ICLEI USA and Office Depot Celebrated Major Expansion of Green Business Challenge at the New York Stock Exchange April 21

Triangle J Council of Governments, NC Join Innovative Program to Reduce GHG Emissions and Energy Consumption Among Businesses and Commercial Buildings – Millions of Dollars in Savings for Participants.

Washington, D.C., DC, April 25, 2011 --(PR.com)-- ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA is proud to announce a major expansion of its Green Business Challenge program by adding four new communities that have made a commitment to reduce emissions and increase energy efficiency at their businesses and commercial buildings. ICLEI USA and Office Depot together with elected officials from the City of Austin, TX; City of Bellevue, WA; City of Chula Vista, CA; and the Triangle J Council of Governments, NC; marked this important expansion by ringing the Closing Bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, April 21.

“We welcome these four new communities into the Green Business Challenge family and commend them for being a part of this important effort that will help local governments engage their businesses in energy efficiency and climate protection,” said Mayor Patrick Hays, City of North Little Rock, AR, Corporate President and Chair of the Board of Directors, ICLEI USA. “The emissions reductions generated by the Green Business Challenge will translate into millions of dollars in savings for cities and participants; that’s welcoming news to any business trying to survive during these tough economic times.”

The Green Business Challenge is a unique program that seeks to engage local property managers and tenants in a friendly competition to save energy, reduce waste and water consumption, procure greener products, and implement other sustainable activities within their companies. The program was initially piloted in 2009 as the City of Chicago “Green Office Challenge” and organized by the Chicago Department of Environment and ICLEI USA. Office Depot was one of the primary underwriters of the challenge in Chicago and directly supported key aspects of the initial program development.

“We want to thank Office Depot for their continued commitment to helping businesses achieve their energy efficiency and sustainability goals through their generous support of the Green Business Challenge,” said Martin J. Chávez, Executive Director, ICLEI USA and former three-term mayor of Albuquerque, NM. “This significant expansion of our Green Business Challenge will allow hundreds of new businesses and commercial buildings to actively contribute to their community’s environmental and sustainability efforts.”

As the Presenting Sponsor of the 2011 Green Business Challenge, Office Depot is providing core funding for the national rollout of the program, in addition to “Green Business Challenge Implementation Packs,” which will be given to the Cities of Austin, Bellevue, and Chula Vista, as well as the Triangle J Council of Governments – made up of Chatham, Durham, Johnston, Lee, Moore, Orange and Wake counties. As the nation’s leading local government association addressing sustainability and climate change, ICLEI USA will provide these four communities with proven measurement tools, resources and training to help participants reach their goals.

Participants will be evaluated over a one-year period through the Green Business Challenge Scorecard, which outlines actions to make participating businesses “greener.” Free training and resources will be provided and tenants will be able to take advantage of energy rebate programs. Participants will also be included in an outreach campaign aimed at promoting the Green Business Challenge and will be honored at a special event acknowledging their participation and highlighting their energy reduction achievements.

About ICLEI USA and The Green Office Challenge:
In 2009, former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley launched the Chicago Green Office Challenge in partnership with ICLEI USA as an innovative strategy to significantly improve the environmental performance of commercial buildings, which account for a major share of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. The program has now successfully expanded into several major cities including; Westchester, NY; the Port of San Diego, CA; Houston, TX; Arlington County, VA; Saint Louis, MO; and Charleston, SC.

To learn more about ICLEI USA’s Green Business Challenge, please visit www.icleiusa.org/greenbusinesschallenge.

For more information about Office Depot's environmental initiatives, visit: http://www.officedepot.com/environment.

Guillermo Meneses