NAEM’s 2012 EHS Management Forum

Last Updated:
Fri, 2013-05-10 13:35

Everblue attended the National Association for Environmental Management’s (NAEM) conference in Naples, Florida, celebrating NAEM’s 20th year. The theme of the conference was Driving Sustainable Business Performance through Environment, Health & Safety (EHS).

The conference opened with a keynote address by visionary author Paul Hawken. Mr. Hawken captivated the attention of the attendees by discussing the ecological challenges we face and the opportunities for business to actively restore our natural systems.

Steve, Leisha & Joan at NAEM NAEM Keynote Speaker

From left to right: Steve Alfaro, Leisha John, and Joan Mahon happily unite for a photo. Photo on right: Famed environmental and author Paul Hawken presents the keynote address.

We had the opportunity to choose from 24 different peer-led sessions covering everything from the future of sustainability to the art of EHS management. The sessions we attended included topics ranging from goal setting, metrics and materiality to governance and stakeholder engagement. Challenges and opportunities, including transparency in the global supply chain, water stewardship in a water-stressed world, innovations in packaging and end of life management, were clearly presented.

I attended a pre-conference “Master Class” in understanding the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and how it relates to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), and other ratings and rankings.

We were thrilled to attend a session led by Everblue student and friend, Leisha John, America’s director of environmental sustainability at Ernst & Young. She participated on a panel with another Everblue customer, Gretchen Digby, director of sustainability education at Ingersoll Rand Co. The session focused on internal engagement strategies and buy in – from the shop floor to the C-suite. With personal stories about their leadership style, and anecdotes about corporate green teams, participants came away with ideas that could be readily implemented. It was also impressive to see so many women in EHS and sustainability executive leadership roles.

Joan Mahon and Elizabeth Heider at NAEM Everblue's Steve Alfaro at NAEM

Photo left: Joan Mahon, senior LEED and corporate sustainability instructor for Everblue, poses with Elizabeth Heider, senior vice president of sustainability for Skanska USA. Photo right: Steve Alfaro, Everblue’s customer support manager, pauses for a quick photo.

Day two began with a keynote session on leadership lessons for sustainability management. Elizabeth Heider, senior vice president of sustainability at Skanska USA Building, shared a panel with Allard Castelein, vice president of environment for Royal Dutch Shell, and Evan van Hook, vice president of Honeywell International.

Elizabeth Heider also serves as the Chair of the United States Green Building Council and has devoted her career to both paths: Skanska USA and the USGBC. We talked with her after the session and look forward to reconnecting with her and many Everblue customers at Greenbuild in San Francisco next month. She graciously thanked us for all that we do at Everblue to help people learn about LEED and sustainability and earn the professional credentials: LEED Green Associate and LEED AP.

At the end of each day, we found time to enjoy the gorgeous sunsets on Florida’s west coast. Overall, we found the NAEM conference to be excellent. We learned so much and met fantastic people –sustainability leaders for many of the most admired corporations in the world and the EHS.

Florida sunset

About the Author

Joan MahonJoan Mahon is a senior LEED instructor and business development representative for Everblue. Since 2009, Joan has trained thousands of candidates to achieve the LEED Green Associate and LEED AP credential. She has been honored several times in her community for her work in the green building industry. These accolades include: the 2006 Vision Long Island Smart Growth Award, 2007 New York State Woman of Distinction 15th Assembly District, 2008 NY Chapter American Society for Landscape Architects Merit Award, 2005-2008 New York State Quality Communities Grant, and 2012 Distinguished Service Award.

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