DEEP: Govervor Rell Honors Seven Connecticut Leaders For Innovative Efforts To Address Climate Change

May 27, 2008

Gov. Rell Honors Seven Connecticut Leaders
for Innovative Efforts to Address Climate Change

Third Annual Awards Presented at ING in Windsor

Governor M. Jodi Rell today recognized seven individuals and organizations with awards from the Governor’s Steering Committee on Climate Change for their innovative efforts to address global climate change.

Governor Rell said, "Connecticut has been a leader in addressing Climate Change by putting strong programs in place to reduce dangerous Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions across all sectors of our economy. If we are going to successfully meet the challenge of Climate Change, however, state government cannot do it alone. It will also take the commitment of businesses, local governments, organizations and individual citizens.

"The accomplishments of those being honored today demonstrate the breadth of strong leadership in Connecticut – from 10-year olds to octogenarians, small towns to large cities, and non-profit organizations to small businesses and multinational corporations. We thank the 2007 award winners for the very real contributions they are making to the future of our planet."

Those presented with a 2008 Climate Change Leadership Award include:

  • CitySeed, New Haven
  • City of Stamford, Stamford
  • Curtis Packaging, Newtown
  • Green Council at Whitney Center, Hamden
  • ING, Windsor
  • Little People, Big Changes, Wilton
  • Ridgefield Action Committee for the Environment, Ridgefield

Gina McCarthy, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Chair of the Governor’s Steering Committee on Climate Change and other members of the Governor’s Steering Committee presented the third annual Climate Change Leadership Awards at a ceremony at ING’s new energy efficient headquarters in Windsor.

At the ceremony, Commissioner McCarthy said, "The challenge of climate change is also an opportunity to rebuild our economy on principles of sustainability, including energy efficiency, clean energy, cleaner transportation, local food systems, and carbon neutrality. Those we are honoring today are demonstrating the common sense, practical and cost effective steps we can all take to achieve those goals. We are honored to acknowledge these champions and encourage others to follow in their footsteps."

Background on the Governor’s Steering Committee
and the Leadership Award

The Connecticut Climate Change Leadership Awards Program was developed by the Governor’s Steering Committee on Climate Change to recognize individuals and organizations that take exemplary actions to reduce global warming pollution and promote the goals of the Connecticut Climate Change Action Plan. The awards were first presented in 2006. This year’s awardees were chosen from 26 nominations received statewide

The Governor’s Steering Committee, established in 2003, includes the Commissioners of the following Connecticut Departments: Environmental Protection, Transportation, Administrative Services, Public Utility Control, Office of Policy and Management, and Clean Energy Fund. It is charged with leading a collaborative effort to develop and implement a Connecticut Climate Change Action Plan.

The Climate Change Leadership Awards Program is an annual program. For more information and to submit a nomination for next year, see www.ctclimatechange.com

The state’s climate change website, www.ctclimatechange.com  provides success stories of additional climate change actions throughout Connecticut and provides tips on what individuals, businesses, towns, and others can do to address climate change. For further information, contact Lynn Stoddard, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, 860-424-3236 or c4info@ctclimatechange.com

Details of accomplishments:
2008 Climate Change Leadership Award Recipients

CitySeed, New Haven

CitySeed seeks to engage the community in growing an equitable, local
food system that promotes economic development, community development
and sustainable agriculture. The organization operates four farmers'
markets in New Haven, where only products grown or produced in
Connecticut are sold, and established the first year round open-air farmers' market in Connecticut. 

In 2007, vendor sales at these markets contributed over $1.6 million to job creation and the local economy; farmers redeemed over $64,460 in WIC coupons and Food Stamps from local families in need, ensuring the markets are accessible to the entire community. Furthermore, CitySeed has launched innovative programs in New Haven and across the state to further engage and connect communities through food, including www.BuyCTGrown.com, a website that offers a comprehensive guide to local food, farms and agricultural products in Connecticut. 

CitySeed also developed a pre-school curriculum to help children become healthy readers and healthy eaters and operates a Community Supported Market, at which community members can buy shares and receive deliveries of produce from all of the farmers at the Fair Haven market. 

Media Contact: Jennifer McTiernan
Executive Director
Telephone: (203) 773-3736, ext. 301
jennifer@cityseed.org


City of Stamford, Stamford

The city of Stamford has committed to using 20% clean energy by 2010 and to reducing its greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 20% by 2018. The city is a member of Cities for Climate Protection and signed on to the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. Stamford has inventoried their GHG emissions and has a local GHG action plan. Since 1998, the city has reduced energy use by over 11million kilowatt-hours annually through energy efficiency projects in city buildings, saving almost $1.3 million a year.

Some of the specific steps the city has taken to reduce energy use and GHG emissions include: solar installations for lighting at Kosciusko Park and at the recycling center; establishing a $6.1 million energy performance contract in more than 20 schools; reducing street lighting and piloting highly efficient Light Emitting Diode (LED) street lights; replacing downtown decorative lighting to achieve a 62% energy savings; and replacing all traffic signals with LED lights.

To continue building on these accomplishments, the city plans to increase the number of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) buildings, focus on greater use of clean energy, develop a green procurement program and look for opportunities to foster transit oriented development.

Media contact: Erin McKenna, Senior Planner
City of Stamford Land Use Bureau
Telephone: (203) 977-4715
emckenna@ci.stamford.ct.us

Curtis Packaging, Newtown

In 2007, Curtis Packaging became the first deluxe printing and packaging company in North America to go 100% carbon neutral and was the first company in its industry to be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, the world’s most comprehensive system for guiding forest management to sustainable outcomes.

The company also purchases wind energy certificates to offset 100% of the electricity used at its facilities. Curtis Packaging structured this purchase to include more than 1 million kilowatt-hours of CTCleanEnergyOptions, which helped its host community, Newtown, earn a free solar electric system under the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund’s Clean Energy Communities program.

The company’s remaining carbon dioxide emissions are being neutralized by investing in the Mynydd-Y-Garnedd forestry project in Wales and the Rhine-Ruhr methane capture project in Germany.

Curtis Packaging is an active member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition.

Media contact: Don Droppo, Jr.
Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Telephone: 203-270-5621
dondroppo@curtispackaging.com

Green Council at Whitney Center, Hamden

Comprised of seniors from the Whitney Center retirement community, the Green Council has promoted conservation awareness in elderly communities throughout Connecticut. This group of senior citizens created a website at www.grayisgreen.org, which provides information on a wide range of environmental issues including climate change and energy efficiency.

The website also contains a list of films and videos for use by retirement communities and a checklist whereby each community can evaluate its green performance. The group presents at educational forums and has authored and published the "Handbook on Conservation for Retirement Communities." The Council recently incorporated a new organization, National Senior Conservation Corps, to extend its work. The group now has links with retirement communities in Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and California as well as in many locations in Connecticut.

Media Contact: Robert Lane
(203) 230-2443

ING, Windsor

Environmental stewardship is an integral part of ING’s business philosophy.

As such, ING is a carbon neutral company. It achieves this through the purchase of clean energy as well as other efforts. Globally, it reduced its energy consumption by 19 percent between 2006 and 2007.

In 2007 ING in the United States purchased more than 70 million kilowatt-hours of clean energy, which offsets 100% of the electricity used for its facilities nationwide. This represents the largest clean energy purchase by a company headquartered in Connecticut.  ING structured this purchase to include more than one million kilowatt-hours of CTCleanEnergyOptions, which helped its former host community, Hartford, to earn a solar electric system under the Clean Energy Communities program.

ING was a recipient of the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund’s Clean Energy Award in 2008. The company’s energy buy also puts it among the leaders of 100% clean power on the EPA Green Power Partnership

ING’s new 475,000 square foot headquarters in Windsor features numerous green attributes including occupancy sensors, daylight harvesting control systems, and highly efficient air conditioning.

ING has an aggressive recycling program that tracks system-wide data and strives for a 50% recycling rate in 2008.

ING also has an extensive employee awareness program that includes promoting national campaigns such as Energy Star’s change-a-light, Americas Recycles and Earth Days.  ING encourages employees to use their own mugs and established recycling centers at its locations. Additionally, the company composts food wastes in the office, reduced paper use, and supports alternative transportation.

ING offsets all of its global business travel by supporting the planting and rehabilitation of 300 hectares of degraded tropical rainforest in Malaysia.

Media contact: Phil Margolis
Director, External Communications
Telephone (860) 580-2676
Phil.Margolis@us.ing.com

Little People, Big Changes, Wilton

Two young boys and their moms have demonstrated that a small group of committed people – no matter what their age – can have a big impact. This organization in Wilton has signed up more than 120 homes for clean energy under the CTCleanEnergyOptions program and launched a "no idling" campaign to reduce harmful air emissions from cars, trucks and buses. "Little People, Big Changes" has also conducted a number of presentations to schools, town officials, and local community groups on clean energy and global warming, and publishes a column in the local newspaper and in school newsletters. "Little People, Big Changes" was launched when Jordan Reichgut and Alex Scaperotta were eight years old. They are now 10 and still working hard to focus attention on climate change.

Media Contact: Eve Silverman
Telephone: (203) 216-0400
scapsilv@sbcglobal.net  

Ridgefield Action Committee for the Environment, Ridgefield

Formed in 2007 to promote sustainability in Ridgefield, the Ridgefield Action Committee led the effort to have this town commit to supporting 20% clean energy by 2010 for all town operations. The committee sponsored a "Mayors Challenge" on clean energy sign ups to six surrounding towns, developed an anti-idling campaign that resulted in 10% reductions, helped decrease energy use in town schools by 12%, and educates the community and schools about recycling and clean energy.

The committee also organized a day-long retreat on environmental sustainability attended by 70 Ridgefield town leaders, including town selectmen, planners and commissioners, Board of Education members, school administrators, students, Chamber of Commerce members, people associated with community associations, and business leaders. The Ridgefield Action Committee has worked closely on energy issues with town and school officials, local businesses, and developers. The committee’s work has helped launch a recycling campaign and a program to make bins for composting available to residents.

Media Contact: James Whelan
Telephone (203) 431-6838
jaywhelanjr@yahoo.com