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About Us

Our Charter

Our purpose is "to facilitate and accelerate the development of businesses and industries with sustainability at their core."

The network itself functions as a "mature ecosystem," with members from every sector (business, government, academic, nonproft and activist/citizens), representing diverse interests, offers, and expertise. This structure is similar to the way nature operates: we self-organize to determine our projects, processes and priorities. In keeping with this ideal, we want to hear from community members and guests ... send your interests, ideas and suggestions to

Membership: Anyone interested in the theme of "commercial sustainability" (sustainable business) and our ecosystem structure may join. You become a member when you attend a meeting, because (someone once said), "90% of life is about showing up." Anyone can ask to be added to the announcements Elist.

Who Attends?

  • Business Leaders (representatives from diverse industries, such as professional services, retailers, agriculture, automotive, manufacturers, etc.)
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Non-profit organizations ... from the Monterey Bay Aquarium to Ecology Action to Save Our Shores, this region has an active and effective NGO community
  • Government (local AMBAG members such as City of Marina, City and Counties of Monterey and Santa Cruz)
  • Venture capital (Monterey Venture Partners, VC/Angel Roundtable, Investment Banks, Lenders)
  • News and media (Monterey Herald, Monterey and Santa Cruz Community Television)
  • Students and faculty from CSUMB, MIIS, and UCSC.

The style of meetings is informal, but structured: individual presentations, questions, sometimes brainstorming or idea sharing, and discussion. We encourage participation within the stated purpose of each meeting and the group's charter. In addition, we allow time for informatl networking and more formal "offers and requests" are captured from individual members and represented organizations.

Currently, our regular meetings are free of cost when you pre-register, and we always appreciate it when members bring food or drink to share.

Our only request is that you preregister so we can prepare our host for the number of people likely to attend and plan refreshments. Like most things, what you get out of it tends to track with the importance you attach to it. If you pre-register, please be your word and actually attend.

Note: Elkhorn Slough (near Watsonville, CA) is home to millions of migratory birds within walking distance of the Visitor Center. If you are a nature enthusiast, check out the wildlife viewing at this beautiful location.

Background & History

Founders: Daniel Robin (managing director of Integrated Investments Int'l, or In3, a sustainable technology venture catalyst firm;, Ruth Rominger (Vice President of the respected non-profit advisory and think tank organization, The Natural Step USA,, and angel investor Steve Knaub, now based in Santa Barbara, CA.

The founders wanted to build a forum to bring together diverse professionals to co-learn and network with the theme of sustainable development.

Topics: We have addressed a range of topics such as Renewable Energy (solar, wind, biofuels), Green Building, "Cradle to Cradle" business and product designs, Fair Trade, "Your role as a change agent," "Models of Sustainability," Biodegradable Plastics, presentations about certified "Green" forest products (Hayward Lumber), recaps of the Johannesburg Earth Summit and Bioneers Conferences, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting, sustainability projects at the former Ft. Ord "campus," and many others. See our archive.

Definition of Sustainability -- During the first few meetings, the group agreed to use the classic 1987 definition from the Brundtland Commission: "Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." This is from the United Nations Commission on Environment and Development (UNCED). A more sucinct definition may be "securing quality of life within the means of nature."

Sponsors -- Meetings were initially co-sponsored by the Marina Small Business Incubator (MSBI), the City of Marina, Integrated Investments Int'l, Inc. (In3) and Ecology Action of Santa Cruz. We've also been supported by Green Fuse Energy Co., numerous volunteers, and our hosts at Elkhorn Slough.

How to Get Involved

1. Register -- this is simply a matter of sending your name, organization/agency, title or role and email address. We promise not to spam you; if anything, we don't send enough messages out of respect for everyone's email overload.

2. Attend an Event. Pre-registration is required for each meeting (join the mailing list to be notified of future events), as space is limited. Once you attend an event, you are officially a member with access to online resources, member roster (for those that wish to have their name and contact info available to other members), member offers and requests, and other perks.

3. Participate in online discussion forums, projects, or any of the six Special Interest Networks, or SINs -- electronic mailing lists ("E-lists") that we use for discussing topics or sharing information and ideas focused around themes. For more about SINs.

Still have questions or comments about C3SN? See the links below or contact us at

CSN ... "Where profit means responsibility"

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Last updated: Feb. 2006.