4/24/15: Poloncarz Addresses WNY Sustainable Business Roundtable

Modified: April 24, 2015 4:33pm

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One-Year Anniversary Brings Signatory Businesses Together to Focus on Sustainability Plans

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz addressed representatives from over 50 area businesses and governmental groups, many of them members of the Western New York Sustainable Business Roundtable (“WNYSBR”), at the Buffalo-Niagara Partnership on the one-year anniversary of the Roundtable’s founding. The meeting provided an opportunity to review organizations’ sustainability plans, highlight best practices, and renew the SBR’s commitment to instituting business practices that create a more environmentally and economically resilient region. The WNYSBR was launched on Earth Day 2014 as each organization signed a pledge to reduce waste and pollution, protect waterways, optimize use of energy and materials, and invest in our community. Poloncarz spoke about Erie County’s initial sustainability plan and also detailed energy conservation measures the county has already undertaken.

“The WNY Sustainable Business Roundtable is flourishing locally because businesses are increasingly realizing that economic development and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive, but rather they go hand-in-hand. Erie County is proud to be a founding member of the Roundtable and to stand with our partners in embracing business principles that are economically and environmentally responsible now and in the future,” said Poloncarz. “On the one-year anniversary of the Roundtable’s formation, I want to thank the many businesses who have joined us on the road to a stronger, more sustainable economy and environment and invite other businesses to join us as well.”

Poloncarz called for the creation of the WNYSBR in his “Initiatives for a Smart Economy” economic development plan, along with the creation of an Energy Manager position to assess Erie County’s energy usage. 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. Since the Roundtable’s inception last year, members including Erie County have developed their own initial sustainability plans, which were a focal point of discussion at the event.

Stewart Haney, President/CEO of Wendel, said, “We understand the importance of this commitment to our clients and communities, but also to our internal processes and operations. We are further developing our own sustainability plan, which advances our goal of creatively approaching our business and cultural practices as stewards of the environment.”

Erie County Energy Manager Eric Walker added, “The success of the Sustainable Business Roundtable illustrates triple bottom line thinking is good for both the public and private sectors. It demonstrates the kind of bold, “walk the talk” leadership that puts Erie County in the driver’s seat of the sustainability conversation and is something every county resident can be proud of.”

Erie County’s sustainability effort centers on an energy team with representatives from the Departments of Public Works, Environment and Planning, and National Grid assisting county Energy Manager Eric Walker in working on the county’s energy baseline and identifying energy conservation measures in the most energy-intensive buildings in the county’s portfolio. One project that has already been completed is the replacement of 250 60-watt incandescent bulbs with 4.5-watt candle LED bulbs in the chandeliers and sconces in the Old County Hall building at 92 Franklin St. This small project alone is expected to save nearly $10,000 a year in energy costs.

The county’s initial sustainability plan provides a road map for action, and will be augmented over the next two years with a more in-depth Climate Action and Sustainability Plan with support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) through Gov. Cuomo’s Cleaner, Greener Communities program. Erie County is currently conducting a search for a Sustainability Coordinator to guide this effort; more information can be found at www.erie.gov/sustainability .

John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, “Regional smart growth practices are vital to building sustainable communities and protecting our environment.  By instituting these practices today, the county is developing a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system for Erie County residents and all New Yorkers.”

"Throughout our company history we have innovated to offer unique value to our customers, employees, and community.  Our sustainability effort is another example of that," added Steve Davis, Vice-President of Tapecon, Inc.

Heather Alesius, Operational Controller for Computer Task Group, said, “CTG is committed to being a socially responsible company and reducing our environmental footprint through the use of best practices and continuous improvement. This approach to conducting business is good for our clients and employees, the environment and our company.  Much of our potential environmental impact improvements come from the efforts of each of our employees to be environmentally conscious corporate citizens, and to take those same principles with them into other aspects of their lives.”

The 35 original members of the WNYSBR 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, Inc; TM Montante Development; Triad Recycling and Energy; Uniland; University at Buffalo; and Wendel.

Members joining the WNYSBR since Earth Day 2014 include Buffalo Energy; Computer Task Group; Covanta; Environmental Services Group; Gin-Sue Enterprises, LLC; Great Lakes Environmental & Safety Consultants; Greif, Inc.; Lime Energy; Tri-Main Center; Sweet Home School District; WSP; and Xylem.


For more information:

On the Erie County Department of Environment & Planning, visit http://www2.erie.gov/environment/

On the WNY Sustainable Business Roundtable, visit http://www.wnysustainablebusiness.org