Mayor Hickenlooper Kicks off Workshops Aimed at Helping Local Restaurants Become Green--Next Workshop is Jan. 29 for Colorado Hotel Industry

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The Colorado Restaurant Association hosted a "Going Green! Improving your Restaurant's Environmental Practices" workshop for some 150 participants on Thursday. It is the first in a series of workshops aimed at helping businesses in the Denver area and across Colorado create sustainable business practices in preparation for this summer's Democratic National Convention.

The Colorado Restaurant Association hosted a "Going Green! Improving your Restaurant's Environmental Practices" workshop for some 150 participants on Thursday. It is the first in a series of workshops aimed at helping businesses in the Denver area and across Colorado create sustainable business practices in preparation for this summer's Democratic National Convention.

Participants at the workshop went through a one-day training program designed to educate restaurant owners and operators about short- and long-term programs they can implement to reduce their impact on the environment.

Greening experts from Subway, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Food Services Technology Center, as well as local leaders from Centerplate, Odell Brewing Company, Ted's Montana Grill, Beau Jo's and Chipotle, helped participants create a green action plan for their companies and certify themselves as green businesses on the Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee's Vendor Directory.

"The Colorado Restaurant Association and its 5,000 member restaurants are very concerned about the impact of our businesses on the environment," said CRA President Peter Meersman. "We use massive amounts of energy and water. We create waste. We provide consumable products. And we understand that we have an obligation to protect our environment and conserve our resources." Meersman added, "Green is considered a trend by many. We consider it a developing business practice. We are proud to be a participant in the first of many meetings on this important topic."

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper spoke during a luncheon to attendees and highlighted the progress Denver and the 2008 Convention Host Committee have made toward achieving his goal that "the 2008 Democratic National Convention will be the greenest, most sustainable national political convention in U.S. history."

The mayor also provided a report card on the city's greening efforts, led by its Greenprint Denver program, and pointed to several key partnerships Denver has forged over the past several months in creating a sustainable city, particularly with EPA and the Allliance for Sustainable Colorado.

Both EPA and the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado helped sponsor the restaurant association's workshop and will be involved in future greening workshops. The workshops are organized by Denver Host Committee staff, led by Greening Director Parry Burnap, and Greenprint Denver, the city's long-term citywide program that promotes the importance of sustainable development and ecologically-friendly practices throughout Denver.

"The Democratic National Convention will be the catalyst for a more sustainable future in Colorado," said Aaron Nelson, of the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado. "Businesses that participated in today's workshop are breaking ground for a smarter, more cost-efficient and greener business environment for the state."

"Denver's history is rooted in its role as an energy capital," the mayor said in his remarks. "So it only makes sense that Denver transform itself into a premier center for alternative energy and energy-efficient technologies and practices.

"It's good for the environment and for the economy, and it gives our city and our local businesses a marketable, competitive edge."

The next greening workshop will be held Jan. 29 for the Colorado hotel industry. A third workshop is planned for event planners.

"EPA is proud to be a partner in providing technical support and expertise to help advance practices that conserve resources, protect the environment and save money," said EPA Regional Administrator, Robert E. Roberts. "As a result of some particularly enlightened civic and private leadership from the City, the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado and all of the business owners who are helping get this effort off the ground, Denver is well on its way to becoming a green city."

The 2008 Democratic National Convention will take place August 25-28 at Denver's Pepsi Center, and is expected to bring 35,000 visitors to the Mile High City, including 15,000 members of the national and international media. In addition to showcasing Denver and the Rocky Mountain West to audiences around the globe, estimates indicate Denver will realize $160 million to $200 million in economic benefits.

About Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee

The Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee has four contractual partners in its work. Those partners are the Democratic National Convention Committee, the City and County of Denver, Kroenke Sports and its own Executive Committee.

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