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Chula Vista Launches Green Business Challenge
 
The City of Chula Vista, in collaboration with ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA and Office Depot, launched its Green Business Challenge at the City’s centennial celebration on Saturday. The Challenge is a friendly competition for businesses in Chula Vista to conserve energy and water, save money, reduce waste and pollution, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and participate in other sustainability initiatives. The year-long Green Business Challenge will recognize the businesses that have made the most progress across these categories.

The Chula Vista Green Business Challenge builds off of the City’s successful CLEAN Business program that provides free technical support and marketing assistance for local businesses that adopt “green” practices. From hotels to banks and restaurants, more than 100 businesses have become verified Chula Vista CLEAN businesses helping to commemorate the City’s 100th birthday. At the centennial event over the weekend, Mayor Cheryl Cox congratulated the CLEAN businesses and encouraged all local business “to take advantage of this unique opportunity with the Green Business Challenge to become even cleaner!”

The Chula Vista Green Business Challenge is based on an existing, proven program co-developed by City of Chicago and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA, the leading membership association of cities and counties addressing clean energy, climate change, and sustainability. Thanks to sponsorship from Office Depot, four local governments, including Chula Vista, Austin, TX, Bellevue, WA, and Triangle J Council of Governments, NC, were selected to receive assistance in launching Challenge programs in their respective communities. ICLEI provides programmatic support, and Office Depot provides financial assistance for program events, leads a green purchasing training, and supplies green kits with green products offered by Office Depot. These four pilots join six other communities that are implementing Green Business Challenge programs: Chicago, IL; Charleston, SC; Houston, TX; Arlington County, VA; Westchester County, NY; and Port of San Diego, CA.

“Across the country, the Green Business Challenge has been successful because of its innovative approach, engaging businesses with friendly competition and community recognition,” said Michael Schmitz, ICLEI USA’s Interim Executive Director. “With Chula Vista’s Green Business Challenge, everybody wins: Businesses save money and energy while demonstrating their environmental stewardship, and the City improves the environmental quality for all its residents.”

"Businesses have compelling economic reasons to go greener, but they often don't know where to start," said Yalmaz Siddiqui, Senior Director, Environmental Strategy for Office Depot. "By joining the Green Business Challenge, participating organizations will access a roadmap to greening that not only helps them reduce their environmental footprint, but will help them create a better business overall."

Businesses that elect to participate in the Chula Vista Green Business Challenge will be evaluated through a “scorecard” based on green strategies that relate to four key areas: energy conservation, water conservation, pollution prevention, and solid waste reduction. Monthly trainings will be held throughout the year to provide participating businesses with information and resources to help make them successful in the program. The Challenge period will run through 2012, during which successful businesses will be recognized for their efforts throughout the year as well as at an end of the year awards ceremony.

For more information, please visit www.chulavistaca.gov/clean.

About ICLEI USA

ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA is the nation’s leading nonprofit membership association of local governments committed to sustainability, climate protection, and clean energy. The local governments we serve—including 550 active U.S. members—recognize the importance of creating livable, prosperous communities, addressing climate change, and saving energy and money in the process. ICLEI USA provides the expertise, technical support, training, and tools to help its members advance their goals. To learn more, visit www.icleiusa.org.

About Office Depot

Celebrating 25 years as a leading global provider of office supplies and services, Office Depot is Taking Care of Business for millions of customers around the globe. For the local corner store as well as Fortune 500 companies, Office Depot provides supplies and services to its customers through 1,627 worldwide retail stores, a dedicated sales force, top-rated catalogs and global e-commerce operations. Office Depot has annual sales of approximately $11.6 billion, and employs about 40,000 associates around the world. The Company provides more office supplies and services to more customers in more countries than any other company, and currently sells to customers directly or through affiliates in 56 countries.

Office Depot’s common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ODP. Information on Office Depot’s Environmental Strategy efforts can be found at www.officedepot.com/environment.

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