2012 Sustainable Small Business
The Irregardless Cafe and Catering was presented the “2012 Green Plus Small Business of the Year Award” on April 12, 2012 by the Institute of Sustainable Development at the Research Triangle Park Foundation Building. The Green Plus Awards were created to recognize small and medium-sized U.S. employers that are sustainability innovators in their fields, and that demonstrate exceptional business, environmental, employee, and community practices. Arthur Gordon was presented the award by John Kinneer, VP, Wells Fargo.
The Green Plus Award winners set an example for companies throughout the nation,” said Chris Carmody, Executive Director of the Institute of Sustainable Development. “A sustainable business is competitive business, and every business can become sustainable,” Carmody concluded. gogreenplus.org/
The Irregardless Café is recognized as a small business that was 'green before green was cool,' and is noted for continuing to pay its employees to work with local charities when its restaurant was closed due to fire damage in the early 1990's. “We, at the Irregardless Cafe & Catering, have been blessed to create and live solid core values of dignity for all people: our employees and patrons; and respectful behavior for all life on our planet” noted Arthur Gordon, Executive Chef and Owner. “Being awarded the Green Plus Sustainable Small Business of the Year Award, not only honors the Irregardless, it affirms the importance to business that sustainable practices support us all.”
This past January, Irregardless installed 10 solar panels on the roof of the Cafe. Yes! Solar Solutions of the Triangle, designed and installed this custom solar energy efficient system, which will fully pay for itself in less than 4 years. In just three months, 13.2 million BTU's of energy have been generated!
Since the Cafe's founding in 1975, Irregardless has been a leader in environmentally and socially responsible behavior: Recycling cardboard, glass, metal and compost, water conservation with low flush toilets and being the first restaurant in North Carolina to go non-smoking in 1984. The Cafe has also been recognized by the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce with the 'Smith Seal Pinnacle Award for Lifetime Sustainability', the Triangle Business Journal's 'Green Business Leader Award', the City of Raleigh's 'Environmental Award for Market Transformation' and the United Arts Council's 'Small Businesses Supporting the Arts' award.
The Institute for Sustainable Development is a non-profit partnership between universities and Chambers of Commerce dedicated to democratizing sustainability. Through Green Plus, the Institute works to help smaller employers and their communities understand and integrate triple bottom line practices: People, Planet & Profit, and trains a new generation of sustainability leaders. Businesses in 15 states are Certified Green Plus.
Press Release from Green Plus
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 13, 2012
2012 Green Plus North American Sustainable Enterprise Winners Announced
Durham, NC – On April 12, the Institute for Sustainable Development honored the 2012 Green Plus Sustainable Enterprise Award Winners at the Research Triangle Park Foundation. The Green Plus Awards were created to recognize small and medium-sized U.S. employers that are sustainability innovators in their fields and that have demonstrated exceptional business, environmental, employee, and community practices.
The 2012 Green Plus Sustainable Enterprise Award Winners are: Counter Culture Coffee; Fleetwood Fixtures; The Irregardless Café; Cosmic Bobbins; the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science; TS Designs; and Wenger Feeds. These enterprises represent food, consumer products, education, and agricultural sectors.
“The Green Plus Award winners set an example for companies throughout the nation,” said Chris Carmody, Executive Director of the Institute of Sustainable Development. “A sustainable business is competitive business, and every business can become more sustainable,” Carmody concluded.
GlaxoSmithKline was the Presenting Sponsor of the 2012 Green Plus Awards, and has been a supporter of Green Plus since 2006.
“As a company with a long-term commitment to sustainability, GlaxoSmithKline is proud to support the 2012 Green Plus Awards,” said Mary Linda Andrews, GSK Director of Community Partnerships. “The Green Plus Award Winners demonstrate that sustainability can be a catalyst for innovation in any industry.”
In addition to being recognized, the winning companies discussed the future of sustainable business in two roundtables featuring representatives of the Global Impact Investing Rating System (GIIRS), the Hitachi Foundation, the SJF Institute, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Business Civic Leadership Center.
Awardee Summaries & Comments
Counter Culture Coffee (Durham, NC) – The sole coffee supplier to gourmet retailer Dean & Deluca, Counter Culture Coffee is a trail-blazer even by the standards of its sector. Counter Culture sets an important example in long-term investment in its suppliers abroad and its work to obtain carbon neutrality and 100% supply chain satisfaction.
“Counter Culture Coffee is thrilled to receive this award and recognition by Green Plus for our dedication to sustainability. Our close relationships on both ends of the coffee supply chain—from communities of farmers around the world to our community of coffee lovers here at home—are the foundation of our business and we hope that our experiences will continue to inspire discussion and action among our partners and peers.” -Kim Elena Ionescu, Sustainability Manager, Counter Culture Coffee
Fleetwood Fixtures (Leesport, PA) – A small manufacturer of fixtures and furnishings, this employee-owned company works to educate its customers about the most sustainable options for them as well as pursuing highly efficient environmental operations.
“We are proud to be part of a community that provides such a rich resource of talented craftsmen and unique local materials. We’re thrilled to see our neighbors reusing and repurposing our surplus inventory in creative retail and residential projects. Through our environmental stewardship, we seek to cultivate a higher consciousness, both here at home in the USA and with our resource partners around the world.” - Doug Oswald, Information Systems and Facilities Manager, Fleetwood Fixtures
The Irregardless Café (Raleigh, NC) – An institution in Raleigh, this small business was green before green was cool, and is noted for continuing to pay its employees to work with local charities when its restaurant was closed due to fire damage.
“We, at the Irregardless Cafe & Catering, have been blessed—during our 37 years of operation—to create and live solid core values: dignity for all - our employees and patrons, and professional behavior that respects all life on our planet. Being awarded the Green Plus Sustainable Small Business of the Year Award, not only honors Irregardless Cafe & Catering, it affirms the importance to businesses that sustainable practices support us all – caring for our community, our families, and ourselves.” - Anya Gordon, Marketing Manager, Irregardless Café & Catering
Cosmic Bobbins (Cleveland, OH) – Equal parts fashion statement and social cause, Cosmic Bobbins engages Mexican artisans through fair trade practices in making fashion accessories with recycled paper.
TS Designs (Burlington, NC) – A producer of t-shirts seeking to build a complete organic cotton supply chain within its home state, TS Designs also serves as a community demonstration center for wind, solar, and biodiesel energy, and for on-site gardening in which employees are both paid and receive workplace grown produce.
“As we look at sustainability being a journey, not a destination, we realize it takes a community, not just a few individuals that make this journey possible.” - Eric Henry, President, TS Designs
Wenger Feeds (Rheems, PA) - This 65 year old, community based, ISO certified business has noteworthy employee training, community engagement, and innovative, environmentally friendly agriculture business.
“Stewardship has been part of our vision since 1999 and part of our business practices for much longer. Being sustainable means the efficient use of all of our resources, building connections with our employees and the community and ensuring that we’ll be here to serve our customers in the future.” - James L. Adams, President and CEO, Wenger Feeds
North Carolina Museum of Life and Science (Durham, NC) – The NC Museum of Life and Science is a model of employee engagement in sustainability. The Museum’s passionate employee green team has made not only operations but educational exhibits highly sustainable.
“Our sustainability efforts reflect who we are as an organization and we hope will model environmentally responsible practices for our members, visitors and our wider community. Receiving this award celebrates and validates the work and commitment of our Green Team members in identifying sustainable initiatives, and designing and implementing solutions to the benefit of our organization and community.” - Janet Hoshour, Director of Membership, Museum of Life & Science
Green Plus Award Sponsors
Additional sponsors included the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; the Hitachi Foundation; the Chapel Hill – Carrboro Chamber of Commerce; the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce; Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment; Wells Fargo; Progress Energy; the Research Triangle Park Foundation; the UNC Center for Global Initiatives; and the PTA Thrift Shops.
About The Institute for Sustainable Development & Green Plus
The Institute for Sustainable Development is a non-profit partnership between universities and chambers of commerce dedicated to democratizing sustainability. Through Green Plus, the Institute works to help smaller employers and their communities understand and integrate triple bottom line practices, and trains a new generation of sustainability leaders. Businesses in 15 states are Certified Green Plus or are working toward certification.
More information on Green Plus can be found at www.gogreenplus.org and on Twitter
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