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Awakin Calls » Sandy Wiggins

Sandy Wiggins: Green builder, financial innovator, and localist
Apr 23, 2016: Transforming Personal Awakening Into Social Innovation



Read: Call Transcript
Sandy Wiggins works at the intersection of three movements – green building, new economies, and thriving resilient communities. He is co-founder and principal of Consilience, LLC, a national consultancy with a mission to build environmentally, socially and economically sustainable buildings and communities. His skillful facilitation has helped birth sustainable master plans for municipalities and institutional campuses as well as sustainable regional public policy initiatives. During his three-decade career in the real estate industry, he has led the development and construction of projects totaling over one billion dollars. He is Past Chair of the U.S. Green Building Council, Founding Chair of the Green Building Certification Institute, a co-author of LEED for Neighborhood Development and served on the LEED 2009 Executive Committee. Sandy’s vision and leadership have been responsible for the development of over forty LEED commercial projects and the nation’s first LEED Gold certified homes, which were also net zero energy consumers.

As Sandy has described, “Most of my professional life was spent in the real estate industry. Through a series of very synchronistic events, I had a personal epiphany about 20 years ago, and woke up to the mess that we're in, and began understand the part I was playing in that, and began to redirect my efforts to try to change that. . . . I ultimately ended up as chairman of US Green Building Council and was very involved in helping to move LEED out into the marketplace. And my professional life evolved so that I was able to work on projects that I felt were really setting the bar for the rest of the world. And I continue to do that to this day.”

His work in the real estate industry led him to work in rethinking finance, because he found that people often wanted to do the right thing but felt financially constrained in doing so. “I began to think about the way the capital moves in the current financial system, what I'll call ‘the pig in the pipe.’ It was really stopping so much that needed to happen from happening. Eventually, that became another avocation and I set out to see what I could do about that. I spent a number of years trying to launch a ‘green bank,’ a triple bottom line, regulated, commercial bank whose focus was to redirect the flow of capital toward a sustainable world. We weren't able to get that enterprise off the ground; it was just bad timing. But through that process, I was able to connect with a whole other amazing emergent network of people in the financial industry and what many call the New Economy. So that's another world I began to operate in. And I continue to operate in that space today as Senior Adviser to RSF Social Finance as part of what they call their field-building collaborative, where our job is to see what we can do to catalyze the emergence of a different kind of financial system.”

As his own awareness grew, Sandy “became convinced that building vibrant, living local economies that were operating very differently from the way our current global economy works were critical to creating a sustainable future.” He joined and became Chair of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), while continuing as a Senior Advisor to RSF Social Finance and as a Director of RSF’s Social Innovation Fund.

“I continue to have a foot in all these different worlds,” Sandy says, “and one of the things I find incredibly exciting and energizing and a place where I see incredible effectiveness emerging is at the intersection of those worlds. The common element that I've kind of divined in what appears to be different domains is a process of what I can only call awakening. The individuals who are engaged in all these activities--whether they're at the bleeding edge of sustainable communities and green building, whether they're leading the charge for the new economy or building vibrant living local economies...all of these individuals are on a journey of awakening, and I mean that in the deepest sense of the word.”

Join us to hear from this remarkable individual, who has been a catalyst and leader in so many areas of social impact and transformation!

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