Thursday, October 15, 2009

Going Green for Good and #BAD09

On Wednesday, October 14, the Greater Ft. Worth PRSA chapter held a program entitled The PR Impact of Being Environmentally Proactive, and had the following speakers:

Most people understand that being environmentally conscious is good for the environment, but the question remains is it good your company or client? Each panelist provided green and sustainability perspectives from their organizations and what it can mean for progress.

If not now, when?
One of the most interesting things about the program was just how much this theme seemed to resonate with attendees. From a public relations standpoint, we should always pay attention to how our organizations are perceived. The environmental impact view is just one more lens through which we need to monitor and help counsel leadership. Does this mean we need to be experts in environmental policy? Not necessarily, but it does mean we need to determine what our stakeholders expect from us in the areas of being green and sustainable meaning we look to meet business needs in ways that minimize environmental impacts.

The lessons went a bit beyond public relations since the speakers provided insight from global, national and city perspectives. The topic was also perfectly timed for the Blog Action Day 2009 theme of Climate Change.
(hence the #BAD09 in the post's title)

I appreciated what Chris Smith provided from the Environmental Defense Fund. Her organization seems to be taking the smart approach in targeting practical solutions based on science, business, and communities to find environmental ideas that work. She presented a short clip from a video of Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund that is worth a watch.

I found a related video on the EDF channel on Climate Change. (I loved the call to action at the 2:22 mark.)

Other interesting bits:
  • IBM has had a corporate policy on environmental affairs since 1971.
  • IBM was listed as #5 in Newsweek's 2009 Green Rankings List
  • Tom Burke, APR mentioned the Pecan Street Project (of which IBM and EDF are among the partnering organizations) 
  • The project has a goal of ensuring "Austin’s leadership in the creation of the next generation electrical system, including utility and community infrastructure, consumer systems, State and local policy and regulation, economic development opportunities, new venture creation, and community engagement." Think of it as Energy 2.0.
While I'm impressed with Austin, I am especially proud of Ft. Worth because according to Brian Boerner...
  • Ft. Worth was named #15 on Popular Science's 2008 'America's 50 Greenest Cities' list  
  • The water reuse program saved 3,667,137,480 gallons of water for the year.
  • They converted three city soccer/rugby fields to artificial turf and is saving 11.5 million gallons of water annually.
  • Over 22% (62,000 tons) of the residential waste stream was recycled and diverted from area landfills.
  • We have six USDA approved Farmers Markets in Ft. Worth.
Communication Carry-out: Start small, start where you can. Sustainability is a process not a product.  Look at the bigger picture beyond your organization. Change is required. How can we balance customer expectations as they relate to environmental issues with customer service? Yes, we need to be paying attention.

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