Businesses in Bellevue seeking to make their operations more environmentally sustainable will get help setting targets with the city's new "Green Business Challenge." Bellevue was one of just four cities nationwide to receive a $15,000 grant to launch the program.
To celebrate winning the grant, Mayor Don Davidson helped ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange Thursday. The Green Business Challenge Implementation grant comes from Office Depot and ICLEI USA, an association of local governments promoting sustainable development.
"This type of public-private collaboration, with targets and goals and high involvement, is a showcase for how things can really get done," Davidson noted.
In addition to Bellevue, Austin, Texas, Chula Vista, Calif., and the Triangle J Council of Governments (North Carolina) received Green Business Challenge grants. The grant will help Bellevue expand its Environmental Stewardship Initiative efforts in the commercial sector.
To increase the adoption of sustainable business practices among Eastside businesses, the city launched the Eastside Sustainable Business Alliance last year. A partnership with neighboring cities and local companies, the ESBA offers monthly workshops and networking events that help businesses reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing waste, cutting energy consumption and lowering employee commutes.
Greenhouse gas emissions from the commercial sector comprise roughly 30 percent of Bellevue’s total community greenhouse gas emissions inventory. More than 35 organizations have participated in ESBA events so far.
The Green Business Challenge will provide a high-profile platform for more businesses to participate. Intended to be a friendly competition, it will help companies set targets, measure data and outline next steps to "greening" their operations. ICLEI USA will provide with proven measurement tools, resources and training to help participants reach their goals.
The ESBA plans to launch the Green Business Challenge in November and to recruit 100 eastside businesses to participate in the first year of the program. While all businesses will be recognized for their efforts, winners of the Challenge will receive special honors.
ICLEI USA Green Business Challenge
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