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Sunday, June 24, 2012

NRA | ZWZ | Ei Partnership - Powerful!

In June the National Restaurant Association deepened its Zero Waste Zones' partnership with an Atlanta visit to meet civic | business leaders and ZWZ Participants.  At the February, 2011 ZWZ Three-Year Anniversary Press Conference, NRA senior executive vice-president policy & public affairs Scott DeFife announced the national collaboration between the NRA and Elemental Impact | ZWZ.  The ZWA Blog post, ZWZ Garners National Support, gives an overview of the press conference.

Susan Montgomery 
Chris Moyer, NRA ConSERVE program director, and Jeff Clark, NRA ConSERVE consultant, traveled to Atlanta prepared to share the NRA's ZWZ value-adds and learn how the NRA may assist the program move to the next impact level. The two-day trip was a whirlwind marathon with Ei program director Susan Montgomery orchestrating the meeting series with community leaders.  

Beginning with Atlanta Recycles, Michael Cheyne - Atlanta Airport director of sustainability and asset management - hosted fellow executive committee members in his capacity as Atlanta Recycles co-chair.  There is strong ZWZ history with Atlanta Recycles. When launched under the Green Foodservice Alliance, the ZWZ-Downtown Atlanta was in partnership with Atlanta Recycles.  Another common ground is the Turner Foundation:  Laura Turner Seydel serves as the ZWZ Chair and the Turner Foundation is one of Atlanta Recycles founding organizations.

Chris & Jeff during lunch meeting
with Sustainable Atlanta
Next on the agenda was a lunch meeting with Sustainable Atlanta including executive director Suzanne Burnes and communications director Scott Briskey.  In her prior professional position, Suzanne served as assistant director of the Sustainability Division of the GA Department of Natural Resources.  While under now deceased Marlin Gottschalk's direction, the Sustainability Division was a strong ally and partner from the absolute beginning and provided guidance moving ZWZ from a vision to a reality.  Suzanne continues her ZWZ commitment in her Sustainable Atlanta tenure.

The Greenprints Midtown Team
plus Chris, Jeff & Susan
After lunch the Greenprint Midtown Team, consisting of Midtown Alliance, Southface and Sustainable Atlanta, met with the Chris & Jeff to assess how the ZWZ may interface within the Greenprint Waste Task Force.  Dan Hourigan, Midtown Alliance director transportation and sustainability, is a long-term ZWZ supporter.  

In 2009, the ZWZ-Midtown launched in partnership with the Midtown Alliance.  The ZWZ Ambassador Program was developed in partnership with the Midtown Alliance, who provided resources and valuable insight while creating the recruiting and training material.

Another strong program supporter, Jean Pullen represented the City of Atlanta and their vested interest in program success.  As a ZWZ-Participant, the City works in tandem with the ZWZ in their city-wide zero waste initiatives. Jean facilitated introductions to Michael Cheyne at the Atlanta Airport, a ZWZ Participant and the Sustainable Food Court Initiative Airport Pilot.

Meeting with GWCCA & CAP
The final formal meeting of the day was with Central Atlanta Progress director of sustainability Lauren Dufort and Georgia World Congress Center Authority director of sustainability Tim Trefzer.  CAP, the downtown business organization, gave their formal ZWZ support in a meeting prior to the 2009 program launch.  The acclaimed 2009 ZWZ Launch Press Conference was hosted by the GWCCA, who was the first Founding Participant to say YES to joining the program.

Jeff & Chris all smiles after a
successful day of meetings
A special thank you to Sustainable Atlanta for the use of your conference room for the meeting series - it was perfect!

With the formal meetings complete, Chris, Jeff, Susan and Ei founder Holly Elmore regrouped at Empire State South for a delicious ending to a fabulous yet exhausting day.  The following day Chris & Jeff met with ZWZ Participants Affairs to Remember, Fifth Group Restaurants and Parsley's Catering.

Stay tuned for new ZWZ developments over the next months as the NRA determines how they may assist propelling the program into the next dimensions of impact - Exciting times!

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