Beth BeloffBoard Member
Beth Beloff has been a thought leader in formulating the concepts and practice of sustainable development since the early 90’s. Her primary focus has been on inciting sustainability in all realms of decision-making, from the household to global corporations and their supply chains. She founded the sustainability think tank, Bridges to Sustainability, in the 90s after founding a directing a similar institute, Institute for Corporate Environmental Management, at the University of Houston in the early 90s. She currently consults through Beth Beloff & Associates to corporations, NGOs and governments on how to integrate sustainability into strategy, operations and supply chains. She has also worked closely with the academic community to build sustainability thinking into the curriculum and research agenda.
A large part of her practice has been devoted to assessing and communicating sustainability performance, and she is a recognized leader in the area of sustainability indicators and metrics. In that regard, she helped develop the Sustainability Index used by chemical companies through the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and leads the development of the ICOSSE Label (International Certificate of Standards in Sustainable Engineering) for use by manufacturers of chemical processes and products. She served as a delegate to the UN Rio+20 Conference in June 2012, where she developed a statement of sustainability commitments endorsed by all of the US engineering societies. She has published numerous articles on sustainability education, strategy, performance measurement, and decision-support approaches and tools. She led the development of the GEMI Metrics Navigator™, produced in collaboration with the GEMI organization (Global Environmental Management Initiative). It has become a well-respected planning process for developing strategic plans and sustainability metrics. She also led the team for Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to develop the Guide to Successful Corporate-NGO Partnerships. She is principal editor and author of the book “Transforming Sustainability Strategy into Action: the Chemical Industry,” published by Wiley Inter-Science in 2005, which features many approaches to addressing the pragmatic aspects of integrating sustainability into organizations. She has written over 50 articles on sustainability, including chapters in others’ sustainability books. Additionally, she has spoken at numerous forums internationally on the topic of sustainable development.
Beth is currently focusing on developing a couple of high impact projects:
Building the Future Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) through Sustainable Tourism: This project has been developed by Ms. Beloff in collaboration with the grassroots leader Neema Namadamu in the DRC and the non-profit organization, Sustainable Travel International. It seeks to support the intent of grassroots leaders to establish a shared vision and demonstration project for sustainable tourism in South Kivu Province. If successful, this model will be rolled out in other provinces in the DRC, building on the successes and collaborative relationships developed. Enabling grassroots Congolese leaders to build the future DRC through sustainable tourism can provide many building blocks for peace, income development, and help to build national pride in the cultures and fauna and flora of this majestic country.
NuClean, a Center of Excellence for Nuclear Waste Safety and Remediation, is an effort Ms. Beloff initiated to build a neutral forum for a wide variety of stakeholders to develop trust and a common understanding of concerns and expectations associated with nuclear waste management. It will help identify technology selection criteria, needs and solutions regarding activities including waste characterization, monitoring, handling and storage, mitigation and remediation of pollutants, and risk communication. At core it will seek to improve trust between stakeholders through dialogue and by providing timely and reliable information to concerned citizens. Toward this end, it will likely develop a database of reliable information regarding nuclear waste migration and risk in various regions, as well as viable mitigation solutions. While this is, in large part, a response to the nuclear waste issues identified in New Mexico by affected pueblos and other community groups downstream of LANL, it will develop applications nationally and internationally. The American Institute of Chemical Engineers hosted an organizational workshop for NuClean at its Annual Meeting in November 2013 and remains a significant partner.
Rights of Nature Workshop, Santa Fe, July 2013: Bridges to Sustainability Institute, Alliance for the Earth, and Santa Fe Watershed Association hosted this workshop to explore the foundational principles of Rights of Nature and examine case studies from this rising global movement, discovering how different communities — from Mora County to the nations of Ecuador and Bolivia — are elevating the Rights of Nature above corporate rights to protect local ecosystems. As well as Rights of Nature, this rights-based approach necessarily upholds the rights of indigenous peoples, rights of women, and rights of future generations. Following the training was a facilitated discussion about how to apply these principles to New Mexico.
From 1997, Beth has been President and Founder of the non-profit organization Bridges to Sustainability Institute (BRIDGES), a non-profit organization dedicated to developing innovative approaches that support the incorporation of sustainability considerations into decision-making and implementation. Its mission includes providing educational outreach on sustainability ideas and practices from around the world. BRIDGES was awarded numerous grants to develop approaches to better understanding sustainability and its implications. Among its many projects, it developed a software system to help companies better understand their sustainability impacts, BRIDGESworks Metrics™, and also developed methodologies to understand full costs associated with environmental and social impacts. In 2005, Golder Associates, a global environmental and geotechnical engineering firm, purchased the intellectual property of BRIDGES and brought Ms. Beloff and her team into the company to start its sustainability group. After dedicating three years to that mission, she resumed the operations of BRIDGES, the non-profit.
Prior to BRIDGES in 1991, Ms. Beloff founded and directed the Institute for Corporate Environmental Management (ICEM) in the business school at the University of Houston. ICEM developed numerous forums sharing best practices on how and why to integrate environmental and social issues into business strategies, and participated in developing the rationale behind environmental cost accounting to link environmental impacts with real business valuation. Additionally, she directed the Global Commons project through the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) and the National Academy of Science (NAS). This was the first project of the NAS to formally address the science and business of sustainable development.
Before becoming engaged in sustainable development, Ms. Beloff directed land planning and development of architectural and planning controls for a major Houston land development company. She also practiced architecture and taught in the architectural schools at Rice University and at the University of Houston. Out of architecture school, she worked with Charles and Ray Eames in their Venice, California studio. It was there that she worked on various creative works in film, graphic design, and exhibition development and design. She worked on the redesign of the iconic Eames film “Powers of Ten.” She also worked with A. Quincy Jones and Craig Ellwood in Los Angeles.
Ms. Beloff is a founding board member of Sustainable Travel International (STI), where she also served as Chairman of the Board for a term. In Santa Fe, Ms. Beloff is on the boards of the Santa Fe Concert Association, the Santa Fe Concert Association Foundation and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. She also serves on the Santa Fe County Green Building Focus Group to advise County Commissioners about green building issues. Ms. Beloff is a full member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and is on the Steering Committee of its industry group, Center for Sustainable Technology Practices (CSTP). She serves a chair of CSTP’s Sustainable Supply Chain/ Lifecycle Assessment/ and Total Cost Assessment Roundtable and she is responsible for the development of a sustainability label for chemical products and processes, the ICOSSE Label. She serves on the Steering Committee of the Carbon Management Technology Conference of the Engineering Societies (2011 and 2013), and serves as a judge for AIChE’s Sustainable Engineering Forum’s annual awards for research, education, industrial practice and student research in sustainable engineering. She initiated and led the development of a statement endorsed by all US engineering societies for the Rio+20 UN Conference in 2012.
Among other selected board and committee engagements, she was Zoning and Planning Commissioner for the City of West University Place in the Houston area. She was a formative member of the Business Council for Sustainable Development Gulf of Mexico, where she served on the board as an ex officio member and on its Foundation board. She served on candidate Obama’s Energy and Environmental Policy Team. She is a photographer, and uses her images to inspire awe of nature.
Ms. Beloff has a BA in psychology from University of California at Berkeley, a Master of Architecture degree from UCLA, and an MBA from the University of Houston.