The Southeast Sustainability Directors Network collaborates to accelerate the adoption of economically viable, socially equitable, and environmentally responsible best practices in American Southeastern communities. We do this by sharing information and problem solving together.
View this email in your browser
   The Southeast Sustainability Directors Network:
   September Update

Case Study: Encouraging Sustainable Fleet Management
Introducing your Fleet Director to sustainable best practices can be politically tricky. Sustainability Directors with low mayoral support often find that meeting local government sustainability goals can take longer when no internal performance metrics are associated with these goals and applied across departments.  Department directors are familiar with choosing operating and capital options that represent cost savings, but not necessarily with making choices that also consider environmental and community health. These basic steps outline how to approach your Fleet Director, and develop a mutually beneficial relationship:
  1. Do Fleet Director Recon. In the absence of internal sustainability mandates to all departments  from the mayor, the culture of your Fleet department will determine your strategy for approaching them. What motivates this person? Is it positive press, mayoral recognition, being revered by staff, leading trade associations, or gathering awards? Talk to a trusted peer who knows this person, and pick their brain. Then, if it feels appropriate, take the Fleet Director out to lunch and just spend some time getting to know them – and letting them get to know you. Look for some common ground. Maybe you both like football, have kids, or have a similar work obstacle you can commiserate about. Get outside your comfort zone on this one a little bit, because hitting it off (or at least establishing mutual respect) is important. Here’s a site that can help you understand what Fleet Directors think about and do.
  2. Make a Strong Case. And make it in this person’s language. Use what motivates them as your starting angle. For instance: an idling policy can give a Fleet Director face time with Council and the Mayor and show that they consider the impacts of their operations from a community perspective. Putting well-considered fuel efficiency measures into a budget proposal can be a win with the Finance director during the competitive capital and operating budget process. Here’s a starting list of options a Fleet Director can consider, and for you to pick and chose from when crafting your approach.
  3. Put in the Time – Go ahead and do the research needed to put attractive example fleet policies at their fingertips. In the absence of any real authority, being helpful in general with information - and regularly checking in - is critical. If you know your Fleet Director has a relationship (or rivalry) with another community, search there first for fleet actions you wish were in your community. Green Fleet policies and templates abound, so gather and take the best parts of them, rather than inventing your own.
  4. Work with your Director to Pick and Chose. Just because it’s “green” doesn’t mean it’s good. Cracking the transportation nut is as much about listening and understanding other viewpoints as it is about getting your own across. If your Fleet Director had a bad experience with biofuels, table that option for a time when a new director is appointed. If they like the idea of using electric vehicles, then start with the charging station conversation. Some sustainable options can be found here
  5. Start with Low Hanging Fruit. There is no shame in starting at the beginning, no matter what your community GHG advocates say. It’s logical. So, it’s OK to have conversations about regular maintenance procedures (tire pressure, etc.) and offer up low or no-cost solutions in the beginning of your work with Fleet.
Bottom Line
Listen more than you talk. Hear what keeps your Fleet Director up at night, and make it your job to present them with logical solutions that not only meet their needs and motivations, but can also serve as a sustainability gateway - so you can go back to solving problems no one else is paying attention to, and know that good things will continue to happen in Fleet.

Funding Announcements

USDN Peer Learning Exchange - Applications Due November 20th
The USDN Peer Learning Exchange Grant Selection Committee will support a number of 1-to-1 or small group peer exchanges that will be chosen through this RFP process. In comparison to the Innovation Fund, peer exchange grants: 1) are quicker to turn around, 2) award smaller funding amounts, 3) are narrower in scope, 4) don’t involve a third party/consultant, and 5) don’t have to be innovative. The RFP and more details can be found here.

USDN General RFP - SSDN Letter of Intent to Propose Invited: Energy Efficiency and Equity Programming
The USDN Innovation Fund Steering Committee invited Knoxville, TN to submit a full proposal for equity programming in energy efficiency. The letter of intent is here. Contact Erin Gill (Knoxville, TN) if you would like to be a part of proposal development. Final proposals are due to the Innovation Fund on November 19, 2015.

If funded, this would be the third USDN Innovation Grant to SSDN members: 2014 Adaptation Planning Grant, Peter Nierengarten (Fayetteville, AR) and 2015 Community Based Social Marketing Campaign, Estevan Baza (Oldsmar, FL).


Top SSDN Members Posts
Please continue to share with us what you're learning or needing to know on We look forward to sharing your posts in the newsletter next month.

Can't log on to USDN?  SSDN members, reply to this email or send Maggie a note to get log-in information. Posters, be sure to tag the Southeast so everyone can see.  A tutorial for the site is here.


PREP Workshop Phase II Call: Proposal Concept Development Call October 9 at 11:00 am EST
Call Info: 530-881-1212, meeting ID 581-382-689

This call is for members interested in conducting a second phase of the Partnership for Resilience and Planning (PREP) project. This would support additional southern cities receiving adaptation training. PREP is a peer learning and training effort for Sustainability Directors to learn how to start the conversation about adaption and resilience planning in their community. This call will focus on developing a concept paper for use in identifying a funding source.
Interested Communities: Sarasota County, FL; Savannah, GA; and Wilmington, NC.

The Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) is partnering with the Association of Energy Service professionals (AESP) to deliver a conference that examines the multifaceted role energy efficiency plays in advancing economic development, energy security and public well-being across the southeastern states.
  • The 2015 SEEA-AESP Southeast Conference will be held in Atlanta, Georgia from Wednesday, October 28th through Friday, October 30th.
  • SEEA has added a day rate registration tier for public sector and non-profit partners.
  • They think that the cities involved with the USDN Equity Proposal might benfit from some of the speakers, especially Donnell Baird of BlocPower.

The first presentation from the Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM) workgroup can be found here. This webinar is centered around behavior changing strategies, and includes a methodology for selecting the behavior you want to address, understanding barriers to addressing it and benefits of addressing it, developing a strategic approach to the behavior, piloting this methodology, and then implementing it broadly with an evaluation method to understand impacts.

Copyright © 2015 Southeast Sustainability Directors Network, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp