Queens Chamber President Albert Pennisi reported that more seminars were available to this year’s participants, with three taking place every hour to offer businesses with more crucial information.
“Now in year two, the economy impacted many of our small businesses, and we found that the greening of the businesses and the green businesses and products and services not only helped and assisted them to grow their businesses, in many cases it helped them to retain their businesses, and at the same time helping the environment, so it was a win-win situation for our members,” said Pennisi.
He added that more city, state and federal agencies were on hand to help businesses learn about incentives, in the form of tax programs and benefits, available to them for going the green route.
An example is CommuterLink, a non-profit organization funded by the Department of Transportation that helps drivers find carpools in their area. Project Coordinator Aiesha Tolbert’s works to get cars off the road to decrease traffic congestion and pollution in the air.
“We want to give drivers an alternative. Some people absolutely hate mass transit, so in those cases we’re trying to get them to carpool,” said Tolbert. “One of our main goals is to get people to not drive alone.”
CommuterLink tries to link commuters who live within five miles of each other in the five boroughs. Its free services are utilized by commuters from all over the tri-state area, as well as small and large companies.
Vincent Marchetti, manufacturers representative for Envirox, came to the summit to promote the company’s green cleaning products, which are non-toxic, non-flammable and non-hazardous.
“It’s about introducing green cleaning products to companies that have to make the change. [Former Governor George] Pataki’s executive order is a mandate,” he said, explaining that government agencies are required to use green cleaning products. He added that all NYC public schools, many hospitals and colleges like Queens College, NYU, and Columbia all use Envirox.
Marchetti said the intention was to capture some customers not mandated to use green cleaning products. Many people expressed interest, and Marchetti set out to explain to them Envirox’s benefits over non-green products.
Pennisi seemed pleased with the businesses’ response to the Chamber’s ongoing green business efforts.
“We’re trying to expand that base that we started last year and make it a little more user friendly to businesses. We found that that is happening,” said Pennisi. “And again, they still meet other businesses, network with other businesses and develop new businesses.”