VIRGINIA BEACH - If you’re interested in recycling, energy conservation, locally grown foods, or other sustainable practices, then consider attending the first annual Hampton Roads Sustainable Living Expo.
The two-day event on Sept. 28 and 29 at the Convention Center is designed to educate attendees about the social, economic and environmental challenges our region faces as well as the opportunities we have to overcome them.
“We want to help participants understand how important it is to seek what I call a ‘triple bottom line’ approach,” says Clay Bernick, Environment and Sustainability administrator. “This means taking into account the economic (profit), environmental (planet) and social (people) aspects of decision making in the home, as we conduct business or in government,” Bernick explains. “When the potential impact on all three of these is factored into determining how achieve a desired outcome, we are much more likely to implement a balanced, sustainable solution.”
Day 1 - Business Community
Day 1 is intended for local business leaders and will focus on how they can reduce their impact on natural resources, operate more sustainably, save money and provide a better workplace environment. Topics will include the environmental impact of the built environment, transportation, purchasing and waste management. Participants can register for $25 which includes a ticket for Friday’s Hampton Roads Sustainable Business Luncheon.
The luncheon provides an ideal opportunity for business owners and managers to network with area leaders dedicated to sustainable operations. Practices highlighted at the event are applicable to all businesses including industrial manufacturing, hospitality/residential, service and retail.
Implementation of these practices can not only help preserve the environment, but evidence suggests that they contribute to business success as well. In fact, Newsweek Magazine’s 2011 Green Rankings found that the top 100 of the 2009 “greenest” companies, when weighted equally, outperformed the S&P 500 by 4.8% or more over the previous two years and are, collectively, up 15.2% compared to 10.4% for the S&P 500. Among them are the likes of IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Office Depot, Adobe Systems, Best Buy and McGraw-Hill.
Day 2 - Local Citizens
Day 2 is devoted to local residents and will answer questions many people have about how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Topics range from how to make a rain barrel to tips on alternative energy opportunities and easy ways to reduce utility payments. Vendors will also be on site featuring green products and services.
In addition to great exhibits and practical demonstrations, the expo will also offer free document shredding and the Virginia Aquarium will host an e-cycling event to collect old electronics.
Admission is free, but in the spirit of the event, please bring recyclable items such as plastic bottles, batteries, old cell phones, etc. and/or a non-perishable food item for the local food bank or the SPCA. Monetary donations will also be accepted. Registration is not required.