Past Events

A Forum on Sustainable Agriculture

On April 2, 2015 the Columbia University Earth Institute and the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) convened a forum on sustainable agriculture. The event featured Erin Fitzgerald, Senior Vice President for Global Sustainability, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy; Dennis Treacy, Executive Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer, Smithfield Foods; and Andrew Winston, author and founder of Winston Eco-Strategies. The forum was hosted by Jeffrey Potent, Adjunct Professor at SIPA and the Earth Institute.

The event profiled the challenges facing the agriculture sector to feed a growing and increasingly prosperous population while minimizing environmental, social and climate change impacts. The forum addressed this topic from the perspective of large US agribusiness corporations, profiling movement toward sustainable large-scale agricultural production.

Erin Fitzgerald and Dennis Treacy addressed the issues, perceptions, and on-the-ground progress being made by this critical industry. Andrew Winston placed these initiatives squarely within the context of corporate sustainability, describing the “big pivot” occurring in the world of business. He provided insightful examples of how leading companies are embracing resilient, sustainable and climate friendly modes of operation that reduce risks and costs and yield competitive advantage.

Following are the event presentations for your review.


Jeff Potent – Sustainable Agriculture

Andrew Winston – The Big Pivot

Erin Fitzgerald – Food and Sustainability

Dennis Treacy – Smithfield Sustainability Program