Leadership network helping Worcester businesses to ‘go green’

The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Boston (SBN), Worcester Local First (WLF) and Clark University announce the Worcester launch of SBN’s proven model program, the Sustainable Business Leader Program (SBLP), an environmental sustainability certification program for small to medium-sized, local and independent businesses.

Worcester Local First will conduct a networking event from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 31, where interested businesses can learn more about the program and how to participate. More information on SBLP may be found at www.sustainablebusinessleader.org.

Launched in 2008 in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the SBLP has worked with more than 90 businesses across Greater Boston to become environmentally sustainable business leaders in their communities.

Sustainable Business Leaders are committed to dramatically reducing their environmental impact and carbon footprint, while reducing operating costs through SBLP’s comprehensive six step program.  The program covers energy and water conservation, waste reduction, green technology, transportation, local procurement and local food, pollution prevention and sustainability management- addressing sustainability from all angles.  Through the program, each business develops a sustainability action plan and a “green team” within their management and staff to enact green changes and uphold sustainability as part of company culture. As the plans are implemented using local resources, jobs will be created; e.g., purchasing products or services to improve energy efficiency.

Working with the City of Worcester, Clark University, Worcester Local First and the Sustainable Business Network, SBLP will be implemented in the Greater Worcester Area starting with a pilot this spring involving 10 local businesses. Bill Bean, President of Green Planning & Coaching, will manage development and delivery of the plans.

"How can we, as businesses, have a positive impact on all the stakeholders -- the community, the environment, the vendors, our customers, our staff and nonprofit partners? Worcester Local First and SBLP are successful programs that help businesses answer these questions,” stated Laury Hammel, Executive Director and founder of the Sustainable Business Network and the SBLP.

“We are excited to partner with Worcester SBLP in presenting this opportunity to local companies,” said Katy Sullivan, executive director of Worcester Local First. “As a network of local independent businesses, Worcester Local First endeavors to create a stronger, more vibrant and sustainable local economy and community. Worcester SBLP provides an important service to our members by delivering the program to increase their sustainability.”

Clark University will play a key role in the initiative. Worcester SBLP Steering Committee members include Clark alumnus Amy Mosher (CDP/M.A. '04), who works in Worcester’s Workforce Central One-Stop Career Center, as well as two Clark graduate MBA/MA Environmental Science students, Kate Hanley and Pat Bird. Will O’Brien, visiting assistant professor in the Graduate School of Management, will serve as director.

Since its founding in 1887, Clark University in Worcester, Mass., has a history of challenging convention. As an innovative liberal arts college and research university, Clark’s world-class faculty lead a community of creative thinkers and passionate doers and offer a range of expertise, particularly in the areas of psychology, geography, urban education, Holocaust and genocide studies, environmental studies, and international development and social change. Clark’s students, faculty and alumni embody the Clark motto: Challenge convention. Change our world. www.clarku.edu.