Boise Brings Industry Leaders to Boston for Third Sustainability Summit

Boise Brings Industry Leaders to Boston for Third Sustainability Summit

Boise Sustainability Summit was a great success


Sustainable practices can help businesses lower their costs and gain exposure to an audience with a combined annual buying power of $10 trillion, according to Bill Roth, a green business coach and author of The Secret Green Sauce.


“The green revolution is an unprecedented revenue growth opportunity,” said Roth, who spoke recently at a summit of industry sustainability leaders sponsored by Boise Inc.

Boise’s third sustainability summit, Choices – Paths to Sustainability, brought nearly 200 professionals from a variety of industries and organizations to Boston, where they shared their knowledge and best practices around environmental, social and economic sustainability.


“Our customers are the lifeblood of our business, so we want to help them advance their own sustainability initiatives,” said Alexander Toeldte, President and Chief Executive Officer of Boise Inc. “Dedication to comprehensive sustainability policies and practices not only reduces our operational environmental impacts, it can be the foundation for business success by improving competitiveness, increasing a company's ability to retain and recruit employees and creating a more positive corporate reputation.”


The keynote speaker, social entrepreneur and author Bill Strickland, shared his experience creating programs that sustain lives and communities. His nonprofit company, Manchester Bidwell Corporation, is expanding its acclaimed arts and vocational education programs from Pittsburgh to other cities around the United States and the world.


“I’m not just in the training business, I’m in the attitude business,” said Strickland, author of Make the Impossible Possible. “People are born into this world as assets, not liabilities.”


Other speakers at the 2010 Summit included:

Marialyce Pedersen, senior research and content development representative for Disney. Pedersen walked attendees through an overview of the company’s 2008 aspirational goals including zero waste and tips on calculating savings from waste prevention activities.  Pedersen touched on efforts to engage employees worldwide through adoption of the “Green Standard” and formation of regional “Green Teams”.


Linda Coady, former vice president of sustainability for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC. Coady shared what her organization learned in developing environmental, economic and social sustainability goals for one of the world’s largest sporting events. She predicted that developing standard units of measurement for social sustainability efforts is the next frontier in the sustainability movement as companies try to address issues in their supply chains.


Al Sample, president of The Pinchot Institute for Conservation, a nonprofit natural resource policy think tank, explained why corporations that emphasize environmental, social, and governance principles tend to have stronger financial performance, as well as lower regulatory risk and stronger support from employees and local communities.


Ruth Daoust, manager of the Michigan State University Surplus Store and Recycling Center, led Summit attendees on a virtual tour of the year-old facility, hailed as one of the most successful institutional recycling efforts in the country.


Kate McGlynn, Boise’s product environmental steward, explained some findings from the company’s recent efforts to establish a carbon footprint for a few key products made at its paper mill in Jackson, Alabama.


In addition, Jeri Weiss and Christine Beling, pollution prevention specialists for the New England region of the Environmental Protection Agency, explained how the agency is trying to get more businesses and commercial property owners to engage in paper recycling programs. “Recycling has immense consequences,” Beling said. “What you do in your blue bin really matters.”


Boise’s previous Sustainability Summits were held in Denver and Chicago. Boston was chosen this year because of a commitment to sustainability in preserving historic landmarks while incorporating environmentally-preferable practices and modern technologies. The historic Omni Parker House, which opened in 1855 and recently completed a $30 million renovation, hosted the event and is a certified green hotel.