GreenSpot Program Encourages Sustainability

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman launched the GreenSpot program in July 2008 to educate, inspire, and recognize those who are taking steps to get green in their homes, communities, and businesses. GreenSpot has 2,094 members to date and efforts to expand the program are underway.

Of GreenSpot’s members, 379 are local businesses.

“The program provides a framework and is a credible guide to small steps you can take to make a big impact on the health and the future of our community,” says Anita Musser, GreenSpot’s manager.

Plus, GreenSpot members can can connect to, and learn from, one another, she says.

To become a GreenSpot, interested businesses should visit the program’s website, click  on the “Learn” tab for resources and ideas, then click on the “Join” tab to preview the GreenSpot application  as a PDF and choose their commitments, she says.  The application is completed and submitted online.

Business applications fall under three categories −Industrial and Commercial; Educational Institution and Nonprofit; and Restaurants, Grocers, and Retailers− and each business makes commitments to be environmentally-friendly in five categories.

“Under each heading, there are mandatory commitments we ask businesses to make, then there are a list of additional commitments we ask businesses to choose from,” Musser says.

Coleman’s Green Team −an advisory council consisting of environmental, community, and business leaders− has been charged with growing GreenSpot to include 2,500 businesses by 2015.

Two more business categories that bring in the hospitality and medical industries also will be added, Musser says.

One of the major changes to GreenSpot since its launch nearly four years ago is the addition of the annual GreenSpotLight awards, which honor one small, medium, and large-sized business whose exemplary business practices produce environmental benefits.

The latest GreenSpotLight award winners were honored last month, during the 2,000th GreenSpot celebration at Franklin Park Conservatory, based on information provided in their 2010 GreenSpot annual reports. Those businesses were First English Lutheran Church, The Nature Conservancy, and ms consultants.

Last year, First English Lutheran Church implemented a system  for measuring and tracking the amount of materials it recycled, established a community produce garden, and began publishing a monthly e-news article on sustainability.

The Nature Conservancy reduced its carbon footprint by 29.5 metric tons and conducted an audit of its main office that helped staff determine short and long-term priorities for waste reduction.

ms consultants began using a video conferencing system that allows employees to communicate between offices in Ohio and four other states, as well as an intranet site that has reduced the need for paper memos and news announcements.

To learn more about GreenSpot or begin the program’s application process, visit ColumbusGreenSpot.org.