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UTA Embraces Earth Day Message

Rene Jones educates and empowers agency employees to recyle, reduce and reuse

Earth Day may still conjure images of hippies asking people to save the planet, but at UTA, planet-saving has taken on a decidedly high-tech edge.

(From the pages of the April 16 issue of Variety.)

The UTA Foundation, headed by director Rene Jones, not only has several fundraising initiatives it supports, it aims to educate and empower its employees. A highlight of its activities that culminate on Earth Day, April 22, is the Green Expo.

“We created the Green Expo to bring in innovative technology and products. Each company that we invite not only educates our employees about its products, but everyone gets a chance to interact with the products,” Jones says.

Alongside exhibitors such as Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore outlet are hybrid and electric cars and motorcycles, which are available for employees at the Expo to take for a test drive.

UTA, which moved to a sprawling new Beverly Hills headquarters (Leed certified, natch) in late 2012, has invited some of its neighbors — including Netflix, Relativity, Live Nation and Participant — to also take part in the Expo.

“We developed a Green Team at the agency seven years ago to assess the green practices and education of employees and bring in speakers,” says Jones, adding that April and Earth Day are a good time to educate, and that many UTA clients are also committed to environmental causes.

No UTA staffer will go home unenlightened.

Among its activities will be a breakfast with Sierra Club exec director Michael Brune, while on April 20, UTA teams with the Surfrider Foundation for a family-friendly beach cleanup. Ken Cook, head of the Environmental Working Group, a public interest research advocacy organization, visits the staff on Earth Day to talk about the science behind the issues.

“People really do care,” she says. “They want to give back.”

For Jones, the Green Expo has a particular allure; she’s eyeing an electric car.

“There may be options there for me,” she notes.

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