Regional Priorities

Green's Competitive Advantage

The Greater Washington Board of Trade promotes green as a competitive advantage for business and the environment. We are advancing green throughout the region and are working to secure greater national and international recognition of Greater Washington as the center for green business. The Board of Trade is exploring ways to leverage green policy and business practices to improve our productivity, business growth and quality of life.

Green Committee

The Board of Trade’s Green Committee includes regional and national leaders in sustainability and works with regional and national organizations to advance its goals:

  • Promote sustainable business practices by working with federal, state and local governments.
  • Utilize research, education and best practices to raise awareness of Greater Washington’s green assets and business practices.
  • Support regional transit-oriented development and alternative transportation.
  • Establish a regional greenhouse gas reduction target.

Raising Awareness

  • Existing strengths are documented and included in publications including the post conference findings report of the 2007 Potomac Conference, the 2008 and 2009 Regional Reports of the Greater Washington Initiative (GWI), and briefings by the Board of Trade and GWI.
  • Initiation of annual Green Recognition Awards with the Washington Business Journal.

National Center for Sustainability

With access to the world’s key political leaders, federal regulators, leading environmental non-profit organizations, domestic and international press corps, and foreign diplomatic corps, a National Center for Sustainability should be established in Greater Washington. The availability of the currently vacant Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building is an ideal opportunity to showcase the importance of climate change and to educate the public on this critical issue on the National Mall beside other American institutions like the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Natural History.  The Mall is the only site that could give such a Center the visibility and prominence this issue requires.  Every year the Mall attracts 24 million domestic and international visitors.

The Greater Washington Board of Trade proposes to adapt the Smithsonian’s Arts & Industries Building into the National Center encompassing, under one roof, information, exhibitions, events and training programs on the best of U.S. clean technology, green business practices and climate change. The Center would serve as an innovation resource center to display and educate visitors on innovative technologies that address environmental challenges. The National Center would also serve as a center for conferences, educational programs, and events tied to other environmental activities occurring in the Nation’s Capital.

Legislative / Policy

Past support for legislation and regional policy development:

  • HB373 Maryland Transit Administration – Transit-Oriented Development
  • HB1320 Maryland Energy Administration – Maryland Clean Energy Center
  • Policy research on best practices with focus on submetering resulting in successful advocacy for the provision of commercial submetering in District of Columbia Bill 17-492 Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2007. (The SEU promotes energy conservation and renewable energy within the District of Columbia and a trust to support that effort.)
  • Committee review and provision of comments on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government (COG)s’ National Capital Region Climate Change Report (November 2008) Board of Trade staff served on the COG Steering Committee.
  • Ongoing work with COG and Clinton Climate Initiative to launch a demonstration project on energy efficient streetlights in Greater Washington to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save taxpayer dollars.


Carbon offsetting is the act of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. For example, a company can purchase of carbon offsets to compensate for the greenhouse gas emissions caused by employee air travel. A wide variety of offset methods are in use including tree planting, renewable energy, energy conservation and methane capture.

The concept of paying for emission reductions to take place elsewhere instead of reducing a company’s or individual’s own emissions is known from the related concept of emissions trading. In contrast to emissions trading, which is regulated by a strict formal and legal framework, carbon offsets generally refer to projects by individuals or companies that are arranged by commercial or non-profit carbon-offset providers.

The goal of the Greater Washington Carbon Offset Program is to match carbon offset buyers with local carbon offset sellers in order to capture this spending within Greater Washington, stimulate local green businesses and produce new green collar jobs.

Green Networking

Special guests from past meetings include:

  • Peter Lowenthal, Executive Director, Solar Energy Industries Association (May 2008)
  • Dr. Don Bosch, President, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (July 2008)
  • Leslie Cook, Public Sector Manager, Climate Protection Partnerships, U.S. EPA (July 2008)
  • Tad Aburn, Director, Air and Radiation Administration, Maryland Department of the Environment (September 2008)
  • Stephen Walz, Senior Advisor for Energy Policy, Office of the Governor, Commonwealth of Virginia (September 2008)
  • Stuart Freudberg, Director, Environmental Programs, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (September 2008)
  • Mike Sullivan, Senior Vice President, Operations, Pepco Holdings (January 2009)
  • Bracken Hendricks, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress (March 2009)
  • Frank Shafroth, Chief of Staff, U.S. Representative James P. Moran (May 2009)
  • George Hawkins, Director, District of Columbia Department of the Environment (May 2009)