Sunday, September 27, 2009

Back To School

Something about this time of year makes it just feel right to get your school supplies in order and learn something new. As adults we know that you never stop learning new things, in fact, the need to learn accelerates.

The past several years, I have been a guest speaker at the University of Oregon Sustainable Events Workshop led by Leslie Scott, This year we are co-presenting, Community Event Design and Management: A Triple-Bottom Line Approach on October 30th in Portland, Oregon .

I am already learning an incredible amount as I prepare for the workshop. The hot topics include new ways to measure the social equity and critical issues concerning local food and food security.

The learning will continue as I gain valuable knowledge from the students (many of whom are active in the event industry). Their work in small groups to assess and benchmark their events bringing forward ideas to further the sustainability of their events is fascinating.

I invite you to join us as we grab our books and head back to school!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Health Care Reform

A company picnic with just one trash bin left over? For a health care organization with 3,000 staff over 24 hours? Impossible?

Not only possible, but thanks to the Providence St. Vincent Green Team in Portland, Oregon, it actually happened. It started four years ago when Providence Health & Services chose to adopt higher standards of sustainable practices as their mission for stewardship. Their Green Team of volunteer employees was formed at the same time.

The Green Team could have been content with working on health care practices, but they took it a step further. They showed staff members just how "painless" a sustainable meal could be by using bulk containers, corn-based cutlery, and recyclable, compostable and reusable products. They even used the green napkins left over from the Christmas event (saving money along the way).

This event received high accolades from the staff. They also received favorable media coverage--something the health care industry isn't seeing much of right now.

So what was in that one trash bin you ask....over 2,000 fudge bar wrappers!

Monday, September 21, 2009

How Is Corporate Sustainability Being Impacted?

According to the 2009 Greening of Corporate America Report, over half (58%) of the C-level executives surveyed believe corporate sustainability practices are either unaffected or aided by the economic crisis.

The Report states, "This result is consistent with a number of studies that suggest the downturn is a time to innovate. During such times of less activitiy, firms have an opportunity to align resources and create new strategy in order to reposition themselves to gain advantage when the economy recovers. Further, as sustainability becomes entrenched in common corporate practices, these efforts that lead to cost-savings will be of particular importance during downturns."

Read more interesting results in the report such as how they believe increased regulation is likely to occur. 2009 Greening of Corporate America Report.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Treat Yourself (And I Will Too)

If you are like the rest of us, the economy is forcing you decide between industry conferences to attend. If you can only pick one, treat yourself to the 2010 Sustainable Meetings Conference in February.

It is an experience like you will never have at another industry conference (in my humble opinion). First of all the sense of community forged by having a common goal of making a difference is unparalleled. It breaks down barriers immediately! The folks I have met at the conference over the years are open, willing to share information and are very supportive.

Just this week I had a call from a fellow planner I met years ago at a conference who had a question about how we worked with caterers on keeping organic food within budget. She knew we shared a vision and wasn't afraid to pick up the phone.

Seriously, you will leave with the tools you need and re-energized by your passionate peers to make it happen. Take my word for it and treat yourself to the conference, and I will treat you to a cup of coffee on the last day to hear all about it!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

As the song says, there will be plenty of peanuts and Cracker Jacks. Apparently there will also be lots and lots of fried food consumed too!

Turner Field in Atlanta is selling all its used cooking oil to BioFuel Atlanta, which will turn it into biodiesel fuel. They are estimating 9,500 gallons to be reclaimed--a win for the stadium and the environment.

It is great to see so many of the sporting venues adopting green practices. Something else to cheer about!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Time Well Spent

I spent the last two weeks sitting next to the ocean. I watched the ebb and flow of the tide...the nations of seabirds interact...the color of the water change with the sun and clouds...the waves crash. I smelled the salt air and listened to the wind.

I didn't read, email, google, text, twitter, talk, worry or otherwise look for ways to occupy my mind. I simply observed.

And it was during this quiet observation that I reconnected...I re-energized...and I remembered why the sustainable practices we incorporate into our work are so vitally important.

It is good to be back and ready to make a difference once again!