This week’s Green Scene column in Crain’s Chicago Business: Seeing promise in water purification

A local entrepreneur focusing on quick and cheap ways to purify drinking water is getting a double boost this fall.

PortAPure Inc., launched in late 2010 by George Page, was selected by Impact Engine as one of the first eight startups that will benefit from mentoring and introductions to investors. Impact Engine is a new Chicago-based accelerator program that specializes in working with early stage companies that tackle societal and environmental problems through business-oriented solutions.

Meanwhile, PortAPure this month was named one of 10 finalists in the City of Chicago Treasurer’s Office Business Plan Competition. More than 200 startups and researchers in area labs submitted applications to the contest. Chicago Treasurer Stephanie Neely will award the final three winners a total of $10,000 at the Small Business and Entrepreneur Expo on October 5 at UIC Forum.


George Page

The first product Mr. Page developed is a point-of-use filter and purification device that allows individuals to get water from a lake, river or stream and purify it and filter it so the liquid can be consumed safely. One tablet purifies a liter of water. The pocket device comes with a mixer to help stir the tablet and filter out the additional sediment from the water. It’s intended to be portable, easy to use and highly affordable, he explains.

Mr. Page’s “aha” moment that inspired his water purification startup occurred when he was watching TV after the Haiti earthquake hit in 2010.

He saw actress Ashley Judd in Haiti demonstrating how survivors were boiling contaminated water in a pot with purification tablets, then filtering it through a t-shirt into another pot to strain out additional impurities to make it safe for drinking.

Mr. Page, a chemical engineer, had spent close to a decade working for the City of Chicago’s Department of Water Management as a control engineer managing the city’s water purification process. Mr. Page decided to use his expertise to invent a quick, inexpensive way for people in dire straits to transform dirty water into a drinkable life source. It took close to a year to design the initial product, begin manufacturing and sign up non-governmental organizations providing relief in Haiti to place orders for the kits, he says.

So far, more than half of PortAPure’s sales are from NGOs responding to disaster situations, including the earthquake in Haiti and the tsunami that devastated parts of Japan last year. However, NGOs also are purchasing the filtration kits to supply them to communities without clean drinking water on a daily basis. There are at least one billion people on the planet who are living without regular access to potable water, according to the World Health Organization.

Mr. Page won’t provide revenues, but says the company this year already has surpassed first-year sales. The average order last year was about $1,000 per NGO. This year, the average order is $10,000 to $15,000, he says.

Crain’s met with Mr. Page, 38, this week to learn more about his company and how the incubator program and competition will help PortAPure grow.

Crain’s: You started the company by sending your water filter kits to NGOs in Haiti. Where else are you selling them and who are your customers?

Mr. Page: We’ve done business with a couple dozen NGOs. They’re our customers right now and they deliver our product to people who need clean drinking water. We’ve gone into Thailand to answer flooding problems late last year, and we’ve sold our products in Kenya, Somalia, Uganda and elsewhere.

Your company will get lots of exposure as part of the first group participating in Impact Engine’s 12-week incubation program. What will you do there specifically?

We’ll be right next to Excelerate Labs in the Merchandise Mart so it will be really exciting just to be there for 12 weeks. We’ll be paired with mentors who will help us develop our business and refine our pitch so we’re ready when we present our company to a round of venture capitalists for financing at the end. We hope to use those private funds to launch our new product.

Tell us about your latest product.

Our new product — called PureBottle — is a nanotechnology filter that allows someone to put water in a specialized bottle that filters water inside with the force of someone squeezing it. All the bacteria and viruses are filtered out with one squeeze. We’ve done lab analysis to show its effectiveness.

If you win, what will you do with the prize money from the City of Chicago’s Treasurer’s Office contest?

We’d use it to manufacture our new product. Some parts will be made in illinois and other parts in Wisconsin. We’ve got the commitment from an NGO in Tanzania, we just need the funding to get the manufacturing going. We also received $20,000 from Impact Engine as part of the award for being selected in the first cohort and we’ll use that for manufacturing as well.

What’s one of the biggest challenges, aside from financing, that you’re facing right now?

We don’t have to sell the NGO on the need for our product because it’s inherent to them. They’re receptive to look for these kinds of solutions, but we have to convince them our product is effective. The early stage challenge has been to get the decision-makers at the NGOs to do a pilot study and see how good we are. We’re hoping Impact Engine and some of its investors that are connected will help us by making important introductions.

What kind of growth are you expecting over the next five years?

We’re hoping to be in 75 countries in five years with direct sales to consumers. We’d like to get our technology through direct sales and licensing so our products are available to anyone who wants to buy them, not just NGOs. We’d like to see ourselves with partnerships and relationships where we can have social and environmental impact across the globe.

Water conservation is viewed as one of the next big climate change issues. In some parts of the world, it’s already a problem. How can your company help address that concern?

We’re working on creative applications for our products. Even though there’s reduced concentration of clean water in some areas, there may be salt water that’s available, or re-use water. With our filtering products, we might be able to take sea water or rain water and purify it. It’s very difficult to create water but we can think of ways to make water drinkable that would be undrinkable in normal situations. We know we can make slight modifications to what we already have and we’re researching new technology right now too. This is a growth opportunity for us as water becomes more scarce, but we can make a huge social impact here too.

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This week’s Green Scene column in Crain’s Chicago Business: Entrepreneur turns regional heirloom recipes into local, organic food products

Lee Greene is betting consumers seeking locally-sourced foods that are reminiscent of a sense of place — or terroir — will latch onto her line of condiments and other items that hearken back to some of the original immigrants that settled in the Midwest.

Her three-year-old company, The Scrumptious Pantry, has seen sales increase fourfold in 2011. She won’t disclose dollar amounts, but she says revenue is up 50 percent so far this year compared to last year.

Moving forward, it’s going to be tough to stand out on the increasingly crowded shelves of local — and pricey — artisanal food products. But Ms. Greene is hoping her game plan is different enough to draw attention.


Lee Greene

She went back in time about 200 years to track down heirloom regional recipes for pickles, ketchups and dipping sauces that could be updated to appeal to contemporary palates. Ms. Greene uses ingredients that grow in abundance in the Midwest — such as cranberries from Wisconsin — and put photos of the farmers growing the mostly organic ingredients on the packaging to show there are real people involved in the small-batch formulas being created. Then she adopted flavor profiles that echo different ethnic backgrounds of immigrants who settled in the Midwest over the last couple centuries.

For example, one of her three ketchups is made from cranberry and juniper berries and has rosemary and red beet juice mixed in. Those flavors tap into the Slavic and Russian heritage of immigrants in this region, she says.

Ms. Greene, a native of Germany, learned about sustainable farming when she worked as a hands-on manager of a biodynamic vineyard in Italy after completing a business degree there. She ended up in Illinois a few years ago when she came to visit her father, who lives downstate. Ms. Greene, 37, hardly expected to stay, and now she’s committed to sticking around to make her startup a success.

Scrumptious Pantry products are now being sold in 10 states and in more than two dozen locations throughout the Chicago area. Future plans include a line of East Coast heirloom products and projections for revenues to be in the multi-millions by 2015.

Crain’s met with Ms. Greene to talk about the challenges of getting a small-scale production company off the ground and finding financing and markets to keep it growing.

Crain’s: Going to business school in Italy and working in a vineyard doesn’t seem like a natural path to creating heirloom ketchups and pickles in the Midwest. How did those connections happen?

Ms. Greene: I wanted to learn how quality, sustainable food was made and what the challenges were for small farmers. I had enough of the consulting world and power point presentations.

When I came to the U.S. I first started importing high-end food from Italy, but then I got interested in the local food. I found there was an interest in regional food, but not many people were making products with regional flavors and immigrant heritage attached to it.

Crain’s: You talk about terroir — a term used widely in vineyards that refers to a uniqueness of the land and the grape that grows there — and how that should be extended to food. How are you incorporating that idea into your products?

Ms. Greene: Instead of terroir, I refer to what I’m doing with regional food as an heirloom process. Heirloom has three components: one is the quality of the ingredients, grown by a farmer who knows his land. Second: it’s about how you prepare the food. You can kill it if you use industrial ingredients for large-scale production, so we are making small batches with high quality production. The third element is choosing recipes that are connected with the region and use ingredients that are local. The idea of terroir or heirloom would take a red beet that has a certain flavor in this part of the country and use it in a recipe that brings out a characteristic of the region.

Crain’s: How many local farmers are you working with and are they involved in making the recipes?

Ms. Greene: I’m working with 12 farmers in Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio. I read a lot of historic recipe books for inspiration from the 1750’s to the 1850’s. I was hoping to find great farmers that have great old recipes, just like I found in Italy. But not many farmers were making old recipes. A lot of them used their own tomatoes for really good salsas, but there was nothing heirloom about that. So instead we took some of those old recipes from the books and updated them to match the integrity of the ingredients we were working with and created products that work with how people eat today.

Crain’s: What are the biggest challenges to reach store shelves?

Ms. Greene: The biggest problem I have in the Midwest is the same for others that are trying to scale. Once you ramp up, you need to find a partner and there aren’t many small and mid-size co-packers (who do the bottling and packaging). If you’re in the middle and you need to make 2,000 bottles of ketchup a month, it’s just not here. Food manufacturing is so specific and many co-packers are so specialized they make one product in large scale so we can’t get on that production line.

Then try to find someone who accepts fresh produce.

I finally found a great little Amish processor downstate that’s making and packaging our products. But it’s a six-hour drive to run a production down there. This guy is fairly automated, but it’s very expensive. Add that to the cost of my mostly organic ingredients, which is about double the cost of non-organic. My margins end up much lower because I still need to line price with other premium products.

Crain’s: How did you get financing to get your company off the ground?

Ms. Greene: I eat a lot of rice and beans. Seriously. Bootstrapping. Doing some consulting work on the side to get some cash to pay for my personal bills. After the positive reactions to our products last year, I took a convertible loan this year to invest more in marketing and ramp up production. But looking for financing is one of the other core activities of mine.

Crain’s: Do you think there’s enough consumer demand for food products that tout locally-sourced and organic ingredients so that small businesses like yours can succeed?

Ms. Greene: I’m convinced that there is enough demand for products that are small-batch, sustainable and sport love and attention to create a sustainable niche to support businesses like The Scrumptious Pantry. We have to do a lot of tastings and we’re getting tremendous feedback from the shows we’re at.

It remains to be seen though, if consumers will embrace the concept for these kind of foods to become major game changers and structurally change the grocery market. I would love for that to happen but I’m not yet convinced it will happen in a timely fashion.

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What companies may gain from P&G study on sustainability metrics [published on GreenBiz.com]

Proctor & Gamble and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced they’ve begun a collaborative research and development study that could lead to new tools for measuring sustainability objectives. The effort will focus on metrics within corporations’ manufacturing facilities and their supply chains.

The Cincinnati-based consumer products giant is teaming up with researchers at EPA’s National Risk Management Research Laboratory (NRMRL) in a five-year study that aims to develop a scientific approach to analyzing and measuring sustainability within its tissue and towel products division, said Annie Weisbrod, Ph.D., a principal scientist at P&G.

The packaged goods company — with more than 50 brands and manufacturing facilities around the globe — has been pursuing an ambitious long-term sustainability program. The current agreement with the EPA is expected to help the company move further along in meeting some of that program’s goals, said Weisbrod.

For example, P&G already developed life cycle assessments in its computerized systems and has environmental management tracking systems. P&G would like to link those two systems so the data can be integrated in a way that helps managers make better operations and supply chain decisions, she said.

“We’re hoping this study will help us figure out how to link them and add more metrics to include the social, labor and cost economics metrics,” Weisbrod said. “We’ve made lots of operational improvements and we’re designing products with sustainable innovation in mind, but now we want to go to the next level.”

The EPA is engaging in this kind of study because the agency wants to encourage all companies to think about sustainability issues within their supply chains and other operational processes from a more scientific and systematic approach, according to Douglas Young, chief of the EPA’s Clean Processes Branch in the agency’s Sustainable Technology Division. He’ll be working closely with Weisbrod on this long-term projec from the division’s offices in in Cincinnati.

Many corporations — including P&G, Walmart and others — use supplier scorecards as one format for collecting data about other companies’ sustainability practices before deciding whether to include them in their supply chain. The scorecard replies help company sustainability managers decide whether the suppliers meet their established criteria. Scorecards aren’t necessarily a bad tool, Young said. However, they often fall short of their goals, he added.

“Studies I’ve seen show some companies aren’t getting results they hoped for with these scorecards because they don’t tell you enough,” he said. “We’re trying to bring to the table (with the P&G study) a systems way of thinking about these problems beyond just a scorecard. You need to look at a company’s entire supply chain and evaluate it as a single system to capture the effects of the things people aren’t considering. We want to shed some light on how to do that.”

Young wouldn’t elaborate on specifics of the study, but said the EPA will bring its expertise in sustainability metrics researchers there have applied to other systems, such as regional watershed systems. They hope to apply that knowledge to supply chain systems even though they’ll be collecting a different set of data, he noted.

P&G environmental scientists and their counterparts at the EPA in Cincinnati have worked together over the years in joint discussions and lectures when they’ve been invited to local universities and other nearby conferences. It was a natural fit for both parties to agree on a collaborative study after they brainstormed the idea for this project, recalled Weisbrod.

“We’re all environmental scientists working on this project, but the benefit for us to work with the EPA is they have the bigger picture that we don’t get because we work in a specific sector,” she said.

For its part, the EPA had made sustainability and rigorous study top priorities since 2010. At the time, Paul Anastas, Ph.D., was the EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Research and Development. According to Young, Anastas set the tone for research within the agency by declaring that companies and other organizations need to take a more systematic approach to complex problems about sustainability instead of relying solely on simple forms of gathering data such as scorecards.

“Anastas told us you can’t just look at part of the problem,” Young said. “When this project was discussed, it fell into that view and that strategy.”

Study implementation, reporting and desired outcomes

There aren’t any plans for the EPA to add other companies to this research study or pursue anything similar with other corporations. However, over the course of the study, the two parties involved will share publicly some of the results they accumulate and synthesize, noted Young. However, he cautioned not to expect any announcements before next summer.

Weisbrod emphasized the study they just launched with the EPA isn’t likely to give them much of a competitive advantage while the research is ongoing. They’ll test different combinations of metrics and tools to figure out which configurations make the most sense and researchers will publish those results in the scientific literature, she noted.

“Our interest is in embedding sustainability in our operations and design processes so there’s institutional systems in place,” she said. “I’d expect that to have advantages in the long-term. But in R&D, you have to test it first and we’ll have multiple iterations of whatever we develop. Only when it works will it be helpful for us.”

This is not the first collaborative sustainability project the EPA has pursued with corporations in the U.S. There are about two dozen others either still underway or completed in the last five years, said Young. Some are more narrowly-defined, on topics such as green chemistry, and others encompass a broader scope like the one just announced with P&G.

Will the five-year research study ultimately lead to development of better tools to measure sustainability within company operations and supply chains? Both Young and Weisbrod said they hope so, but there’s no guarantee.

“A tool is nice and something we’re working towards, but it’s more important to get that seminal science out there to show people how to think about these problems and solve them on their own,” Young said. “You don’t give someone a fish, you teach them how to fish.”

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This week’s Green Scene column in Crain’s Chicago Business: ‘Father of carbon trading’ predicts growth in clean-tech startups

Richard L. Sandor was ahead of the curve in identifying the next big trend in finance, so many entrepreneurs are taking note of his enthusiasm for growth in green technology startups, particularly in the Midwest.

Mr. Sandor, 70, is widely known for his trailblazing work in the 1970s, when he developed the first interest rate futures contract and also served as chief economist and vice president of the Chicago Board of Trade. More recently, he’s attempted to combine climate change concerns with financial forces.

Time Magazine called him the “father of carbon trading” after he designed and launched the Chicago Climate Exchange in 2003, the first financial exchange intended to encourage the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG). Companies that joined the exchange traded GHG emission allowances and agreed to trim their emissions by 6 percent by 2010. The exchange stopped operating in 2010, but Mr. Sandor, as chairman and CEO of Environmental Financial Products LLC, is plowing ahead with developing new financial markets that focus on environmental issues.

In one current project, Mr. Sandor and his colleagues have been working on a water quantity exchange that’s aimed at encouraging participants to pay attention to water conservation.

Mr. Sandor, the author of “Good Derivatives: A Story of Financial and Environmental Innovation,” was also one of the founding board members of the Clean Energy Trust, a Chicago-based group that provides mentoring and other advisory services to entrepreneurs and start-ups in the renewable energy sector.

Crain’s met with Mr. Sandor recently to learn more about why he’s betting the Midwest — and Chicago in particular — will grow to become the next Silicon Valley of clean technology and other green businesses.

Crain’s: You’re engaged in so many financial activities and busy lecturing at the University of Chicago’s law school. Why did you decide to be part of the founding board of the Clean Energy Trust in 2010?


Richard Sandor

Mr. Sandor: I firmly believe the green sector will mimic the high-tech sector and the job creation that came with it. That road to sustainability will be led by entrepreneurs. All of the founding members of the Clean Energy Trust, including Nick Pritzker and Michael Polsky, thought: let’s provide a transparent book of technical assistance to financing, state and federal regulations and laws that would guide entrepreneurs and make it easy for them to start businesses here in the middle of the country.

We thought there was a latent demand for us to help young people get started. We want to be mentors. I’ve been a teacher for nearly 50 years so it fits with what I like to do. But the numbers are just amazing. We thought we’d attract 5-10 startups in the beginning at the Clean Energy Trust. Now we’ve got about 80 applicants. We were all very surprised at the number of entrepreneurs out there in this space. We’re in a very amazing culture here.

What’s your view of financing opportunities for entrepreneurs trying to launch or grow start-ups in the clean tech sector in the Midwest?

We’re not in the funding business at the Clean Energy Trust, but we found money (for entrepreneurs) in grants and state and federal sources early on. We haven’t even tapped into the great pools of capital yet. I perceive where there will be lots of equity investors between the coasts. If we build more companies like NuMat Technologies, I think the flow of capital will be enormous.

Right now there’s lots of startup and venture capital funding available. Eventually mid-level and full-level capital will come here. I predict that in the next 10 to 20 years Chicago will be a green tech capital for the U.S. We’re years ahead of where we thought we’d be at this time.

Are there any specific sectors in the local green economy that you view as having the broadest opportunity for entrepreneurs now and in the near future?

We’re seeing a lot of interest in batteries, with work being done at Argonne National Lab and elsewhere. Also, anything that fits the manufacturing sector and green tech innovations could be very successful here because the Midwest has a strong manufacturing base. If you look at Colorado, Minnesota and down to Louisiana — there’s a lot of mainstream manufacturing with a multi-trillion dollar economy and Chicago is in their geographical crossroad. The role is vast here for entrepreneurs to be a facilitator to sustainable manufacturing and sustainable transport.

We haven’t even begun to talk about agribusiness, sustainable farming and biofuels in the Midwest. There are people here who will create transformational businesses. If you believe there’s inventive activity that will come about in large scale, you can be sure it will be started by entrepreneurs.

What do you see as the most exciting trend right now regarding financing or other funding sources for startups in the green sector?

I see a lot of people who used to be traders who are now entrepreneurs in the green tech sector. The word is spreading about investment opportunities for people who could be the financing suppliers to many new green companies. I see an interesting arc of professional traders who were liquidity providers and will use their own equity to help start green businesses. They’ll also use their own human capital because they have a lot of knowledge of how to invest.

These traders tend to be very entrepreneurial and open-minded, especially as their markets change. The younger ones who are successful made the transition from the trading floor to electronic trading, and they will also make a transition to other new markets. The vitality in the Chicago trading community is going to translate into a sustainability movement.

If you were launching a startup today in the local green economy, what would that business look like?

I’d be looking in the transport sector. I’d probably look at something that bridges the post-fossil fuel era to a new era that will use natural gas. People exploring that in the transport sector will find there’s enormous opportunity. Also, anything that marries biology and transportation will be a winner, even things like algae-based fuel.

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This week’s Green Scene column in Crain’s Chicago Business: Local entrepreneurs center stage in Lollapalooza’s green push

Lollapalooza’s producers are tapping local green businesses to emphasize their message that sustainability should be part of any music festival, especially one of the biggest in the country.

Beginning Friday, the three-day live music extravaganza will feature 130 bands on eight Grant Park stages that will entertain an expected 90,000 fans each day, according to Emily Stengel, event services manager at C3 Presents, the Austin, Texas-based firm producing the event.

There’s no doubt the crowds will want to eat and shop between sets, so event organizers once again are planning “Green Street,” an area filled with vendors selling eco-friendly wares. Some Chicago-based small business participants include Koru Street, handmade jewelry and accessories from repurposed goods; Souldier, offering custom-made guitar and camera straps and other accessories from recycled materials; and Greenheart Shop, a Wicker Park store selling sustainable and fair trade goods.

Hungry concertgoers will have a choice of the mainstream “Chow Town” food stands with everything from tacos and pizza to Spanish tapas from Mercat a la Planxa. Anyone looking for a more local twist to their munchies can seek out the Farmers Market on the festival grounds where prepared food will be offered directly from local growers or restaurants sourcing local food with healthful or organic ingredients, Ms. Stengel explained. Some of the local food offerings lined up include fruit smoothies from Seedling Fruit in South Haven, Mich., wrap sandwiches from Tiny Greens Organic Farm in Urbana and fried cheese from Brunkow Cheese of Wisconsin in Darlington.

In addition, there will be booths run by nonprofits focusing on environmental initiatives and social justice issues, and one group that finds bone-marrow matches for cancer patients.

Event organizers are raising the bar on behind-the-scenes greening efforts too. Crain’s spoke with Ms. Stengel to learn the details and how participating businesses are being enlisted to help shrink the festival’s carbon footprint.

Crain’s: You emphasize on your vendor applications that you’re looking for green businesses to include in the festival. What criteria did you use?

Ms. Stengel: They have to list their greening efforts in their business model. For example, they need to tell us the origin of the materials in their products, details about their supply chain and whether they recycle or up-cycle products. Of course we have to make sure the product fits the demographic of our audience and we look to assemble a variety of things that people will want to buy. We had a higher turnout of green-business applications than ever before.


Photo by Judith Nemes

Crain’s: Why emphasize local farmers in a special farmers market food area within a music festival?

Ms. Stengel: We’re committed to this idea. Chicago has so much to offer in terms of farmers markets, so it’s a great way to support small local businesses there. In the application, prospective vendors have to list the Chicago-area farmers markets they participate in.

We had a wonderful response last year and we’d like to see this area grow. Everyone is returning from last year, so it was obviously good for them to be here too or they wouldn’t come back.

Crain’s: A three-day festival produces a lot of garbage. What are you doing to minimize that?

Ms. Stengel: We force all the food vendors to be green by using sustainable products and following our strict guidelines for composting and recycling so less ends up in the garbage. Everything they serve has to be recyclable or compostable. Styrofoam is banned completely. We don’t allow any food vendors to offer individual condiment packages or plastic bags. They also can’t use toxic chemicals in their cleaning supplies. We encourage everyone to think locally and sustainably.

Crain’s: You set some pretty ambitious goals of keeping garbage out of Chicago-area landfills this year. Can you compare it to previous years?

Ms. Stengel: On show days last year we had a diversion rate of about 56 percent, which was great considering in 2010 the average was 24.8 percent. This year, I’d like to exceed 60 percent. We always want to improve and we can do that more effectively by refining our system.

Last year we had recycling containers in different colors because we couldn’t get enough from the same source. That probably created some confusion and recycling probably wasn’t as efficient as it could’ve been. That problem was solved for this year, but we’re working harder at better placement of the containers to catch most of the food waste.

Crain’s: How are you getting music fans to do their part in greening the festival?

Ms. Stengel: We have volunteers helping patrons drop waste in the appropriate composting, recycling and waste bins. The volunteers will only man the stations in the food court areas that include composting so the compost isn’t contaminated. This year, instead of expanding the whole idea of being green, we’re refining it by concentrating on the picnic areas.

Crain’s: How integral is the greening aspect of the festival to the overall planning of Lollapalooza and how has it changed from last year?

Ms. Stengel: We’re ramped up in so many ways this year. All our generators are run on biofuel, which is an important element of planning. This year our greening efforts are more cohesive with our sustainability guidelines. It’s one sheet that’s sent to our back stage catering and VIP managers to give to all their partners and vendors so consistent hard guidelines are followed throughout the festival. We want to improve our back-of-the-house operations. Another goal this year is to drive more attention to Green Street and other nonprofit initiatives in our Love Hope Strength area.

We’re also trying something new this year with a Michigan-based group called Compass Green. They have a box truck they converted into a green house and they travel across the country with this truck teaching urban gardening workshops to low-income students in urban areas. They’ll be providing urban gardening workshops that run about 15-30 minutes. We’ll see if we can capture an audience at a rock show for urban gardening. I can’t wait to see how that goes.

Crain’s: What’s on your green wish list for next year’s Lollapalooza in Chicago?

Ms. Stengel: I’d still love to find local green-energy resources to promote, but that hasn’t happened yet. Maybe it’s just about getting the word out and having people approach us. We have done some research and the response has been minimal. I haven’t found the local renewable energy businesses that should be out there or maybe they haven’t found us. It’s certainly a goal to get more of that next year. it takes a lot of advance work.

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