Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Sustainable Washington Advisory Panel Press Conference
September 18, 2002
Before we begin, I’d like to welcome the co-chairs of the Sustainable Washington Advisory Panel—they are:
Dr. Constance Rice, Executive Director of the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation; and
Dr. Bradley Smith, Dean of the Western Washington State University Huxley College of Environmental Studies.
Dr. Rice and Dr. Bradley have worked energetically and effectively to help sharpen our focus on sustainability—thanks to both of you.
Today I’d like to briefly discuss our state’s commitment to sustainability.
Then we’ll hear from two members of the Sustainable Washington Advisory Council.
Then I’ll sign an executive order and we’ll open it up for questions.
“Sustainability” is a fairly new addition to the popular vernacular.
The concept has gained many adherents, including Ford Motor Company, Nike, Starbucks and the City of Seattle.
Companies and governments all over the world are embracing sustainability.
The word is fairly new, but the concept is not.
What we’re talking about is responsibility, trust, and a commitment to a healthy future.
The idea of sustainability is to integrate three of our top goals: a vibrant economy, a healthy environment, and strong communities.
We approach these goals in a strategically unified and responsible way to sustain our resources—human, natural, and economic resources.
These goals are typically seen as separate.
At best, they are seen as priorities that must be balanced and coordinated.
At worst, they are seen as competing priorities.
But companies and governments are proving that these priorities are intertwined.
A vibrant economy includes keeping our environment healthy.
And a healthy environment—fertile soil, clean air, abundant water, increased habitat and wildlife—is the foundation of a strong economy.
Strong communities require a vibrant economy and a healthy environment, and in turn work to sustain both.
Sustainability means leaving the economy, the environment, and our communities in as good or better shape than we found them.
That way our children will enjoy the same high quality of life that we enjoy.
Consumers are exerting more pressure for sustainable goods and services.
Corporations realize that they cannot survive in a world in which their basic resources are threatened.
By reducing waste and eliminating lost profit, sustainable business practices allow companies to compete more effectively.
Government must operate more efficiently and responsibly as well.
Washington state government has been making great strides in sustainable business practices.
Overall, state government has reduced state electrical use by more than 100 million kilowatt-hours annually since January 2001 – almost 10%.
Enough energy to power 7,700 homes—about the same number of homes as in the City of Puyallup for one year.
That’s a $5 million annual savings.
This also reduces carbon dioxide emissions by about 150 million pounds annually.
The state purchases more than $1 billion in goods and services every year.
We’re using this purchasing power to make a difference to the health and safety of our workers, citizens and the environment.
We’ve purchased more than 200 hybrid gas-electric vehicles.
Low energy fluorescent lamps and electric ballasts that save energy.
Carpet that meets very progressive recycled content requirements.
The Department of General Administration has a Green Building program.
This program guides state and public sector clients in designing and building facilities that increase worker productivity, reduce sick leave, reduce energy costs, water use, and sewage costs, protect fish, reduce pollution, and reduce raw material extraction.
These are all aspects of sustainability.
Our state, businesses, governments and citizens have made great progress.
There is still more progress to be made.
We held the first meeting of my Sustainable Washington Advisory Panel this morning.
The Panel will be developing an action plan to move our state toward an even more sustainable future.
Today I am issuing Executive Order 02-03, “Sustainable Practices By State Agencies.”
This order directs every agency to establish sustainability objectives and prepare a biennial Sustainability Plan.
The Plan will modify each agency’s practices regarding resource consumption, vehicle use, purchase of goods and services, and facility construction, operation and maintenance.
I would like to ask the members of the Advisory Panel who are here to join me while I sign the Order.
We will continue to pursue sustainable practices in our state government.
With the help of the Sustainable Washington Advisory Panel, we will continue to work toward a future of economic vitality, environmental health, and community strength for all of our citizens.