Twelve New Organizations Certified Green Plus™ by the Institute for Sustainable Development


Newly Certified Organizations Prove Traditional Organizations Can Be Sustainability Trailblazers; Seventeen Others Complete First Phase of Certification Process

North Carolina Research Triangle – Twenty-nine organizations were recognized for their dedication to triple bottom line sustainability through the Green Plus program by the Institute for Sustainable Development.  Eleven organizations in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio obtained Green Pluscertification, while eighteen others from the Southeast, Northeast, and Midwest took the first step toward certification by becoming Green Plus Movers.  Organizations earning full Green Plus certification include Aramark at the R. David Thomas Executive Conference Center, Cargas Systems, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, Chapel Hill Tire Car Care Center, the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, Hughes Pittman & Gupton LLC, jennifer k. engle marketing & communications, Lube Stop, Piedmont Electric Membership Corporation, the Triangle Community Foundation, the Umstead Hotel & Spa, and Wenger Feeds.

“We’re seeing an uptick in formal sustainability efforts and leadership from traditional businesses and nonprofits,”said Chris Carmody, the Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development.  “We’re pleased to welcome the first Certified Green Pluschambers of commerce (Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Durham), first accounting firm (Hughes Pittman & Gupton), first auto care companies (Chapel Tire Car Care Center and Lube Stop), and first electric utility (Piedmont EMC).”  Also included in the newly certified organizations are enterprises as diverse as a dining facility, a software company, a marketing firm, a grant making nonprofit, a luxury hotel, and an agricultural feed business.  “These organizations prove that any business or nonprofit can transform its operations and culture to serve the triple bottom line,” Carmody said. “Many of the newly certified organizations have been working diligently for several quarters to launch new initiatives and practices.  It can take time to achieve certification, but it’s within reach for those organizations with high levels of commitment and internal support,” Carmody concluded.

The Green Plus program helps educate and certify small businesses and nonprofit organizations in the areas of triple bottom line sustainability (People, Planet, and Performance).  A program of the Institute for Sustainable Development, Green Plusfocuses on an organization’s policies and procedures and therefore applies to businesses across sectors and industries.  The first step in the program is completing the 86 question diagnostic survey, after which an organization is acknowledged as a Green Plus Mover.

New Certified Green Plus Organizations

Aramark at the R. David Thomas Executive Conference Center – Durham, NC –

Aramark provides the dining services at the R. David Thomas Executive Conference Center.  Located on the West Campus of Duke University in Durham, NC, the R. David Thomas Center is a full-service residential facility affiliated with Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

From monitoring its environmental impacts through an Environmental Management System conforming to ISO 140001 to changing all the lighting to LED, purchasing Energy Star appliances, installing aerators and automatic faucets, offering water dispensers instead of bottled water, installing an herb garden and vegetable garden, and using all Green Seal certified cleaning products, to offering a program called Pathway to Leadership (PTC), which provides internship experiences for college students, Aramark at the R. David Thomas Executive Conference Center sets a standard for sustainability in dining services.

Cargas Systems – Lancaster, PA –

Cargas is an employee-owned software and consulting firm voted one of the Best Places to Work in Pennsylvania 2009.

In August of 2010, Cargas is moving its office to help revitalize downtown Lancaster and to be more conveniently situated for employees, moving to a location enabling 80% of employees to bike to work.  The new building will include showers to further encourage biking and other forms of self transportation.  In addition, the new facility will be LEED Silver and include solar panels, passive solar, trombe walls, water source heat pumps and water-saving plumbing fixtures.  Offering flex time, telecommuting, employee training and development, and a four-week paid sabbatical, Cargas has a unique culture which cultivates individual development.  Cargas was awarded the North American Sustainable Enterprise of the Year award in 2010 by Green Plus.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce – Chapel Hill, NC –

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber serves and advances the business interests of its members and supports the mission of its partner, the Foundation for a Sustainable Community.  The Chamber strives to build its members’ professional networks and to help its members market their businesses, save money, sharpen their skills, and represent their interests on a local, state, and national level while engaging in successful economic development activities.

With regard to People, the Chamber engages its employees and the community by offering a mentoring program to its employees, donating conference room space,  providing scholarships to Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools, offering internships to UNC students and participating in blanket and food drives.  On the Planet side, the Chamber uses an energy efficient copy machine, coffee machine, and HVAC; purchases renewable energy credits from NC GreenPower; retrofitted its bathrooms with low flow toilets; recycles cardboard, paper, plastics and cans; reuses paper when possible, and prints on post-consumer recycled paper.

Chapel Hill Tire Car Care Center – Chapel Hill, NC –

Chapel Hill Tire Car Care Center is Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Chatham county’s oldest family-owned tire and auto repair facility. Founded in 1953, Chapel Hill Tire Car Care Center has woven itself into the fabric of the surrounding community.

Chapel Hill Tire Car Care Center uses a balanced scorecard to think comprehensively about its business and supports its community by providing employer-sponsored healthcare, purchasing products locally, and contributing regularly to community organizations.  The car care center is leading in its environmental practices, having retrofitted one location with low-e windows, energy-efficient LED lighting, dual-flush toilets, interior finishes such as low-VOC paints, and reduced impervious surface landscaping with a rainwater collection cistern.  It also mitigates environmental impacts by offering EFO (Environmentally Friendly Oil) for oil changes and NitroFill tire inflation system to boost tire efficiency and life and reduce tire waste.  Notably, the car care center also installed a 16.4 kW solar voltaic array at one of its locations, providing 80% peak power on sunny day.

Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce – Durham, NC –

The Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce is a member-driven organization that serves its members by helping to create and sustain a healthy economic climate.

Among its sustainable initiatives, the Durham Chamber made improvements to its office space in a recent renovation, including knocking down walls to bring in more natural lighting for employees, installing energy efficient lighting with motion sensors, and using environmentally-friendly materials, such as cork, recycled wood doors, and low VOC paints.  It also invested in an energy efficient copier and dishwasher and converted its kitchen products to paperless or recycled products as much as possible.  It reduced paper use by discontinuing the mailing of bulky relocation packets and switching to electronic resources.  It also offsets energy use by purchasing renewable energy credits.  It is committed to equal opportunity employment policies, employer-sponsored healthcare, wellness programs, and paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child.  Finally, it donates in-kind services as well as food and furniture, and its employees volunteer in the community.

Hughes Pittman & Gupton LLC – Raleigh, NC –

Hughes Pittman & Gupton (HPG) is a certified public accounting (CPA) firm based in the Research Triangle Park region of NC that works with investor-backed technology, medical device, life-science and biotechnology companies and owner-managed operating companies and their owners, executives and founders.

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 resource use by purchasing an energy efficient dishwasher and fridge, switching to reusable kitchenware, 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 incentive time for employee 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 and groups such as the SJF Summit on the Green Economy and REBN.

jennifer k. engle marketing & communications – Lancaster, PA –

jke marketing & communications assists clients in creating an exciting and sustainable future for their small to mid-sized business or non-profit organization.

jke’s certification reaffirms that sole proprietors and home office businesses can manage the triple bottom line. Ms. Engle works out of her home and uses an energy efficient water heater, refrigerator, washer/dryer, TV, and LED lights, and unplugs appliances when not in use.  She has planted native plants with minimal grass and a riparian buffer to protect local streams from pollution and sedimentation, recycles, and uses FSC paper.  She donates to and volunteers with community organizations and provides internship opportunities to college students.

Lube Stop – Berea, OH –

Lube Stop, Ohio’s largest independently owned quick oil change company, was founded in 1985 and currently employs 260 people in the company’s 37 stores across Ohio. Over the past five years, Lube Stop has made a concerted effort to adopt sustainable business practices, promote the business case for sustainability to regional companies and the industry, and works to protect the environment as well as customers’ cars.

Lube Stop drives sustainability initiatives to both internal and external audiences.  Internally, it has formally included sustainability it in its mission statement and business strategy, publishes an annual sustainability report, and offers employee sustainability training.  It actively promotes sustainability externally by providing resources on its website, educating the public about the proper disposal of oil through public service announcements, and educating its customers about ways to improve gas mileage.  In addition to recycling practices and formal energy and water use reduction goals, Lube Stop finds inspiration from companies like 3M and Dow Chemical in waste reduction by encouraging innovations within its company and supply chain.  Lube Stop supports its community by purchasing from local sources, engaging local university students, and providing significant donations to community organizations.  Lube Stop was also a finalist for the Green Plus North American Sustainable Enterprise of the Year award.

Piedmont Electric Membership Corporation – Hillsborough, NC –

Piedmont Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) is a not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric distribution cooperative which provides electricity to more than 30,000 consumers. An innovative electric utility, Piedmont EMC focuses on providing its member-consumers with a blend of high technology and progressive customer service.

Piedmont EMC has a Green Team, recycles, encourages the use of reusable plates and silverware, and uses energy efficient lighting.  It empowers its customers and community to be more sustainable by providing Smart Meters and detailed energy use information, offering booklets and brochures with tips on reducing energy use, and giving presentations at local schools about sustainability.  It also co-sponsors North Carolina’s Bright Ideas Grant Program, providing college scholsarhips for students whose families are members.  Piedmont EMC was also a finalist for the Green Plus North American Sustainable Enterprise of the Year award.

Triangle Community Foundation – Durham, NC –

Triangle Community Foundation (TCF) is a nonprofit organization that manages $135 million in funds established by individuals, businesses and families. From these funds, it gives grants to nonprofit organizations and administers a variety of programs for the community’s benefit.

Located in a recently renovated historic tobacco warehouse, TCF participates in the sustainability committee for its office complex, uses CFLs and Energy Star appliances, and subsidizes employee public transportation.  To reduce paper use, TCF encourages the use of projectors and smart boards and uses FSC paper and prints double-sided when printing is necessary.  Beyond its ongoing grantmaking, TCF contributes to its employees and community by offering internships to local university students, sponsoring community events, offering employee wellness activities and providing paid time off for employee volunteering.  TCF was also a 2010 Green Plus Nonprofit of the Year finalist.

Umstead Hotel & Spa – Cary, NC –

The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, North Carolina was conceived and constructed with a passion for art and nature.  Everything – from its sculpted gardens to its custom Chihuly glass sculpture, its locally sourced cuisine to its botanically infused Umstead bath products – is designed to stir the senses and inspire an appreciation for art and nature in its hotel guests.
The Umstead grounds include a 3-acre pond and living wetland with riparian buffers and a walking trail pointing out environmental features.  The spa offers organic spa products and Herons Restaurant sources local, seasonal food, including some sourced from its own garden.  Waste is reduced through recycling and composting, and water and energy use is reduced through features such as reflective roofing and low-flow water closets.   A key feature of the hotel and its support for the local community is its prominent use of North Carolina art.

Wenger Feeds – Rheems, PA –

Wenger Feeds is a comprehensive Agricultural Feed, Ingredients, and Service company on the East Coast. Wenger’s customers provide eggs, poultry, dairy, and pork food products to the Mid-Atlantic region, an area that comprises more than 25% of the U.S. population.

Wenger Feeds displays environmental stewardship through bulk purchasing, reviewing monthly utility bills, undergoing energy audits, installing energy efficient lighting and low flow toilets, allowing employees to telecommute, and actively calculating its return on investment for sustainability projects.  It improves the lives of its employees and the community by offering wellness incentives such as gym membership subsidies and other healthy lifestyle incentives, providing internships for high school and college students, and donating furniture to community organizations.

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