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4/22/14: Earth Day Marks Debut of WNY Sustainable Business Roundtable


Poloncarz Welcomes 35 Local Businesses Pledged to Sustainable Practices, Environmental Responsibility

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined by Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Environment & Planning Thomas Hersey, the University at Buffalo’s Chief Sustainability Officer Ryan McPherson, Deputy Director of the Empire State Development (“ESD”) Corporation Michael Ball, and founding members of the Western New York Sustainable Business Roundtable (“SBR”), a network of companies committed to developing and implementing sustainability goals that will create a more environmentally and economically resilient region, to officially launch the SBR. The Roundtable encompasses 35 organizations, each of whom signed a pledge to reduce waste and pollution, protect waterways, optimize use of energy and materials, and invest in our community.

“The WNY Sustainable Business Roundtable represents the next step for local business, and underscores the fact that the very same companies that call this region home are working to protect our environment,” said Poloncarz. “As I noted in my ‘Initiatives for a Smart Economy’ address, economic development and environmental protection can and should go hand-in-hand. I want to thank the many groups who came together to make this possible, including U.B. and Empire State Development. Erie County is ready to work with our partners from the private sector to create a greener, more sustainable environment which will benefit us all in the long run.”

Businesses and organizations of different sizes and at different points in their sustainability journeys comprise the SBR, with each member able to interact with others to share information, best practices, and to develop sustainability goals and policies based on the pledge. The collaborations fostered by the SBR will assist members in implementing these goals while continually building towards a more economically-resilient and sustainable Erie County, with continuing education, networking, and support along the way.

"Business leaders have a critical role to play in making sure our air and water is protected and the challenge of climate change is given the attention it requires," said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. "By taking action now to cut greenhouse gasses, we can all reduce the costs of severe weather disasters in the future. Initiatives such the Western New York Sustainable Business Roundtable are integral in helping business leaders meet the environmental challenges of our time."

Commissioner of Environment & Planning Tom Hersey added, “Thanks to the efforts of this administration, along with support from the University at Buffalo, ESD, and a concerned, collaborative local business community, the Sustainable Business Roundtable is getting underway here in Erie County. Pursuing sustainability initiatives and policies not only makes sense for business, for workers, and for the environment, but will lead to a healthier region in the long run.”

“The University decided to partner with this great effort because vitality and prosperity largely come from a resilient and thriving business sector that places a premium on security, responsibility, innovation and the long term view,” said U.B. Chief Sustainability Officer Ryan McPherson. “These companies have stepped forward to take responsibility for their own actions, are creating new innovative opportunities and most importantly are committed leaders focused on creating an environmentally and economically sustainable Buffalo-Niagara.”

To date, 35 companies have signed the sustainability pledge to become members of the founding class of the WNY SBR. These founding members include: Block Club; Bontanicus; Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus; C&S Companies, Cannon Design; Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Buffalo; Community Beer Works; Curbell, Inc.; Ecology & Environment; Elm Street Bakery; The Environmental Services Group; Erie County; Guard Contracting; GM Tonawanda Powertrain; HDR; Industrial Support Incorporated; ITT Enidine; the Knoer Group; Lexington Coop; McCullagh Coffee; Modern Corporation; Montante Solar; national Grid; Nestle Purina Petcare; Perry’s Ice Cream; Rich Products; Siemens; Sonwil Distribution Center; Sti-Co; Tapecon; TM Montante Development; Triad Recycling and Energy; Uniland; University at Buffalo; and Wendel. Members are responsible for developing and implementing their sustainability plans and sharing them on the SBR website, http://www.wnysustainablebusiness.org .

“The Western New York Sustainable Business Roundtable is a new forum that welcomes companies of different sizes that are striving to institute a more formal sustainability initiative as well as organizations looking to acquire knowledge to improve their planning insights and best practices,” said Mark Shriver, a founding member of the SBR and Director of Safety & Environmental Affairs at Curbell, Inc. “The network will embrace and thrive on the complimentary knowledge of all the members, as we assist each other in launching or elevating our respective programs.”

Erie County’s Sustainability Plan will involve the participation of representatives from the Departments of Environment & Planning; Public Works; Information Support Services; Parks, Recreation & Forestry; and Purchasing. This interdepartmental green team will collaborate on initiatives to reduce Erie County’s carbon emissions and improve sustainable practices.

For more information on the WNY Sustainable Business Roundtable, visit http://www.wnysustainablebusiness.org