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9 Sustainable Organizations Recap the Best of 2018
Philly

9 Sustainable Organizations Recap the Best of 2018

2018 was quite the year – Can you believe that only 10 months ago, we were Superbowl champions? Philly’s sustainability scene had a lot going on too. The city received $2 million towards climate goals. There were solar grants too. Everyone released a lot of reports. (and stuff.

To get a full scope of what happened in 2018, we asked several orgs what their highlights were.  

ImpactPHL

In April 2018, ImpactPHL co-hosted the first ever Total Impact Conference here in Philadelphia. 300+ attendees learned about investment opportunities that not only provide financial returns, but also produce positive outcomes for the region. Our goal at ImpactPHL is to help Philadelphia secure its position as a leader in the impact economy and to maximize the potential impact investing has to create a better, sustainable, healthier, more inclusive region for all of our citizens. We are happy to report that Philadelphia will again host the Total Impact conference on May 1 & 2, 2019 and we encourage all investors, family offices, foundations, and financial advisors to join us.

– Cory Donovan, Program Manager

Rail Park, Recipient of Green Building United’s 2018 Groundbreaker Community Award 

Green Building United

“Green Building United helped spearhead the adoption of the 2018 International Building Codes in Philadelphia. The 2018 Codes represent an increase in energy efficiency of over 30% as compared to what was previously required. The legislation passed City Council unanimously in May 2018, transforming the city from lagging nearly a decade behind its peers to becoming a leader nationwide.” 

– Alex Dews, Executive Director 

Sustainable Business Network, & Women For a Sustainable Philadelphia

“2018 was a challenging but exciting year for my organizations. As board chair of SBN, we organized important conversations between decision makers and our member businesses, resulting in a very informed report on local procurement which has been driving real change within the City.  And sparked by a panel discussion I joined led by Green Philly, in 2018 we finally launched our first few events for Women For A Sustainable Philadelphia! It’s been thrilling and exhausting, but I can’t wait for even bigger goals for these organizations to crush in 2019.”

– Amy Kate (Failing) Lobel

Esperanza

2018 was a great year for Esperanza and its fight to protect and enhance Hunting Park’s environment. In April, we hosted the first-ever bilingual (English/Spanish) PHS Tree Tenders training with the participation of 45 people, mostly community residents. This year alone, we planted 54 street trees and plan to plant many more in years to come. 

– Gabriella Gabriel Páez, Education and Community Development Coordinator AND SustainPHL 2018 Activist Of The Year

Gabriella Paez receives the SustainPHL 2018 Activist of The Year award

SEPTA

SEPTA has one of the largest “green” bus fleets in the United States, including the largest zero-emission fleet on the East Coast by 2019 and more than 95 percent of the fleet hybrid or electric by 2021; Additionally SEPTA will introduce 25 battery-electric buses in 2019.

In addition SEPTA took on the second largest solar project in the history of the city of Philadelphia, with three megawatts of panels currently being installed on the roofs of four bus and rail maintenance facilities across the city. We also have an RFP currently soliciting proposals to convert 10-20 percent of SEPTA’s base electrical load to renewable energy.  

– John Golden, Public Information Manager

Office of Sustainability:

This past Thursday Philadelphia City Council passed a bill that will allow the City to enter into a contract with a renewable energy developer who will build a 70 MW solar farm to provide the City with 22% of municipal electricity needs. This solar farm will be the largest in Pennsylvania by almost seven-fold! The contract will lock in today’s low rates for 20-years, hedging against future energy spikes, and will create economic opportunities for local workers. 

– Christine Knapp, Director

The GREEN Program

“This year alone, we’ve hosted and received interest from more than 7o students representing a number of Philadelphia-area universities including: Temple University, University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, and others. Our students and TGP community in Philadelphia (and beyond) inspire us each and every day to continue pushing forward with our mission for sustainable development and experiential learning around the world. It is because of our students and their passions for positive impact that The GREEN Program has been recognized as Company of the Year by the Stevie Awards for Women in Business as well as within the Philadelphia Business Journal: Women of Distinction.” 

– Caitlin Cowan

Friends of the Wissahickon

“The highlight of 2018 for Friends of the Wissahickon was having Forbidden Drive in Wissahickon Valley Park named the PA Trail of the Year by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Stretching 5.5-miles along Wissahickon Creek, the Drive gives park visitors of all ages and abilities the opportunity to engage with the natural environment, improve their physical and mental health, and enrich their lives. We are so lucky to have this incredible asset in Northwest Philadelphia, a trail that brings people throughout the region together and connects them to natural, cultural, historical, and recreational resources.”    

–Maura McCarthy Executive Director, Friends of the Wissahickon

PennFuture

“In October, PennFuture held a Clean Energy Panel in Philadelphia that focused on how the recently announced Federal environmental rollbacks would impact Pennsylvanians. The panel examined how weaker standards would pose risks to public health and our climate and discussed how investment in clean energy could mitigate these climate impacts. The event was moderated by Rob Altenburg, Director of the PennFuture Energy Center. The panel included several of Philadelphia’s leaders in sustainability: Saleem Chapman, Deputy Director of the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability; Mollie Michel, PA Field Organizer for Moms Clean Air Force; and Dr. Walter Tsou, Executive Director for Philadelphia Physicians for Social Responsibility.”

– Alex Cupo 

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Julie Hancher
Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

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