Expert Panelists Discuss ‘Green Business’ at GNPCC Speaker Series at American Heritage Federal Credit Union

Six expert panelists highlighted the fourth Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Speaker Series event entitled “Green Business:  It’s More Than a Color” April 21, 2016 at American Heritage Federal Credit Union, 2060 Red Lion Rd., Philadelphia.

The panel discussion was sponsored by PECO, and hosted by American Heritage in their Community Room on their beautiful Northeast campus.

The panelists were:  Tom Brubaker, PECO’s commercial marketing and communications manager; Eli Sachs of Houston-based Incite Energy; Jamie Gauthier of the Sustainability Network of Philadelphia; Christine Knapp of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability; and Dr. Donald Goeltz, who teaches strategy and business management at Holy Family University.

Luanne Amato, a teacher and doctoral candidate, of Holy Family University was the moderator.

What is a green business? Green businesses adopt principles, policies and practices that improve the quality of life for the customers who do business with them, the employees who work for them, and the communities they serve.
“The question is, how can we sustain our environment and do business at the same time?’ asked Ms. Amato.
“Sustainability is not a fad anymore,” she said.  “Climate change is real, and there is scientific and real life evidence to prove it.”

Dr. Goeltz agreed.  “Young folks and students today have grown up with the idea that protecting the environment is a duty, not some kind of advertising gimmick.”
The “three-legged stool” or “triple bottom line,” as the panelists described it of people, planet and profit peppered everyone’s remarks.
“Education is the key,” Mr. Sachs said.  “If you show a business how to effectively take care of people and the planet while earning a profit, they will buy in.”
Mr. Brubaker agreed.  He pointed to PECO’s Smart Ideas and Smart Business Solutions programs as a way to incentivize homeowners and business owners to adopt green programs.
“Upfront costs are usually an impediment to implementing green business initiatives,” said Ms. Knapp, who was appointed to her position in January by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.  “So if you can show people how they will save money by using a programmable thermostat, for instance, the cost of which you will recoup in about two months of savings, then they become a believer.”
Ms. Gauthier, who described the Sustainability Business Network of Philadelphia as a chamber of commerce for green businesses, said her group has about 400 members, mostly small, locally-owned businesses that “provide a very rich resource community.”
Teresa Guldin of Tompkins VIST Bank suggested the best way to celebrate Earth Day (April 22) was to “get outside, and turn off your television, and go for a walk on Pennypack Trail,” in the Northeast, she said.  She urged the Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce to become more involved in sustainability by encouraging member businesses to adopt greener standards.
Ms. Knapp was encouraged by her remarks.
“Businesses should be advocates for things like parks and trails,” she said, “because the data shows that businesses want to locate in cities that have an effective ecosystem so their employees can enjoy it.  And the employees want to live in a city that encourages sustainability.”
Before the panel discussion, Mary Anne T. Benner of American Heritage, a longtime member of the GNPCC, welcome everyone and underscored the credit union’s and President and CEO Bruce Foulke’s commitment to the organization.
“The Northeast Family YMCA, the Northeast Chamber, and, of course, American Heritage mean so much to me, and I urge you to learn as much as you can about them.  Each of them are really great,” she said.
For more information about the Speaker Series or all 2016 GNPCC event, call 215.332.3400.