Tag Archives: GoGreen NYC

Green Line Series NYC | Sass Brown on The Future of Fashion

GoGreen NYC | Future of Fashion

The apparel industry has a dilemma — its growing market of global middle class consumers wants their fashion fast and cheap, but the planet can’t sustain the current rate (or trend line) of resource consumption or environmental impacts. Author, editor, FIT assistant dean of the School of Art & Design, and sustainable fashion expert, Sass Brown, gives us an insider’s take on the seismic shifts pushing the fashion and apparel industry towards less wasteful systems and technology, new heights in design, and far more responsible corporate citizenship when it comes to resourcing, environmental impacts and social justice.

GoGreen Conference: From an insider’s perspective, what is the incentive for the fashion industry to address sustainability and social impact concerns?

Sass Brown: First and foremost there is the knowledge that they are doing something worthwhile that goes beyond mere profits, and aligns them better with current attitudes and values in the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. The fashion industry has always prided itself on being cutting edge, so leading by example by integrating systemic change inside their own industry has major PR benefits to a consumer who is becoming more and more conscious in their consumption, and voting with their hard earned dollars.

GG: What kind of change have you seen in the past five years in terms of industry and designer attitudes towards more responsible supply chains and ethical production? Is this trend a blip on the radar or a meaningful shift in “business as usual”?

SB: There is no doubt this is a major shift in values in corporations as well as the consumer behaviour. The fashion and related industries is a major global employer, and as such has the ability to impact the planet through the changes they make. The past few years has seen more and more designers building new models and systems instead of blindly following the existing fashion system, which is unsustainable by definition. The first wave of sustainable fashion designers concentrated on making more conscious material or production choices but within the existing systems, the newer designers are no longer trying to conform to the models which are wasteful by definition, but forging their own models and building new systems.

GG: What role is technology playing in driving sustainability in the fashion industry? Has it affected design as well as production and sourcing? Are there key technologies that are especially promising in this area?

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Green Line Series NYC | Grassroots Engagement Drives Greener Healthcare at NewYork-Presbyterian

Being successful at sustainability is as much about community organizing as it is about operational prowess. In this Green Line Series, we speak with GoGreen NYC speaker and Corporate Sustainability Officer at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Jessica Prata, on how engaging the organization’s staff across departments — from the OR to nurses stations and maintenance — and giving them outlets to participate in NYP’s sustainable practices has catalyzed their capacity for achievement.

GoGreen NYC: Just how much potential does sustainability hold for the healthcare industry? What kind of impact has embracing this philosophy and these systems made at NewYork-Presbyterian (NYP)?

Jessica Prata: As health providers, hospitals are very central to the community. We have a responsibility to provide the healthiest environment that we can for our staff and patients. We also want to create a very safe environment for staff and families to be in, and for patients to heal in, so that’s where the tie comes in for us.

At a glance, some may not immediately see the connection between environmental sustainability and healthcare.  How does recycling and waste management, energy production, efficiency and cogeneration, and transportation fleets connect to caring for patients in the best way we can? In fact proper management in these areas does impact our organization’s ability to provide the highest quality of patient care in a clean and safe environment. If you consider the broad impact that a hospital has in a community, you recognize how these sustainability initiatives contribute to our overall air quality and environmental footprint. Also, the more money we save by managing resources and waste more effectively, the more money we have to spend on creating the best patient experience possible. The dots do connect.

At NYP, we want to keep our patients as healthy as we can and provide tremendous care, all while doing the right thing in the community. We are members of and promote Practice Green Health, a nonprofit organization that gives support and guidance to hospitals as they embark on this journey.

GG: What was the process for making sustainability a part of your strategic vision and plan for how NYP moves forward as an organization? 

JP: Back in 2005, there was a good amount of movement within our facilities department. A lot of initiatives started there as a part of a very aggressive energy management plan. And 2005 is the year we received our first award from the EPA — we’ve since received seven. Then NYP’s senior leadership started to question what other elements of sustainability could be addressed. Energy is a huge component that helps us save money and control our environmental impact, but we felt there was more to take on.

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Brooklyn Navy Yard | Ushering In A New Manufacturing Renaissance in NYC

Since the days of the Industrial Revolution, we’ve tied manufacturing to smoke stacks and polluting factories. But today’s generation of manufacturers — with a keen eye on environmental impact — are cleaning up the sector’s reputation through use of cutting-edge technology, highly efficient processes and a broad array of natural materials that are both high quality and eco-friendly. More than a few of these companies are housed in the revitalized Brooklyn Navy Yard (a community partner we are proud to have on board with GoGreen NYC!). Check out three inspiring businesses based in the complex that epitomize the Manufacturing Renaissance sweeping the nation.

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Green Line Series | NYC ACRE + Micah Kotch’s Growing Web of Sustainable Technology

New York City’s technology sector is alive and kicking, earning acclaim for its solutions driven focus and merging industry clusters to support the vision of a cleaner, greener New York. NYC ACRE Director, Micah Kotch sits down with the Green Line Series to talk about how emerging clean tech companies are playing a role in reinventing New York City as the greenest in America.

GoGreen Conference: What is your perspective on how technology is currently being leveraged to solve sustainability in NYC? In what areas do we need improvement? 

MK: Both here in New York and nationally, we still don’t have an effective energy climate policy in place. That’s the 800-pound gorilla in the room. Without a transparent, long-term program that puts a price on carbon, in one form or another, the technology industry does not compete on a level playing field. And in the absence of national or international leadership, cities are going to continue to blaze a path forward, because cities like New York are most at risk for the negative impacts of climate change.

We see adaption and mitigation as amazing opportunities to spur both job creation and the development of new products for export. Here in New York, I feel like we have a lot unique assets that we’re trying to leverage: the finance industry, the media industry, our mass transit network, the fact that we have a million buildings, and our real estate industry. Also, our tech start-up scene. Our sweet spot is capital-efficient, IT-driven technology business.

At NYC ACRE, we believe that working right at the convergence of energy, water, waste, green building and the mobile and social web, presents a very compelling case for us to help emerging companies grow and get up to scale. We have seven companies that have graduated the program and created about 100 full-time jobs and raised about 17.5 million dollars. Our strategy is to go out and connect the dots that will lead to start of great, long-term companies. We want to get different clusters to spill over and have a real mix of people, ideas, products and services that are ultimately filling this need and that aren’t dependent on government policy to be successful.

GG: You mentioned scalability — you work at the foundational level with start-ups. Since there are a ton of big corporations in NYC, how does the work you do at the ground-level translate up to the Bank of Americas and the New York Times? What role do they have to play in developing these cross-industry clusters?

MK: When you are talking about infrastructures, you absolutely have to work with people who are the gatekeepers. So we have really strong relationships with National Grid and Con Edison. That is absolutely critical because you can’t go to market without the buy-in of those big players. And I think the same holds true with the real estate industry.

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Green Line Series NYC: David Bragdon & The Big Picture For The Big Apple

For David Bragdon, Director of Long-Term Planning & Sustainability in the Mayor’s Office in New York City, planning for the future also requires a plan for today. Our Portland fans might remember Bragdon as the former President of Metro. Today, Bragdon is focused on shaping a greener, more prosperous and more livable New York for its 8.4 million inhabitants. Backing up the City’s visionary plan for this endeavor — PlaNYC — are over 400 individual milestones and 130+ initiatives that will ensure progress towards audacious goals Bragdon and his team fully intend to meet. In this Green Line Series Interview, learn more about the ground-breaking PlanNYC and get David’s advice on the keys to your organization accomplishing its own audacious undertakings.

GG: You’re an expat Portlander. It’s pretty clear that New York is a significantly different scale to work at. Are there similarities between the two?

David Bragdon: I think the cities require very different approaches. A lot of the effort here in New York relates to energy efficiency — particularly in buildings both public and private — and reducing energy demand. There is a good deal of emphasis on building and zoning codes. In Portland, I worked much more on park issues and nature preservation. So the portfolio and priorities are very different.

GG: In New York, do you find the size and the scale a challenge that requires intense negotiations? Or do they present opportunities to make a greater impact? Continue reading