager of Substation Construction and Electrical Test, Director of Transmission Planning, and VP Transmission. Christian is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Connecticut, holds a Bachelor’s of Electrical Engineering Degree from Fairfield University and a Master’s of Business Administration Degree from New York University Stern School of Business. Christian lives in Milford, Connecticut with his wife, Jill, and three children, Nicholas, Zachary and Katerina.

10:45 - 11:45 am - Panel II: SUPPLY CHAINS

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Martine Jarlgaard, UK-based fashion designer
Upon graduation from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, Martine Jarlgaard was hired to work with Vivienne Westwood in London, where she headed the Vivienne Westwood Red Label. Following this Jarlgaard worked with All Saints and as Head of Diesel Female Apparel in Italy before returning to London to launch; Martine Jarlgaard London.
Jarlgaard works in the intersection of technology, business, fashion and art. Her drive towards positive change is complimented by her passion for sustainability and technology’s potential to change human behaviour and to disrupt the very core of the fashion industry.
At London Fashion Week in 2016 Martine Jarlgaard did the world's first Mixed Reality fashion show. This was a collaboration with FIA, DoubleMe, Ravensbourne University and W Hotel London. In 2017 Jarlgaard presented the first Blockchain-powered supply chain transparency fashion pilot at Copenhagen Fashion Summit in collaboration with Provenance, A Transparent Company and FIA, where Jarlgaard had been invited as one of ten innovative companies to present the latest and most groundbreaking solutions to solve the fashion industry’s most urgent sustainability issues. In 2018 Jarlgaard showed her new Extended Reality experience and installation MEET YOURSELF at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark.
Forbes — “As a designer, her work is heavily rooted in sustainability. She looks to technology as playing a significant role in helping to solve some of the industry's biggest challenges.”

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Leandros Tassiulas - John C. Malone Professor of Electrical Engineering at Yale School of Engineering

Leandros Tassiulas is the John C. Malone Professor of Electrical Engineering at Yale University. His research interests are in the field of computer and communication networks with emphasis on fundamental mathematical models and algorithms of complex networks, architectures and protocols of wireless systems, sensor networks, novel internet architectures and experimental platforms for network research. His most notable contributions include the max-weight scheduling algorithm and the back-pressure network control policy, opportunistic scheduling in wireless, the maximum lifetime approach for wireless network energy management, and the consideration of joint access control and antenna transmission management in multiple antenna wireless systems. Dr. Tassiulas is a Fellow of IEEE (2007). His research has been recognized by several awards including the IEEE Koji Kobayashi computer and communications award (2016), the inaugural INFOCOM 2007 Achievement Award "for fundamental contributions to resource allocation in communication networks," several best paper awards including the INFOCOM 1994, 2017 and Mobihoc 2016, a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Initiation Award (1992), an NSF CAREER Award (1995), an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award (1997) and a Bodossaki Foundation award (1999). He holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park (1991). He has held faculty positions at Polytechnic University, New York, University of Maryland, College Park, University of Ioannina and University of Thessaly, Greece.

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Azeem A. Malik - IBM Food Trust


Azeem joined IBM upon graduating from Yale SOM in 2012.  He spent 3 years with IBM's Corporate Development team, focused on M&A and divestiture activity across IBM's businesses.  He then joined the IBM Watson Business Development team to focus on building out IBM's strategic imperatives.  Azeem is currently on the IBM Blockchain team focused on business development opportunities for the IBM Food Trust solution, which aims to provide traceability to improve food transparency and efficiency. Prior to SOM, Azeem worked in various banking, financial services, and operations roles.  He received his Bachelor of Science undergraduate degree from Columbia University in 2004.  At SOM, Azeem was Captain of the SOM Debate team and Co-Chair of the South Asian Business Forum.  

12:00 - 13.00 pm - Panel III: GOVERNANCE

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Nimit Sawhney - Co-Founder, CEO at Voatz

Nimit has more than 15 years experience in mobile software development, information security and embedded systems including 7 yrs as the business/technical head of a R&D unit. Nimit holds a Master's degree in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Business Management from the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and is currently the Co-Founder/CEO of Voatz, a early-stage startup based in the Boston area which is piloting a new blockchain based election voting and citizen engagement platform. Nimit is always exploring new ways of using cutting-edge technologies for the greater good and is an enthusiastic participant in several open source civic tech projects.

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Will Turner - Senior VP of Global Strategy, Senior Scientist at Conservation International

Will Turner is Senior Vice President of Global Strategy and Senior Scientist at Conservation International, where he drives the organization’s strategies to secure the extraordinary natural places that are the foundation of sustainable development. For two decades Dr. Turner has been at the forefront of science integrating our knowledge of biodiversity, climate change and socioeconomics to safeguard forests, reefs, and other essential ecosystems and support the billions who depend on them. A native of Austin, Texas, Dr. Turner studied computer engineering at The University of Texas and earned his Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Arizona. He has worked in microprocessor design at IBM and served as research fellow in policy and international affairs at Princeton University. His writings include both popular and scientific articles on topics such as climate change, technology, ecosystem services, conservation planning, impact monitoring, biogeography, animal behavior and the relationship between nature and human societies.

The Blockchain for Sustainable Solutions Conference is organized by “Business & the Environment” which is a joint club/student interest group between the Yale School of Management (SOM) and School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (F&ES) for students interested in the intersection of business and the environment. Sponsors and co-organizers include the Yale Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking (CITY), International Center for Finance (ICF), Center for Business and Environment at Yale (CBEY), F&ES Energy Student Interest Group.

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