Thursday, February 11, 2016

Philly biz leaders sign onto green agenda

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.

Philly biz leaders sign onto green agenda

Pierre Brondeau of Rohm & Haas is the first to sign the ´Charter Members of the Greeter Philadelphia Green Business Commitment´ at Tuesday morning´s event. (Photo: Tommy Leonardi)
Pierre Brondeau of Rohm & Haas is the first to sign the 'Charter Members of the Greeter Philadelphia Green Business Commitment' at Tuesday morning's event. (Photo: Tommy Leonardi)

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."

For instance, Starr allowed that one potential area for expanding the comprehensiveness of the checklist is in the area of food - so far the only mention is an item encouraging locally-grown and/or organic food at corporate events. "The community sets the standards," he remarked. "No doubt, someone out there will say we need to include points and bonuses" for serving plant-based foods, due to the outsize greenhouse-gas impact of livestock."Right now, though, we were going for the big wins in things like facilities' energy efficiency and transportation costs."

Interested business leaders can find out more about signing up for the Greater Philadelphia Green Business Program at its Web site,, where they can, in the words of Gandhi (topping the FAQ page) "Be the change that you want to see in the world."

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About this blog
Earth to Philly is a weblog focusing on earth-conscious technology, trends and ideas, from a Daily News perspective. We look at the "green" aspects of your home, business, food, transportation, style, policy, gadgets and artwork. If you have a Philly-related story, Click here to let us know about it!

The experts at Philadelphia's Energy Coordinating Agency answer your energy questions in our regular feature Stay Warm, Stay Green. Send in your question or questions to

Look for Jenice Armstrong to supply tips on green living as well as occasional columns on the subject of Green. She also blogs at Hey Jen.

Becky Batcha stays tuned for the here-and-now practical side of conservation, alternative energy, organic foods, etc. - stuff you can do at home now. Plus odds and ends.

Laurie Conrad recycles from her ever-growing e-mailbag to pass along the latest travel deals, fashion statements, household strategies, gadgets, cool local events and other nuggets of interest to those who appreciate a clean, green world.

Vance Lehmkuhl looks at topics like eco-conscious eating, public transportation and fuel-efficient driving from his perspective as a vegetarian, a daily SEPTA bus rider and a hybrid driver, as well as noting the occasional wacky trend or product. Contact Vance with your 'green' news.

Ronnie Polaneczky sees the green movement through the eyes of her 12-year-old daughter, who calls her on every scrap of paper or glass bottle that Ronnie neglects to toss into the house recycling bins. Ronnie will blog about new or unexpected ways to go green. She also blogs at So, What Happened Was...

Sandra Shea and the DN editorial board opine on any green-related legislation or policy. And we'll pass along some of the opeds on the subject that people send us.

Jonathan Takiff will be blogging mainly about consumer electronics - those things that we love to use and that suck too much energy. He'll spotlight green-conscious gizmos made in a responsible fashion, both in terms of materials used and the energy it takes to run them.

Signe Wilkinson draws the comic strip Family Tree, which follows the Tree family as they try to live green in the face of nattering neighbors, plastic-wrapped consumer products, and the primal teenage urge to spend vast quantities of money on hair care products of dubious organic quality.

In addition to these updates from our newsroom bloggers, watch for an occasional feature, Dumpster Diver Dispatches, from Philadelphia's original "green" community of artists, the Dumpster Divers. You'll learn about creative ways to reuse and recycle while you reduce, and about the artists who are making little masterpieces from what others throw out.

  • Dispatch #1: Margaret Giancola's rugs from plastic bags
  • Dispatch #2: Dumpster Divers in City Hall (Art in City Hall series)
  • Dispatch #3: Wild wood, New Jersey
  • Dispatch #4: Dumpster Divers award winners announced
  • Dispatch #5: From sweaters to colorful cuddling
  • Dispatch #6: Green artists retake South Street Sunday
  • Dispatch #7: Isaiah Zagar: He's a Magic (Gardens) Man

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