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Boston launching citywide ad campaign to bolster sustainability

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  May 14, 2013 10:29 AM

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(City of Boston)

Boston will debut a citywide advertising campaign this week that uses prominent landmarks and local athletes to encourage residents and businesses to adopt more environmentally sustainable habits, like driving less and recycling more.

The effort intends to promote Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s goal of dramatically reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades.

For the rest of the week, the Zakim Bridge, Prudential Tower, and the Atlantic Wharf spirecq will be lit green. Print and digital advertisements will be displayed across Boston, including on Fenway Park’s gigantic centerfield video screen, the marquee outside the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square, and throughout the MBTA system.

“90 percent of Boston is less than five minutes from a train or bus stop,” says one ad. “Take a ride, save the air.”

Another ad urges people to use revolving doors when possible, because standard doors that swing open allow about eight times as much air to escape, increasing the use of indoor heating and cooling.

Other ads say that recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to power a cell phone for about three days.

“We must engage everyone in our city in this effort,” Menino said in a statement. “We have to make the sustainability issue understandable to everyone – what I call turning the ‘science talk’ into ‘sidewalk talk.’ When we help people understand what they can do in their own lives, we will make Boston the greenest city in the world.”

The six-week marketing effort is being paid for through more than $1 million worth of donated ad space; about $100,000 in private fund-raising by Boston’s “Green Ribbon Commission,” a group of business and civic leaders working with the city on sustainability efforts; and through time donated by ad firm Mullen, which has spent the past six months designing the promotion.

The campaign centers around “Greenovate Boston,” a sustainability brand Menino conceived a year ago to boost community engagement.

Ads will direct people to visit a new, interactive website,, which will list resources related to energy efficiency and sustainability, including how to request support, like local and federal subsidies, for green projects.

The site will also profile sustainable efforts made by residents and local celebrities, including Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference and Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green, both of whom have been advocates for recycling and other eco-friendly measures.

Two years ago, Boston formally adopted goals to reduce 2005cq greenhouse gas emissions levels by 25 percent by 2020 and by 80 percent by 2050. So far, the city has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by about 10 percent, officials said.

The launch of the marketing campaign will coincide with Menino setting new short-term objectives.

He is scheduled to announce Tuesday he wants at least one-third of Boston residents to take on one new, daily sustainability effort per year, such as carpooling, unplugging their televisions at night, or using cold water to do laundry. He also wants businesses representing at least one-third of the city’s workforce to form their own in-house “sustainability teams” or to participate in existing sustainability initiatives.

The mayor hopes to achieve those goals over the next two years, said Brian Swett, the city’s chief of energy and environment.

“Some of these actions are really low-hanging fruit,” said Swett. “So we want people to adopt one the first year and then continue them and adopt other actions in the following years.”

“We’re trying to raise awareness of the simple, everyday decisions people can make to reduce their impact on the environment,” he added.

Menino will announce the ad campaign and new sustainability goals during an awards ceremony Tuesday afternoon honoring three residents, 13 businesses and two food leaders for exemplary sustainability measures. Menino has given out the awards annually since 2007. The event will be held at a new LEED-Gold certified student services center building on Boston University’s campus.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at
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Greenovate Boston ad example.jpg

(City of Boston)

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