DNC Host Committee Encourages Businesses to Go Green

A new “green” designation for businesses listed in the 2008 Denver Host Committee’s vendor directory will help companies highlight their sustainable practices to tens of thousands of delegates and visitors to the city next August.In a move organizers say will help to make the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver the most environmentally-friendly ever, a “green” designation was added to the Denver Host Committee’s directory of vendors in order to highlight local businesses with sustainable practices.

The vendor list, located at DenverConvention2008.com, includes over 1,000 businesses that have registered to be a part of the directory that will serve as a guide of goods and services for the estimated 35,000 attendees of next summer’s convention.

“This opportunity will inspire local companies to start putting their houses in order now to attract that convention business,” said Parry Burnap, the Denver 2008 Host Committee’s director of greening. “We hope the vendor directory sets a precedent that leads to institutionalizing environmental/sustainable performance as a formal and consistent requirement for preferred contractor status in future conventions.”

To get the green designation, businesses must show one of two levels of sustainable practices. The basic level requires companies to incorporate at least four of the seven criteria – which include energy efficiency, water conservation and waste and pollution reduction among others – into their business model. The second level of green designation requires companies to prove a track record of environmentally-friendly business practice for at least a year that is verified by a third party.

“The City and County of Denver will use this vendor directory as a database after the convention to work with the green businesses listed on ways to create a sustainable business environment throughout the city,” said Chris Lopez, communications director for the Denver 2008 Host Committee. Lopez added the relevance of the vendor directory post-convention will serve as an incentive for businesses to green up their practices in time to get on the list of sustainable companies.

The green designation was created by the City of Denver, the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, Greenprint Denver and the Colorado Alliance of Sustainable Business Associations.

For businesses hoping to meet the DNC green standard, three workshops are scheduled this winter to help companies incorporate sustainable practices into their business model. The first two scheduled for January will be geared toward the restaurant and hotel industries – services that will be highly sought after by delegates and visitors next summer.

The 2008 Democratic National Convention will take place August 25-28 in Denver and is expected to earn the city between $160 million and $200 million in economic benefits.