Morgan Takes a (Mini) MilkCrate to The White House
Last week I (along with 44 other sustainable business leaders organized by Business Forward) had the honor of visiting our nation's capital and meet with senior White House officials. I was there as a result of our relationship with the Sustainable Business Network of Philadelphia and had the pleasure of heading up the Philadelphia contingent with Steve Master's, chair of SBN's Policy Committee.
The first part of the day was spent navigating the most thorough security I've ever experienced and suddenly stumbling into the Eisenhower Building like Alice down the rabbit hole. One foot in front of the other, I eventually found the conference room along one of the most impressive corridors I've ever traversed.
The bulk of the agenda was reserved for discussing the President's still-in-the-works Clean Energy Plan. The White House folks shared the bare bones of the plan with us while encouraging feedback. I was happy when one of my fellow delegates made the observation that the White House is one of the most powerful brands in the world and that what they do has a profound impact on shifting public opinion. I took this as my opportunity to share what had been bugging me all day: throughout the morning dozens and dozens of plastic water bottles were being brought in and consumed, not one reusable container in sight. And then our meat heavy lunch was catered by a megachain with limp claims to any local or sustainable sourcing policies... So taking my moment I shot my hand up (we were raising hands like middle school, which I guess was fitting since the bulk of my knowledge of the White House was formed in that time of my life) - anyways I was called on by Diana Doukas the Director of the White House Business Council. I said "My app helps people live more sustainably across 24 lifestyle categories. Energy is just one of them. I understand today is about the Clean Energy Plan- but what about the other choices the White House is making around sourcing? Food? Transit?." I paused and then continued (after making sure the secret service was not closing in), "How can we help the White House make better choices to send a stronger sustainability message?" Holds breath.
To their great credit they actually were sincerely interested in what I was suggesting, and I was told we could take the conversation "off line" (was this whole meeting actually happening on skype?). After I publish this post, my next step will be following up with Ms. Doukas. I'll come back online to share the results of our offline chat with you all.