Get Ready for ISPA’s Sustainability Conference

Don’t miss these speakers and topics geared toward your business.

A full lineup of speakers and panels has been planned for the International Sleep Products Association’s second Sustainability Conference. Speakers include a former Microsoft sustainability professional and Ikea material specialist.

The conference will be held Sept. 13-14 at Le Méridien/Sheraton Charlotte in Charlotte, North Carolina. Don’t worry — there’s still time to register at

The full event schedule is on the website, but here’s a look at some of the topics and speakers planned for the conference.

David Bennell, a global leader in sustainability and environmental, social and corporate governance, will address “Corporate Resilience and Renewal: How Sustainability Can Drive Stability and Growth.”

Bennell, former research and development, leadership development and sustainability programs professional at Microsoft, REI and L.L. Bean, developed the world’s most watched sustainability education course on LinkedIn Learning. Called “Sustainability Strategies,”
it was named the No. 1 global course for impact investors.  

With more than 25 years of experience as a sustainability professional, Bennell has worked with corporations and investors, as well as with many of the world’s top nongovernmental organizations and philanthropic foundations. 

He’s an adviser to the multibillion-dollar Transformational Investing in Food Systems initiative. He helped create the Food and Forests program at the $50 billion investor network Ceres, and he worked in management at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a CEO-led collaboration of 200 of the world’s leading companies. Bennell is currently a limited partner in a private equity fund focused on climate technologies and is an adviser to high net-worth individuals interested in impact and systems investing.

He’s held a five-year appointment at MIT as adjunct faculty in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Additionally, he was the lead consultant in the creation of the first fully accredited U.S. MBA program in Managing for Sustainability, which was co-created for the for-profit social enterprise company CottonConnect in India. 

Josh Riggs, senior sustainability manager for Milliken & Co., will discuss “How to Build a Culture of Sustainability: Innovation and Design for Circularity — Drive Your Business and Strengthen Employee Engagement.”

Before you develop a business plan that infuses sustainability into every aspect of the organization, it is vital to create buy-in internally. Riggs will talk about how to communicate your company’s sustainability initiatives across multiple teams, create an environment that emphasizes employee engagement and encourage leaders to advocate for a culture of sustainability. 

Examining the retail aspect of sustainability, Lisa Donaldson, performance materials marketing for Covestro, will moderate a retail panel on “How to Communicate Your Sustainability Story to Retailers and Mattress Shoppers.” 

The panel will discuss new research from the Better Sleep Council, which will include consumer attitudes about the benefits of mattress recyclability and mattresses made from sustainable materials. 

Next, Stefaan Cognie, co-founder of TripleR, and Ryan McMullan, principal consultant for Lean Green Way, will tackle the topic of “Making Product Circularity and Traceability a Reality.”

In March 2022, the European Commission proposed a package of legislative measures to be included in the European Union’s Circular Economy Action Plan. A key measure included introducing digital product passports into the market. A digital product passport creates a digital twin of a physical product and securely records event-, transactional- and sustainability-related data throughout a product’s life cycle. It’s intended to share information related to sustainability, circularity and value retention for reuse, remanufacturing and recycling for products in the European market. The European Commission is currently drafting digital product passport regulations with final approval expected in 2024 and implementation to start in 2026-27. 

Learn how companies like TripleR are responding to the digital product passport regulations and increased demand for product traceability.

Following lunch, Jose Junior Naraval, material specialist for foams and textile furnishings for the Inter Ikea Group, will talk about “Ikea’s Path to Circular Foam.”

Polyurethane foam, an important material in many mattresses, is traditionally sourced from virgin petrochemicals. To help achieve a more circular economy, Ikea has committed to using only renewable and recycled materials by 2030. Naraval will discuss Ikea’s efforts to develop mattress foam made with polyols recycled from production waste, post-consumer mattress foam and renewables.

Finally, the conference will end with a panel discussion, “Parts of a Whole: How Manufacturers of Mattress Components Are Innovating for a More Sustainable Future,” moderated by ISPA President Ryan Trainer.  

And don’t forget the conference also has a pre-event workshop and plenty of networking opportunities. Be sure to register at

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