Global Green USA honored leading innovators for their extraordinary "designs" last night at the 9th Annual Sustainable Design Awards event at New York's Pier Sixty. The awards highlight innovations that seek to create green jobs and solutions for environmental and economic crises and are a vital part of Global Green USA and GCI's vision to foster a global value shift towards a sustainable and secure future through innovative policy, building, business, organizational, and industrial designs.
Katie Couric co-hosted the event along with David Hyde Pierce, Edward Norton (Global Green Board Member), Mel Gibson, and Brian Cox (Global Green New York Committee Member). Other notable attendees included Richard Donner, Robert Towne, and Pat Mitchell (President, Paley Center). This year's honorees included:
Policy Design: Governor Bill Richardson, New Mexico
Organizational Design: Rosemary Ellis, Editor in Chief, Good Housekeeping
Founders Award: Robert S. Bucklin, Chief Corporate Banking Officer, Rabobank International
Green Building Design: Jeffrey C. Hines, President, Hines
Product/Industrial Design: Datuk Vinod Sekhar, Chairman & CEO, Green Rubber – A Petra Group Company
The Sustainable Design Awards kicked off with a high energy environmental hip hop poem performed by National Poetry Slam Grand Champion Steve Connell before actress Danai Gurira (The Visitor) gave a moving testimonial performance about the struggles of a New Orleans grandmother who had suffered great losses after Katrina and received great help and relief from Global Green in her efforts to rebuild.
The annual benefit raised $450,000 to support Global Green's work to combat climate change while helping low income families and communities such as: greening affordable housing in New York City and across the U.S. including projects with Habitat for Humanity; the sustainable rebuilding of New Orleans including the landmark Holy Cross Project; and creating green schools nationally that improve test scores and save schools money on rising energy costs.
The event also supports Global Green's New York office which recently opened to launch The Coalition for Resource Recovery (CORR), an initiative dedicated to dramatically reduce New York's CO2 emissions by promoting aggressive recycling and reducing waste streams.
Global Green USA, the US affiliate of Green Cross International, also presented the Green Cross Solar Report Card, which demonstrated the need for more sustainable leadership to dramatically expand global investment in solar technology as the U.S. received a C+ while Germany led the way with an A-, and Russia and China receiving F grades.
"Our 2008 honorees are creating innovative designs that are rebuilding and rethinking our homes, media, workplaces and communities," said Global Green President Matt Petersen. "We must learn from their lessons if we are to successfully tackle the current climate, ecological and economic crises that are in large part a result of the disconnect between humanity and the limits of the natural world."
The 2008 "sustainable designs" being recognized by Global Green are:
Governor Bill Richardson, New Mexico – Policy Design
Governor Bill Richardson is serving his second term as Governor of New Mexico. He has aggressively pushed clean energy as Governor of New Mexico. There are no taxes on hybrid vehicles, groundbreaking incentives for solar, wind, biomass, biodiesel, and distributed-generation fuel cells, and New Mexico has agreed to abide by the limits of the Kyoto Treaty. During Governor Richardson's run for President in the 2008 campaign he was dubbed "the energy President" because he insisted the most important national issues involve America becoming energy independent and reducing green house gas emissions. He called for a 90% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and a 50 mile per gallon fuel economy standard by 2020. As Secretary of Energy, Richardson championed environmental responsibility and clean and renewable technologies.
Rosemary Ellis, Editor in Chief, Good Housekeeping – Organizational Design
Rosemary Ellis was appointed editor-in-chief of Good Housekeeping in July 2006. Ms. Ellis oversees all content for the multimedia Good Housekeeping brand, which reaches more than 45 million consumers each month. In 2008, Ms. Ellis oversaw the development of Good Housekeeping's annual green house project, represented this year by the first LEED certified green private residence in Manhattan, as well as their initiative to create a Green Good Housekeeping Seal. The Good Housekeeping Seal is a highly recognized statement of the magazine's renowned Consumers' Policy. Today, thousands of products are covered by the Good Housekeeping Seal.
Robert S. Bucklin, Chief Corporate Banking Officer, Rabobank International – The Founders Award
Robert Bucklin is the Managing Director and Chief Corporate Banking Officer for Rabobank International's U.S. and Canada operations, including Mergers & Acquisitions, Leveraged Finance, Trade & Commodity Finance and Food & Agri-business Research.
Mr. Bucklin has served as Global Green USA's Treasurer since 1999 and has been instrumental in helping to guide the organization's growth and success, including major support for the green rebuilding of New Orleans, smart climate solutions for communities and the advancement of green building and affordable housing in New York City and around the country.
Jeffrey C. Hines, President, Hines – Green Building Design Award
Jeffrey C. Hines is President and CEO of Hines. Mr. Hines has demonstrated an enduring commitment to sustainability, reflected in the firm's leadership with the U.S. Green Building Council and the EPA's ENERGY STAR program. That commitment inspired the creation of the nation's first green real estate development fund with CalPERS, in addition to the development of numerous sustainable office towers in cities like Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Milan, Paris, Seattle and Washington, D.C., among others.
Datuk Vinod Sekhar, Chairman & CEO, Green Rubber – A Petra Group Company – Product/Industrial Design Award
Datuk Vinod B. Sekhar is currently the President and Chief Executive of The Petra Group, the Malaysian-based technology conglomerate with interests ranging from rubber recycling, biofuels and biotechnology, to financial software. As chief executive of Petra Group, Vinod strives to create and grow businesses that provide solutions for humanity. Green Rubber – one of Petra Group's largest businesses – is fulfilling its potential and providing an environmentally friendly recycling solution to the global problem of waste tires, one of the great scourges upon our Earth.
Global Green also announced the eight founding members of its new CORR initiative dedicated to reducing waste streams from New York City's Five Boroughs: Action Carting Environmental Services; Chemol Co; Interstate Resources; Plasma Waste Recycling, Pratt Industries; Spectra-Kote; Tomra; and the Turner Foundation. The coalition seeks to reduce landfilled waste by 580,000 tons per year and greenhouse gases by 1.7 million metric tons of CO2/year, or the equivalent emissions released from the consumption of 4 million barrels of oil.