Seeley Focus Is Global Warming, Climate Change & You

Only a few seats remain for the 25th annual Seeley Conference in Ithaca, N.Y., where industry leaders will discuss floriculture’s environmental footprint as a consumer opportunity.

The 25th annual Seeley conference is only seven weeks away and there are a few seats left. The think-tank conference is June 26-29, in Ithaca, N.Y., where this year’s theme is: “Floriculture’s Environmental Footprint: An Inconvenient Truth Or Consumer Opportunity?”

For several years, we’ve heard about global warming and climate change as issues we need to address. Of course, the real issues revolve around what it means for the bottom line for our individual businesses. How will the outcomes of the current legislative debate impact us? Are there modifications we need to make to stay in business once the debate ends and the laws are enacted? Will our businesses be able to remain financially solvent or will regulations force us out of business? These are but a few of the critical questions this year’s conference will address, and the think-tank atmosphere of the Seeley Conference will allow for plenty of interaction with fellow industry leaders.

Kicking off the conference is Ron Stavins, director of Harvard University’s environmental economics program. A second keynote will be delivered by Joel Makower, executive editor of GreenBiz.com, whom the Associated Press refers to as the “guru of green business practices.” Steve Windhager of the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center closes the first day with an overview of the newly released Sustainable Sites Initiative guidelines.

The second day starts with case-study presentations by representatives from Walmart and the Food Marketing Institute relating their respective sustainability experiences. This will be followed up with detailed presentations from Kaji Kado of PPD Technologies and Will Healy from Ball Horticultural Company, with each of them discussing procedures for calculating water and carbon footprints using life-cycle analysis. The day will wrap up with case-study discussions from floriculture and nursery industry leaders regarding their respective successes and challenges in this area.

The closing keynote address on the last morning of the conference will be given by Robert Dolibois, executive vice president of the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA), who will highlight the responses made by green industry participants in addressing environmental issues, the importance of consumer and legislator perceptions about our products and services, and what is being done in the industry to convey our value proposition of enhancing the lives of consumers through ecosystems services and other benefits. The final speaker on the program is Fred Haberman, who will lead attendees in a discussion on how best to tell their story regarding their sustainability-related business practices.

As always, the think-tank atmosphere of the Seeley Conference will allow for plenty of interaction with fellow industry leaders regarding these timely issues. One of the objectives of the conference is for attendees to have a very concrete, well-defined plan for addressing the issues discussed as they go back to their respective businesses. This year promises to not only do that, but provide a very necessary primer on this critical issue facing the industry.

To register online or to find more information about the Seeley Conference and this year’s program, visit www.hort.cornell.edu/seeleyconference. Facebook users can refer to the Seeley Conference fan page.

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