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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Winning Awards in Green/Rhode Island College

Congratulations to one of our partners for their big win:

A Note from Peter Arpin, RNN Founder & President
To the Green Ribbon Graduates of 2017, 

Your class marks the five-year anniversary of the Green Ribbon Schools Program, an initiative launched by the U.S. Department of Education, in conjunction with the U.S. Green Building Council and the Earth Day Network - acknowledging our nation's leading schools, districts and institutions of higher education for their deep commitment to sustainable practices. 

As you embark into this next phase of your lives, you are empowered with a rich and unique set of tools that present a world of opportunity - not only to change the world, but to lead the way for all of us to make sustainability what it should be - a way of life. As Founder and President of Renewable Now Network, I am reinforcing the value of the three pillars of sustainability:

1. Positively impacting our environment

2. Positively impacting our society as a whole

3. Positively impacting our economy 

Through combined progress in all three of these areas, sustainability leaders have an unparalleled opportunity to touch each and every area of the world by incorporating sustainability into their own daily lifestyles - as well as through business, education, government, media, and philanthropy. By employing practices that embody all three of these pillars, you have the key to opening new doors and unlocking yet-to-be-discovered ones. 

Your career path may already be set and that may - and most likely will - evolve over time. Some of you may not yet know your precise career path. Either way, you all have the foundation to succeed and to implement your rich knowledge of sustainability into your own lives and lifestyles, homes and families, companies, and communities. Organizations, government agencies, schools, and corporations are at your fingertips. Here are four reasons why:

Youth brings fresh approach and enthusiasm into tackling the world's greatest challenges
You have a unique capability to capitalize on information through social media and technology
You - like no other generation - have a profound connection to social justice and responsibility
You have knowledge of a still emerging - and disruptive - specialty that is a touchstone across all parts of an organization or company.

Your employers may not have all of the sustainability tools at their disposal. Those teaching you, however, bring value in the way of life experience, business knowledge, and wisdom. Take this opportunity to bring a fresh perspective and collaborate with them, as well as learn from them. Combining your knowledge with their life wisdom through collaboration and interactive learning is an extraordinary recipe for sustainability success and the cornerstone to overall success. 

While the economic and political situation continues to challenge businesses and the global economy, we are taking a positive, optimistic stance about the future outlook.  Take the example of RNN's longtime partner and one of only nine postsecondary schools to earn the Green Ribbon award:  Rhode Island College, a school with a focused, campus-wide effort to make the college a national model for sustainable practices and programs, serving as an inspiration to other institutions.  

Significant accomplishments include the establishment of the Rhode Island College Green Team in 2009 and the development of several cost-saving initiatives by campus offices and divisions through waste reduction, recycling, energy efficiency, green cleaning and sustainable grounds management. Serviced by a central heating plant that uses both light oil and natural gas and provides steam for heat, hot water and steam absorption chillers for air conditioning, RIC buildings are continuously being improved to incorporate more efficiency in lighting, heating and cooling in their operation and design. The school has worked with AMERESCO (an energy services contractor) to implement fuel and electrical efficiencies across the campus.

Each year, RIC graduates don caps and gowns made from recycled plastic water bottles, which are then collected after graduation to be repurposed into carpeting. The college decreased the amount of waste disposed by 55 tons from 2015 to 2016, in large part by working with Goodwill Industries of Rhode Island. This initiative has helped to divert tens of thousands of pounds of material destined for the landfill by collecting the school's used clothing and e-waste.  RIC has also worked in association with National Grid to improve energy efficiencies. The National Grid partnership has provided resources, rebates and incentives to assist with achieving the college's objectives.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics generally defines sustainability professionals as people who promote environmental protection, social responsibility and profitability. In early April, LinkedIn listed a total of 27,100 sustainability jobs across the country.  More than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies have chief sustainability officers in their ranks, according to the International Society of Sustainability Professionals. The organization itself has seen its membership climb from 50 in 2008 to more than 1,000 today, with a LinkedIn network of 150,000, up from 100,000 just two years ago. Further to that, the number of businesses worldwide adopting sustainability practices has grown exponentially in the last decade.

Despite the naysayers and challenging political climate, the climate for the class of 2017 is promising and ripe for the taking. We look forward to seeing how you and your fellow graduates will do with this green ribbon, to working with you together on greening our world, so that the green ribbon is not just a symbol, but a reality toward making sustainability embedded in lexicon and practice for everyone - in the near future and beyond. 

- Peter Arpin, CEO and Co-Founder of RNN

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