Queens just became a little greener.
That is because nearly 1,000 people attended an all-day Queens GreenBusiness Summit to find out sustainable, attainable and measurable tools they could integrate into their business.
During the all-day expo, which the Queens Chamber of Commerce, EcoVentions and Queens College teamed up to host, attendees could visit exhibit tables with representatives from all different industries displaying information about their business practices and participate in panel discussions led by leaders in green business practices.
“This is the first of a local groundswell that is unprecedented,” said Steve Salsberg, whose group EcoVentions will be running 50 similar business-to-business summits throughout the country this year. The group worked with the Queens Chamber of Commerce to organize and promote the January 23 summit at Queens College.
“Queens is first, and it is setting the bar in what is the green economy, green jobs and green business,” said Jack Friedman, Executive Vice President of the Queens Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to the expo and panel discussions, the event also included a luncheon with speeches by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Councilmember James Gennaro, who chairs the Council’s Environmental Committee, and Ken Rother, President and COO of TreeHugger - the leading media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream.
Many of the speakers spoke optimistically about the prospects of focusing more on green initiatives now that President Barack Obama is in office as well as how they can spur local economies. However, Quinn cautioned that just because there is a new president, it does not mean local governments should abdicate their responsibility to promote green initiatives that could spur economic rejuvenation.
“We need to redouble our efforts,” Quinn said. “We have to find the opportunities in this recession or else [we will] get stuck in it even longer.”
After Quinn delivered her opening remarks, Gennaro and Rother both delivered keynote addresses stressing the importance of integrating green practices into businesses and talking about how doing so could benefit businesses financially.
Prior to and following the luncheon, attendees visited the different booths businesses set up, and many of the exhibitors said they were impressed by the event.
“Excellent, outstanding,” was how Jay Sohnen, a sales professional at Next Level for Recycling described the event. “It’s one of the best [shows] in terms of volume.” In addition, Roland Colavito and his team at Royal Waste Services - the waste contractor for Queens College - said that his company was there to support the event and make potential new business contacts.
“It’s already worked out,” Colavito said, referring to a
number of connections he made during the morning session of the summit.