Category Archives: Uncategorized

Green Line Series Interview | Gwen Migita, VP Sustainability & Corporate Citizenship, Caesars Entertainment

Gwen Migita HeadshotGwen Migita drives sustainability strategy, policies and stakeholder initiatives as well as social and environmental sustainability programs for Caesars Entertainment Corporation, the world’s most diversified casino-entertainment company which holds environmental stewardship as one of its four pillars of commitment.

She sat down with us for our Green Line Series interview this week in anticipation of her closing Keynote at the GoGreen Conference on March 16.


We were pleased to learn that Caesars Entertainment provides economic and social benefits for employees, guests and communities while also advancing environmental stewardship. How is Caesars currently advancing environmental stewardship as a large corporation?

Environmental stewardship has been built into our properties from top to bottom through CodeGreen, our company-wide environmental strategy. For our guests, CodeGreen quietly contributes to enhancing the experience by working hard in the background. Essentially we take care of the environment behind the scenes for our guests, reinforcing that every visit to a Caesars property is a sustainable visit.

We have set aggressive goals in energy, GHG emissions reduction, water and green construction. We’ve been recognized for our efforts and we’ve met a number of our goals ahead of target. For example, we reduced energy use 23.4 % per air-conditioned square foot since 2007. We have an overall U.S. waste diversion of 38% and reduced 28% in waste volume in 2015. We reduced GHG emissions by 28.3% per 1,000 sq/ft of air conditioned space, reduced water usage by 20.4% on a square foot basis since 2008, and began an initiative to replace every light source with efficient LED bulbs in 2015.

We also encourage our employees to “go green” at home. Through CodeGreen At Home, employees are rewarded for their efforts to spread the environmental consciousness learned at Caesars to their homes and communities. The program emphasizes long-term behavior changes to reduce the carbon footprint and make a positive environmental impact. In 2015, employees were awarded an average of $60 in program incentives for completing eco-conscious actions at home. Since inception, Caesars has awarded nearly $180,00 in Total Return credits to employees for sharing CodeGreen At Home projects.

Can you give us some examples where Caesars provides economic and social benefits for communities? What is your proudest achievement on that front?

We encourage employees to take an active role in their communities. Our employee community involvement (HERO) teams at each of our resorts volunteer their time, expertise, creativity and passion to improve people’s lives.

The HERO employee volunteer program was formalized more than 20 years ago and supports our employee community involvement strategic priorities: two-thirds of all programs support seniors, education, environment and health and wellness, while one-third supports the property’s priority impact area(s).

Every one of our 50 properties in the North America and the U.K. has a HERO program and a means to support company-sponsored or individual activities. We reward and incentivize employees to volunteer on an individual and property-wide basis through our year-round challenges and the HERO Stars program.

Every time we open a new property, we look for opportunities to use our passion, skills and resources to help the local community.

Together with families and friends, Caesars team members and team members of affiliated businesses reported over 400,000 volunteer hours to support community causes, many of which are also backed by philanthropic giving through the Caesars Foundation. That’s the equivalent of almost 200 full time employees dedicating their entire working hours to supporting vibrant communities for one year.

We help local communities flourish through economic contributions by taxes we pay, the jobs we create and the suppliers with whom we engage. For every dollar the average U.S. corporation pays in taxes, Caesars pays more than three dollars. This injection of funds enables local communities to enjoy a range of diverse benefits, including support for schools and universities, cultural programs, tourism, and elderly and disabled assistance programs.

What new initiatives and milestones in these areas for 2017? Any exciting developments we can learn about via your address at GoGreen?

We ensure that our meeting facilities offer our customers everything they need to make their events responsible and sustainable through our Responsible Meetings program. To date, we have trained 350 meeting sales and banquet managers throughout our North American properties. Launched last year, our Meetings for Good initiative provides a menu of community-service choices at our venues in Las Vegas, New Orleans and Atlantic City. Meetings for Good facilitates community involvement with local nonprofit organizations in a range of options that can easily be incorporated into any meeting or event. We have found that our customers seek more of this kind of service to make meetings more meaningful and provide a new, engaging experience for their delegates and guests.

Last year, Caesars asked key suppliers representing the largest portion of our supply chain’s carbon footprint to privately respond to the CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project) survey about their climate impacts. We received 54 complete supplier responses to CDP this year. Of these, 71% of our suppliers responding to CDP’s survey said Caesars was their first (and only) customer to ask them to fill out the CDP survey. We are proud to be helping them move the needle on understanding their own climate impacts while helping us to understand our supply chain’s footprint.

What’s more, Caesars is leading the way in hospitality as the only gaming/entertainment company represented in the CDP supply chain program of more than 75 member companies. We look forward to the industry building more robust climate metrics in their supply chain working with nonprofits like CDP.


Join us at the GoGreen Conference to hear Gwen present the closing Keynote on March 16.

Event Details: The GoGreen Conference, brought to you by King County, will take place Thursday, March 16, 2017 at the Conference Center located at Eighth Avenue and Pike Street in Seattle, Washington. Tickets are available at seattle.gogreenconference.net or via phone at 206.459.0595.

Green Line Series Interview | Ngozi Oleru, Division Director of the Environmental Health Division for Public Health Seattle and King County

Ngozi Oleru Headshot.jpgOur Green Line Series interview this week features Ngozi Oleru, Division Director of the Environmental Health Division for Public Health Seattle and King County. She is responsible for leading and managing the environmental health programs serving a population of over 2 million residents and has been instrumental in bringing a public health and equity focus to the impacts of the built environment both locally and nationally in policy and programmatic roles.

Ngozi will be a featured speaker at the GoGreen Conference session on March 16th entitled Building Healthcare and Business Climate Resilience.


You have been working on health equity for ten years now. Why is health equity important?

The question shouldn’t be why is health equity important, it should be why ISN’T health equity important. Equity should be the norm. Equity is where/how/when everyone gets to participate in life with full access to opportunities and consequences that are distributed not necessarily equally, but equitably. Does everybody need to be the president of a university? No. Does everyone need to be an engineer? No. But everyone should have access to the opportunities for health and well-being to do whatever it is they are called to do. That’s why it is important.

What are some public health policy changes that have been made in the last few years to advance health equity?

A fundamental change has been the adoption of a social determinants approach to health policy; the adoption an upstream, root-cause approach to public health. Are we there yet? No, but that shift has really brought into focus the idea that the definition of health is not just the absence of disease. Most people think of health from a disease/medical model. The shift of looking at health from the social determinants approach has been a real fundamental change which has brought us to the consideration of health equity in a more intentional and hopefully more sustainable way.

How are you creating and increasing health equity in King County? What are some initiatives the Environmental Health Division is working on now?

In 2006/2007, through a planning process, our department adopted the guiding principles: Based on Science and Evidence; Centered on Community; Driven by Social Justice; and Focused on Prevention to guide our practice. As a result, we are trying to be more intentional in the way we are engaging with the community in designing both the policies and programs.

For example, we just launched a new food safety rating system in King County. We made sure to engage limited-English and diverse food cultural groups so we could take into consideration how this new rating system would affect them and their businesses. As a result I think we got a better and more inclusive outcome.

We are also making very intentional efforts to hire for diversity so that the people in our community are reflected in our workforce. It is important that the perspectives that are brought to the table are as diverse as the people who are being served by our programs and impacted by our policies.

For me, the focus on diversifying the workforce, the focus on engaging the community in an intentional meaningful way are two very substantive efforts that are necessary as we work towards health equity.

What are a few things that government agencies and businesses can do to eliminate preventable and unjust differences for people of color and low-income populations?

There is a basic need for people in Government agencies and businesses to understand how structures and systems that prevent and deny access to certain groups of people have been built into our institutions. Understanding that historical context will go a long way to accelerate the dismantling of barriers to opportunity.

Policies about who we hire- how we define who qualifies and who doesn’t qualify for a job- don’t often allow everybody to participate. If a variety of perspectives are engaged when jobs are defined and described, we can take a step towards chipping away at a system that is not equitably accessible to all groups of people.

In King County we have an ordinance that directs our work through an equity and social justice lens. We provided training for our employees to understand what that means and what it looks like. It is imperative to understand the history of where inequity came from. It takes an examination of the way we’ve been doing business. It’s a mindset, a new mindset to depart from business as usual and a willingness to make meaningful change.


The Environmental Health Services department of Seattle and King County focuses on the prevention of disease through sanitation, safe food and water, proper disposal of wastes and toxins, and promoting safe and healthy environmental conditions throughout King County. You can find out more about the Environmental Health Services department on their website.

Event Details: The GoGreen Conference, brought to you by King County, will take place Thursday, March 16, 2017 at the Conference Center located at Eighth Avenue and Pike Street in Seattle, Washington. Tickets are available at seattle.gogreenconference.net or via phone at 206.459.0595.

Interview with Richard Eidlin | Co-Founder, American Sustainable Business Council

Richard Eidlin Headshot.JPGThis past week we had the opportunity to sit down for a Green Line Series interview with Richard Eidlin, Co-Founder and Vice President, Policy and Campaigns for the American Sustainable Business Council.

Richard has worked for 30 years on sustainability, social entrepreneurship, policy, and CSR in the public and private sector. We are thrilled to learn more from Richard in person as a featured speaker and expert at the GoGreen Conference Closing Plenary on March 16th: The Role of Business in Climate and Clean Energy Policy.


You have been a business advocate for a sustainable economy under the Obama administration over the last several years. What are the biggest challenges you overcame in the past year?

One challenge was educating the media that there are a variety of opinions within the business community about what success looks like. We have mobilized thousands of companies who are triple bottom line, or what you might call responsible or sustainable firms, to weigh in on a variety of policy issues. We try to show the media that there are a lot of very successful companies who are making money and are also environmental stewards, paying people well and also paying their fair share of taxes. So challenge number one has been convincing the media by example that the traditional narrative that it’s either clean a environment or jobs is false and you can instead you can do both at the same time.

The second challenge has been working with legislators, both on the federal and state level, and educating them on that same dynamic.  We have been pointing out that certain policies don’t evenly affect all segments of society or businesses the same, and that often policies are enacted that inhibit progress in the part of responsibly sustainable companies. Those are two of the challenges we face.

What were some of the ASBC’s key accomplishments during that time?

I would cite the success we’ve had across the country on improving benefits for employees and workers through the passage of minimum wage increases in a number of states. That has been more successful on a state level than a federal level, but we did succeed in encouraging President Obama to raise the minimum wage rate for contract workers to $10.10. That was the second bit of success on that issue.

Another success has been working with BLab when they first started to get benefit corporation legislation passed in over two dozen states across the country. We were quite active in that campaign.

The third has been a lot of work we’ve done around climate change and the idea that a carbon tax has an important role to play negating the use of fossil fuels. We’ve been addressing the risk that business and society faces from climate change, so we’ve been working with a number of states and the federal government and were able to get both Republicans and Democrats to look at the merit of a carbon tax. We didn’t get any legislation passed, but we did succeed at least in broadening the conversation.

We also have been involved with a number of initiatives on safer chemicals and disclosure on what’s in chemicals that consumers use. I work with the EPA on a number of those issues.

Another example would be helping to promote net neutrality, wherein there is the same price for access to the internet. That was an important issue for a lot of small businesses.

Through the Jobs Act in 2010, we were able to help create some rules that led to the development of crowd funding platforms that were widespread in allowing individual small investors take a piece of companies as they grow.

The last issue looks at this whole suite of what your might call “high road workplace practices”, or “family friendly benefits”, family medical leave and paid sick leave etc, and made a lot of success at the state level. We really raised the bar and made it an important conversation, making the business case that those kind of practices create success in the workplace and are actually good for the economy.

The political landscape will undoubtedly look very different with the upcoming administration. How do you anticipate your role changing in the next four years?

We will look to collaborate with Congress and the Trump administration, and really find alignment. On issues where there isn’t compatibility, we will defend the progress that our constituency has made and argue for a different perspective. It will be somewhat on a case by case basis. Over the past several weeks we have weighed in on some of the nominations that the incoming administration has made and also have been meeting with members of Congress and will continue to do that.

There are a few issues where we think there may be opportunities for collaboration, like with the idea of having more workers own a piece of the company they work in through employee stock owned plans or co-ops. There may be some synergy around infrastructure, but we’ll have to see.

There are lots of issues, particularly around environmental and energy issues, where we are not optimistic. We are concerned that the rollback of regulations, the retreat from our international commitments, doing away with water quality, chemical safety and air quality regulations are all a really bad idea. We are going to be working on that. We will be really involved in what’s going on in D.C., while at the same time devoting some energy on what’s happening on the state level. We will target some states where we think more progress can be made than in Washington.

We are excited about learning your perspective on the role of business in climate and clean energy policy at GoGreen Conference in March. What are the key takeaways/action items that you want our private and public sector decision makers to walk away with?

The states are really important. In the Northwest there is a lot of opportunity for addressing climate change. A cap in trade or a carbon tax are really important initiatives for states that we want states to pursue, and the business community is a critical voice in that process. Sustainably-minded companies really need to step up and their views heard because if they don’t, the rules and policies that get written are not going to be aligned with their values.

At the same time, we think it is important for companies to take their own steps in becoming more energy-efficient and less dependent on fossil fuels. We are looking for companies to advocate for the maintenance of certain good ideas on a policy level. We are also interested in electric vehicles and building out a smarter grid in this country. Energy efficiency is another concern. All of these issues are important to many small businesses and large companies, so we will potentially call on companies to get involved and to recognize that there are a lot of good jobs that have been created. We are undergoing a major transition in this economy, and to remain dependent on the fossil fuel industry without appropriate investment in clean energy is extremely short-sighted and puts the US at a competitive disadvantage.


The American Sustainable Business Council is a network of businesses and business associations that have committed themselves to the triple bottom line of People, Planet, and Profit.  ASBC members believe that sustainable business is good business, and a sustainable economy is a prosperous and resilient one. Find out more about the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) on their website.

The GoGreen Conference, brought to you by King County, will take place Thursday, March 16, 2017 at the Conference Center located at Eighth Avenue and Pike Street in Seattle, Washington. Tickets are available at seattle.gogreenconference.net or via phone at 206.459.0595.

Interview with Sce Pike, CEO and Founder of IOTAS

Sce Pike_HEADSHOTBy making it easy to turn off electronic devices when not in use—IOTAS’ technology helps to save electricity. Was this technology created with sustainability in mind?

First and foremost we designed it for comfort and convenience for residents and messaged it that way because we were concerned that sustainability may imply something that could make the residents work harder. However, we knew that the technology could have huge implications on how individuals save energy (without having to go out of their way to do so) and how the building could be managed and optimized to save energy. If the residents leave for the day and everything automatically switches off behind them such as the lights, thermostats, and designated plug-loads without them having to think about it, there is an opportunity to save tremendously. Same with building controls, if the IOTAS system knows that the south east section of a building has very few residents in it right now, the system could automatically turn off common area thermostats and lights in that area.

As part of your pilot program, you’ve offered smart technology for free in at least one building in Portland. Moving forward, do you envision such technology being a standard feature?

We hope so. We’re facing strong demand so we believe that will be the case. We believe the demand is there because the apartment developers and owners also see a benefit to their net profits through cost savings and marketing differentiation for their buildings which increase the valuation of their buildings. We also see strong demand from residents who are moving in to experience the IOTAS Smart Apartment in the pilot building.

What is next in development for IOTAS? How does this help drive our sustainable future forward?

At the moment, we’re in the process of integrating with Amazon Echo, Nest, Apple HomeKit to allow for seamless integration of consumer devices that residents bring on their own. We’re also going to be integrating with building systems such as boilers, HVAC, etc. to make them more efficient by giving those systems more data such as presence/occupancy information.

There are 24M apartments in the US out of 124M total US households. IOTAS focuses on those 24M apartments. For residents, IOTAS automates energy savings without the resident having to actively do anything to save energy while providing smart home control plus insights about their usage patterns. For building owners. IOTAS automates energy savings, enables building-wide control, and provides insights in all vacant units and shared areas. We are engaging 24 million families and building owners in helping reduce energy usage even further by saving them money and providing them comfort and convenience.

Nicole Freedman, Chief of Active Transportation City of Seattle

Nicole FreedmanThis past week we had the opportunity to sit down for a Green Line Series interview with Nicole Freedman, Chief of Active Transportation for the City of Seattle. Nicole is tasked with overseeing the expansion of the newly purchased Pronto bike share program, creation of Summer Parkways programs and a new TDM 2.0 program.

Prior to moving to Seattle, she worked as Director of Bicycle Programs for the City of Boston which was part of Mayor Menino’s vision for healthy, sustainable communities.  During her tenure, she helped transform Boston from the worst cycling city in the country to a recognized leader in cycling. Under her leadership, the city created 92 miles of bike lanes and implemented a successful bikeshare system.

Nicole Freedman will moderate the GoGreen Seattle panel session: Technology + Innovation Changing the Transportation Landscape in 2016.

GoGreen: How is your team moving forward with the daily operations of Pronto? Will services still remain the same in the transition of ownership?

Nicole Freedman: Daily operations and services will remain the same. To better serve riders we plan to move several stations to make the bikes more accessible. The first of these decisions was relocating the Frye Art Museum (Terry & Columbia) Station to the new Capitol Hill U-Link Station at Broadway & Denny. Longer term, we will be looking at expansion in order to better serve current riders and appeal to new riders across the city.

GoGreen: Can you address the plan that will be laid out over the next six months to better serve low-income populations and communities of color?

NF: A plan is currently in the works. We hope to test out a reduced cost membership program similar to the ones in Chicago and Boston. Whether or  not we can test this out before expansion is unknown, but we will certainly be making plans. The keys to success for such a program: great outreach and adding stations in low income neighborhoods.

GoGreen: From your experience, what does it take to transform a city into a bike friendly environment?

NF: There first must be a cultural shift within the city and with pedestrians. The department is working towards making Seattle a bike friendly city through the bike network of protected lanes and greenways with focus on the center city bike network. The further we are on pedestrian and bike issues the more that we need to work with drivers and expanding the public right of way. There will always be trade offs when developing more protected bike lanes either by removing parking or car travel lanes. We will need the public to be actively engaged and provide input.  Drivers and pedestrians are instrumental in the success of the city’s bike share program.

To find out more about projects and programs that the City of Seattle Transportation Department will focus on until 2019 read the  Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan (BMP). The department’s vision is to make riding a bicycle is a comfortable and integral part of daily life in Seattle for people of all ages and abilities. The actions and investments in the plan will advance this vision through new bicycle infrastructure, bicycle parking and other end-of-trip facilities, and programs to enhance safety, maintain facilities, and encourage more people to ride bicycles.

City of Seattle Department of Transportation will be exhibiting onsite during GoGreen Seattle on March 30. Check out TransitScreen and learn about new, innovative partnerships with Uber and Lyft to help people get home safely.

Event Details: GoGreen Seattle, brought to you by King County, will take place Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at the Conference Center located at Eighth Avenue and Pike Street in Seattle, Washington. Tickets are available at seattle.gogreenconference.net or via phone at 206.459.0595.

 

Green Line Series | Deb Hatcher, Founder of A to Z Wineworks

Deb Hatcher

Our latest installment of the Green Line Series digs into the wine industry, sustainable practices and what it takes to become the first Certified B Corporation winery in the world. Deb Hatcher will be joining us at GoGreen Portland in October as a moderator for our closing plenary: Oregon Wine Industry Sustainable Showcase with Wine Tasting where she along with five industry experts will share their know-how as well as some of their delicious wine!

GoGreen Conference: Can you share some of the best practices you have put into action on the business side in the past year?

Deb Hatcher: One of the most exciting developments for us this year is that our Director of Viticulture, Ryan Collins, developed a unique Comprehensive Vineyard Summary we provide to many of our grower partners.  This report has helped us to improve our margin growth, cost controls and quality control by giving an accurate picture of the fruit we receive from their sites.  The summary covers chemistry and quality parameters (measurements of the water or various tannin content, for example), a general assessment of their soil breakdowns and a vineyard management scorecard that measures everything from canopy management to disease severity.  Importantly, they are also able to see how their fruit quality compared to their peers.  This tool is a game changer.

When we purchased REX HILL in 2007, we installed an Integrated financial and inventory system   At the end of 2014, we upgraded to their newest web platform introducing multiple features including an easy to use point of sale system for our tasting room that we helped to develop.  We continued our infrastructure expansion creating more efficiencies and economies of scale by adding 14,000 square feet of production space to be followed by an additional 20,000 square feet next year.   To continue deepening engagement at every level of the company,  we coach new presenters for our national marketing meetings.  At our spring meetings this year, we had 25 individual staff presenters.  These presentations help to build confidence and increase competency as we push authority down the ranks along with increased responsibility.

Last year we became the only certified B Corporation winery in the world.  We are working to help others certify and are pleased to welcome this year additional wineries including two from Oregon.  This year we have also been able to begin to support bee health research.  We added bees to the floral graphics on our Riesling bottle to indicate that we are donating a portion of the sale from every bottle to bee associated research.  We bought some specialized equipment for the Bee Lab at Oregon State University and contributed to Bee Girl’s research at Southern Oregon University into compatible vineyard flora for healthy bee population support.

GoGreen: Which example of sustainable best practices or innovation in the industry really stands out to you as cutting edge and leading the way for other wine businesses to follow?

DH: The Oregon wine industry developed the LIVE Certified Sustainable program for vineyards and wineries.  While being rigorous, LIVE takes a practical approach recognizing that trade-offs are sometimes necessary in agriculture.  For example, if in a wet year an excessive number of tractor passes in the vineyard are required because of mildew pressure, then LIVE allows a winery to improve even more in another area to compensate.  It is important to realize that if a business isn’t economically stable, then any other sustainable practices will be short-lived.  In some cases, growth and size can bring more opportunities for innovation and improvement.  We think more wineries should become LIVE certified and not just vineyards as more change can be made in the winery to not only ensure better quality fruit but also improve the treatment of natural resources and employees.

It also seems time to welcome improved technology which other countries long ago pioneered because they had no agricultural labor force.  Our recycling sprayer captures 98% of any excess spray and eliminates drift.  Our cross flow filter uses dialysis technology to clean the wine without stripping it.  Pulse air technology breaks up the cap in a large fermenter in seven minutes instead of having someone punch it down for an hour and ten minutes.  Finally, using state of the art robotic technology in the field can now deliver individual grapes from the vine to the press in as little as thirty minutes not only improving quality but greatly increasing efficiency.

GoGreen:   You are one of only a handful of wine organizations to be a certified B Corporation. Why did you decide to get certified? How has this certification been beneficial to your business?

DH: As certified Biodynamic farmers, it is a bit like applying Biodynamic principles to business: engage the whole business and examine ways everything is interconnected and serves the greater good.  We are not a “benefit corporation” so we don’t receive tax benefits but we have received media attention and have found more opportunities to inspire others through collaborations with other B Corps.  We hope the changes we made to our legal language, to take into account all stakeholders with our decisions rather than to be required to make the greatest return on investment for shareholders, may offer protection from a possible undesirable purchase.  We are more aware of the importance of documenting all of our practices as well as discovering more best practices.  Finally, it distinguishes us in the marketplace as customers are increasingly concerned with the origins of their food.

We appreciate having third party certification of our practices every two years.  Objective, documented measurements give us a legitimate way to measure our improvement and authenticate that we are being a force for good. Until our B Corp certification, we had few ways beyond modeling best practices that didn’t seem boastful to try to inspire other companies to review and improve the effect of their established ways on their staff, their community and the environment.


Event Details: The eighth annual GoGreen Portland, will take place Tuesday, October 6, 2015 at the White Stag Building. Tickets are available at portland.gogreenconference.net or via phone at 503-226-2377. Save 30% on tickets with promotional code GREENLINESERIES.

Green Line Series | Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, Director of Community Affairs, New York City Department of Environmental Protection

In the first GreIbrahim Abdul-Matinen Lines Series interview for GoGreen Portland we had  the chance to connect with Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, Director of Community Affairs, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, a passionate voice for transforming our pollution-based way of life to one that prioritizes our planet and its people for over 15 years.

Raised between Brooklyn and rural Upstate NY, Ibrahim appreciated environment and sustainability at an early age. His father, a devout Muslim, taught 5-year-old Ibrahim that the “Earth is a mosque,” that every inch of the planet is sacred and to be protected. Ibrahim retells this moving story in his Amazon Environmental Bestseller, “Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet,” a one-of-a-kind expose of the positive contributions of people of faith to the environmental and environmental justice movements. Completely committed to making his birth city into a global leader of environmental policy and practice, Ibrahim has been in several civil service roles since 2001. He advised former Mayor Michael Bloomberg on PlaNYC — the City’s sustainability blueprint and he currently directs Community Affairs at the NYC Department of Environmental Protection. Ibrahim’s head is all policy; his heart is all organizing. He merges the two consistently, bringing marginalized communities into City Hall conversations. Ibrahim can be heard on WNYC and WBAI and seen on Al Jazeera, AriseTV, and ABC News.

GoGreen Conference: Tell us about yourself – what is your background and how did you get to where you are today as a leader in sustainability, equity, and social change?

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin: I got where I am today because I could pursue my interests in race and class dynamics, the excesses of consumption, how we treat the planet and how we collectively made decisions without having to worry about paying back college debt. I had a full football scholarship. When I graduated I gravitated towards work that was fulfilling and not just what I needed to do to pay the bills.

GoGreen: Your father taught you that the “Earth is a mosque” and the planet should be treated as a sacred and protected space. How has this statement influenced both your professional career, but also your personal habits and practices?

IAM: My father was quoting the Hadith – or a saying of the Prophet Muhammad who, in my humble opinion, was a freedom fighter and an environmentalist. I try to stay as anchored to those reminders in both my professional and personal life as possible.

GoGreen: What have been the biggest obstacles facing sustainable practices and making them a habit for the city of NY? How have these obstacles been faced and over come?

IAM: We have a lot of work to do. We think we are the greatest at everything in NYC. I think our biggest obstacle is living up to that but i also think that we make progress everyday.

Find out more about Ibrahim Abdul-Matin on his personal website.

Event Details: The eighth annual GoGreen Portland, will take place Tuesday, October 6, 2015 at the White Stag Building. Tickets are available at portland.gogreenconference.net or via phone at 503-226-2377. Save 30% on tickets with promotional code GREENLINESERIES.