Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Business Stewardship Speaker Series: Tuesday, July 25!


The CMRC will kick-off its Business Stewardship Speaker Series on Tuesday, July 25th from 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM at the Hudson River Foundation. The Speaker Series will showcase the experiences of businesses and conservation organizations working together to implement conservation initiatives in the NY – NJ Harbor Bight. The topic of the first panel event will be: Business Stewardship in the Harbor Estuary: Corporations Leveraging Resources for Coastal Conservation.

The event will include presentations by:

Zipcar – Profitable Business Model that Increases Environmental Quality

NYC Audubon – Fuji Film Harbor Herons Monitoring Project

And more experiences from businesses and conservation organizations!

A 45-minute panel session will be followed by a Q&A with coffee and a light breakfast provided by the CMRC and Hudson River Foundation.

What: Business Stewardship Speaker Series
Where: Hudson River Foundation, lower Manhattan (http://www.hudsonriver.org/)
Date: Tuesday, July 25th
Time: 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM

Space is limited! RSVP to business.stewardship@thecmrc.org to reserve your seat now!!!

For more information on the Business Stewardship Initiative: http://www.thecmrc.org/prog-hbp-bsp.asp


Workgroup Members in Attendance:
Mark Caserta - 3R Living
Porter-Ann Gaines - Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance
Alison Johnson - Credit Suisse
Blake Nicolazzo - Patagonia
Joel Banslaben - Coastal Marine Resource Center

Business Stewardship Initiative
The Business Stewardship Workgroup convened its kick-off meeting on Thursday, May 18, 2006 from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM at the offices of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance (457 Madison Avenue). An agenda and powerpoint overview of the Business Stewardship Initiative were provided to the attendees by Joel Banslaben.

Attendees discussed the success and challenges of the Business Stewardship Workgroup held on February 16th at the Hudson River Foundation. Most thought it was an excellent first step toward creating a dialog on business stewardship in the Harbor Estuary but all acknowledged that the final session on creating the program was less productive than initially envisioned. One of the major successes noted by attendees was the sharing of stewardship experiences between businesses, environmental organizations and government agencies during the various panel discussions.

Alison Johnson (Credit Suisse) presented briefly on the state of philanthropy in corporations in the region. She stated that many of the investment banks were leaning away from simply providing financial contributions and were instead promoting active involvement by employees in different volunteer projects. Some of the larger corporations have developed programs that provide employees with a paid day off work to participate in community service projects.

Blake Nicolazzo (Patagonia) added that at the retail level many companies were actively supporting on-the-ground environmental initiatives with relatively small grants for action-oriented projects. In addition, some retailers are providing their staff with the opportunity to participate in volunteer projects with compensation. Patagonia also provides meeting space for non-profit organizations at its retail locations

Workgroup Objectives and Timeline
Attendees then discussed the development of a Business Stewardship Program for the New York – New Jersey Harbor Estuary and surrounding Bight that leverages financial, operational and human resources for coastal conservation efforts. Major conclusions included focusing on specific coastal issues (habitat, species) and geographic interests (ecosystems, business districts). In addition, a targeted business sector approach was discussed and the following were identified as of interest: corporations, retail, waterfront dependent, real estate development, and restaurants.

The role of the workgroup was then discussed and it was agreed that the workgroup would meet periodically with a goal of defining a Business Stewardship Program by early 2007. The program would include four major activities that include the Business Stewardship Speaker Series, a Business Stewardship Volunteer Network, a “Stewards of the Estuary” recognition program and a business stewardship resource guide. Each workgroup member offered to participate in one or more of the above activities.

Developing the Program
The workgroup decided that the Business Stewardship Speaker Series was the first task to focus on to build on the momentum of the Workshop earlier in the year. Blake Nicolazzo, Emily Farnworth (Environmental Resources Management) and Tony MacDonald (Monmouth University) will all be assisting with the development of the series. Participants suggested that the next event take place in mid July and focus on corporations in the Harbor Estuary. To gather as many attendees as possible a time of 8:30 – 10:00 AM was agreed upon. The session will include presentations of three panel speakers and will be followed by a Q&A afterwards. Future speaker series events were tentatively scheduled for September, November and January and will focus on retail, waterfront dependent, real estate development, and restaurants sectors.

The Business Stewardship Volunteer Network was the next item of discussion. Alison Johnson and Joel Banslaben agreed to work on the development of this component of the Program. The major items of discussion were on how to bring together the resources of the business community with conservation opportunities in the region. Different regions (Gowanus, Hackensack, South Bronx, Queens, Jamaica Bay, Long Island, NJ) were identified as focus areas as were specific habitat/species areas (Harbor Herons, oysters, marshlands). Next steps will be determining how to identify specific businesses and conservation opportunities.

The “Stewards of the Estuary” Recognition Program was discussed briefly and all thought that it was important to provide good press and visibility to make the program work. A goal was set to kick-off the program in early 2007 with first business “Stewards of the Estuary” being identified in fall 2007.

The final activity discussed was the development of the Harbor Estuary Business Stewardship Guide that would be disseminated to local businesses with information about the Harbor Estuary and basic next steps for information about becoming a steward. Mark Caserta (3R Living) and Emily Farnworth will be working to outline the next steps for this effort. Most agreed that it would be best to target the outputs toward specific audiences (i.e. real estate developers, restaurants) and provide the information in a succinct and easy to read format.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:15 PM and attendees agreed to meet next in early July.

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