Sustainable Business & Design Conference

Innovation to Impact

Changemakers in Action

Sustainability Conference Banner

15th Annual Sustainable Business and Design Conference: Changemakers in Action 

April 13-16, 2021
Hosted virtually by the Fashion Institute of Technology


This year's virtual conference focused on changemakers in sustainability. 

The keynote lineup for this virtual event included FIT alumna Stacy Flynn, co-founder and CEO of Evrnu; Eileen Fisher, founder of Eileen Fisher; Abrima Erwiah, co-founder and president of Studio One Eighty Nine, and Dr. Mark Liu, pioneer in zero-waste fashion design. The conference program spotlights leadership in social justice, diversity, corporate responsibility, and innovation in the fashion industry. Students, faculty, industry leaders, and entrepreneurs, from FIT and numerous other institutions, will came together to learn about emerging trends, network with peers, and share innovative solutions for a sustainable future. The digital event ran from April 13 through April 16 and available for registered attendees through Earth Day on April 22. Additionally, FIT’s campus celebration of Earth Day 2021 is on April 22nd.


This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts

NEA logo


Additional Sponsors

NEA Foundation

Sustainbility Council

Support Sustainability at FIT 

Donate To FIT

Contribute to FIT's Sustainability Fund, which supports programming and opportunities related to sustainability for FIT students.

For additional information or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities, please email Melanie Copple, Director of Strategic Philanthropy, at [email protected] or call (212) 217-4126.

Our Sustainability Initiatives


Meeting the Mayor’s Carbon Challenge

In 2001, then-mayor Michael Bloomberg challenged New York City colleges and hospitals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. FIT succeeded first, achieving a 40 percent reduction in less than four years. FIT was first again in the next challenge—reducing the college’s carbon footprint by another 55 percent, seven years ahead of schedule. How did we do it? New steam-powered heating, ventilation, and cooling systems; sensors that turn off lights when rooms are empty; 1 1/3 acres of green roofs; and using less energy on the hottest days, when air conditioning drains the city’s available power.


The Biodesign Challenge

The Biodesign Challenge asks students to envision new ways to harness living systems and biotechnology to envision a better future. Students from all backgrounds have the opportunity to work with scientists, artists, and designers to create interdisciplinary projects and products that address critical issues facing society and our planet. FIT student teams have competed in the challenge every year since it began in 2016, and won the competition in its first year, creating an innovative, sustainable fiber out of algae. Since then, FIT students and advisors have broken new ground in the fields of biomaterials, synthetic biology, and sustainable textiles, winning prizes for presentation and in sustainable fashion. This program empowers students to be sustainability leaders and innovators on campus and beyond.


Natural Dye Garden

FIT’s Natural Dye Garden was created on an FIT rooftop in 2014 as part of a student project presented to the Clinton Global Initiative University. The plants—including sunflowers, coreopsis, and marigolds—can provide nontoxic fabric dyes and are used in campus textile research. Incorporating composting, the Dye Garden promotes sustainable and eco-friendly dyeing practices and related research.