Friday, July 20, 2007

Scream Literary Festival & World Green Building Council 2007 Galas

In a magnificent meeting of high intellect and rock music, the 15th annual Scream Literary Festival Gala took place in Toronto on July 7 at the trendy Hugh's Room. The event was dubbed "Spontaneous Combustion" and featured performances by Rock Plaza Central and The Carbonas, among others.

The festival attracts roughly 1200 attendees annually; this year it benefited from the quirky, bookish glamour of Dennis Lee, Leon Rooke and George Elliot Clarke. Aside from the curious, and the general seekers of good times, audience members included hipster parents, verbose executives and word-nerd students. For those eagerly awaiting the string of Word on the Street Festivals scheduled to hit cities across Canada this fall, the Scream Festival is a highly anticipated indulgence. The final evening of the festival draws an incredible crowd; Over a thousand people gathered on July 9 to hear poetry flung high into the stars from an outside stage. Spontaneous Combustion was an early release for this electric passion. An early, invite-only cocktail reception preceded the more raucous affair, which lasted well into the evening.

While the literary community was heating up the dance floor, the World Green Building Council [WGBC] has been struggling to keep things cool, so to speak. On July 10, WGBC hosted its gala reception at the Liberty Grand, as part of the 7th international Congress. The Congress will encourage strategies and solutions that address carbon emission issues on a global scale. Recent research shows that buildings are the source of 40 per cent of carbon emissions worldwide. Toronto is celebrating its new status as the permanent home of the WGBC Secretariat. Gala dinner attendees included Hon. Donna Cansfield (Minister of Transportation), Hon. Greg Sorbara (Minister of Finance), Toronto Mayor David Miller, and renowned architect Peter Busby. O.C. Sponsors included Direct Energy, St. Lawrence Cement, Metrus Developments, Enbridge, Industry Canada and the Clinton Foundation.

Published in the Women's Post, July 20 2007

Friday, July 6, 2007

The Competitive Advantage in Going Green

The Canadian government is showing concern for the environment in every province, with incentives for both residents and corporations. Aside from providing the next generation a world to live in, though, businesses and consumers are getting warm fuzzy feelings from what has now become a real market trend – going green. Consumers of this era are the savviest and most ethically driven that North American materialism has ever witnessed; they crave responsible yet indulgent consumption, while governments and businesses are fighting hard for their approval. Hence the rash of tax breaks and charitable donations that come tied to marketing campaigns and publicity stunts.

Where better to witness the madness of marketing, the struggle for ethical business, and the resulting win-win situation for all levels of Canadian citizenry than the business capital of Canada, Toronto? This week I got the scoop on a few of the organizations providing top debates and successful schemes.

For instance, on June 21 the Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters celebrated its 75th anniversary gala with a theme of "Greening Your Business – The New Competitive Advantage." The event was held at the Liberty Grand and speakers included James H. Miller, executive vice-president of Honda Canada Inc. and Judith E. McKay, chief administrative officer & general counsel for DuPont Canada.

On June 26, just days after Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty promised 88 million dollars toward Home Energy Retrofit and Solar Power Initiatives, another corporate-to-consumer event was held on the subject of eco-friendly business. Discussing the marketing merits of hopping on the fuel-efficient bandwagon were Renee L'Abbe (Creative Research Unit), Jen Evans (Sequentia Communications), Adrian Capobianco (Fuse Marketing) and Kaileen Millard (NPD Group) at the Fashion Group International seminar, "Harnessing the Power of the Modern Consumer."

Published in the Women's Post, July 6 2007