Wed September 24, 2008

September 24th, 2008

 

Hi to all GreenLane participants,

 

This is to inform everyone that I resigned my position at NextStep on Mon 9/22/08. 

 

I regret leaving the program a month earlier than was scheduled.  We came a long way from our first meeting back on August 4th.  In a month and a half, we went from square one to having a framework for a workable program specifically tailored to Lane County organizations.

 

It was great working with a fine group of dedicated professionals.  (Plus I learned where to go to shop Green… and for whom to vote!)

 

I’ll leave the website up for a little while.  If you find it useful, let me know, and I can leave it up indefinitely.

 

Best of luck to all of you and the GreenLane project.  It was a pleasure working with you.

 

Sincerely,

 

Robert Jacobucci

sun77rise@gmail.com

Fri September 19, 2008

September 19th, 2008

Today I spoke with Robyn Shanti the Coordinator for the Sustainable Business Network of Portland.  She will be sending me information about her group’s approach to some of our key topics.

She said their group started 4 years ago with 5 core businesses putting up $5,000.  Since then, they have grown to over 400 companies.  It is Portland, of course, but keep in mind that all their businesses are locally owned.

The whole thrust of their organization is that money be kept local.  There is much to be said for the locally owned aspect of sustainability.  Is this something we want to stress in GreenLane… or just give a star to those who are?

I also spoke with Sarah Grimm who said that she and her organization will be happy to assist and advise GreenLane on all matters of waste management.

Robert

Thu September 18, 2008

September 18th, 2008

If we are willing to move our meetings to Friday, I have located some wonderful conference rooms for us to use.  It is at the Oregon Employment Offices located here:

2510 Oakmont Way
Eugene  97401

Map/Directions
(541) 686-7601

They have tentatively placed us in their books for 10 am on the October Fridays of:

  1. Oct 10
  2. Oct 17
  3. Oct 24
  4. Oct 31

It is a great building run by great people.  The conference rooms are excellent and will accommodate our expanding numbers of attendees.  We can discuss this at next Wednesday’s meeting.

Robert

Wed September 17, 2008

September 17th, 2008

Today was GreenLane’s 3rd meeting.  We have come a long way in a month and a half!  In attendance were:

  1. Isbel Ingham – NextStep
  2. Tom Williams – EWEB
  3. Allen Perkins – Catalyst Technology Group
  4. Jeff Bishop – Lane County Waste Management
  5. Sarah Grimm – Lane County Waste Management
  6. Carolyn Stein – SeQuential Biofuels
  7. Brenda Black – Down to Earth Distributors
  8. Summer Young – Arlie & Company
  9. Mike Brixius – Office Imaging
  10. J.R. Dalpiaz – Office Imaging
  11. Kelly Bell – Lane County Master Recycler Program
  12. Daniel Swantek – Green Solutions Printing
  13. Robert Jacobucci – NextStep

It was a very active meeting with everyone getting their opportunity to voice their ideas and concerns.  From my perspective, they were all valid concerns, but nothing that can’t be worked out.  I will try to address these concerns over the next few days here on this blog and the forum.

Issues of:

  • Standards
  • Funding/Membership Fees
  • Marketing
  • Assessments and Audits
  • The Blue Ribbon Panel
  • The role of government
  • Proposals can’t lead to automatic acceptances
  • Why should companies join GreenLane
  • What training, information, and networking can we offer prospective companies
  • Beside their proposal, what other qualifications will applying companies have to fulfill

In order to address these issues, we agreed to meet weekly to bring this together as soon as possible.  Therefore, the next meeting will be Wed, Sept 24th at 10a.  I will notify everyone of the location.  Allen Perkins is still generously offering his Catalyst Technologies conference room, but we will quickly be outgrowing this room.  If you have a suggestion as to where we can meet, let me know.

Our next meeting will be just the business community where we can discuss the extent and nature of government in the running of GreenLane.  Hopefully, we can all pull together to achieve a common end.  So far, the participating government agencies and utilities have been very helpful, and I see no reason why we can’t work together.

Robert Jacobucci
NextStep Recycling
(541) 686-2366 x114
————————-

Isbel Ingham has asked me to post her notes from the meeting. They follow:

Hi Everyone,

What a great meeting! Seems as though we’re getting down to the core issues. Thanks to everyone who came and participated.

In attendance:

Tom Williams, EWEB

Allen Perkins, Catalyst IT

Jeff Bishop, Lane County Waste Management

Carolyn Stein, SeQuential Biofuels

Brenda Black, Down to Earth

Summer Young, Arlie & Co.

Mike & JR, Office Imaging

Kelly Bell, Master Recyclers

Daniel Swantek, Green Solutions Printing

Robert Jacobucci, NextStep Recycling

Isbel Ingham, NextStep Recycling

Ideas:

  1. Blue ribbon panel staffed by experts in green and sustainability.
  2. Peer-reviewed rather than government-stamped.
  3. Applicants would present their own proposals, then the panel could evaluate them. Approved proposals would be featured on Green Lane’s website
  4. Three or four levels – entry level, basic level, merit level, premier level. Perhaps another level for people who don’t fit here, but still have something to offer.
  5. Some kind of signifier that organizations belong to a particular level. Flags, medallions, stickers for their windows.
  6. Membership organization that pays for itself
  7. Grant-funded organization
  8. Questionnaire that could be submitted to businesses that want to be part of Green Lane.
  9. Perhaps a combination of a questionnaire and self-proposals – such as the Mayor’s bold steps process (<http://www.cyd-clothing.com/sustainability.htm>)
  10. We could do a survey to see what consumers would prefer in terms of being able to rely on whether or not a Green Lane business is truly green.
  11. We could have a rotating group of volunteers to check out businesses
  12. Information about various industry standards to be included on website.
  13. Let’s take advantage of the off-the-shelf products already available.
  14. No levels at all, simply an acknowledgement of every business’ efforts.
  15. Green teams
  16. Catalyst can do audits of business’ technology practices/energy-efficiency
  17. We should be a resource for the community – here’s what you can do, here’s how we can help, here are the audits that are already available to the public

Concerns/conflicts:

  1. Government involvement or….no government involvement
  2. Marketing is a very big concern—otherwise, why should businesses be involved
  3. Funding
  4. Industry standards – who will determine these?
  5. Criteria: green, sustainable, etc. We need a clear idea of what are criteria are.
  6. Green Lane should be available/open to all businesses, regardless of their level of compliance.
  7. Green is expensive, especially initially.
  8. Let’s make sure we’re not duplicating the efforts already underway.
  9. Membership organization may filter out some smaller businesses who don’t want to/can’t afford to pay a fee


It seems that the main areas still to be worked through are:

  1. What are our criteria?
  2. How will we determine a business’ level of green/sustainability?
  3. How will we fund this organization?

Have I missed something important?
And again, thanks very much for coming!
Next meeting: 10:00 Wednesday, Sept. 24th, at Eugene Coffee Company – 18th & Chambers
Isbel

Mon September 15, 2008

September 15th, 2008

Wow! Halfway through Sept already.  The time is flying by!

Wednesday’s meeting promises to be very special.  EWEB plans to be there with their ideas for GreenLane.  We will also introduce the new streamlined organization for GreenLane.  This new plan feels right and I’m sure, with perhaps just a little tweaking here and there, we will have a workable program in place.

DEQ informs me that they are working on their part in this project.

I am really looking forward to this meeting and hope to see you all there.

When:  Wed September 17, 2008 at 10am

Where: Catalyst Technology Group (aka… Kernutt, Stokes, Brandt & Co)
1170 Pearl Street
Eugene, OR 97401

MAP
Robert Jacobucci

Thu September 11, 2008

September 11th, 2008

Kelly Bell made a marvelous proposal today that will probably alter GreenLane’s entire approach to “Community Certification”.  It is simple, easy to install, and far easier to enforce than the old plan.

It was suggested that the applying businesses present a proposal outlining all their Green accomplishments and why they think they should be certified.  All of their claims can be verified as needed by our Blue Ribbon Panel, but the responsibility will rest on the company making the presentation to be truthful in their claims.

If their presentation is accepted by the Panel, their information can then go up on our website for all to see.  The community can be made aware of that company’s Green efforts!

This would eliminate most of the man-hours needed for auditing, and would place the burden of convincing the Panel on the applying company.  As the conscience of the public, the Panel could then look into any claims that could be doubted.  Their presentation would also allow the applying company to show all their successes and hard work to the world as well as the Panel.

This comes just in time.  This new plan will be presented at the our next meeting where 2 pilot companies have volunteered to begin GreenLane’s process toward certification.  I think they will be pleased with the new ideas.

We will be awaiting feedback on this proposal from both the certifying companies and the applying companies.

Personally, I like the idea and will try to iron out many of the details before the next meeting.

Robert

Wed September 10, 2008

September 10th, 2008

Daniel Swantek of Green Printing Solutions has volunteered his company to be part of our Pilot Run.  He joins with Allen Perkins of Catalyst Technology Group to be the first 2 companies enrolled in GreenLane’s “Community Certification” process.  A sincere thank you to both companies.

We could talk all we want, but nothing will flush out the snags quicker than bringing actual companies through an actual evaluation process.  We will all be learning from this trial run.

If any other companies would like to participate in the Pilot Program, please let me know.

Robert

Fri September 5, 2008

September 5th, 2008

Allen Perkins of Catalyst Technology Group has agreed to volunteer his companies manpower to perform electrical audits of member companies.  His company will then be part of our Blue Ribbon Community Certification Panel that will include:

  1. The DEQ
  2. EWEB
  3. Lane County Waste Management
  4. City of Eugene
  5. City of Springfield
  6. Catalyst Technology Group
  7. GreenLane

Also, Allen has agreed to let his company Catalyst Technology Group be one of first “flagship” companies to go through GreenLane membership on our new pilot program.  Thanks Allen!!

More on this later.

Robert

Thu September 4, 2008

September 5th, 2008

Today I had a thorough and productive conversation with Commissioner Pete Sorenson about GreenLane.  At the end Commissioner Sorenson gave our project his complete endorsement!

He said he will help in any way he can to help our project along.

At my request to have government agencies join GreenLane as businesses, he offered to begin in Lane County by asking their Waste Management Division to join GreenLane as a business member as well as being one of our auditing partners.  This would be huge!!  To have government agencies joining GreenLane to be audited and certified by us as Green!

This would be a tremendous boost to our credibility.

Robert

Mon September 1, 2008

September 1st, 2008

Today we added “Community Certification” to the Forum.  Since this is so pertinent to our current efforts, I will include it here also:

Community Certification

GreenLane’s most formidable challenges fall into 3 categories:

  1. Credibility
  2. Workable Structure
  3. Manpower/Funding

Credibility – We need a way of assuring the public that our businesses are indeed Green and special. So our members must agree to be evaluated by our panel of experts and become “GreenLane Certified”.

The meaning and methods behind this certification will be critical to GreenLane’s success.

The DEQ is equipped to measure whether a company is in compliance with government regulations but do not go beyond that.

EWEB, Master Recyclers, and Climate Masters are trained to be knowledgeable and helpful but are not specifically trained to measure a company against a set of standards.

Official federal certifications, such as those for organic produce, are often pages thick and expensive to measure and comply with.

So, how does GreenLane put its stamp of approval on a particular company and at a reasonable cost?

We must come up with a Community Certification by establishing our own simplified guidelines and measurements. It would be done by company type. For example, we would establish a set of criteria for printing companies and then measure according to those simplified rules.

The community criteria would be simpler than the federal rules but still contain the essence and the spirit of the more complex code.

To get started, we can use our Premier companies to help set the local standards for their type of business. Other groups in other cities have also set standards from which we can borrow.

Once the standards have been set for a particular type of business, e.g. printers, then any new printer will have a ready made set of standards to aim for.

The GreenLane Blue Ribbon Panel and their auditors will then have clearly defined standards to evaluate. It will be the community overseeing the community… local businesses meeting local rules.

So clearly, Credibility and Structure are decidedly interwoven and will go hand-in-hand in establishing a working solution. That leads us to our 3rd and final challenge enumerated in the very 1st paragraph…

Manpower and Funding.

We will be looking for the big players such as DEQ, EWEB, Lane County Recyclers, Climate Masters and perhaps some additional help from local for-profit companies to participate in the auditing, training, and evaluating of the companies to be Community Certified.

The participating companies would have to pay both a membership fee to join and a certification fee to cover the expense of the evaluating team. Also, if the company seeks more training than standard GreenLane auditors could provide in how to meet their certification standards, these companies may opt for outside paid experts to help them reach their goals more speedily.

For now, the burden of expenses for obtaining a GreenLane Community Certification will reside with the company desiring certification. However, with social pressure, government may eventually acknowledge the importance of what we are doing and to help fund our efforts. In the meantime, we must be able to stand on our own 2 feet and produce a self-sufficient organization of our own.

GreenLane itself must be sustainable!

Robert