Sustainable Operations: The Value of Sustainability Reporting Set for March 15

What can a business gain by producing an annual sustainability report?  What is involved with producing one?  How can a business get started?

Answers to these questions and more will be addressed on Friday, March 15 during a workshop called “Sustainable Operations: The Value of Sustainability Reporting.”  Hosted by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and Sustainable Pittsburgh’s Champions for Sustainability network, the workshop takes place from 8:00 am to 11:30 am at the Fairmont Hotel in Pittsburgh.  The fee to attend is $45.  A discounted rate of $35 is available to Sustainable Pittsburgh and Allegheny Conference members.  Students receive a special rate.  Breakfast is provided.

The program features a keynote by PITT OHIO’S Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President, Geoff Muessig, and a panel of pioneering firms that are contemplating or have signed on to the Southwestern Pennsylvania Sustainable Business Compact, a certification platform for businesses working to be more sustainable in their operations.  PITT OHIO released its first Corporate Sustainability Report at the end of January 2013 as part of its focus on strengthening its competency in the area of transportation sustainability.

“Our sustainability reporting provides a big picture view of how PITT OHIO is advancing its sustainability efforts,” Mr. Muessig said.  “Through these reports we are better able to invest in our rolling stock and corporate infrastructure, while reducing costs, saving energy, and reducing our carbon output.  PITT OHIO is using its sustainability strategy to build a competitive advantage for our customers while continuing to enhance our reputation for innovation.”

Sustainability reporting provides information on a company’s social, environmental, and governance performance.  This type of reporting helps businesses increase their understanding of risks and opportunities, in addition to being able to further understand the link between financial and non-financial performance.

In addition to Mr. Muessig, workshop speakers include:

  • Bill Flanagan, Executive Vice President, Corporate Relations, Allegheny Conference on Community Development
  • Tom Hronek, Operations Manager, Eaton Corporation
  • Jamie Moore, Director of Sourcing and Sustainability, Eat’n Park Hospitality Group
  •  Marc Portnoff, Manager, New Technology, Thar Geothermal/Thar Energy
  • Apple White, Vice President, Environmental Sustainability Program Manager, BNY Mellon

Sustainable Operations: The Value of Sustainability Reporting provides Southwestern Pennsylvania businesses with an opportunity to learn the motivations for, expectations of, and value derived from sustainability reporting initiatives.  Participants will hear inspiring stories of regional corporate leaders who are documenting and declaring the value of their evolving sustainability practices; they will learn about the benefits of taking the first step for producing a corporate sustainability report, and they will learn about the support and credibility that a certification program (the SWPA Sustainable Business Compact) can bring to corporate sustainability efforts.

“The SWPA Sustainable Business Compact raises the bar in terms of corporate leadership, collaboration, credibility, and transparency,” said Matthew Mehalik, Program Manager at Sustainable Pittsburgh.  “It provides a blueprint for businesses to advance and publicly demonstrate their corporate sustainability achievements through a series of actions covering various sustainability components including resource efficiency, diversity, smart growth, workforce development, governance and management.”

This March 15 workshop is geared toward corporate and community leaders who increasingly grasp the benefits of implementing, tracking, and disclosing sustainability-related information as part of a firm’s operational practice.  For questions, contact Matthew Mehalik, Sustainable Pittsburgh Program Manager, at (412) 258-6644 or mmehalik@sustainablepittsburgh.org.  More details, including the agenda and registration, are available at www.C4SPgh.org.

Green Workplace Challenge Winners Announced

Sustainable Pittsburgh announced the winners of the first ever PittsburghGreen Workplace Challenge(GWC) during a morning program held at Phipps Conservatory.  The organization also shared the significant positive impact the participants have had on the region over the past year.

The winners of the competition are as follows:

Small Business Category Winner: evolve environment::architecture – 221 points

The small business runner up is Pashek Associates with 147 points.

Medium Business Category Winner: Eaton Corporation – 78 points

The medium business runner up is: Ductmate – 74 points

Third place in the medium business category is WESCO – 69 points

Large Business Category Winner: Bayer Corporation – 221 points

The large business runner up is PNC Financial Services Group – 198 points

Third place in the large business category is: BNY Mellon – 188 points

In the Observer category, a non-competitive category, the top three scorers are Allegheny County with 320 points, Green Building Alliance – 219 points, and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank – 97 points.

Combined, the 50+ forward-thinking organizations participating in theGreen Workplace Challenge saved enough energy to power 5,842 averageU.S.homes for a year (67,159,765 kWh of energy savings).  This equates to more than all of the occupied homes inEast Allegheny(1252 homes), Friendship (1071), Hays (166), Polish Hill (697),Regent Square(456), and Southside Slopes (2130) for a year.  Additionally, enough water was saved to fill Heinz Field with 13 feet of water!  (Nearly 91 million gallons saved!)  In terms of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, participants saved over 18,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, which translates to roughly 452 airline flights of 500 miles: 3.1 days worth of all flights leaving Pittsburgh International Airport on a given day.

More information about the GWC is available at http://greenchallenge.C4SPgh.org.

Smart Energy Use Workshop Set for June 21

Sustainable Pittsburgh’s Champions for Sustainability (C4S) business network, in partnership with the C4S Air Quality Series Planning Committee, will host “Smart Energy Use for a Healthier Business Climate and Clean Air,” at Phipps Conservatory from 7:30 am to 1:30 pm.

During the workshop, local and national industry leaders will share insights to their achievements and practical advice for smarter ways to use energy and save money while simultaneously improving the region’s air quality in step with the Breathe Project.  The Breathe Project is a coalition of residents, businesses, government and other groups in southwesternPennsylvania working together to clean up the air for the health of families and the economy.

SustainablePittsburghwill also reveal the latest Leaderboard standings for the Green Workplace Challenge, a yearlong competition demonstrating the business case for sustainable business practices.  Over 50 entities are participating in the Challenge, comprising businesses in the small to mid markets, as well as the Fortune 500 and nonprofit sectors.

Registration for the event is $45 for Sustainable Pittsburgh/C4S members and $55 for non-members.  It is free to all Green Workplace Challenge participants.  Students receive a special rate.  More details, including registration, are available at www.c4spgh.org/AQ_kickoff.html.  For questions, individuals may contact Matthew Mehalik, Sustainable Pittsburgh Program Manager, at (412) 258-6644 or mmehalik@sustainablepittsburgh.org.

Smart Growth Conference Set for Dec. 13

Increasingly businesses are integrating sustainability into their operations – and seeing a payoff in terms of cost savings, talent attraction and accessing new markets.  But all businesses are also touched by questions of sustainability on a larger scale.  How, for example, do regional investments in infrastructure affect a company’s performance?  How do housing choices and the overall health of communities impact a company’s ability to hire qualified workers?  Do regional development patterns hurt or hinder progress in terms of costs, taxes and protecting business investments? What about the growing number of vacant properties?

Businesses are invited to explore and get involved as stakeholders in the regional systems connected to these questions by attending the 11th annual Southwestern Pennsylvania Smart Growth Conference, “Smart Growth is Smart Business,” on Tuesday, December 13, 2011.  Attending the conference will further define the business role and engage this sector in building a more economically robust, sustainable region.

Seven leading organizations are partnering to present this important event at theDavidL.LawrenceConvention Center: Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Green Building Alliance, NAIOP Pittsburgh Chapter, Pittsburgh Technology Council, Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Sustainable Pittsburgh, and the Urban Land Institute Pittsburgh District Council.

“Businesses are on a fast uptake in integrating sustainability in their operations.  It’s paying off in savings, talent attraction, new markets, and more,” saysCourt Gould, Executive Director of Sustainable Pittsburgh.  “However, the sustainability-minded business also engages outside its operations and real estate to improve the larger regional systems in which it operates—that is, champion smart growth and sustainability relative to regional social, economic, and environmental issues that can make or break an economy conducive to prosperity.”

The day-long conference will focus on four interrelated imperatives that highlight business opportunity while building community and regional economy:

  • Innovative Finance – solutions for urban real estate, housing, and metropolitan infrastructure
  • Blight and Abandonment – mitigation for economic vitality
  • Green Infrastructure – savings and business opportunities
  • Indicators of Smart Growth – measuring the region’s progress by PittsburghTODAY

Emphasis will be on specific opportunities and action items around which the business community can rally to effectuate positive change.

Henry Cisneros, founder and executive chairman of CityView, will provide the keynote address.  CityView is an institutional investment firm focused on urban real estate, in-city housing and metropolitan infrastructure.  The company has invested in and developed more than $2B in real estate assets for 45 projects in 30 markets.  Prior to establishing CityView, Cisneros served as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and was the four-term Mayor of San Antonio, Texas.

Robert Lang, Professor of Sociology and the Director of Brookings Mountain West at the Universityof Nevadaand Fellow of the Urban Land Institute, is the afternoon’s lead presenter.  Lang is author of Edgeless Cities: Exploring the Elusive Metropolis and From Wall Street to Your Street: New Solutions for Smart Growth Finance, among others.

Additional speakers include:

  • Laura Ellsworth, Partner-in-Charge, Jones Day; Chair,PennsylvaniaEconomy League ofSouthwestern PA
  • Liz Hersh, Executive Director, HousingAllianceofPennsylvania
  • Lee Huang, Director of Econsult Corporation, author Vacant Land Management in Philadelphia
  • Robert Lang, Professor of Sociology and the Director of theBrookingsMountainWest at theUniversityofNevadaand Fellow of the Urban Land Institute
  • Dominique Lueckenhoff, Director, US EPA Office of State and Watershed Partnerships (Mid-Atlantic Green Infrastructure POC)
  • Kathleen McGinty, Westin Solutions, Inc.
  • Audrey Murrell, Associate Professor of Business Administration, Psychology, Public and International Affairs, Director of theDavidBergCenterfor Ethics and Leadership,UniversityofPittsburgh
  • Mark Nootbaar, Senior News Editor, Essential Public Radio
  • Anthony Ravitz, Green Team Lead, Real Estate & Workplace Services, Google
  • Todd Reidbord, Principal and President, Walnut Capital
  • Audrey Russo, President and CEO,PittsburghTechnology Council
  • John Schombert, Executive Director, 3 Rivers Wet Weather
  • Rob Stephany, Executive Director, Urban Redevelopment Authority ofPittsburgh
  • Brian Walker, CFO, Millcraft Industries

The conference will also feature PittsburghTODAY’s release of a newly developed set of regional smart growth indicators.

Individuals that would benefit from attending include those invested in the region’s business, economic development, and community prosperity; business owners and leaders; economic development professionals; developers; bankers; real estate leaders; investors, policy leaders, community developers, planners, and federal, state, and local officials.

“The issue of smart growth is no less important now than it was during Renaissance I when Pittsburgh was clearing its smoky skies and working on urban redevelopment to make the region a more attractive and competitive place,” says Bill Flanagan, Vice President of Corporate Relations at the Allegheny Conference.  “Population shifts, for example, have taken tax base away from some communities and moved them to others—that creates issues for businesses and how they contend with their own tax burden.  Transit, transportation and talent are also important issues relating to smart growth.”

The PNC Financial Services Group is the conference Gold Level Sponsor.  Essential Public Radio serves as the media sponsor.  The event runs from 8:00 am until 4:15 pm with registration beginning at 7:30 am.  Cost is $45 to attend; a networking lunch is included.  For more information visit www.sustainablepittsburgh.org or contact Lori Butler, Sustainable Pittsburgh, at (412) 258-6642 or lbutler@sustainablepittsburgh.org.

“Sustainability and Healthcare: Improving Healing Environments” Series Concludes with Dec. 1 Presentation

Join Sustainable Pittsburgh’s Champions for Sustainability (C4S) network along with the Sustainable Healthcare Series Planning Committee to learn about the latest strategies for engaging supply chains and using information technology in the healthcare industry from the perspective of sustainability.

This December 1 event marks the final workshop of the 2011 “Sustainability and Healthcare: Improving Healing Environments” series. The series is designed to expand the policy and practice of sustainability in the healthcare industry. The emphasis for each event involves articulating the health outcomes, healthcare benefits, and the business case for sustainability in the healthcare field. The programs focus on sharing best practices, resources, examples, and how to get started.

This event is a “must attend” for professionals in the healthcare industry who are interested in gaining knowledge and how-to assistance on a variety of topics related to group purchasing as well as challenges and benefits associated with the increased use of electronic records and mobile devices in healthcare.

Emphasizing the importance of green purchasing and its relevance to sustainability, Practice Greenhealth, a national organization for institutions in the healthcare community that have made a commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly practices, states:

“Health-care institutions can have a broader impact on the environment by means of their purchasing practices. By such practices they can send a message to the market that they are ready to support sustainability through application of their financial resources. Individual health-care organizations can influence their upstream supply chains to move toward more sustainable practices by working with supply chain aggregators commonly used in health care, such as group purchasing organizations (GPOs). Collaborative efforts with such suppliers can bring safer and cleaner products into health-care facilities. Due to their scale, when large health care facilities and companies green up their supply chains, they have a strong positive effect, due to the sheer volume of their purchases.”

Click here to learn more about the 2011 workshop series and to view materials from past programs.