Future of Innovation, Sustainability, and the Law Speaker Series


By Clinic Staff

Social Justice Bluhm Legal Clinic

The Future of Innovation, Sustainability and the Law Speaker Series continues for its second year. Created by the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center (DPELC) in Fall 2021, the Speaker Series features experts working at the intersection of sustainability and the law, with a focus on the plant-based food industry working to reduce our reliance on animal protein and improve animal welfare. Throughout the series, we explore multiple aspects of the intersection between sustainability and the law, examining how sustainability can be built into every level of entrepreneurship from the conception of an idea to the formation of the business to the scope of funding. This series is co-hosted by the DPELC, the Master of Science in Law (MSL) Program and the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) student group. In an effort to remain mission-consistent, all events in this speaker series serve plant-based meals by default. The Series brings together people from disparate fields that might not otherwise have an occasion to work together.  We create an opportunity for experts in very different fields, including environmentalists, lawyers, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and animal welfare advocates to discuss unexpected commonalities and to problem solve with an interdisciplinary approach.

The series kicked off this fall with a presentation by CD Young, CEO of Wild Thing Restaurant Group, a Chicagoland plant-based restaurant group comprised of both upscale full-service and quick service restaurant divisions. It was fascinating for our students to learn about the various implications of our food choices on health, animal welfare and the planet.  This information is what initially led our speaker to create the restaurant group. CD also shared how she approaches growth within her restaurants and how she utilizes the input of all her team members to innovate their menu offerings. The event was catered by elephant + vine, one of Wild Thing’s restaurants, which reinforced the message that being plant-based doesn’t have to mean sacrificing taste.