Newswise — Gas prices are climbing due to increased demand for fossil fuel around the world. U.S. business leaders, academics and members of the policy community who are eying renewable energy want to know the best ways to harness alternative power sources to keep America’s engines running. Could the Danish and Germans hold the answers Americans seek?

This spring, the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), in conjunction with the Royal Danish Embassy and the German Embassy, will embark upon a two-city U.S. tour to share how their respective countries have reached aggressive clean energy goals. The University of Virginia Darden School of Business will be the second stop along their way.

On Thursday, 29 March, guests are invited to the presentation “Sustainable Ways to Community Prosperity.” This event is for business leaders seeking ways to improve society, politicians interested in policy’s role in sustainability, academics who create new knowledge in sustainability and students poised for change.

Attendees will gain:

*Knowledge of sustainable solutions and best practices in both European and American communities*Information about common policy and market agendas existing in American and European communities*An understanding of the competitive advantages and increased profitability accorded to European companies that embrace renewable energy and energy efficiency

A morning panel discussion called “Think Globally – Act Locally: Sustainable Ways to Community Prosperity” will feature remarks from:

*Søren Hermansen, director of Samsø Energy Academy, Denmark *Wilfried Roos, mayor of the city of Saerbeck, Germany *Lars Toft Hansen, president of Thisted District Heating Company, Denmark *Frank Hettler, public administrator for energy management for the city of Ostfildern, Germany *Christian Vogt, head of the mergers and acquisitions department in corporate strategy and management for Stadtwerke München GmbH (Municipal Utility Company of Munich), Germany

Mark A. White, finance professor at the U.Va. McIntire School of Commerce, will moderate the discussion that follows.

A second morning presentation will highlight local and Virginia sustainability actions, featuring:

*Kristel Riddervold, environmental administrator for the City of CharlottesvilleJonathan Cannon, Blaine T. Phillips distinguished professor of environmental law at the University of Virginia School of Law *Stephen Walz, director of regional energy planning for the Northern Virginia Regional Commission*Sandy Reisky de Dubnic, CEO of Apex Wind Energy Inc.

An afternoon presentation, “The Business Case for Sustainability,” will broach the ways that businesses can create solutions for environmental challenges. Panelists will include:

*Duncan Seaman, department manager for Market Operations at BMW *Dan Prangsgaard, director for public affairs and public relations at Grundfos North America *Dave Gustashaw, energy and utility specialist at Volkswagen Group of America Chattanooga Operations LLC*Novo Nordisk (representative TBD)

Michael Lenox, Samuel L. Slover professor of business, associate dean and executive director of Darden’s Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, will moderate the discussion.

While one size does not fit all, the event will demonstrate how creating a dialogue and exchanging ideas and perspectives can foster cooperation between neighboring regions and change behaviors and attitudes.

Darden’s high-engagement learning environment prepares MBA students for the challenges and opportunities inherent in fostering sustainable business. As a school, Darden has committed to being a zero waste, carbon neutral enterprise by 2020 and a Top 10 business school for teaching and research on sustainability by 2013. Darden is also home to the Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability, an organization that advances research and convenes scholars addressing sustainability issues in business.

ACORE invited the Darden School to be a part of its tour because of Darden’s demonstrated commitment to improving society through sustainability leadership. Keith A. Crawford, member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accredited professional and facilities manager at Darden, has spearheaded the event with University partners.

Registration is required. Visit ACORE for more information about the event and the day’s agenda.