2013 Green Plus Award Winners Recognized by Institute for Sustainable Development

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The Institute for Sustainable Development recognized the 2013 Green Plus Sustainable Enterprise Award Winners Sunday, June 2nd, at Mez Contemporary Mexican Restaurant — the first business ever to ever full Green Plus Certification.

“We think any business or nonprofit can find inspiration in the sustainability example the 2013 Green Plus Award winners are setting,” said Chris Carmody, Executive Director of the North Carolina Research Triangle-based Institute for Sustainable Development. “These Green Plus winners bridge the gap between triple bottom line theory and best practice,” Carmody concluded. 

2013 Green Plus Sustainable Enterprise Award Winners

Sustainable Enterprise of the Year: Four Seasons Produc

Four Seasons Produce, a full-line produce wholesale company located in Ephrata, PA, took the 2013 Sustainable Enterprise of the Year Award.

“The Four Seasons Produce serves the community and the environment by pursuing its energy and sustainability strategy,” said Randy Groff, Director of Facilities & Energy at Four Seasons Produce. “The organization seeks to implement innovative yet proven cost-saving methods to reduce energy use, conserve resources, and improve the environment,” continued. “We are thrilled to be the recipient of the Green Plus Sustainable Enterprise Award, Groff concluded.   


Green Plus Medium-Sized Business of the Year: Strata Solar

The Green Plus Medium-Sized Business of the Year recognizes exemplary sustainability leadership in companies with more than 50 but fewer than 500 employees. Chapel Hill, NC-based Strata Solar is not only an industry leader in clean energy, but also maintains a strong focus on people through a commitment to skilled workforce training, creating ‘local jobs for local projects.’ Strata works closely with area economic development and employee offices to recruit its workforce, and concentrates multiple projects together in order to build opportunities for long-term employment.

“We are honored to be receiving this wonderful award,” said Cathy Wilhelm, Co-Founder & CAO of Strata Solar. “We have worked very hard to integrate best practices across our business, and to see those efforts reflected in our winning the Green Plus Medium-Sized Business of the Year Award is very inspiring,” Wilhelm continued. “We have big plans to do even more work company-wide this year and this award will be a further motivator and a source of pride for all of us,” Wilhelm concluded.


Green Plus Small Business of the Year: Stay Online

The Green Plus Small Business Award is made annually to a business with between three and fifty employees that exemplifies great business, employee, community, and environmental practices. Creedmoor, NC-based Stay Online, produces products for data and power infrastructure, and has a large and very creative array of efforts in every area of the triple bottom line.

On the People side of sustainability, Stay Online has intense loyalty to its employees, dog and family-friendly policies, on-site group health activities, and sponsored volunteerism.  Stay Online’s environmental efforts range from composting to on-site chicken farming, composting, aggressive recycling, rain capture, and on-site vegetation management.  Stay Online is Certified Green Plus and ISO 9001.

“I am very excited to receive this award as it affirms Stay Online’s efforts to help the environment,” said Jim Higgins, General Manager of Online. “My mother Carolyn Higgins instilled these values in me when I was a child when in the 1970’s we would bring our recyclables to a facility,” Higgins continued. “I thank Green Plus for fostering change in attitude and participation amongst companies: It really just takes a little imagination and commitment to make a considerable difference,” Higgins concluded.


Green Plus Sole Proprietor of the Year: Sanitation Creations

The Green Plus Sole Proprietor Award recognizes sole proprietors, home-based businesses, and early-stage entrepreneurs who are building an highly sustainable enterprise.  This year, the recipient of this award is startup company Sanitation Creations.

“Winning this award is a wonderful surprise and strengthens our commitment to sustainability as Sanitation Creations grows,” said Liz Morris, Founder & CEO of Sanitation Creations.

Sanitation Creations’ lead product, the Dungaroo, was the brainchild of Morris’s while she was an environmental sciences major at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Morris recognized that 4 million people die from water, hygiene, and sanitation-related problems every year, and designed a waterless toilet that uses the ‘waste to energy’ process to generate local power.


Green Plus NonProfit of the Year: Wilmington NC International Airport

The Green Plus NonProfit Award recognizes 501c3s, academic institutions, or units of government that have exhibited creative triple bottom line leadership.  This year’s recipient is the first airport to take part in the Green Plus program, the Wilmington International Airport

“The Wilmington International Airport (ILM) is proud to be recognized for our efforts to be an efficient and sustainable organization,” said Dr. Chuck Kays, Airport Authority Chairman.

ILM, the first organization in the Wilmington area to achieve full Green Plus certification, executed a number of ideas have already reduced the airport’s energy bills by 8 percent also reducing its environmental impact – from installing LED lights into the air field to propane mowers, to light sensors. The airport was the first organization to pursue Green Plus through a partnership established by the Wilmington NC Chamber of Commerce and Piedmont Natural Gas.


Green Plus Champion: Larry Herst, Founder & CEO, Triangle Ecycling

The Green Plus Champion award recognizes evangelists for sustainability — individuals who have undertaken multiple efforts to make people think differently about how sustainability applies to their businesses and to their lives. This year, the Institute recognizes Larry Herst, Founder & CEO of Triangle Ecycling. Herst started Triangle Ecycling to “help kids and give back to the community” — refurbishing and recycling electronic waste (often known as E-Waste). Herst partners with TROSA and Certified Green Plus GEEP (Global Electric Electronic Processing) to accomplish this mission in Durham.

“Sustainability is the basic building block of our business model so it is really awesome to be recognized by an organization as dedicated to Green Plus principles as the Institute,” says Herst. “We are proud to play a small part along with so many people and businesses that make Durham such a supportive and thriving triple bottom line community.”


Innovator of the Year: Waterra

The Green Plus Innovator Award recognizes entrepreneurs who have taken a different approach to a big sustainability issue. Greensboro, NC-based Waterra has tackled water bottles — providing a way for people to use their own bottles for water and drinks the same convenient way they might bring their own portable mug for their morning cup of coffee.

According to National Geographic, Americans consume 29 billion water bottles a year which require 17 million gallons of crude oil to manufacture — and most of which end up in the landfill. Waterra provides offices and businesses with a portable machine of varying sizes that dispenses purified water, flavored water, sports drinks, and energy drinks into the user’s own reusable cup or water bottle. Waterra provides a way enjoy a delicious, healthy drink while conserving energy and natural resources.

“Waterra is both humbled and honored to receive the Green Plus Sustainable Enterprise Award for Innovator of the Year,” said Wendell Roth, President of Waterra. “Green Plus is THE leader in setting sustainable standards for small business and organizations, so this recognition is especially rewarding,” Roth continued. “Waterra truly appreciates this award and aspires to lead other companies by our example to embrace more sustainable and healthy practices,” Roth concluded.

Event Sponsors

The Institute for Sustainable Development wishes to thank the following sponsors of the 2013 Green Plus Awards:

  • Presenting Sponsor: GlaxoSmithKline
  • Event Sponsor: The Chapel Hill Restaurant Group
  • Gold Sponsors: The Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, The Word Factory, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Silver Sponsors: Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment, Elon University Love School of Business, and Wells Fargo


Host Committee

  • Comma, Counter Culture Coffee, FlowerThyme, Local Ventures, The King’s Daughters Inn, The PTA Thrift Shops, TS Designs


About the Institute for Sustainable Development
The Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) is a Durham, North Carolina-based partnership of universities, chambers of commerce, and business leaders. Its mission is to assist small and medium-sized employers and their communities become more competitive by being more sustainable, and to cultivate a new generation of leaders in the sustainability field.

ISD’s key programs include

  • The Green Plus Certification program, which has business and nonprofit participants in 18 states
  • Green Plus Fellowships and internships, which give graduate and undergraduate students hands-on experience in the issues of sustainability with real businesses;
  • And the Environmental Help Desk for Business, a free portal partnership with the US Chamber of Commerce’s Business Civic Leadership Program, that gives green supply chain and innovation advice to SMEs.
We educate, motivate, and recognize smaller enterprises for their efforts towards becoming more sustainable. We’re here to offer tangible, practical tips and expertise in sustainability.
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