Inside our eBay Green Team Leaders Summit

By: J.D. Norton

There is a famous saying from Margaret Mead that states, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.”, but in our case, we have 23 small groups of thoughtful, dedicated employees who are changing our company from within – making big changes in each of the offices and communities in which they work. We also have 23 volunteer team leaders helping to guide each of these teams along the way. As you can probably imagine, keeping people in 23 countries connected throughout the year can be hard, so when we are able to all come together, we take full advantage of the time we get.

You won’t find ropes courses, trust falls, or drum circles at our annual summit. What you will find are inspirational and educational presentations; a panel with peer company sustainability leaders; a tour of the local waste recycling facility; a team-building dinner at a local, organic, Slow Food USA member restaurant, and lots of planning for the year ahead.

Day One:

We all gather in a conference room at mid-day at our San Jose campus; do a meet and greet and share accomplishments at a local level from the past year; go over our 2011 goals from a corporate sustainability front; hear about the difference in sustainability thinking and practices globally (Europe is way ahead of us, folks – it’s just a way of life and ingrained in the culture there) and then wrap-up for the day, as the jet-lag is starting to hit some of the attendees pretty hard.

Day Two:

It’s an early start to the day because we have to get to the GreenWaste MRF (Materials Recovery Facility). What an eye-opening experience! Once you see what really happens to your garbage after you throw it away, you will never look at it the same way again. We now head over to the campus that includes our LEED Gold certified Mint building, 3,278 solar panels and 4 Bloom Boxes – definitely the greenest of our two campuses. Next up is a panel with peer sustainability leaders fromWells FargoGenentech and NetApp, who are all doing amazing things within each of their companies. We chat with our own Work Place Resources team; get further insight into our Zero Waste for Green Space program; tour the network operations center and then it’s off to dinner for some team bonding at a local Italian restaurant which uses almost all organic ingredients and is part of the Slow-Food USA movement.

Day Three: 

Today is all about taking what we’ve learned and what has inspired us the first two days and then making plans for the year ahead. First, we get some inspirational words from both our Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications, Alan Marks and then our President and CEO, John Donahoe, both great champions for green. We then take everything we’ve learned and everything that has inspired us over the past two days and jump straight into 2011 planning. What exactly did we plan? Just wait and see. I will say that our goals include being even more involved in the communities in which we operate, tackling commuting issues that seem to exist in each and every office we have, and of course…continuing to find even more ways to green each and every office of ours.

So there you have it, a very brief summary of what happened at our global Green Team Leader’s Summit. Watch for us in your communities and watch for ways to connect with us even further – and help make the world a greener place to live and eBay an even greener place to buy and sell in 2011.