Making Philadelphia "the most sustainable city in America" is a goal Mayor Nutter has asserted repeatedly, and today he took a major step toward that in launching the Greater Philadelphia Green Business Program. Thirty-three Delaware Valley companies have signed on as charter members of the initiative, which provides a checklist of steps for companies to "green" their business practices. This includes seven mandatory measures and 20 elective measures, and based on the number of practices, firms may achieve different rankings of Basic, Silver, Gold or Platinum.
Enthusiasm for the prospects of the program ran high at the Press Conference held at Rohm & Haas Philly headquarters (6th and Market) this morning, as Mayor Nutter promised that the initiative would implement "the most advanced Green principles" and help all of us to "change our wasteful habits." He also found time to joke with Montgomery County Commissioner Joseph Hoeffel about both of them using "the same barber."
Earth to Philly chatted with one of the leading thinkers behind the green biz checklist, Patrick Starr, Vice President of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council's Southeast Region. What about the program, we wanted to know, would put some teeth into the rhetoric about turning Philly into our country's "most sustainable city?"
"We're going further in measuring the impact, measuring the carbon footprint," he said, pointing to the comprehensive and detailed nature of the checklist. He also pointed out an interesting section at the end promising two extra credits for "Innovation" that furthers the aims of a particular category, even if it's not on the list yet. "One cool thing is that we're asking companies to to share their good ideas" in order to make the plan even more comprehensive, he said. "What we know is that as much as we struggled to make this comprehensive somebody will come along and say 'Why didn't you do this? Why didn't you include this?' So we're staying open to new initiatives, new ideas."