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CEO & President of the World Environment Center; President, Michigan Sustainability Associates; Research Advisor, Harvard University

Neil Hawkins has spent a career collaborating to define a positive and impactful role for business in global sustainable development and public policy. For 31 years, he was a key leader at Dow, ultimately serving as Chief Sustainability Officer and CVP, Environment, Health, & Safety for the last twelve years – part of the top leadership of the company. There he was the architect of the breakthrough “valuing nature” collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, and he integrated environment and social considerations into the core of the Dow’s business strategy and reporting.   

He is widely recognized as one of the top sustainable business thought leaders in the world. After Dow, as President of Michigan’s Erb Family Foundation, a $350mm regional philanthropy, he focused over four years on improving the Great Lakes ecosystem, supporting environmental justice, and founding the Sustainable Business Network of Detroit. 

Currently, he is interim CEO and President of the World Environment Center, a leading global sustainable business association in Washington, DC; President, Michigan Sustainability Associates; and Research Advisor/Instructor at Harvard University in the Master of Sustainability program. 

He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and he has been appointed board director at many for-profit and non-profit sustainability, arts, and business organizations. He is a strategy advisor to CEOs and CSOs, and a past appointee to the IOC Olympic Sustainability Commission and the landmark Financial Stability Board Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), which completely redefined the ESG investment landscape. 

Mr. Hawkins was awarded the 2012 C.K. Prahalad Award for Sustainability Leadership by An Individual (Corporate Eco Forum). He graduated from Harvard University with a Doctor of Science in Public Health (Environmental Health Sciences) and is also an alumnus of Georgia Tech (Health Physics/Nuclear Engineering).