Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA becomes first Green Plus Certified Y in the country


Amanda Komar (L), Green Plus Community Coordinator, presents the official Green Plus Certification to Darcy Gunn, Director of Member Services for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA has become the first YMCA in the country to earn full Green Plus Certification, joining the ranks of more than 55 Certified businesses around the country to earn the distinction. 210 additional small businesses and non-profits are currently working toward full Green Plus Certification.

YMCA organizations can be found all over the world, but the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA stands out in that it is the first and only YMCA to earn Green Plus Certification, a distinction Darcy Gunn, Director of Member Services for the Y, hopes will inspire and motivate other YMCA’s to pursue greater sustainability.

According to Gunn, the triple-bottom line is about “the wellbeing of everything and everybody.”  She adds, “Everyone is interested in [sustainability].  We all want to have jobs and be here to support our community any way we can, and sustainability is one way to achieve that.”

Like many of the organizations that join the Green Plus program, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA realized that being sustainable wasn’t just about being green.

 “Initially, I thought ‘going green’ was all about recycling and reducing and reusing, and really what I learned is that there’s just so much more to it,” comments Gunn.  “It was a great learning process because you’re so specific in what you need to determine sustainability.  I was able to get into documents that we had to see how it operates on the business side of things.”

Sustainability is important to the YMCA, and being responsible for the health and wellbeing of the natural environment is one of its main tenants. 

“YMCAs are perfect candidates for Green Plus,” said Chris Carmody, Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development. “The ‘People‘ part of the triple bottom line is in their DNA, but like any small business, YMCAs can both reduce costs and improve their environmental impact through sustainable measures,” Carmody concluded.

Green Plus is proud to have the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA join its ranks of Certified organizations, and mirrors Gunn’s hope that other YMCA’s around the country will be inspired to pursue greater sustainability in their organizations, as well. 

The Institute for Sustainable Development / Green Plus

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