Sustainability Professionals Conference in Chicago May 8-10, 2013

issp_logoThe International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) is hosting its next conference of ISSP members and other sustainability professionals from May 8–10, 2013 at the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. Speakers from GRI, Alaska Airlines, The Nature Conservancy, Presidio Graduate School and other top flight organizations will address conference attendees. K.J. McCorry, sustainability consultant and owner of eco-officiency will be presenting on ‘Becoming an Effective Facilitator’ specifically for sustainability professional. Sustainable Urban Communities, Integrated Reporting, Sustainability In the Industrial Sector and Green Architecture are just a sampling of the great content that will be presented. Discounts are available through April 1st. See the ISSP website for more details on the sustainability professionals’ conference and how to register.

Green Holiday Parties

With this season’s holiday parties, plan and hold ‘green’ events. You may not be able to do everything but even a few activities set the example. Here are a few ideas to help your holiday parties, whether at home or work, to be more environmentally conscious;

  • Be zero waste. Boulder’s eco-cycle has a zero waste kit that provides the recycling and composting containers, as well as pick up.
  • Use compostable disposables. Eco-Products have an entire line of compostable of bio-ware of forks, knives, spoons, cups and plates. Although, these items can be a little more expensive and not decorated, they  are eco-friendly and set the right tone and image for companies trying to be more green.
  • Donate extra food. If you have extra food, don’t let it go to waste. Consider giving it to the following local Colorado food banks;  Boulder Emergency Family Assistance Center, Denver Rescue Mission, or Food Bank of the Rockies .
  • Provide alternative transportation options. When possible provide alternative transportation options to the holiday gatherings. Arrange carpools, provide van transportation or hold your event near a public transit stop.
  • Use less meat at parties. Meat consumption has a high environmental impact. To learn more facts reference this blog entry called Meat Impacts on the Environment. Try some new holiday vegetarian recipes from Vegetarian Times.

For more holiday party ideas;

10 Green Holiday Party Do’s

Plan a Green Holiday Party

Ten Ways to Green Your Holidays

Greening Your Event

One way to green your operations is to make your events and meetings more sustainable. Here are some simple ideas to get a company started;

  • Don’t Use Disposables: Refrain from using non-compostable or recyclable disposable products such as cups, plates and plasticware. Invest in compostable options (such as Eco Products) or re-useable items.
  • Offer Alternative Transportation Options: One of the biggest footprint of meetings is getting attendees to and from the meeting location. Offer alternative transportation options such as carpooling or public transit.
  • Use Green Locations: If you are holding the meeting offsite, consider hiring and using a vendor that has a green facility.
  • Reduce the Paper: Send handouts to participants beforehand so they can download them to their computer, ipad or smartphone and eliminate the paper handouts.

Here are a few green meeting and event resources;

Meeting Prep – Don’t Print that Document

A study by Xerox showed that 45% of the office paper that is discarded was on the day it was printed – which begs the question, how necessary was it to print the document in the first place?

Next time you go to a meeting, consider whether everyone really needs a full copy of all the documents. If it is just an aid to be used during the meeting and then discarded, don’t print it. Not only does this waste paper, but often people will end up reading, or skimming, the document rather than listen to you talk. However, your audience still needs to be informed, so here are some alternatives to printing a copy for each person.

  • Print one or two master copies that can be passed around.
  • Develop a 1 page executive summary that highlights the main points
  • E-mail the information out beforehand so people can be familiar with the information
  • Use an overhead projector or white board to write up the main points or topics
  • Download to a e-reader such as a Kindle or iPad

Give Your Stuff Away Day- Saturday, May 15th

This years begins a new day to help get rid of clutter and reduce waste called ‘Give Your Stuff Away Day”. A citizen based movement started by Mike Monroe that will initiate its first year of formation in 2010.  

Give Your Stuff Away Day will happen on Saturday, May 15, 2010. Citizens across the U.S. will bring items of value that are longer needed or wanted to the curb for a free give-away. Mike has asked citizens not to put out trash, recyclables,  illegal or dangerous items, food, drugs, chemicals, or weapons; which seems fairly obvious. Hopefully, at the same time, millions of other Americans will be driving, riding, or walking around picking up free give away items.

Not sure of its success or if people will really do it but might be a great opportunity to purge your garage, office and create re-use for items no longer wanted.

For more information visit Mike’s website at GiveYourStuffAway.com

Consider Purchasing Carbon Offsets for Work Travel

Starting to wonder how much impact all that work travel is having?  The average American commutes 20 miles a day, that’s about 5,000 miles a year, resulting in just over 2 tons of CO2.
Consider purchasing carbon offsets to counteract the carbon dioxide emissions of driving or flying home to meetings and conferences.  A carbon offset for the entire year’s worth of commuting emissions could cost as little as $45. According to the Colorado Carbon Fund, a Carbon Offset means “neutralize,” “balance,” or “cancel out.” Carbon offsets counteract these activities by funding projects to compensate for CO2 emissions occurring at another source.  These offsets help fund projects that reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Though there are many organizations that offer Carbon Offsets, the Colorado Carbon Fund and Aspen’s Canary Tags are two great providers that use the proceeds for projects in Colorado.

For more ideas on how to reduce environmental impact with business travel, see the article entitled What you Must Know about Flying Green by Patti Prairie CEO of Brighter Planet.

Attend CORE Sustainability Opportunity Summit- Denver, CO March 3-4, 2010

CORE, the oldest and largest trade association in the Rocky Mountain region dedicated to promoting sustainable business practices and a more responsible global economy, announces that best-selling authors Andrew Winston of Green to Gold and Peter Fusaro of What Went Wrong at Enron will address plenary sessions of the fifth annual Sustainable Opportunities Summit and Expo March 2-4, 2010 at the Denver Convention Center. Top executives from Wal-Mart, AT&T, Waste Management and Miller Coors will also address topics on how sustainable business practices are improving business performance while benefiting the planet.

The 2010 Sustainable Opportunities Summit and Expo features 19 panel sessions and 70 speakers. The Expo opens to the general public on March 2 with over 100 exhibitors featuring the Rocky Mountain cleantech industry. Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper will provide opening Summit remarks on “Denver, Gateway to Regional Sustainability” on Wednesday, March 3. Colorado Governor Bill Ritter will open Summit activities on March 4th.

The City of Denver will join CORE and the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at the Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado in co-hosting the Sustainable Opportunities Summit and Expo. The Summit brings together business leaders, investors and luminaries in academia and government to exchange ideas and demonstrate the competitive advantages available through a strategy based on proactive sustainable business practices.