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CHICAGO-Approximately 175 women from across the country and Canada are attending CB Richard Ellis’ eighth annual Women’s Networking Forum here. The event is being held through Wednesday at the Wyndham Chicago. The forum is a place for female employees at CBRE to network as well as learn information on market trends and issues dealing with commercial real estate.

This year’s event has a theme of “Achieve Green 2008.” Shawn Rush, an associate with CB Richard Ellis’ Seattle office, spoke Monday on sustainability in a session titled “Green to Benefit Your Client and You.” Rush spoke about the need for brokers to know about sustainability and the growing importance sustainability has to the firm’s clients. “Sixty percent of the Fortune 500 (companies) have joined the Carbon Disclosure Program. Why is that important? Because those are our clients,” she says.

Companies are initiating sustainability programs and will be looking to firms such as CB Richard Ellis to help them with their facilities, Rush says. “Buildings are one of the single largest contributors to carbon dioxide,” she says. Shaw talked about the US Green Building Council’s LEED certification program, which was introduced in 2000 for new construction. The myth is that it is more costly to go “green” but the benefits far outweigh the costs, she says. It can cost $4 per sf more to construct a “green” building but that same building will have $58 per sf in benefits, Rush says.

Other sessions at the forum on Tuesday and Wednesday will include enterprise selling, the firm’s diversity initiatives, presentation skills training and breakout sessions on brokerage, capital markets and asset services. The event is put on by the firm’s Women’s Network. The first event drew only about 75 women, says Lisa Konieczka, EVP in the company’s Chicago office.

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