Top Texan Conference Brand Launches SXSW ECO

By Karen Bliss 9/6/11 |

Austin, Texas’ South By Southwest (SXSW) is one of the top conference brands in the world with its long-running SXSW Music, SXSW Film and SXSW Interactive, and this October it will debut SXSW Eco.

Taking place at the downtown Hilton Austin, from Oct. 4 to 6, this new event is designed to bring together business, government and academia professionals concerned with environmental and sustainability issues, and who want to develop new collaborations and contribute to innovative solutions to the most pressing challenges facing the environment, the economy and civil society.

SXSW Eco — whose tagline is “solutions for a sustainable world” — invites speakers from a diverse group of companies, such as IBM, Siemens, Dell and Walmart; speakers from Non-Governmental Organizations including Oxfam, Conservation International, Greenpeace, DiCaprio Foundation, Woodrow Wilson Center and World Futures Council; and government representatives from the cities of San Francisco and Austin, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy (DOE) and the Office of Health, Safety and Security (HSS).

The opening keynote address will be given by green futurist Alex Steffen.

“Alex is the ideal expert to kick-off our inaugural event and leave attendees inspired,” SXSW Eco director Scott Wilcox said in a press statement. “His passion towards building and creating a more sustainable world will no doubt give our attendees the insights, tools and steps needed to take action on this pressing issue.”

Steffen co-founded leading sustainability-related site in 2003, a “solutions-based online magazine” which built an archive of almost 12,000 articles. It shut down in 2010. An updated version of the 2006 book, Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century, with Steffan as the author, came out earlier this year.

“SXSW Eco promises to do for bright green innovation what the other South By conferences have done for technology, music and film—showcasing some of the best work and thinking in a gathering filled with the people actually on the front-lines of creating that work,” Steffen said in a press statement. “The green world needs a conference made of groundbreaking ideas and practical inspiration.”

Other keynotes are Philippe Cousteau Jr., CEO of EarthEcho International and Mark Tercek, president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy.

Additional speakers include Andrew Revkin, Dot Earth blogger/senior fellow for environmental understanding, The New York Times/Pace University; AG Kawamura, former California State Secretary of Food and Agriculture; LaTosha Brown, executive director, Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health; Gary Lawrence, vice-president and chief sustainability officer, AECOM; David Buckland, director, Cape Farewell; Simran Sethi, associate professor, William Allen White School Of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Kansas; John Pflueger, principal environmental strategist, Dell; Alison Taylor, vice-president, sustainability - Americas, Siemens Corporation;  Governor Bill Ritter of Colorado; and Melanie Nutter, director of the San Francisco Department for the Environment.

For a full listing of speakers and sessions, go to

The three-day SXSW Eco includes an opening night reception, registrants’ dinner and a closing party featuring live entertainment. Registration is available now at the discounted rate of $800 (U.S.). Student and academic discounts of 50 percent will be available to qualified applicants. Details at


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