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"GoGreen '11" conference showcasing best practices from who's who of Seattle businesses

The company behind those "Redbox" DVD vending machines is one of the local businesses making a presentation about sustainability in the workplace at the "Going Green '11" conference in Seattle.
AP photo
The company behind those "Redbox" DVD vending machines is one of the local businesses making a presentation about sustainability in the workplace at the "Going Green '11" conference in Seattle.

Insiders from many of Seattle's most recognizable big businesses are gathering today at the Washington State Convention Center downtown.

Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks, REI, and The Mariners have all been invited to give interactive presentations meant to inspire others in the region to follow in their footsteps. The topic? Going Green. "GoGreen '11" is the name of the event. It's in its 4th year now. Founder Ericka Dickey-Nelson says their aim is to educate business leaders on the latest sustainability practices, by showcasing the things many big companies are already doing.        

"It's so much harder at a large company, right? So, they should be an inspiration - to all sizes of companies."

Case in point: The Mariners. If they can recycle more than 70% of the waste the team generates at Safeco field -and even convince fans to take home compost instead of Bobble heads - that should inspire lawyers and accountants who attend their presentation at" GoGreen '11" to find ways of finally transitioning to paperless offices.

And if Boeing talks publicly about its sustainable production techniques for airplanes, smaller companies such as the truck maker Paccar might learn something too.

"Red" goes green

Even the company behind that thing called Redbox is excited to be talking about "going green".

A Redbox is one of those DVD vending machines you're seeing in grocery stores and 7-11s all over the place now. And the person telling their story is Nicole Trimble, the company's newly hired Corporate Responsibility Officer. She's been taking stock of all that her company needs to do, to reduce its impact on the environment - things like converting their delivery trucks to cleaner fuels, putting more efficient lighting into the vending machines or getting employees to recycle more at work:

"And how can we really become 'green on the inside' – which is something people are fond of saying around here."

But part of it, she says, is also just recognizing all that they're already doing right – with a business model that encourages re-use. 

"If you think about that, you know, we're allowing the same DVD to be rented by many, many consumers. And it's not just putting more products into the marketplace. It's the sharing of a product, over and over again."

That's a story she's been asked to tell at this year's "GoGreen" event. Founder Dickey-Nelson says the idea is that if presenters such as Redbox talk about what they're doing in a setting where participants can ask lots of questions, they'll all get inspired to do more.

"So things that they can learn from the businesses that are already on the cutting edge with their practices. And they can actually take these ideas away into their own business and implement them, even as soon as the day following the conference."

The idea is taking off. This year for the first time, "GoGreen" conferences are happening not only in Portland and Seattle, but are also being backed by city governments in Austin and Phoenix. 

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment for KNKX with an emphasis on climate justice, human health and food sovereignty. She enjoys reporting about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Story tips can be sent to