September 14, 2010

University of Kentucky's Tracy Farmer Institute for Sustainability and the Environment will recognize leaders in the field of sustainability during the Research Showcase, a two-day conference on Sept. 22 and 23 at the Crowne Plaza, The Campbell House in Lexington.

According to Carol Hanley, associate director of the institute, the event has two primary purposes: to honor individuals who promote sustainable practices and make impacts at the state, regional and global levels and to highlight the accomplishments of UK's faculty and students who conduct interdisciplinary research in environmental and sustainability science and policy.

The conference will begin at 4 p.m. Sept. 22 with The Tracy Farmer Institute awarding the inaugural Global Sustainability Prize to Ray Anderson of Interface Global. Anderson has been called the "grandfather of corporate sustainability" and has dedicated himself and his company to Mission Zero, the elimination by 2020 of any negative impact the company has on the environment.

"It is fitting that the University of Kentucky, with its large and vibrant research community focused on issues related to sustainability and the environment, present this global prize," said Paul Bertsch, director of the Tracy Farmer Institute. "Recognizing individuals who are leaders in promoting sustainability at the state, regional and, indeed, global levels is also consistent with the values of the UK community, as well as so many citizens of Kentucky who are passionate about protecting the wonderful natural resources of the state."

"By awarding this annual prize," Hanley said, "the Farmer Institute is not only recognizing outstanding leadership in sustainable practices across the globe, but it is also stepping forward to acknowledge its own place as a state leader in sustainability issues."

In addition, the Farmer Institute will present two awards to recognize leaders in corporate sustainability. The list of nominees from which the recipients were chosen was based on societal, corporate, economic and environmental sustainability criteria.

The UK Sustainability Award for a Large Corporation will be presented to Lexmark International, a manufacturer of printers and printing supplies, for their steadfast commitment to promote sustainability in all areas, including developing more sustainable products that meet customer requirements, adopting practices directed at reducing the use of scarce resources and waste generated in manufacturing operations.

The UK Sustainability Award for a Small Corporation will go to Semicon Associates. Headquartered in Lexington, Semicon produces technical ceramics for the communications, space, medical research and defense industries. Semicon's efforts in sustainability include improving recycling efforts and increasing energy efficiency of operations. Semicon has also devoted considerable resources to research and development of the kinds of innovation needed to achieve sustainability.Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear will present the first UK Sustainability Service Award to Kentucky Finance Cabinet Secretary Jonathan Miller for his exceptional service and lasting impact on the state commonwealth.

Besides the first lady, award presenters on Sept. 22 include Bertsch, UK Provost Kumble R. Subbaswamy, the institute's founding sponsor Tracy Farmer and the Commissioner of Kentucky's Department of Commercialization and Innovation, Deborah Clayton.

The first day's keynote speakers will be Anderson and Northeastern University Professor Joan Fitzgerald, the author of "Emerald Cities and the Future of Sustainability."

UK Provost Subbaswamy and Vice President for Research Jim Tracy will welcome conference participants the morning of the second day, which will feature speakers from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Geological Society and the Environmental Protection Agency. There will also be presentations from nationally recognized scholars who will address major global challenges surrounding sustainability and the environment, such as the global water crisis, global climate change, food security, and emerging contaminants, as well as challenges surrounding the implementation of sustainable practices in government and industry. Afternoon speakers will include Marilyn Fogel, National Science Foundation program officer, and Kevin Butt, general manager and chief environmental officer of environmental safety engineering for Toyota in North America.

The day will conclude with an awards ceremony for student and faculty research posters.

For additional information or to RSVP, contact Hanley at chanley@uky.edu or 859-257-3780.

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