The four winning cities of the Green Business Challenge, sponsored by Office Depot and ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability-USA, will each receive $20,000 along with technical support from ICLEI and in-kind donations.
Through Green Business Challenges, local government leaders host a competition among local businesses to measurably shrink their environmental footprint and switch to environmentally preferable products. Actions taken by businesses will be tracked and measured on an innovative software platform, GreenPSF, originally used by the city of Chicago in its 2008 Green Business Challenge.
Since Office Depot’s national sponsorship of Green Business Challenge started in 2009, businesses in more than 18 communities have participated. In Chicago, 150 participants in the Chicago Green Office Challenge in 2011 saved a collective $17.5 million in energy costs, reduced energy use by 124 million kWh, kept more than 85,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and diverted 43 percent of their waste from landfills.
Houston, a returning participant, plans to increase its electricity savings and carbon emissions reductions with added resources and assistance through the Implementation Pack.
In its first round of funding, 375 businesses measured 74 million gallons of reduced water usage and 28 million kWH of electricity savings, Houston mayor Annise Parker says.