Tag Archives: gogreen seattle

Green Line Series | State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations

suitasOn this installment of the Green Line Series we will be bringing you something a little different. We recently had the opportunity to interview two of our speakers on the session What’s Next? The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations. We are excited to provide perspectives and a glimpse into the session from Matias Valenzuela, Director, Office of Equity and Social Justice, King County and Sudha Nandagopal, Strategic Policy Advisor, Environmental Justice & Service Equity Division, Seattle Public Utilities.

GoGreen Conference: The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations report is billed as “the most comprehensive report on diversity in the environmental movement”. Compiled by a working group of environment and equity thought leaders, Green 2.0. investigates the disconnect between green activism and social equity at NGO’s foundations and Government Agencies across the country.

In your opinion – what does the Green 2.0 report mean to the state of diversity in environmental organizations? What are the top things businesses can do to improve?

Sudha Nandagopal: The Green 2.0 report was an important marker to report on what many of us have observed. The environmental movement, especially our leadership, has to change in order to better reflect the communities most-impacted by environmental injustices and to engage the rising American electorate: a population of people who are incredibly racially diverse and facing huge issues of income inequality, rapid globalization, and a changing climate. We are all seeing the stark differences in racial outcomes throughout all levels of our society and this report’s findings are relevant for organizations, government, and businesses as we consider our leadership and services

Businesses and organizations have an important role to help address these disparities and strengthen communities. Both businesses and organizations must assess who is and isn’t benefiting from their services and create opportunities for people of color to lead sustainability efforts. From that assessment, businesses can begin to understand how to shift their products, services, and hiring/retention practices to better reflect and grow their customer base now and into the future. Additionally, businesses can bring a strong social responsibility lens to their programs and build partnerships with people of color, immigrant, refugee, and low-income communities through focused, community-led, culturally relevant efforts.  Through these focused efforts we can shift not only who is in the room, but who has the power to shape and influence decisions, programs, and policy.

Matías Valenzuela: The Green 2.0 report is an urgent call to action for environmental organizations. In short, there is a “green ceiling” for people of color, and this should be of great concern to environmental organizations. Nationally we will be majority “minority,” or majority people of color, by approximately 2043. We will reach this number in our King County region about 10 years sooner than that. So we have a diversity explosion in our hands. At the same time, only 12-16% of those in environmental organizations are people of color.

There are a number of steps that organizations can take to make changes. Organizations need to track their numbers and do internal assessments, then develop plans and goals that make the organization accountable and move the organization towards greater diversity.

Importantly, it’s not just about increasing diversity in the workforce, but also workplace inclusion – this means creating a culture within the organization that encourages respect and trust for all individuals, and creates a workplace that is open and welcoming of new and different points of view. Differences in backgrounds and perspectives within organizations are assets, and organizations need to be able to have these discussions. Diversity and racial equity trainings and discussions are key in advancing an organization’s culture, and need to accompany the plans to increase workforce diversity.

GoGreen Conference: Can you describe what programs Environmental Justice & Service Equity (EJSE) has been working on? What are the challenges in implementing these programs? What are the successes?

Sudha Nandagopal: Our work in the Environmental Justice and Service Equity Division spans a huge range of issues. We work directly with people of color, immigrant, refugee, and low-income communities to build partnerships and address historic inequities in service delivery. We also work internally to coach our colleagues to embed racial equity in strategic business plans, decision-making, project design, and delivery.

For instance, right now we are working in partnership with people-of-color led community organizations to design programs that will engage our communities in the new food waste requirement that Seattle adopted in 2014.

Some of your businesses may experience challenges when the city rolls out new requirements – you may need to let your staff know how to operate differently, change how you work with customers and create new ways of doing business. Imagine if you were of limited-English proficiency or that you had only recently moved to the area or imagine that you have had a historic pattern of having the negative impacts of policy fall more heavily on your community. These are the kinds of barriers many in our communities face every day.

We know there’s a huge opportunity to support people of color, immigrant, refugee, and low-income communities in participating in composting and recycling. We also know that these communities are eager to work with Seattle Public Utilities to figure out ways to lift up existing cultural practices, build their skills, and create opportunities for long-term community environmental stewardship.

By working with community groups to design the projects, we can create relevant programs, unearth and utilize existing practices, create connections between community leaders to coach and support one-another and refine our programs to better connect with and build capacity in communities. We have to take an active learning role, start where people are at rather than making assumptions, increase capacity, and build upon existing resources.

GoGreen Conference: King County recently released the Equity and Social Justice Annual Report. What are the most important takeaways and what does this report mean for the future?

Matías Valenzuela: The report reveals that disturbing inequities persists in King County and that a person’s quality of life is greatly impacted by where they live, and by their race. For example: average household income in one ZIP code can be $100,000 less than in another just a few miles away; average life expectancy can be 10 years shorter in one place than another; and unemployment among African Americans is twice what it is for whites.

We know that we can take some concerted steps to make changes and increase opportunity for our residents.

As an example, we increased access to affordable health care, led by our Executive Dow Constantine, with an all-hands-on-deck approach that mobilized County agencies and community organizations to help nearly 200,000 people in King County sign up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, cutting the uninsured rate by more than one-third. The enrollment outreach targeted uninsured populations with the greatest needs, such as Latinos, African Americans, and limited-English speakers in South King County—creating greater access to critical preventative services such as vaccinations, screenings for cancer or mental-health issues, and treatment for chronic conditions.

And we are working to expand opportunity where people live. Based upon research which shows the place where one lives has a dramatic impact on his or her trajectory in life, King County and The Seattle Foundation launched Communities of Opportunity—an initiative to improve health, racial, and socioeconomic equity in communities, building on community assets and know-how.

More recently, we created a nationally-recognized low-income bus fare for our lower-income Metro Transit riders.

In our workforce, we are working to ensure greater equity, diversity, and opportunity in our changing workplace.

Event Details: GoGreen Seattle 2015, brought to you by King County, will take place Thursday, April 30, 2015 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. Early Bird rates are good through Friday, March 27, 2015. Single Admission Early Bird Tickets are $175 and Group Rate Early Bird Tickets are $150 (groups of two or more).  Special registration rates for student, government and non-profits are available.

Advertisements

Green Lines Series | Alaska Airlines Drives Sustainability Forward

Joe SpragueWe are very excited to welcome Joe Sprague, Senior Vice President of Communications and External Relations at Alaska Airlines as a Keynote at GoGreen Seattle 2015 on April 30th.  Joe is the executive sponsor and champion of Alaska Airlines’ sustainability initiatives and chairs Alaska’s Sustainability Steering Committee.

Join us and learn more about how  Alaska Airlines Sustainability Steering committee sets their goals and drives sustainability initiatives forward.

GoGreen: How does Alaska come up with goals and metrics and then report back on the success of the Alaska Sustainability Program?

Joe Sprague: We have our executive-level sustainability steering committee which approves and prioritizes the metrics and goals.  Before goals get to the steering committee level for approval we have three working groups, representing the three pillars of sustainability (people, planet and performance) that help identify the priority issues in each area.    The working groups consists of senior management employees across the company who take into consideration regulatory and policy factors, stakeholder concerns, opportunities for innovation, and peer-based norms when setting our goals.  It’s a little like watching sausage being made sometimes, but ultimately it works.

GoGreen: Tell us about your proudest sustainability achievements over the past 5 years.

Joe Sprague: Two stand out in my mind for different reasons.  The first one is becoming the most fuel efficient (and carbon efficient) airline in the nation.  We’ve decreased the intensity of our carbon footprint by more than 30% in the past 10 years.

We invested millions of dollars in our fleet, so that we are flying the most fuel efficient aircraft available for our type of flying (and we purchase our planes locally, at a little company nearby called Boeing, by the way).  We also fly them extremely efficiently – we pioneered Required Navigation Performance in the early ‘90s to fly more precise (and efficient routes).  That type of technology is now being used in the Greener Skies over Seattle program which is reducing emissions and noise over the Seattle basis by flying more direct and efficient routes into the airport.  The neat thing is, this technology and flight procedures are now available to all other airlines, so that they can reduce their emissions and noise too.

The other achievement I am proud of is our inflight recycling program.  Our sister carrier, Horizon, was the first airline in the nation to implement a robust inflight recycling program in the late 1990’s.  What started as a grassroots effort by engaged employees has expanded into one of our service standards.  Now at both Alaska and Horizon, we capture the cups, bottles, paper, and cans to make sure they are recycled when we reach the next catering location.  This program has been an enormously challenging project. At Alaska Airlines alone, we remove (or “deplane”) our inflight waste in about 40 cities throughout 21 states and each city has a different infrastructure and requirements for sorting and recycling. We are especially proud of the flight attendants, who are now separating  more than 81 percent (AS & QX combined) of the recyclable materials during inflight service and we give kudos to our catering department and contract flight kitchens who support our recycling goals with 100 percent participation.

GoGreen: How does Alaska stand out against the competition as a leader in the airline and transportation industry around sustainability?

Joe Sprague: Alaska has ranked at the top of the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) U.S Domestic Airline Fuel Efficiency Ranking list for four years in a row (since they began analyzing data). This last year, it was a 3-way tie for first place, but with the fleet improvements we have planned, we’re hoping to recapture the top spot next year.

Today, Alaska and Horizon are the only U.S. domestic carriers to recycle mixed recyclables (including glass, paper, plastic and aluminum) on every flight.

Alaska has implemented many advancements  to stand apart from the competition over the years:

  • 1st use of sustainable aviation biofuel on regularly scheduled flights
  • 1st wind turbine installed at our Nome airport
  • We developed and are using the only solar-powered ground support equipment.
  • We’ve made concrete commitments to make measurable progress on reducing our environmental impacts

We are proud to support such initiative’s as a transportation company around sustainability.

To find out more about Alaska’s commitment to sustainable practices read their blog post “At Alaska Airlines, greener flying starts from the ground up.”

Event Details: GoGreen Seattle 2015, brought to you by King County, will take place Thursday, April 30, 2015 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. Early Bird rates are good through Friday, March 27, 2015. Single Admission Early Bird Tickets are $175 and Group Rate Early Bird Tickets are $150 (groups of two or more).  Special registration rates for student, government and non-profits are available.

GoGreen Seattle 2014 Keynote Kimbal Musk on Creating A Community Through Food

The story of The Kitchen started when Kimbal’s black lab jumped into the lap of stranger – just like a scene out of one of Woody Allen’s romantic comedies. Unlike Woody’s stories which always focus on him – Kimbal’s story ended with a bistro that is all about others – a place brings family, friends and community together. The ending of Kimbal’s story is the beginning of another, which defines the life of an entrepreneur, an innovator and a chef.

ImageIn this Green Line Series, Kimbal Musk, restaurateur who has founded and advised several companies including Zip2 (acquired by Compaq), PayPal (acquired by Ebay), Everdream (acquired by Dell), Tesla Motors (Publicly listed: TSLA), SpaceX, OneRiot (acquired by Walmart) and SolarCity, gives us insight into the story behind opening up The Kitchen and his non-profit organization The Kitchen Community.

GGC: A techie and a chef is a rare combination of a successful entrepreneur. What made you venture into the culinary world after your success with several technology startups?

Kimbal Musk: After selling my successful software company, I took a look at my life and decided that I really wanted to work in the Food Industry.  I decided to move to NYC, the greatest city in the world for food, and enrolled at the French Culinary Institute to learn how to cook. After graduation though, I had no expectation of opening a restaurant, the experience at the French Culinary Institute was more intense than I had anticipated.

My life changed in an instant the morning of 9/11. I lived below the security clearance zone and was able to volunteer for fire fighters for six weeks. That really changed my perspective on food and how food creates community. You can connect with people in ways you could never do without food. I was driving down through piles of smoldering metal in ATVs with coolers of sautéed salmon with dill sauce. It was an incredible experience.

GG: Let’s talk a little bit about your philanthropy work through The Kitchen Community and the Learning Gardens. What inspired you to create this non-profit and how do you see it benefiting future generations?

KM: Around four years ago, I had a serious accident and in-turn took a deep look at my life and what I could do for others with my experience and background in technology. I wanted to focus more philanthropy and embracing the philosophy of community through food. Hugo Matheson and I created the 501c3 non-profit arm of The Kitchen restaurants three years ago in 2011 to help expand the school garden efforts we had been doing in Boulder since 2004 in partnership with Growe Foundation.

GG: Can you tell me a little bit more about the Learning Gardens?

KM: Learning Gardens are extremely flexible and modular which allows the school to place them on any surface and create a shape that works for the space available. Some of the schools that have no outdoor space at all make the Learning Gardens work by putting them in thLearning Garden - Sunshinee entrance of the school. The function has always been to be attractive and fun. We want kids to play with the Learning Gardens spontaneously. We now encourage schools to place the Learning Gardens directly on the playground so that the children will be able to experience them every single day.

GG: We are very excited to have you as our GoGreen Seattle 2014 closing keynote. Without revealing too much, what are a few key takeaways that you have in store for our attendees?

KM: I really believe in community as the new currency of our time. Without community we don’t have commerce. I believe every business creates a community around their supply chain and their customers. If you look at it from that perspective, what are the positive impacts  businesses can have in their community beyond simply selling their product? How can businesses become a better member of their community?

GGC: You are a serial entrepreneur – The Kitchen will certainly not be the last of your ventures. How and where will your next story begin?

KM: Right now, I’m learning about the great companies and people that are out there and figuring out ways to make those systems better. Learning Gardens are really innovation on top of incredible work that’s been done by groups around the country including the group we have in Boulder. These people have done great things.

There are great organizations in Seattle that have forward-looking communities around the environment and learning outside and helping kids eat better. So we’re looking to Seattle as our next expansion point.

Green Line Series SEA | Casey Dilloway On Funding The Change We Wish To See

Casey DillowayOne of the biggest barriers to starting or expanding a small or local business in this country is a symptom of the “Great Recession” — access to capital has significantly contracted in the past five years and small business owners have been hit the hardest. That’s where you come in. What if there was a mechanism where members of a community could help finance the businesses and organizations they want to see flourish in their city? What if a little bit of the power belonged to the people and not just the banks in choosing how the local business sector shapes up? In this edition of the Green Line Series, Casey Dilloway, co-founder and president of Community Sourced Capital, explains how the evolving democratization of finance offers a viable supplement to traditional sources of capital in a way that gives citizens direct access to funding the change we wish to see.

GoGreen Conference: What is the problem or challenge you are trying to solve via a crowdfunding mechanism and how do you specifically approach it at Community Sourced Capital?

Casey Dilloway: The problem within the financing world is that our system in general is not acting in the interest of every person. It’s acting in the interest of fewer than most. This is especially true at the local level, where people are starting to see how simply shifting habits has a huge impact on their local economy and it’s part of the greater sustainability movement.

The problem from the financial side of things is that we usually rely on banks to help support small businesses with financing and in the past few years bank loans to small businesses have been decreasing. Specifically very small loans — like those under $150,000. That’s the problem we are trying to solve — making small businesses stronger and giving them access to capital in the mean time.

When we started crafting our solution we looked at developing as much of a systems-based approach as we could. If we are going to get small businesses access to capital then we might as well get it from the very people supporting these small businesses as consumers. Our system sources capital from the people that also benefit from the business. And we are seeing really strong connections between our individual lenders and the businesses they are lending to in a way that I don’t think we’ve seen in a really long time in society.

Ultimately we’re trying to line up our money with our values. And we think that if people knew more about what their money was doing when they’re not spending or consciously investing it, they would be upset. That they would want to have more say over what their money is doing.

Continue reading

King County Executive Dow Constantine Invites You To GoGreen Seattle 2013!

Dow ConstantineEditor’s note: GoGreen is proud to partner with King County on our fourth annual sustainable business conference in the region. The following is a personal invitation from keynote speaker, King County Executive, Dow Constantine — we’ll see you April 24!

I’m pleased to invite you to the upcoming GoGreen Seattle Conference on Wednesday, April 24 at the Conference Center in downtown Seattle.

This is the premier sustainability conference for business and government in the region. It is a learning experience for both public and private sector decision makers and is intended to empower attendees with the strategies, tools and connections to green their organizations with prosperity and profitability in mind.

Meaningful progress toward environmental sustainability can only happen through partnerships between governments, businesses and residents.

Your participation in this conference will help us shape the policies and investments in our community that will guide the future of sustainable living and business practices.

Maintaining our region’s leadership in environmental and economic sustainability are top priorities for King County – they are essential to our high quality of life.

During GoGreen Seattle, you will be exposed to real-world examples and ideas that our region has put into place and have taken us to the cutting edge of technology.

Sustainability is a powerful and indispensable tool for navigating the tumultuous waters of today’s global economy – as well as solving critical challenges such as climate change. GoGreen Seattle works across industry silos to foster peer-to-peer learning and collaborative solutions.

My hope is that you will take what you learn at this conference and turn it into action. That is why King County is proudly sponsoring the conference in 2013.

Environmental sustainability and economic growth are foundational goals of the King County Strategic Plan. We are taking our own actions to become more sustainable in our day-to-day operations, and in our planning for the future. And we are seeing results. King County’s actions have reduced our environmental footprint, saved taxpayers money and encouraged business development and growth.

For example:

  • King County is implementing an Energy Plan that focuses on energy efficiency and renewable energy development … as well as award-winning green building and environmentally preferable purchasing programs.
  • We’re making it easier for nonprofits and businesses to gain access to low-interest financing for projects that conserve energy, water and promote environmental sustainability through the Green Community Initiative – the first of its kind in the state.
  • We’re capturing landfill gas, cleaning it and turning it into pipeline quality natural gas in volumes large enough to heat 10,000 homes – and we’re earning income while doing it.

Our sustainability and resource conservation work isn’t relegated solely to programs of a grand scale. By visiting with the King County staff at this year’s GoGreen Conference, you’ll see:

  • How we’re helping daily commuters shrink their carbon footprint through rideshare programs and our clean and efficient transit fleet;
  • How we’re bring recycling and resource conservation education to thousands of school kids in classrooms and assemblies; and 
  • How we’re offering everyday commonsense approaches to getting more value and creating less waste while shopping.

I hope you find your time at the GoGreen Conference informative and inspiring. Thank you and I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, April 24.

Dow Constantine,
King County Executive

King County Executive Dow Constantine will give the morning keynote address at GoGreen Seattle 2013. Register to join usApril 24, for a full day of insights, training and networking that will empower you to advance sustainability efforts at your workplace and contribute to the success of the region. View the entire 2013 program & speaker roster at our website. 

I-5 Corridor Special For Portlanders To Attend GoGreen ’12 Seattle (PLUS Win Amtrak Tix For Two!)

Photo Credit: Daniel Schwen

Portlanders, we are offering a special deal this week to attend GoGreen ’12 Seattle. Through Wednesday, April 4, register with a friend or colleague under our Buy One Get One Free offer. If you’re one of the first three pairs to sign up, you’ll also win two free train tickets to Seattle on Amtrak so you can ride to the event sustainably and in style!  Here are the details:

  • Check out our killer line-up for 2012 in Seattle and the full program focused on building the business case for sustainability.
  • Register with a friend or colleague under the Buy One Get One Free ticket option by 11:55pm on April 4 and get two tickets to GoGreen ’12 Seattle for the price of one! **You must use the discount code “TWOFORONE” in order to get this rate. After you enter the code, the ticket price will cut in half.
  • The three speediest Portlanders to register under the Buy One Get One Free offer will win a set of train tickets to Seattle! These tickets can only be used for transportation to GoGreen ’12 Seattle. If you win one of the train ticket sets, our team will contact you for your information and take care of the reservations.

Other questions about the Buy One Get One Free offer? Contact us at: seattle@gogreenconference.net.

Green Vid: GoGreenSEA 2011 Visionaries Charting Washington’s Sustainable Path

Video is in from GoGreen 2011 Seattle and we’re posting one of our favorite sessions from the day to kick off the GoGreen Seattle 2011 Green Vid Series. The Innovators: Visionaries Charting Washington’s Sustainable Path session brought together four of the Puget Sound region’s most inspiring leaders in sustainability to talk about how they were able to push green initiatives at their organizations to new places, and share ideas for scaling those ideas in order to achieve success at a broader scale. Moderated by David Allen (McKinstry) and featuring Burt Hammer (HydroVolts), Callie Ridolfi (EcoFab) and Stephen Lambo (American Strategic Group)—this is a great session to revisit or watch if you weren’t able to join us for GoGreen Seattle this year!

Vodpod videos no longer available.