2011 green plus sustainable enterprise award winners announced

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The Institute for Sustainable Development has announced the winners of the 2011 Green Plus North American Sustainable Enterprise Awards. The Green Plus Awards, given to smaller enterprises in the U.S. for excellence in triple bottom line sustainability, are presented annually by GlaxoSmithKline at the North Carolina Research Triangle Park Foundation. Finalists are chosen for their outstanding example in integrating business, community, and environmental best practices, as well as for their innovation in sustainability and their efforts to educate their communities and peers about the triple bottom line.

'Green jobs are a key to our long-term prosperity,' said Chris Carmody, Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development. 'Green jobs will not only come from clean tech companies - but also from traditional American businesses that produce bottom line savings and top line growth through sustainable practices. This year's Green Plus Sustainable Enterprises are demonstrating that sustainability is the competitive advantage of the 21st century,' Carmody concluded.

The Institute also issued a call for nominations for its Green Plus City and Green Plus Chamber of Commerce Awards - held in Washington, D.C. in June in partnership with Partners for Livable Communities, the Climate Prosperity Project, and Next American City. Nomination information for these awards can be found at www.gogreenplus.org.

The 2011 Green Plus Sustainable Enterprise Award Winners

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: Lube Stop (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)

Green Plus Sustainable Non-Profit / Social Enterprise of the Year, presented by The Redwoods Group: The Scrap Exchange (Durham, North Carolina)

Green Plus People's Choice Award: Laser Plus (Lancaster, Pennsylvania)

Green Plus 'Biggest Movers' of the Year

  • Pantek Inc. (Independence, Ohio)
  • Hughes Pittman & Gupton LLP (Raleight, North Carolina)
  • HRW, Inc. (Raleigh, North Carolina)

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. Taylor Companies has shown its commitment to its community and to the environment by investing $6 million to clean up an industrial brown field in its hometown and build a new, energy efficient plant. Taylor Companies sets an example for small manufacturers everywhere with superlative efforts to engage its workforce in practices that save money while improving its environmental impact. Taylor has also pushed its own sector to new standards in responsibility and transparency.

'On behalf of all of our employees and stakeholders, I would like to thank the Institute for Sustainable Development and its sponsors for this award,' said Jeff Baldassari, President & CEO of The Taylor Companies. 'We are deeply appreciative of this honor and recognition of our commitment to triple bottom line sustainability. The Green Plus program continues to assist its members in creating a 21st Century business model where sustainable practices are embedded into corporate culture. Our organization understands this value proposition and we look forward to working with, and learning from, the Institute for Sustainable Development for many years to come,' Baldassari concluded.

LubeStop: Lube Stop helped revolutionize the oil change concept in 1985. Today, Lube Stop is Ohio's largest independent quick oil change company, operating 37 stores in Cleveland, Akron, and Canton, and services more than 25,000 customers a month. Lube Stop is now spearheading the adoption of sustainable business practices within the industry and is the first quick oil change company to establish a formal sustainability program and to offer a re-refined oil change service which it trademarked as EcoGuard®.

'This award is a meaningful endorsement of our efforts to embrace sustainable business practices,' said Tom Morley, President of Lube Stop. 'Green Plus is the standard for small business sustainability certification and we are proud to have earned this recognition.'

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.

'Two years ago Green Plus offered a blueprint for Laser Plus that has inspired and motivated many of our business decisions, giving us opportunities to lead and participate in community efforts to build a more sustainable culture,' said Mary Renner, co-owner of Laser Plus. 'With the current economic climate, and many of us working harder and leaner to reach our goals, the chance to learn and grow with the Institute for Sustainability has been invaluable,' Renner concluded.

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 rainwater 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.

'I am honored to have been recognized by the Institute for Sustainable Development for my progress on focusing on the triple bottom line,' said Hough. 'I have learned so much from the program and have appreciated the structure and guidance I've received as I've moved through the certification process. I've also enjoyed the camaraderie of others in Green Plus and look forward to nurturing those connections here in NC and around the country as the program grows.'

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 1994, 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.

'Receiving the Green Plus Certification in our 20th year is a significant achievement; from vermicomposting to utilizing reusables as our office supplies, to promoting workplace sustainability, The Scrap Exchange endeavors to adhere to the standards set by the program, and looks forward to the next 20 years,' said Ann Woodward, Scrap Exchange Executive Director.

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 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,' Zack concluded.

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. 'Earning this elite certification is a tremendous honor and a testament to the efforts of the entire HPG team,' says Tim Naylor, HPG partner.

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.

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 program has given us the tools to set a course that allows us to find new ways to conserve resources and save money, while continuing to improve our service delivery,' said HRW President Cathy Wade. 'We are excited by the great potential that this renewed focus gives us to help not only our company, but also the homeowner associations that we are privileged to serve,' Wade concluded.

About The Institute for Sustainable Development and Green Plus

The mission of the Institute for Sustainable Development is to democratize triple bottom line sustainability by making it accessible to smaller employers and their communities and to foster a new generation of sustainability leaders. The Institute achieves this mission through Green Plus, the only national business improvement program geared toward helping small businesses achieve triple bottom line sustainability.

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