BOSTON, June 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Nations Association of Greater Boston (UNA-GB) today marked the 40th anniversary of the United Nations' World Environment Day (WED) locally, celebrating its global theme, "Green Economy: Does it include you?" The event was aimed at highlighting local efforts in Massachusetts, the Boston community, and specifically recognizing the environmental leadership of one Boston-based corporation, John Hancock Financial. Recently John Hancock Financial's headquarter offices at 601 Congress Street in downtown Boston became the first existing building in New England to become LEED certified at the platinum level by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
The annual World Environment Day was created by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1972 as a way to raise awareness about environmental issues. More than 8,000 WED activities, including today's program at John Hancock, have been registered at UNEP's global 2012 WED website.
"The United Nations Association of Greater Boston works to build a strong network of global citizens in the Boston area, focusing on translating the work of the United Nations into local action," said Richard Golob, UNA-GB's Board President. "We are very happy to mark the 40th anniversary of UNEP and World Environment Day by recognizing one of our partners – John Hancock Financial – for its environmental commitment and leadership. It is our hope that John Hancock's leadership in environmental stewardship will encourage other corporations in our community to undertake similar efforts."
During the event, further context for local environmental efforts were presented by Massachusetts Undersecretary of Energy Dr. Barbara (Bobbi) Kates-Garnick and Bryan Glascock from the City of Boston.
Additionally, Jennifer Taranto, board member and former chairperson of the Massachusetts chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, presented John Hancock with platinum certification for 601 Congress Street and three gold certifications for its buildings at 200 Berkeley Street built in the 1940s, 380 Stuart Street, built in the 1930s and 197 Clarendon Street built in the 1920s.
"The U.S. Green Building Council applauds Boston for its ongoing commitment to green building practices," said Roger Platt, senior vice president of global policy and law at the U.S. Green Building Council. "We appreciate the efforts of the United Nations Association of Greater Boston to raise awareness about environmental stewardship and commend companies such as John Hancock for striving for the best in sustainability."
In accepting the LEED certifications, Jim Boyle, president of John Hancock, said, "Our top rankings reflect a strong dedication to support the environment shared by John Hancock and our parent Manulife Financial Corporation, as well as significant effort on the part of John Hancock's property management group."
Boyle continued, "While LEED certification has been a major objective, it is just one of the many examples of our company's longstanding commitment to conducting our global businesses in a manner that reflects the highest standards of environmental responsibility."
In conjunction with its celebration of World Environment Day, the United Nations Association of Greater Boston and John Hancock were together holding an employee volunteer project for the Boston Harbor Association. In addition, John Hancock's Green Committee also organized an employee expo of environmentally friendly vendors offering tools and tips for going green including: Cintas (shredding, document destruction and recycling), Save that Stuff (recycling for work and home), The Green Restaurant Group, Aramark (John Hancock's on-site caterer which uses local vendors for produce, etc.), Green Living (Earth-friendly goods for the home), Mass Save (ways to save on energy), Lexmark, and Office Max.
Golob concluded, "While our event today focused on the efforts of one corporation in Boston, protecting the environment is something everyone can take part in. We encourage both corporations and individuals to take a look at the World Environment Day's website (www.unep.org/wed/) for information on getting involved."
The United Nations Association of Greater Boston (UNA-GB) is dedicated to building a network of global citizens in the Boston area. From middle school students to business leaders, we facilitate dialogue and offer educational programs in the community and in the classroom to a broad cross-section of the New England community. For over 60 years, we have focused on translating the mission of the UN into local action, now serving more than 5,000 Boston-area participants annually. For more information about UNA-GB's programs, including the newly established Global Corporate Citizenship Award, in the Boston area, visit www.unagb.org
SOURCE The United Nations Association of Greater Boston