By Green Seal’s CEO/President Arthur Weissman, Author of In the Light of Humane Nature
Green Seal’s 25th Anniversary year – 2014 – has been a banner year.
We were fortunate to have many clients, partners, staff, and associates join us for the formal anniversary celebration on October 8 at the Newseum, along with keynote speakers Bill Nye The Science Guy and Denis Hayes and emcee Rachelle Carson-Begley. But much else besides the Gala occurred this year to move our mission forward.
Our flagship program, certification, continued to streamline its procedures, particularly in the monitoring phase. Our customer service got a boost with the summer roll-out of the new client portal, where all client marketing materials are assembled in one place. We also hired new staff to service clients in various ways.
We launched a new program and revitalized existing ones. The Green Office Partnership Program was piloted in Washington, D.C., with 13 association offices under the auspices of the American Society of Association Executives and a grant from Whiteford, Taylor & Preston.
Our Green Lodging Program in Los Angeles was re-energized by the new mayor’s sponsorship of a meeting for hotels in September at City Hall.
And our revised restaurant standard (GS-55) was officially launched in March in Chicago with some of the leading restaurants there getting certified.
We did more outreach to consumers through social media and to universities for research and innovation.
My book, In the Light of Humane Nature, was launched in the spring with a major book-signing event at the Los Angeles Westin Bonaventure.
And, behind the scenes, our Board had been busy doing strategic planning and setting up the 25th Anniversary Gala at the Newseum.
Even more lies ahead.
Those hires I mentioned will be welcome news to our clients.
One of them will be touching base with each of our certification clients every year, informing them of new developments and making sure they know about all the marketing tools available.
The other will be working on a consultative basis with clients to help them use their Green Seal certifications in the most effective way in the marketplace. After all, the more that certified products and services take over the marketplace, the more sustainable it becomes.
We have plans for the certified restaurants in Chicago, which are growing in number.
Green Seal has made real progress in transforming a number of institutional markets, but with two-thirds of the economy depending on the consumer, we’re gearing up to bring our programs to the consumer market.
Restaurants serve as an excellent bridge to consumers, and we are hoping to have certified restaurants tell their stories to consumers so the latter can bring home not just food but good practices and product ideas as well. This effort is in the early stages but has much promise.
We have also identified universities as a major focus for the coming years, both as partners in research and as incubators for innovation in our field.
We also see universities as a prime platform for embracing sustainability in their own operations –such as by getting their food or cleaning services certified or buying certified products – as well as seeding the future through their students. We will also be reaching out to universities to offer my book as teaching material.
Finally, we’re launching our newest – and oldest – internal project: determining the environmental benefits of Green Seal’s programs. This has always been the Holy Grail of ecolabeling programs, indeed, of all environmental programs, and we want to take a fresh look at how we might quantify or at least describe how certification to our leadership standards actually helps the environment and human health.
Here’s hoping for a happy, healthy, and more sustainable year in 2015,
with best wishes to all.
Arthur has over 30 years of experience in environmental programs, policy, standards, and enforcement. He has spent over half that time at Green Seal, which he has led for the past fifteen years. In his sustainability work, he has also served as founding chair of the Global Ecolabeling Network and as international convener for ISO standards.
Prior to joining Green Seal, he was responsible for developing national policy and guidance for the Superfund program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He also served as a Congressional Science Fellow and worked for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut. He holds a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in physical geography and environmental science, a master’s degree in natural resource management from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College. His outside interests include family, music, hiking/walking, birding, reading, writing, and thinking. Arthur has recently written In the Light of Humane Nature, a book on human values, nature, the green economy, and environmental salvation. Visit Arthur’s website to learn more.