Boise's Green 'Brain Trust'

Forum brings high-profile businesses together to think green


The first Boise Sustainability Forum filled the top floor of the Eighth and Main Tower--a fitting venue, as the 20-story building is one of Boise's newest LEED-certified construction projects.

With a view of Boise's sprawling foothills and sea of treetops, the forum--put on by the Idaho Conservation League--brought together business owners, community leaders and conservation groups. Nearly 100 people attended the afternoon session on Sept. 3.

"When I was talking to businesses in the community about sustainability--what they are doing, what their interests are and how they are measuring it for their shareholders--what I found is that they were looking for a place to come together and talk about these issues and share expertise with one another," said Sara Arkle, community conservation association with ICL. "So what I am hoping this first event can do is be the beginning of the creation of a sustainability brain trust in Boise."

Arkle was able to grab some pretty high-profile companies in Boise, companies that often shy away from publicly discussing sustainability. The first panel included Idaho Center for Sustainable Agriculture President Pete Pearson; Shelley Zimmer, environmental marketing manager at Hewlett-Packard; and Idaho Power Sustainability Strategist John Bernardo.

The second panel included insight from Michael Armstrong, senior sustainability manager for the city of Portland, Ore., and EcoNorthwest Planning Director (and founding member) Terry Moore on economic development opportunities stemming from sustainability programs in both public and private entities.