The Institute for Sustainable Development has announced the winners of the 2011 Green Plus North American Sustainable Enterprise Awards. The Awards are given to smaller enterprises in the U.S. for excellence in triple bottom line sustainability, are presented annually at the North Carolina Research Triangle Park Foundation by GlaxoSmithKline. Finalists are chosen for the example they set in balancing business, community, and environmental best practices, for their innovation in sustainability and their efforts to teach their communities and their peers about the topic.
“Green jobs are a key to our long-term prosperity,” said Chris Carmody, Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development. “They will come from clean tech companies — but they will also come from traditional American businesses that produce bottom line savings and top line growth through sustainable business practices,” Carmody continued. “This year’s Green Plus Sustainable Enterprises are setting an example for employers throughout the country of how sustainability is critical to competitiveness in the 21st century,” Carmody concluded.
The 2011 Green Plus Sustainable Enterprise Winners are
- Green Plus Sustainable Enterprise of the Year, presented by The Research Triangle Park Foundation: The Taylor Companies (Bedford, Ohio)
- Green Plus Sustainable Medium-Sized Business of the Year: LubeStop (Berea, Ohio)
- Green Plus Sustainable Small Business of the Year, presented by Wells Fargo / Wachovia: Laser Plus (Lancaster, Pennsylvania)
- Green Plus Sole Proprietor / Home Based Business: Communication Matters (Hillsborough, North Carolina)
- Sustainable Non-Profit of the Year: The Scrap Exchange (Durham, North Carolina)
- Green Plus People’s Choice Award: Laser Plus (Lancaster, Pennsylvania)
About the Winners
The Taylor Companies: America’s oldest furniture manufacturer pushes America’s understanding of sustainability seven generations after its founding and demonstrates that sustainable business is the competitive advantage of the 21st century. When the company was wooed by other regions and countries, Taylor’s leadership not only stayed in its community, but also spent $6 million cleaning up an industrial brownfield in its hometown and building a new, energy efficient plant. Taylor companies sets a example for small manufacturers everywhere with superlative efforts to engage its workforce in practices that save money while improving its environmental impact. Taylor has pushed its own sector to new standards in responsibility and transparency.
LubeStop: “LubeStop’s innovations – which save money and protect its hometown environment – have made it one of the first auto-related businesses in the country to achieve Green Plus Certification,”said Chris Carmody, executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Development. “LubeStop is a national leader in demonstrating how doing the right thing by one’s community and environment is also good business,” Carmody concluded.
A company-wide recycling program was developed with Republic Services and Allied Waste eliminating 75% of the company’s waste stream, several practices were implemented at the new corporate headquarters including low-VOC paint and Interface flooring, and 30% post-consumer recycled paper was adopted company-wide at no additional cost.
Laser Plus: Laser Plus has been a leader in the printer sales, service and supplies industry since 1986, as well as a service provider and reseller of new and refurbished office machines. The organization has made several physical modifications that would help the Laser Plus employees to live the sustainability concept more fully on a daily basis; from rewiring lighting into zones to earth friendly cleaning materials and supplies for the lunch room. Half of the employees serve on boards, others act as volunteer EMTs, adopt highways, help in local schools, done in a day events, and play pool for charity.
Communication Matters: Owner Libbie Hough’s example demonstrates that sole proprietors can also practice triple bottom line practices. Hough has taken steps to reduce water consumption, such as collecting rain water in cisterns, using drip irrigation, and growing drought tolerant plants. She has reduced energy use by relying on natural light, carefully managing her thermostat, and purchasing EnergyStar appliances. In addition, she supports renewable energy by purchasing renewable energy credits from NC Green Power. In order to reduce her transportation impact, Hough purchased a fuel efficient vehicle and telecommutes with contractors as much as possible. She carefully recycles and has opted in to online bill pay systems that eliminate the need for printing. Hough is also heavily involved in the local community and serves on two boards – the Mental Health America of the Triangle and the Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce. She sponsors local nonprofit events and volunteers with community organizations. She is also a speaker for the American Heart Association and speaks to student groups in the Orange County School district in Orange County, NC. Finally, Hough communicates all her efforts via her website in order to help educate and inspire others to do the same.
The Scrap Exchange: The Durham, NC-based Scrap Exchange is a creative reuse facility whose mission is “to promote creativity, environmental awareness, and community through reuse.”
Since its inception in 1991, The Scrap Exchange has achieved the illusive win-win-win by diverting over 6,000 tons of waste from the landfill; providing affordable materials and reuse workshops to artists, crafters, nonprofits, the Durham Public School system, and local prisons; and providing donors with a tax deduction for the fair market value of items donated. The Scrap Exchange actively coordinates and convenes reuse activities in the broader community through its leadership in the Triangle Reuse Alliance, a group working to expand the awareness and practice of reuse in the NC Triangle. Through the resale of reused materials and artwork, The Scrap Exchange covers 90% of its operating budget, creating triple bottom line value in the community almost entirely independent of donations and grants.
Pantek Inc.: Since moving to a new building in 2008, Pantek has shown a strong commitment toward sustainability and improving their green practices. In choosing a location for their new offices, a major consideration was the amount of available natural light; all offices and cubicles have sources of sunlight. Notably, in order to reduce environmental strain from commuting, Pantek, has also developed a program in which employees who demonstrate excellence in their work, may work from home one or more days per week. As an IT company, computers are essential to Pantek’s business; to fill this need they utilize power efficient computers with rated energy saving power supplies.
“We’re proud of the progress we’ve made in reducing our environmental impact, and we’ll work diligently to expand our efforts,” said Linda Zack, V.P. of Marketing. “We’ve cut our carbon footprint significantly by making improvements in our office and our hosting center, by reducing employee commutes through work-at-home programs, and made a corporate commitment to improving the local environment through tree planting.”
HPG LLP: The largest CPA firm based in the Research Triangle Park region of NC, HPG was the first accounting firm to earn Green Plus Certification and has been a poster child in their field, inspiring other firms to examine their own sustainability practices and make positive changes.
HPG has launched multiple initiatives to integrate sustainability into its culture, including a staff-led recycling program, signage about conservation around the office, an Earth Day awareness event, sustainability-topic lunch and learns, a Green Initiative board, monthly green emails, and a weekly Green Monster award for staff members. It has reduced resources use by purchasing energy efficient appliances, eliminating unnecessary lighting, measuring and monitoring its energy and water use, and setting future goals for energy and water use reduction. HPG contributes to its community by providing incentives for employees to work with community organizations, internships to local university students, and is active in the clean tech and sustainable economic development community through participation in conferences. It has also been recognized by the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and others for helping the region grow and succeed.
HRW, Inc.: A community and associations management company, HRW Inc. (an Associa company) has been serving the Raleigh area since 1982. HRW has shown its commitment to being a leader in its industry and has invested much time and effort into its sustainability practices since it achieved Green Plus Mover status in September 2010.
“The Green Plus certification process helped us immensely by providing tools, support and guidance that helped us to learn how to organize our resources better, and taught us to pay attention to details that collectively make a big difference in our organization’s environmental impact,” said HRW President, Cathy Wade. “The balanced approach (people, planet, performance) makes this a win-win process, not only for our company and staff, but for the greater community and our clients too.”
The Institute for Sustainable Development / Green Plus