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Chicago leads with 47 LEED-certified buildings

April 12, 2012
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ChicagoOn the evening of January 25th, 2012, the Centre for Sustainability and Excellence (CSE), in partnership with CSRwire and the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, hosted a Sustainability Roundtable Discussion and reception at the Hotel Monaco in Chicago. An engaged audience featuring some of Chicagoland’s largest and most sustainable companies and organizations, including Allstate Insurance, Illinois Tool Works, and R.R. Donnelley, came out for a discussion on the topic “Using Sustainability to Mitigate Risk During Economic Turbulence.”

The evening’s first presenter was Karen Weigert, chief sustainability officer for the City of Chicago. Ms. Weigert communicated to the audience the city’s push for more efficient systems of transportation, waste reduction, and natural resource protection & restoration. She also reinforced the position of Mayor Emanuel’s administration to adhere to the Chicago Climate Action Plan.

Following Ms. Weigert was Doug Widener, executive director of the U.S. Green Building Council – Illinois Chapter who articulated the fiscal and environmental advantages of implementing the suite of rating systems known as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings, homes, and neighborhoods. Mr. Widener also noted that Chicago had more LEED certified buildings than any other city on the planet with 47.

Herbert Lust, director of dtrategy, global corporate citizenship at Boeing provided examples to dispel the myth of any conflict between environmental stewardship and economic growth. Mr. Lust touted Boeing’s use of biofuels as an alternative to petroleum-based jet fuels, and the company’s mentality of engineering products and systems (75% of R&D goes toward benefitting and addressing environmental performance).

The evening’s final presenter, Menno Enters, director of energy and sustainability, began with personal anecdotes from his childhood that gave rise to his enthusiasm for sustainability today. Mr. Enters touched on many of Walgreens’ initiatives including the use of geothermal energy, solar panels, and internal training and education on sustainability.

“We are at a critical juncture where integrating sustainability into the corporate and governmental strategy and framework must be addressed as priorities,” stated Nikos Avlonas, president of CSE and moderator for the Roundtable. “We facilitate events such as tonight’s Roundtable not to pat ourselves on the back for the work we’ve done, but to engage with our peers in sharing best practices, addressing challenges, and pushing the sustainability movement forward.”

CSE is an international advisory, coaching and training organization with offices in the U.S., Greece, and Belgium. CSE specializes in sustainable development solutions and works with private and public sector clients for the advancement of sustainability, within their operations and organizational framework.

The Centre for Sustainability and Excellence has hosted Roundtable Discussions on various topics of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in cities across the U.S., including New York, Atlanta, and Washington, DC. CSE Roundtables have featured panel members from the Global Reporting Initiative, the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, Sustainable Atlanta, and the Sustainable Business Network of Washington (SB NOW), among others.

CSE will host its Certified Carbon Footprint Practitioner Training on April 26-27, 2012 in Chicago. At present, more than 250 CSR Practitioners in over 25 countries are certified under the CSE. To view CSE’s complete 2012 training schedule, visit us on the web at

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