CHICAGO - Environmental initiatives "make economic sense," Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley told a crowded audience at the 2009 Green Fleet Conference, held Monday-Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. A number of local media outlets also covered the event.
More than 350 fleet industry professionals attended the conference, which offered solutions and resources to help fleet managers continue environmental initiatives in budget-challenged times, according to organizers.
"The second annual Green Fleet Conference was extremely well-received by attendees because we offered solutions and resources to help fleet managers implement environmental initiatives in times of budget constraints," said Mike Antich, conference chairman. "Our conference speakers and panelists were industry experts who shared real-world practical solutions that allowed attendees to reduce fleet emissions at their organizations without increasing costs."
According to Antich, "In a very short period, the Green Fleet Conference has developed the stature of being a major industry conference as evidenced by the appearances of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and Michael B. Coleman, mayor of the City of Columbus, Ohio."
Mayor Daley opened the conference's Day 2 presentations describing Chicago's comprehensive Climate Action Plan, a multiyear program involving citizens, businesses, and government to achieve an 80-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050. The program includes such city fleet operations steps as improving fleet efficiency, achieving fleet fuel-efficiency standards, and switching to cleaner fuels.
David Haft, group VP of sustainability and productivity for Frito-Lay, North America, provided the opening keynote address, outlining the company's wide-ranging 2020 environmental goals to reduce water use by 75 percent, natural gas by 50 percent, electricity by 45 percent, and fuel by 50 percent, measured against 1999 benchmarks.
Environmental and energy attorney Kipp Coddington addressed current and potential federal and state environmental legislation in his presentation, "The Good, Bad, and the Ugly of Environmental Regulations." He expects no meaningful Congressional action on clean energy legislation for the next few years. While media and industry coverage of a Clean Energy bill has been widespread and heavy, "Congress will not act because the Senate is not ready," said Coddington. Proposed legislation "needs to cook for a few more years," he added.
A highlight of the Green Fleet Conference was presentation of the first-ever Environmental Leadership Awards, for which Mayor Coleman was a co-presenter. "Too often industry awards recognize the organization; however, it takes individuals with leadership and vision to implement these environmental initiatives and see them through to fruition, which is a long-term commitment. The Environmental Leadership Awards recognize these individuals," said Antich.
The 100 Best Fleets Program also presented its top Green Fleet award at the conference. Paul Condran, fleet manager for the City of Culver City, Calif., accepted the honor, which included a trophy and a $1,000 check by award program sponsor, Trimble, a GPS and telematics products supplier.
The two-day Green Fleet Conference featured more than 50 individual speakers and panelists in 18 distinct presentations, including concurrent sessions for commercial and public sector fleet tracks.
Other program participants represented businesses such as McDonalds, Cox Enterprises, Pfizer, AT & T, P& H Mining, AstraZeneca, Abbott, and Infinity Insurance, and public sector jurisdictions, such as New York City; City of Inglewood, Calif.; University of California, Davis; State of Illinois; City of Houston; and City of Milwaukee, Wis.; and City of Moline, Ill. Other groups represented included the Environmental Defense Fund, Clean Cities Coalition, and alternative-fuel associations.
Location for the 2010 Green Fleet Conference has not been determined. Further details can be found at www.greenfleetconference.com.