(North Carolina Research Triangle) Thirty-one businesses in the Green PlusTM program were recognized by the Institute for Sustainable Development for their exceptional efforts toward triple bottom line sustainability. Seven businesses received full Green PlusTM certification, and twenty-five were recognized as Green PlusTM Movers – businesses that have completed the first major step in the Institute’s sustainable small business certification process. Businesses receiving full Green PlusTM certification included Brick Street Botanical (AR), Business Class Inc, (NC), Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau (NC), Laser Plus (PA), PTA Thrift Shop (PA), The Taylor Companies (OH) and Warfel Construction Company (PA).
The Cary, North Carolina office of the oldest continuously operating university press in the world, University Oxford Press, became the first organization of its kind to complete the first step of the Green PlusTM program. Plymouth Church United Church of Christ in Cleveland, Ohio, is the first religious institution to be recognized by the Institute’s Green PlusTM program as a Green PlusTM Mover. Other Green PlusTM Movers include Accentuate Staffing, Appraisals Online, Inc., Beyu Caffe, Cargas Systems, Cottman Transmission of Garner, NC, jke marketing and communications, the King’s Daughters Inn, Licata & Toerek, Moran IT, My Eco Lamp, Northgate Associates, Quality Sprinkling Systems, Pam Herndon – State Farm, Stitt Energy Systems, Inc, Town Planner Community Calendar, True Edge Performance Solutions, Urban Durham Realty, Watts Grocery, Weaver Street Realty, Wenger Feed Mill, Inc, and William H. Bunch, PA, CPA. (Please see www.gogreenplus.org for more information on these businesses).
The Institute for Sustainable Development is a public-private partnership between centers at Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Greater Durham Chambers of Commerce, the Fenwick Foundation and the Foundation for a Sustainable Community. Major corporate supporters include GlaxoSmithKline and Lenovo. The Institute’s overall business plan for Green PlusTM was commissioned in 2007 by Tony Waldrop, Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Center for Sustainable Enterprise at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business developed the plan, and a partnership of centers at UNC, Duke University, chambers of commerce and philanthropic foundations built and tested the program with small businesses in North Carolina and Ohio in 2008. The program was formally launched in North Carolina in February, since then it has been launched in Arkansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Green PlusTM is designed to provide small and medium sized employers with affordable educational tools and university assistance to strengthen their triple bottom line, access to a network of peer businesses tackling similar issues while sharing best practices, and brand support in the form of certification for those organizations with exceptional sustainability performance. “Green PlusTM is not simply about taking steps to be green in the way that we all are aware we should; it is about how making careful, sustainable decisions affects every aspect of your business life: the people you work with, the success of your organization, and, ultimately, the planet we all share,” said Mary Renner, president of Laser Plus, Pennsylvania’s first Certified Green PlusTM business. “Green PlusTM is not for wimps; it is a challenging, carefully considered assessment that will force you to look carefully at the reality of your daily practices. We chose to step up with the certainty that by accepting the Green PlusTM challenge, Laser Plus has a deliberate and carefully defined vision of who we are, where we want to go, and how we will get there.”
“We are happy to be working with this new class of Certified Green Plus business and Green Plus Movers,” said Chris Carmody, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development. “Each of these businesses sets a great example and has something to teach other small businesses throughout North America,” Carmody concluded.
Warfel Construction Company’s leadership by example enabled the company to achieve full certification. Since moving their headquarters to new space in an existing building, Warfel is applying for Silver level LEED Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Warfel’s owners renovated their new office and used flooring made from recycled or rapidly renewable materials, built side windows and sun tubes to allow natural light into the buildings, extended the foyer before the lobby entrance to reduce the hot/cold air exchange from outside, and completed other modifications using recycled materials and to reduce energy and water consumption.
“We are honored to be the first Pennsylvania contractor to receive this distinction,” said Ralph Simpson, President/CEO of Warfel. “I was intrigued that [this program] focused on many elements of business in addition to sustainability and green business practices. Warfel Construction Company has always operated with the Green Plus principles of taking care of the environment, our employees, and the community while maintaining a financially successful business. We have modeled our company this way for nearly 100 years, and the Green Plus Certification is a great way to enter our second century of business!”
Brick Street Botanical also made reusing recycled materials a top priority when it renovated an existing building to use as its new shop. Owner Holly Mang also purchases all flowers and plant materials locally from organic growers. Mang encourages customers to return their vases and flower container so they can be reused; this not only fosters reuse, it saves Brick Street Botanicals from having to purchase new containers which helps the bottom line as well. “I have found the Green Plus program to be a fantastic business tool. As a new business owner I was pleased to find out I was already running my business in a “green” way. I am looking forward to using this tool to grow my business in an environmentally friendly way,” declared Mang.
Adhering to the central principles of sustainability is also just the way of doing business for PTA Thrift Shop in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, NC. “I had long ago realized that “sustainability” and the three components which comprise it (people, planet, performance) were so core to our organization, just by our nature and our mission,” said Barbara Jessie-Black, executive director. “However, having a tool complete with measurement and education components, as well as a best practice component, has helped us (and continues to) be more intentional about how we practice sustainability on a daily basis and the contribution we make to the community we serve.”
Getting your entire staff to participate and share ideas is one of the key ways to institutionalize the ideas around sustainability, but it can be quite a challenge. Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau (DCVB) encourages its staff to participate by alternating leadership of staff meetings and encouraging suggestions from everyone. “DCVB has always been conscious about sustainability issues, but going through the Green PlusTM certification program helped us document all of our efforts around sustainability and green initiatives into a single place that could be shared with others,” said Shelly Green, President and CEO-Elect of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We are particularly excited about sharing ideas with Durham-based organizations and businesses that provide services to travelers since sustainability is an important piece in marketing a destination.”
Business Class, Inc. uses the tools and ideas found throughout the program as a way to share best practices with their clients. “The [Green PlusTM] program has provided additional structure for efforts at continued improvement. It’s been a fun focus area for our interns as they search for best practices, bring them in for discussion; write about them in the new “Good & Green” category of our website; and consider how they might apply the ideas within their own campus community,” said Jan Bolick, president of Business Class, Inc.
New Certified Green Plus Businesses
Brick Street Botanicals
This growing flower shop services northwest Arkansas and is located in Rogers, AR. Owner Holly Mang is dedicated to providing her customers with striking, usually organic, products and designs that focus on the inherent natural beauty of flowers and plants through texture and design.
From using recycled and renewable materials to revitalize an existing space in downtown Rogers to encouraging clients to return vases so they might be used again, Brick Street Botanical is focused on the triple bottom line and is using those principles to grow.
Based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Business Class provides resources for managers, business owners, and teams who want to boost productivity and morale. By helping clients achieve better results through improved skills and attitudes, Business Class has helped organizations large and small improve their productivity.
“We have a passion for business and making it fun, satisfying and productive for all involved,” says Founder, Jan Bolick. Bolick has combined her experiences as a CEO, general manager, salesperson, leader, follower, organizer, volunteer, fundraiser, teacher, student and parent, to develop customized training and coaching programs to suit the needs of each client.
Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau (DCVB)
The Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau has been Durham’s marketing agency for over 20 years. During the first 15 years, DCVB more than doubled the number of visitors who came to Durham and it continues to market the city of Durham, educated visitors as to the plethora of recreational, entertainment, and dining options, and maintain Durham’s brand.
More than 15 years ago, DCVB started initiatives to recycle and use soy ink. In 2007, they conducted an energy audit that lead to a new HVAC system complete with zoning, computer controls, and automatic sensor lights which has increased the quality of life in the building and significantly reduced energy bills. They’ve also installed a cistern to collect rain water and use that to irrigate the grounds. DCVB is also committed to engaging and inspiring the 3,000 hotels and restaurants in the area and identifying those who’ve made efforts to go green in the Durham Visitors Guide.
As the first Pennsylvania business to receive Green Plus certification, Laser Plus has offered quality print supplies and reliable customer service for printing equipment and office machines since 1986. Committed to going green in the printing industry before most individuals have even heard of sustainability, Laser Plus has championed the ideals of a profitable, cost effective business with fervor for environmental integrity.
One way in which Laser Plus has become an innovative sustainable business is through development of their Solid Waste Savings Report program. The Solid Waste Savings Report is used by Laser Plus customers to demonstrate savings in operating costs and reductions in solid waste. For example, last year, one of Laser Plus’ insurance companies kept 1,724 pounds of solid waste out of our local landfills at a financial savings of $21,000. By providing high-quality, environmentally friendly printing solutions that encourage recycling and smarter printing practices, Laser Plus have aimed to perform well in the profit margin while treating their employees well and maintaining environmental integrity.
Warfel Construction Company
Started in 1911, Warfel Construction Company has grown into one of the most successful and respected contractors in south-central Pennsylvania. They’ve survived and thrived because of commitment to honesty, integrity and fairness, what their founder, David S. Warfel, called it practical business sense.
Warfel has been building “Green” for years, long before “sustainable design” and “LEED” were buzzwords in its industry. Whether the clients are hoping incorporate sustainable elements in their project’s design or planning on receiving LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification, Warfel has a team of experts ready to offer valuable insight and direction on how to proceed. They are constantly innovating and testing new designs and ideas. Their clients benefit by getting the most cost effective, efficient facility possible without sacrificing important budget and schedule objectives.
PTA Thrift Shop
The PTA Thrift Shop has been in operation since 1952. Serving for the benefit of Parent Teacher Associations in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, the PTA Thrift Shop gives all year-end profits back to Chapel Hill and Carrboro schools. Funding from the thrift shop helps pay for teaching materials, playground equipment, cultural arts programs, computers, school wide events, and a host of other programs for middle and high school students.
With the help of volunteers, the PTA Thrift Shop has managed to donate more than $40,000 per year to the Interfaith Council each year, as well as numerous food and personal items which cannot be sold by them. By focusing on all three aspects of the triple bottom line, the PTA Thrift Shop also encourages their employees to volunteer in the community. They also work to find new ways to create revenue out of unsellable items and are devoted to expanding their water and energy conservation plans. As a community organization, the PTA Thrift Shop is committed to enhancement and innovation of their business in the most sustainable way possible.
New Green Plus Movers
- Accentuate Staffing
- Appraisals Online, Inc
- Beyu Caffe
- Cargas Systems
- Cottman Transmission of Garner
- Jke marketing and communications, Inc
- The King’s Daughters Inn
- Licata & Toerek
- Moran IT
- My Eco Lamp
- Northgate Associates
- Oxford University Press in Cary
- Plymouth Church United Church of Christ
- Quality Sprinking Systems
- Pam Herndon, State Farm
- Stitt Energy Systems, Inc
- Town Planner Community Calendar
- True Edge Performance Solutions
- Urban Durham Realty
- Watts Grocery
- Weaver Street Realty
- Wenger Feed Mills, Inc
- William H. Bunch, PA, CPA