Category Archives: Uncategorized

Speaker Spotlight with Mami Hara | General Manager/CEO, Seattle Public Utilities

How has 2020 shaped you and your organization’s strategy/work regarding sustainability and a more equitable regional economy?

Seattle Public Utilities manages waste and water for all businesses and residents in Seattle. The utility has an annual budget of $1.4 billion and about 1,400 employees, and our work spans from managing urban flooding and drainage to collecting and sorting City’s compost, recycling, and solid waste; from forest management in the pristine Cedar and Tolt River Watersheds to ensuring high quality drinking water for 1.5 million people; from supporting hygiene stations and RV pump-outs for our unhoused communities to maintaining extensive green and gray infrastructure throughout the City. Our core businesses are on the frontlines of climate: they contribute to climate change and are impacted by a changing climate.

As we recover from the health, economic, and social crises of 2020, we must prioritize building a circular, regenerative and holistic Seattle economy. Climate change, environmental pollution, social unrest, economic disparity are complex problems that require inclusive and interconnected approaches. Seattle Public Utilities can contribute to this recovery in the following ways:

  • Influence a regional ecosystems economy via blue-green jobs training and workforce development
  • Contribute to livability and quality of life via green stormwater infrastructure, access to clean drinking water, and investment prioritization in environmental justice communities
  • Lead with racial equity as we evolve our business into the future

2020 taught us that climate change will exacerbate existing inequities. Our communities of color will bear a disproportionate burden of climate impacts. To move forward we must recover in ways that address inequities and disparities, build community wealth, prevent displacement, foster partnerships, lead with community priorities, and act now to adapt to a changing climate.

Tell us your plan at Seattle Public Utilities to drive new action and growth around green facility operations, carbon neutrality, water conservation and zero waste.

Seattle Public Utilities, with our community, is a national leader in protecting and sustaining community health and the environment. We have long recognized that how we manage water and waste has the power to drive transformative change for our employees, community, environment, and economy for generations to come. Today, this is more important than ever, as new and continuing challenges test our resiliency and resolve.

SPU’s 2021-2026 Strategic Business Plan focuses our priorities, guides essential service delivery, and maximizes the benefit of every dollar. The plan reflects guiding principles that are at the center of our work ethic: understanding and responding to customers and community, ensuring affordability and accountability, addressing risk and resilience, enhancing equity and empowerment, and delivering service and safety.

The vision, priorities and goals of SPU’s Strategic Business Plan will guide us in our work to collaboratively prevent waste; prioritize sustainable resource management; facilitate greener and more efficient building; invest in and maintain our aging utility infrastructure; and partner to create new, green jobs that will benefit traditionally underserved communities and restore our environment. A few examples of programs that are moving us towards these goals include:

  • Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI). For nearly two decades, SPU has been investing in GSI or nature-based approaches like rain gardens, floodable open space, creek floodplain improvements, and stormwater capture and reuse to mimic how native forests manage rainfall. These investments complement and improve our underground pipe and tank structures to help prevent flooding and water pollution, improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods with nearby nature and health benefits, and help make our city more resilient to the long-term impacts of climate change, like increased occurrence and severity of flooding.

Until recently, SPU’s predominant approach has been to identify and build GSI projects according to capital infrastructure needs and engage community only when that infrastructure is being delivered. On the path to becoming more community-centered, we are now flipping our approach to lead with community-defined priorities—access to affordable housing, public health and wellness, workforce development and green jobs, safe and walkable neighborhoods, internships and career pathways for youth, clean air and water, access to healthy food—and determining how we can help meet those needs with our system investments.

  • Urban Forestry – Trees for Seattle Program. The City of Seattle recognizes how valuable urban trees are to Seattle residents and established the Trees for Seattle program in 2008 to serve as the umbrella for all urban forestry work conducted by the City. Seven city departments work together to keep our valuable trees healthy and growing. While urban canopy cover is critical to human wellbeing, we know that canopy cover is not equitably distributed, and that people of color are more likely to live in parts of Seattle with low canopy cover. Trees for Seattle works to grow equitable canopy cover across Seattle and to protect existing healthy canopy cover.
  • Waste Prevention. SPU is an internationally recognized leader in recycling and composting with a long history of working with customers to divert these materials from landfills. As this work continues, SPU is also taking a leadership role in other waste prevention efforts including residential and commercial food waste reduction, reuse and repair, clothing waste prevention, sustainable purchasing, waste prevention education campaigns; and funding for community-initiated and led waste prevention programs. These waste prevention efforts not only reduce carbon emissions related to the manufacturing, transportation and disposal of the materials but also result in the reduction of water and air pollution, marine debris and litter.
  • Fossil Free Facilities and Fleets. SPU is developing a strategy as part of advancing Seattle’s Green New Deal to transition our buildings from fossil fuel use to carbon neutral electricity. SPU is also continuing to electrify our fleet and equipment including the contracted solid waste collection fleet.

You are helping to advance an equitable and sustainable region through collaboration, strategic investment and community partnerships. Can you give us a/some specific examples of work you have done to move action forward on equity?

Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Job Training: One example of SPU’s work to support communities across Seattle is the utility’s workforce development partnership with South Seattle College in 2020. Initial efforts have been focused on curriculum development and planned delivery of “The RainWise Bootcamp” (an 11-week contractor incubator program), followed by GSI-focused training. This work is a foundational step toward leveraging SPU’s RainWise, GSI public works, and O&M contracts to advance equity, provide pathways to living-wage jobs, and support anti-displacement efforts for underserved communities and communities of color while building capacity to support increased GSI installation.

In addition, SPU has partnered with Seattle Conservation Corps (SCC) since 1986 to provide a one-year work training program for homeless adults, paying minimum wage plus premium pay for 40 hours a week. SCC provides work experience, education, training, and support services that lead to stability and self-sufficiency. SCC has supported the City of Seattle’s GSI program for over 16 years by conducting vegetation management of GSI, concrete work, hydrant and irrigation system management, large capital improvement program retrofit projects, problem solving, and working with communities in diverse neighborhoods that are highly impacted by homelessness.

Duwamish Valley Resilience District: Driven by Seattle Public Utilities’ business and drainage system investments in South Park and Georgetown, and our role as City water managers, SPU is working with City departments, communities and philanthropic foundations to develop a holistic approach to climate change adaptation and shared decision-making for local wealth building in the Duwamish Valley. This effort acknowledges that access to affordable housing and living wage jobs today are as critical as bricks and mortar infrastructure in fostering climate resiliency tomorrow.

The Duwamish Valley Resilience District is a place-based effort focused on pairing public enhancements with community capacity building, neighborhood stabilization policies, and community wealth building. It will include programs and initiatives to proactively mitigate and adapt to flood risk, and to support people and businesses to thrive in place. It will aim to ensure that the benefits of environmental improvements in the area accrue to the current residential and business communities.

At this moment, the City, and other local public agencies, are on the precipice of cleaning up the Duwamish River Superfund Site, expanding Duwamish Waterway Park, vastly improving stormwater drainage, adding green stormwater infrastructure, improving roads, investing in sea level rise adaptation and investing in community spaces. These improvements will change the community and put displacement pressure on current residents if no action is taken. These are planned, and in many cases, funded, projects. The community (and the City) have a choice: Do we establish policies and a platform that can provide a clear pathway to jobs, property ownership and management and additional funding sources related to these projects, or do we engage with each other on a one-off basis for each of these projects, ultimately generating no lasting capacity for collaboration in the community or the City and potentially scattered benefits? In the Duwamish Valley Action Plan, the City committed to long-term strategies for climate adaptation, anti-displacement, and workforce development in South Park and Georgetown by 2023. We are beginning to deliver on that promise now, so that community members can directly benefit from these public investments.

If you’d like to hear more from Mami – register to join us at the virtual conference on April 6th! See the full schedule and grab your tickets here.

Speaker Spotlight with Garry Gilliam | Former Player, Seattle Seahawks; Founder, The Bridge: Eco Village

We look forward to having you at GoGreen on April 6th speaking on our Sports Venues Take The Climate Pledge: Commitments and Action session. As a former player for the Seattle Seahawks playing in the venues that we will be discussing, can you share with us your view on how our local sports venues should lead the way on climate commitment, support the community and create positive long lasting environmental change?

Sports venues, teams, and athletes must recognize that what they do for climate and for social equity is not only about their immediate impact, but is also about their platform to showcase positive change.

In terms of climate, the physical venue should be a positive example – or showcase features – which are not only sustainable behind the scenes (with reduced energy footprints, efficient water consumption, low waste infrastructure), but also sustainable in ways that engage fans or through visible features that can be seen from outside of the stadium or that gets media attention.

Not only should the building lead the way on climate, but the front office of the teams that play within can have a huge impact on climate action as well. The front office staff must come together to talk about sustainability goals to determine what makes sense for them – If they’re based in San Diego, maybe it makes sense to have a goal related to plastic ocean waste, for example. They must also understand the material impacts within the organization and take strides to address those… What is producing the highest carbon emissions, where are they consuming a lot of energy, where are there inefficiencies in water use?

When creating commitments, it’s so important that teams don’t avoid the difficult topics – For example, yes – sports teams travel a lot and therefore their emissions may be higher than other types of businesses. However, this is an opportunity to overcome that fact instead of avoiding it. Until we get more strategic with setting our schedules, teams can have the power to at least offset their carbon emissions, even if they can’t do much to avoid it.

Once a set of commitments are defined, it must be owned by the highest levels and responsibilities to achieve those goals must be integrated into each element of the business. There are so many opportunities for teams to leverage their brand partnerships to showcase the brand’s sustainability commitments; social media and communications can use their voice to bring attention to climate-related information or events; fan engagement can host environment-related promotional events; food and beverage can renegotiate contracts to integrate sustainability goals into their supply chain. 

The ability to perform a sport is so mental that many of the factors that feed into performance are not even understood or recognized. While good athletes can focus their minds, the built environment can hugely impact the effectiveness and ability to do so. The physical venue should not only be environmentally sustainable, but should also promote health and wellbeing for the athletes inside. This is about designing an environment that supports mental and physical performance (air quality, light quality, acoustic comfort), while not being wasteful with resources. These qualities will impact the coaching staff and back of house support staff that are also critical to the athletes’ performance. 

When a venue does all of this well, it inherently touches the surrounding community. The ‘Community’ team within a front office is usually pretty good at creating local partnerships for philanthropic efforts – It’s time that they integrate the environment into an element of their work to address climate justice. This can be done through the commitments that the team has already established, integrating their climate goals into strategies to align with the community. This creates long-lasting positive change while enhancing the team’s legacy. 

Above response by: Kristen Fulmer | CEO & Founder, Recipric; Head of Sustainability, The Bridge

You are the Founder of The Bridge: Eco-Village, a real estate development company that acquires old properties like schools, malls, and warehouses, then turns them into “eco villages” in the inner city. Can you tell us your Eco-Villages are a model for venues/business/buildings, as sustainable and self-contained mixed-use communities?

In many inner cities throughout the country there are a lot of issues which have been recently identified as systemic oppression and systemic racism.  Essentially what that is showing is that it’s magnified the gap between different socioeconomic statuses, races, genders and more.  This gap has continued to grow in different sectors and throughout generation after generation and the most affected community is the black community. We hear about these issues often through redlining, food desserts, lack of representation of black individuals in Fortune 500 companies, lack of funding towards certain school districts, lack of home ownership rates, high obesity and cancer rates and although there are programs and institutions out there to help combat these issues separately, unless we are approaching these issues holistically and working on all these issues as a whole, rather than separately, the black community will continue to struggle. It’s too big of a system to combat, you have to create an entirely new system to eradicate the old, this is what The Bridge is doing through systematic empowerment. 

The Bridge is combating this system that oppresses certain communities and bridging the gap through our five main pillars, Work, Eat, Live, Learn and Play.  If you want to start to impact a community, you have to create a space for the community to be empowered by providing them a space with all of the different aspects they may be lacking- financial literacy courses, healthy restaurants and grocery stores that provide fresh fruits and vegetables, technological equipment such as 3D printers, affordable and safe housing, etc.  The Bridge is  not only identifying problems in underserved communities, but providing an actionable plan to solve these issues promoting empowerment within these struggling communities.   

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is an important issue that we focus on and create action around at GoGreen Conference. Can you tell us how The Bridge is creating a system of empowerment for black americans and people of color? How does The Bridge help to create communities and neighborhoods facing challenges around food security, access to healthcare, affordable housing, adequate paying jobs, training and education, transportation, sustainable infrastructure (power, water, waste) and inequality?

The way that The Bridge is pursuing a lot of those different areas is through the built environment. If there is a need for a grocery store in a community, then build a grocery store in the community and figure out why there is not a grocery store to begin with in that area.  In most cases, it’s because the disposable income in that community isn’t high enough to justify a performa being successful for a grocery store and/ or the population density is not high enough in that area.  However, that doesn’t mean that the residents in that community do not deserve a grocery store, so it’s up to us a development company, who is about empowerment, to make these communities more attractive for other development companies to put the grocery store there.  How do we do that? That’s directly linked to the “Learn” pillar of The Bridge where we teach the community credit repair, setting a budget, saving tips, teaching how to invest money and teaching how to use your money as a tool to bring in more money ultimately creating more disposable income.  Although one of the main pillars of The Bridge is to educate the community through the Learn pillar, we’re also not just going to sit and wait for another developer to bring a grocery store to the underserved community we are transforming. We will partner with the local bodegas and restaurants, and provide the produce right on site to the community by building the space to allow local entities to offer their services. This also works similarly to The Bridge providing quality community healthcare.  Although we don’t specialize in healthcare, we will build the clinic and space and partner with a local healthcare provider to bring in the personnel and equipment.  We as a development company are in the business of building these much needed places and sparking those partnerships and collaborations to bridge the gap and provide these services to underserved communities.  Essentially, we build the space, create the partnerships and provide the programming and the education that promotes economic restoration for the community.

If you’d like to hear more from Garry – register to join us at the virtual conference on April 6th! See the full schedule and grab your tickets here.

Speaker Spotlight with Laura Zapata | Co-Founder, Clearloop Corporation

Laura – we are thrilled to have you speaking on our Effective Partnerships: Building an Equitable and Clean Energy Future at GoGreen Conference on April 6th. Can you share highlights of how you think companies in attendance can best become part of the movement to advance an equitable and just clean energy and low carbon future?

A: Thank you so much for having me, I’m excited not only to share what Clearloop is all about, but to learn how other leaders in the industry are creating a clean energy future. At Clearloop, we fundamentally believe that companies of all sizes can take immediate action to expand clean energy in forgotten America – delivering environmental justice, economic opportunity, and improved health outcomes. Typically, only the wealthiest corporations have been able to invest in cleaning up the grid by building new renewable energy infrastructure. We offer a new pathway for companies to build new solar power facilities in communities getting left behind. 

It’s going to take all hands on deck, from both the public and private sector, to beat climate change. We believe there are sunnier days ahead! 

Clearloop was created to accelerate the greening of the U.S. electricity grid in the next 10 years through the force of everyday actions. Can you give us an example of everyday actions our community, private and public sector leaders can take in their businesses to help make this happen?

From the shoes we wear to the flights we take, every product and service we use has a carbon footprint. After years of nibbling around the edges, companies are taking up the mantle of climate leadership. We’re excited to see companies from all industries pledge to meet reduced emissions or net-zero targets. In order for those pledges to become a reality, private sector leaders should do everything they can to reduce the carbon footprint of their products and services, from the supply chains, to the materials they use, to the logistics and end of life assessments. 

However, after ringing out all of those inefficiencies, all of those products and services still have an irreducible carbon footprint. In order to truly achieve net-zero goals, we’re inviting companies of all sizes to use that remaining carbon footprint as an opportunity to clean up the grid, which accounts for over a quarter of all U.S. emissions, and help us expand access to clean energy by building more solar capacity in the communities that are otherwise getting left behind.

You have stated that expanding access to clean energy to corners of our country that are often forgotten is a priority. How are you driving support from multiple sector stakeholders support make clean energy available to all?

Although the electricity grid is responsible for over a quarter of our country’s footprint, that pollution is unevenly distributed across the country, hurting some communities more than others just based on where they happen to live. If the South were a country, for example, we’d be the 6th largest polluter in the world! That’s why it’s so important that we not only invest in clean energy expansion, but we start by building new solar projects in communities that are getting left behind. 

Companies across every industry have begun to invest not only in climate action, but have made pledges to deliver social justice as well. They understand that by expanding access to clean energy, we can not only permanently replace dirty fossil fuels, we can deliver environmental and health benefits and create lasting opportunities for economic investments. Climate justice is social justice and we want to do our part to deliver on that promise.

If you’d like to hear more from Laura – register to join us at the virtual conference on April 6th! See the full schedule and grab your tickets here.

Meet Our Keynote Speaker: Colleen Echohawk | Executive Director of Chief Seattle Club

We are thrilled to have you as our Keynote Speaker at the upcoming GoGreen Conference on April 6th. We understand that you are hoping to be Seattle’s first Indigenous mayor with a spotlight on equitable renewal. Can you tell us what that means to you and what action you hope to achieve?

The events of the past year have laid bare the extent of health, racial, and economic inequality in our city. We can’t just assume that our most impacted neighbors and small businesses will recover equitably from the overlapping crisis facing us. The status quo simply isn’t working for most of the people in our city. 

Ensuring public safety and health are critical to restoring comfort levels with public transportation, working conditions, and education. I’m focused on getting people safely back to school and using multi-modal transit. 

I’m committed to a holistic approach to our city’s renewal. By bridging silos to connect the already-people-first champions working within City departments and neighborhoods, we can reshape the norms of our City: from childcare and early learning, access to local and nourishing foods, neighborhood-based mental health workers, economic as well as artistic partnerships, and providing tangible opportunities for public influence on policy. 

As mayor, I would leverage Federal dollars to create family wage jobs that are good for workers, families, and the environment. The COVID-19 recession has impacted Black and African American workers, young people, women and communities of color most in King County. ⅓ of those who filed jobless claims in King County are people who have the equivalent of a high school degree or less. This is not right. Our workers deserve better and to build back stronger, we must center an approach that focuses on the experiences of our most impacted neighbors. 

Seattle has an opportunity to develop jobs to simultaneously address the climate crisis and build back stronger and smarter with a people first approach. Equitable pathways into the trades could help build infrastructure like low income and affordable housing that deliver social, economic, and environmental benefits to foster community resilience in the face of climate change. 

As Mayor, I would lead an equitable renewal process that invites Seattle to return to behavior and practice that recommits to reciprocity. When we make choices that account for the potential impact our community and our planet, we are making smarter choices for today and tomorrow and for generations to come. 

You are a member of Kithehaki Band of the Pawnee Nation and a member of the Upper Athabascan people of Mentasta Lake. How has this background/alliance changed your focus to equitable low-income housing development and Indigenous-led design?

We have to reflect on the relationship between white privilege and urban design. There are many ways that Native populations are victimized by patterns of development. And there are many troublesome patterns in our ever-changing city’s cycles of expansion— we need to explore the potential for reframing our urban narrative by creating an ethic of design centered on Indigenous knowledge.

This means centering a community based approach while recommitting to a right relationship with the land. We need to develop low-income housing that is good for people and the planet. This means making design and development decisions today that supports sustainability for future generations. We need to be building in a way that minimizes impact to our planet. Buildings account for 23% of greenhouse gas emissions in Seattle and are steadily going up. If we do not solve this issue and build in a climate smart manner, we will continue to worsen our chances of curbing climate change.

We should be building with human dignity in mind. Housing like my team and I are building through Chief Seattle Club or housing in the High Point community are exemplary housing that accounts for human dignity, environmentally friendly and community centric design. 

I would love to encourage and enable infrastructure design that reflects the rich diversity of cultures in Seattle, especially that of the Coast Salish tribes. Indigenous led design can mean imagining how a building can keep people safe and healthy while keeping the Puget Sound healthy. It means pairing design with investments in the beauty of parks, greenspace and trees to support spaces for families and children to gather and play while addressing urban heat island effect, air and water pollution. 

On April 6th we will have a session at GoGreen that recognizes how historically white the environmental space is and the necessity for diverse voices to be centered in the work that we do now and moving forward. Can you give us your opinion on steps we can take to create positive change and move away from inequalities? How do we make initiatives focused on just and equitable economies a top imperative?

It is no secret that the mainstream environmental movement consistently misses opportunities to play a strong leadership role in investing in environmental solutions that come from communities most impacted by environmental injustice. That said, Native and Indigenous, Black, Latinx, and the Asian and Pacific Islander communities come from cultures whose identities are intertwined with caring for the land. Our cultures understand the interdependency of the survival and well being of humans on our ability to steward our natural spaces. There is a saying, “those closest to the problem are closest to the solutions”. Environmental solutions must directly address the climate crisis while dismantling systemic inequities. As Mayor of Seattle I would listen to the community and City staff to collaboratively identify ways to build upon the important work of the Race and Social Justice Initiative and the Equity and Environment Initiative. The Equity and Environment Agenda identifies key strategies for the City to advance equity and environmental justice in partnership with communities. I want to make substantial investments in those strategies by supporting a Green New Deal for Seattle. Seattle has long been seen as a leader in climate nationally and internationally. I want to see Seattle continue to lead through our climate justice work. 

One way the mainstream environmental movement can begin to change is to hire Black, Indigenous and people of color in leadership positions at all levels of the environmental movement. This includes non-profits, foundations, private and public sector. The only way that we will effectively curb the impacts of climate change and move away from an extractive economy to a regenerative one is to center the leadership of those who bear the burden of environmental, racial and economic injustice first and worst. 

As Mayor of Seattle I would appoint leaders who intimately understand what it is like to experience these inequities and who also know what it takes to co-develop the solutions with our communities in order to lift us all up. I will prioritize making deep investments in Seattle’s immigrant and refugee communities, in our Indigenous communities, Black communities and communities of color. 

Many of the most promising solutions to displacement, environmental, and economic injustice are already taking place within Seattle neighborhoods. These community-assets deserve support from City Hall, not an obstruction to progress. Central to my platform is an investment in community-based solutions and businesses so City contracts are awarded equitably, and profits are shared with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-led organizations. We need to model this for other cities around the country and have equitable local economies in all our communities.

For example, the City of Seattle has $1B+ right now in current capital projects, but those contracts and profit aren’t being awarded to people of color owned businesses. An Echohawk administration will renew and update the Community Workforce Agreement and restructure city procurement practices to invest in workforce development and expand priority hire, mentorship and skill building programs, and explicit equity requirements for City contract holders. 

If you’d like to hear more from Colleen – register to join us at the virtual conference on April 6th! See the full schedule and grab your tickets here.

Thank You for Attending the 2020 Virtual GoGreen Conference!

During the week of September 8-9, 2020, we wrapped up our first ever virtual GoGreen Conference.  In a time where the conversation of green sustainable initiatives is more important than ever, we are so grateful to all of our attendees, sponsors, presenters and partners whose compounded efforts brought this virtual conference experience to life! We spent two days learning, growing and connecting on how sustainability in the business setting is a powerful and indispensable tool for navigating the tumultuous waters of today’s global economy and solving our climate woes.

The discussions we had around sustainable, green business practices between the public, private and community sectors during this pandemic era were nothing short of inspiring, and we are so grateful for your participation. As large regions of the west coast battle wildfires, we are reminded yet again of the importance of a Green New Deal, greening business operations in both public and private sectors and of the need for thought-leadership and action around sustainable solutions.

If you were unable to attend a session or if you were hoping to revisit your favorites, you will be able to access all conference content through our app for the indefinite future. As a paid attendee, you can return to our GoGreen Socio app to watch and rewatch sessions at your leisure, follow up with connections made during the event, and reach out to our sponsors and partners for collaboration and with any questions you may have for them. If you weren’t able to attend the conference live and want to view our recorded session content, you can purchase a ticket to view program sessions here.

We were thrilled to be able to bring you this year’s conference content virtually and we cannot wait to be back with you in-person and virtually in 2021.

Thank you to all of our attendees and collaborators for sharing your enthusiasm on social media using #GoGreenSEA! You can view a recap of all conference social media postings for #GoGreenSEA here.

We owe a huge thank you to our media partners, community partners, and sponsors for helping build awareness about the event and putting your support toward this year’s virtual GoGreen Conference. Special thank you to Washington Business Alliance and the Low Carbon Prosperity Institute, our 2020 Title and Program Partner, who made the conference possible. From spreading the word via email and social media to sponsoring sessions and sharing in our passion for environmental change, thank you one and all for helping to make GoGreen happen!

We hope you will join us next year for a return to an in-person hybrid event structure in Seattle on April 6, 2021. Register and reserve your spot today!

If you are interested in learning more on how to confirm your support as a sponsor for GoGreen 2021 please contact GoGreen Conference Partnership Manager Savannah via email at

Top 5 Reasons to attend the 2020 Virtual GoGreen Conference

In today’s ever-changing world, it seems that there are hundreds of thousands of virtual events and conferences circulating, all offering amazing content, learning experiences and networking opportunities for their attendees. With so much to choose from, we know it can be difficult to nail down which conference will be the best opportunity for you to attend as an individual or an organization — that’s why we’ve gone ahead and compiled our top 5 reasons to attend this year’s Virtual GoGreen Conference!

Keynotes from top industry leaders in green technology, carbon negativity and climate activism including:
Microsoft’s Chief Environmental Officer, Lucas Joppa
Sendle’s Chief Executive Officer, James Chin Moody
Zero Hour’s Founder and Co-Executive Director, Jamie Margolin
Climate Voice’s Founder and Executive Director, Bill Weihl

Breakout sessions & plenaries with ample time for Q&A from industry leaders in both public and private sectors with content on topics of:
-Climate Action
-Bridging Urban Rural Divides
-Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
-Building Decarbonization

Session Highlight | Sustainable and Equitable Communities: How Sustainability Intersects with Equityequitable communitiesView the full 2020 program with session descriptions and speaker biographies here!

Virtual Event Format and Ticket Price
This year’s virtual format and ticket price make the conference more accessible than ever! With no travel barriers for interested attendees both within and outside the Pacific Northwest, the GoGreen Conference has the capacity to reach sustainability professionals on a national level. Attend programming and connect with other industry professionals from across the country from your own workspace. We know sitting in front of a Zoom screen all day isn’t always ideal when you have other work to attend to, that’s why we made the transition to a 2-day format with strategically planned content to be done by lunchtime each day!

Content Galore on the 2020 Virtual GoGreen Conference Event App
-All event sessions will be recorded and saved in the app following the conclusion of the event for ticket holders to return to as frequently they please. No more fretting over which breakout session you want to attend most, because you’ll have access to them all following the event!
-In-app networking allows for attendees to make connections and contacts with other industry professionals from around the country – collaborate, share ideas, drive leadership and generate solutions!
-The sponsor hub within the app will have resources, special offers and meeting opportunities for attendees to directly connect with our event sponsors.

It’s affordable!
Attend the virtual conference for just $75 (that’s $200 less than the in-person event) to:
-Receive access to over 17 sessions of content live with Q&A.
-Revisit and rewatch any content you didn’t get to join during the event with recordings of every session available for attendees in the app at the conclusion of the event.
-Participate in networking opportunities in-app and scheduled into the conference programming.
-Receive access to special offers, resources and meeting opportunities provided by our sponsors!


Going Further and Faster with Sustainability: A Conversation with Lucas Joppa, Microsoft’s Chief Environmental Officer


Q: We saw the recent news that Microsoft will be carbon negative by 2030 – that is impressive! How will Microsoft use innovation and ability to scale to make this happen?

Microsoft is proud to have been carbon neutral in our operations since 2012. Now, with our new more ambitious goals and detailed plans we are putting our technology and expertise to the test across our business. This includes our existing expertise in energy finance and research, work with our suppliers, and investments in equipping environmental change-makers with AI and cloud tools through our AI for Earth program. Our commitment also means making use of our role as a major technology company; we will leverage existing and new partner and customer relationships to spur change, as well as invest $1 billion dollars in carbon removal projects and technology.

Q: At the upcoming GoGreen Conference you will share how leading global organizations like Microsoft can use operations, investments and technology to bring down emissions and lessen the impact to our climate. Can you give us a preview of what we will learn by attending?

I’ll be speaking about what Microsoft is doing itself to reduce and remove our carbon footprint. More expansively, I’ll cover the conversations we’re having with customers about how they can meet their own sustainability goals. A key part of that is to understand what your emissions are and the tools at your disposal to address them.

Q: You are clearly a leading climate champion as Microsoft’s first Chief Environmental Officer and in starting Microsoft’s AI for Earth program back in 2017 – a cross-company effort dedicated to delivering technology-enabled solutions to global environmental challenges. What is next on the horizon for you?

For me it is all about continuing to go further faster with sustainability at Microsoft. This is an area where we must be constantly innovating, and one where we can never become complacent. In the short term we are continuing to build the infrastructure to meet our carbon commitments and partnering with innovators and customers to develop the tools and technology to reduce and remove carbon. Beyond that we’re also looking at the additional focus areas of ecosystems, waste, and water.


Innovation’s Role in Building a Sustainable Future: A Conversation with James Chin Moody, Founder of Sendle


Founded in 2014, Australian based delivery service Sendle has now launched in the states as America’s first 100% carbon neutral package delivery service and a certified B Corporation. With carbon neutrality at the forefront of their business model, gone are the days when doing good for the environment would cost you extra. Making door-to-door package delivery simple, reliable, and affordable allows customers to choose a delivery service that is both cost-effective and conscious of the environmental toll of package delivery.

We are thrilled to welcome one of Sendle’s founders James Chin Moody to the Seattle GoGreen Conference stage on April 9 to discuss the importance of Decoupling Economic Growth from Resource Consumption. We had a chance to talk with James leading up to the conference and hear his thoughts on the importance of innovation in the effort to separate consumption of resources from economic growth. “Since the industrial revolution, the tide of progress has ebbed and flowed,” he said. “Five distinct waves, each starting with disruptive new technologies and ending with a global depression, have transformed our industries, societies and economies almost beyond recognition.”

“In this next wave, we’re going to see increasing demand for resources, and at the same time, resources are becoming increasingly scarce. This will cause massive shifts in business, where there’s suddenly a price on things that were never priced before (i.e., a ton of carbon, a liter of water, etc.).”

What James predicts though, is that with innovation, economic growth will no longer rely on the over consumption of resources. As new thought leaders and technologies arise, we’ll see business models that thrive by actually using fewer resources, not more.

When it comes to a sustainable future, innovation is critical to changing the way we view and use the earth’s resources. “In a world of limited resources, there’s a limit to what we can consume. It will be the new, innovative business models that can crack the concept of growing while actually reducing their reliance on the environment, that will truly de-risk themselves for the future, and succeed,” James told us.

We cannot wait to welcome James Chin Moody to the GoGreen stage in Seattle, WA alongside other leading voices in the sustainability movement. Join us on April 9th to celebrate ten years of advancing our mission of empowering attendees with the strategies, tools and connections to green their organizations with profitability in mind.

Event Details:
The GoGreen Conference will take place Thursday, April 9, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Elwha Ballroom, located at 808 Howell Street, Seattle, Washington, 98101. Tickets are available at or call 206.459.0595.



Voices Leading the Next Generation: A Conversation with Jamie Margolin

The commitment that comes with being a change activist isn’t an experience many of us will have in our lifetime, and to dedicate so much of your life to a cause as a youth is even less likely. As the discussion around the climate expands, some of the leading voices calling for action are from the youth — rallying together for an earth they will have to inhabit long after the current regulatory bodies, politicians and public leaders are gone.



Jamie Margolin is one such youth leader. At 16 years old she founded Zero Hour, a youth-led movement creating entry points, training, and resources for young activists and organizers wanting to take concrete action around climate change. This September she testified in front of Congress with Greta Thunberg in the panel “Voices Leading the Next Generation on the Global Climate Crisis”. A few weeks ago she was awarded the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes. And somehow, while balancing school, life and climate activism, she found the time to write a book.

Youth to Power will hit the shelves in June 2020, and is said to offer the essential guide to changemaking for young people. We asked Jamie what youth could expect when reading Youth to Power and she said, “There’s no magic trick, but it gives you an idea of how to navigate the waters.” Each chapter explores a different aspect of changemaking as a youth including managing a strong social media presence, taking care of your mental health, prioritizing time management, balancing school, activism and more. Jamie makes it clear that Youth to Power is not an activist’s autobiography, but a breakdown of the essentials unique to young organizers that she’s learned throughout her own experience. Her first piece of advice to youth: start with something you’re good at, something that comes naturally to you or something that you’re passionate about. Writing has always been Jamie’s outlet, and Youth to Power is certainly not her first or last foray with this medium. 


Jamie will join us at the GoGreen Conference in Seattle April 9, 2020 to address leaders in the business and public sectors. When we asked what insight she hopes they will gain she shared with us a phrase she’s used often “Don’t take pictures of the work I do, listen to the words that I say.” With the wave of youth activism garnering public attention, there’s a huge sect of professionals, business leaders, politicians and more complimenting the drive of the youth, but, in the words of Jamie, “being inspired by us isn’t enough.” What Jamie and all youth activists are after isn’t a pat on the back, but for their words to influence action. Youth activists aren’t talking points for political gain, they are writers, creators, doctors, actors, singers, designers, journalists, students, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, and everything in between. They are fed up. Jamie and young change activists all over are seeking a drastic change in our society. “The climate crisis didn’t just pop up because we started coal mining,” Jamie notes. For centuries we have been brought up in a world where our planet’s well-being isn’t prioritized, and now we’re seeing the effects of it first hand. As more people wake up to the climate crisis, now more than ever it’s time for action. From Jamie’s perspective, it’s time to change the fabric of our society. Now is the time because there is not much time left.

We are thrilled to welcome Jamie Margolin to the GoGreen stage in Seattle, WA alongside other leading voices in the sustainability movement of all ages. Join us in April to celebrate ten years of advancing our mission of empowering attendees with the strategies, tools and connections to green their organizations with profitability in mind. 

Event Details: The GoGreen Conference will take place Thursday, April 9, 2020 at the Hyatt Regency Elwha Ballroom located at 808 Howell Street, Seattle, Washington, 98101. Tickets are available at or call 206.459.0595.


Fighting Not Drowning: The Youth Who are Leading the Climate Revolution

Fighting not drowning.
As the seas rise, so do we.

These are just a few of the rally cries that were heard on Friday, September 20th, 2019 as youth across the globe organized and gathered for the Global Climate Strike. There were 4482 strikes registered globally, with over 1000 of them taking place in the United States. Portland’s strike began Friday morning with a youth-led rally outside City Hall where groups spoke of the destruction to Frontline Communities dealing with the harshest repercussions of climate change despite doing the least to aggravate it, called for the adoption of a Green New Deal phasing out fossil fuel infrastructure and investing in renewable energy, and demanded climate justice.


Youth from all backgrounds, some representing the Pacific Islands and Indigenous tribes, some with plans to run for congress, led the rally. Speaker after speaker stood in front their peers and they shared their call for action – a cry for justice. With these speeches in mind, tens of thousands of Oregonians marched across Hawthorne bridge. At its height, the march spanned nearly a mile, filled with protesters.

With globally known young leaders like Greta Thunberg (16) and Jamie Margolin (17) speaking for the voices of the youth to be heard, the movement for climate action is a largely youth led initiative. Young people across the world are fighting for their right to an inhabitable planet long after those who contributed most to climate change are gone.

Just last Wednesday, Thunberg and Margolin testified in front of congress in the panel: Voices Leading the Next Generation on the Global Climate Crisis. “The reality is, my generation has been committed to a planet that is collapsing” Margolin emphasize in her testimony, “On college applications I keep getting asked what I want to be when I grow up; the media, pop culture, politicians, businesses, and the whole world tells me that I and my whole generation will have something to look forward to that we just don’t.”

margolinMargolin ended her testimony with a call for action on behalf of the youth. Her dialogue came to a close with the declaration of her generation, Generation Z as the era of the Green New Deal, a congressional resolution that lays out a grand plan for tackling climate change.  “People call my generation, Generation Z, as if we are the last generation. But we are not. We are refusing to be the last letter of the alphabet.”

In the wake of the week long Global Climate Strike, we are all the more thrilled to welcome This is Zero Hour founder Jamie Margolin to the podium at our GoGreen Conference in Seattle April 9, 2020.  For ten years, the GoGreen Conference has been the ultimate sustainability learning experience for business and public sector decision-makers in the Pacific Northwest. Featuring regionally targeted content and recognized leaders from the community, GoGreen works across industry silos to foster peer-to-peer learning and collaborative solutions.