Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Purchasing Power: Greening from the Top Down

Today was the 25th annual National Association of Purchasing Management (NAPM) Conference held in New York City. As Chief Green Amiga of Ride Amigos, a car-share service, I quite luckily was able to attend the Purchasing Managers’ Throwdown. As one would expect of head buyers of pens, toilet paper, coffee, and 18-wheelers for major corporations like Colgate, Pzifer, Lehman Brothers, and Johnson &Johnson, these folks were quite the feisty bunch.

The day got really interesting though when James Martin, Senior Director of Global Sourcing for News Corporation, gave a presentation entitled “The Path To Becoming Carbon Neutral." News Corporation, owned by love him or hate him Rupert Murdoch, controls the biggest media companies on earth including, but not limited to, and naturally in order of importance to me personally; American Idol, MySpace, The National Geographic Channel, The Wall Street Journal, FOX, and the Simpsons. With a media portfolio as diverse as this, it only makes sense that their steps to becoming “Carbon Neutral” by 2010 are equally myriad and dynamic.

Some of their more understandable tactics (because I won't lie when I tell you they lost me with some of the jargon about hydroelectric power) included reducing energy use by retrofitting lighting, using Energy Star rated equipment, harnessing alternative fuels to power tv/moive sets ( 24 actually runs entirely on biodiesel), harnessing green power from geographically appropriate sources, and integrating hybrids vehicles into their global transportation fleet.

In the midst of touting the benefits of corporate ride-sharing through our RideAmigos software, Head Amigo Jeff and I approached Mr. Martin following his presentation to alert him that we represent a viable option currently available to aid News Corp in their bid to go carbon neutral. Clearly a bit unfamiliar with earnest 25 year olds attempting to revamp his multi-billion dollar transportation infrastructure, he tentatively agreed to take a look. A partnership between Ride Amigos and News Corp would demonstrate great leadership and vision on the part of this mega media giant, and would mean an equally significant new account for our small but mighty ride share squad.

All in all, this day was about innovation at all levels: top to bottom, and bottom to top.

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