We are at Greenbuild in Phoenix this week! To say the least–it has been eye opening. Although we’re enduring difficult economic times, it seems there is quite a bit of optimism inside the convention center. We will likely look back on Greenbuild 2009 as emblematic of significant change on many fronts. Anxiety and uncertainty are being replaced by a newly emerging optimism and sense of purpose in the sustainable business professional community. The conference continues to draw more and more young professionals and new attendees. And most importantly, we’re observing significant change in the language being used to discuss our common future.
In 2009 we’ve noticed a conscious effort by the USGBC and conference presenters to focus on the large scale issues we face and solutions we need. In this context they are refocusing and expanding the very role the green building movement can play. The movement is no longer only about singular projects or newly developed technologies. Greenbuild has become more topically inclusive and a more effective assemblage of diverse interests.
Presentations and discussions prevalently feature the application of triple bottom line principles, the importance of meeting relevant standards or certifications; not only in buildings, but across supply chains and life cycles of processes and products. We continue to hear from leading companies about the importance of integrating sustainable business practices into core business models–and that viewing the greening of a product or building in isolation ultimately does an organization a disservice.
The 21st century business model will be about generation of stakeholder (environment, community, and shareholders) value not quarterly shareholder value. The USGBC has become an organization focused on PEOPLE; recognizing that more than Green Buildings are required of us to achieve a truly sustainable planet. It’s exciting to witness and be a part of such change.