Winners of the National Awards for Sustainability
Presented by Renew America and the President's Council on Sustainable Development
The winning category is listed in parentheses under the program andorganization names and location.
Bates College Food Services
How do you feed 100 homeless people daily, provide a stable market forlocal organic farmers, and make pigs at the Ricker Farm happy in one fellswoop? At Bates College, they've done it through innovations in providingmeals for the university's students, faculty, and guests. Through a co-opof local farmers, the college buys seasonal, organic food, providing farmerseconomic stability. A local farmer composts the college' pre-consumer foodwaste, and pigs enjoy the food scraps, which are collected in speciallydesigned strainers. Uneaten cafeteria food is distributed to a local soupkitchen. Bates bucks the disposable norm, encouraging use of ceramics.It buys in bulk to save packaging and recycles half of its solid waste.These efforts have forged a powerful connection between the college andthe community, reduced transportation and pesticide impacts, lowered disposalfees, and provided healthy, high quality food to students and faculty.
Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative
The U.S. EPA's Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative is a creative,non-regulatory program that stimulates local efforts to redevelop over600,000 sites that were abandoned or underutilized in part due to suspicionof hazardous substance contamination. New uses include stadiums, parks,and housing complexes. EPA's comprehensive program kick-starts local effortsby providing expertise, incentives, and seed money for pilot programs forenvironmental assessments and long-term cleanup and redevelopment planning.The program also facilitates information sharing and coordination amongstakeholders to get contaminated sites back into use. To date, 1,300 siteshave been assessed for reuse, more than $1.1 billion has been leveragedfrom developers and investors, and economic growth and jobs have been createdin low-income and minority communities. EPA's Initiative reflects a newparadigm in locally-based environmental protection that forges strong public-privatepartnerships, promotes innovation, and relies on market incentives andprivate sector actions.
Cities for Climate Protection Campaign—U.S.
With technical tools, information, training, and funding from the Citiesfor Climate Protection Campaign, 57 local governments have assessed thequantity and sources of community greenhouse gas emissions and developedreduction strategies. Rather than waiting for national and internationalpolicymakers to make a move, with the Campaign's help these communitiesare developing and implementing their own programs that reduce emissions.Efforts have resulted in reduced greenhouse gas emissions by an averageof over 100,000 tons per locality. They also set targets, which in manycases exceed those proposed nationally, for reducing energy costs and trafficcongestion, improving air quality, and extending the life of landfills.Thanks to the work of the Campaign, every year more communities are joiningthe effort, and creating practical, cost-effective measures to protectthe environment and make communities healthy, enjoyable places to live.
Climate Change Initiative
To the people at Stonyfield Farm, a yogurt lid is a billboard. As partof their Climate Change Initiative, lids with messages like "Let's Puta Lid on Global Warming" were available at grocery stores. Back at theiroffices, this company is saving $40,000 a year in energy costs throughretrofits. The company offset 100% of facility carbon emissions five yearsahead of schedule by reducing CO2 emissions by 15% and plantingtrees. They even published an Environmental Cookbook for businessesinterested in following their lead. Stonyfield also promotes source reductionand recycling, gives 10% of its pre-tax profits to environmental initiatives,and offers programs like "Have-A-Cow," enabling consumers to support familyfarms by "adopting" one of their cows—all this while growing 30% annuallyto $43 million in yearly sales—demonstrating that "The Planet is Everybody'sBusiness" and helping the planet is good business, too.
Community Based Marketing of Green Power
Americans know recycling is a part of everyday life; if the Land andWater Fund of the Rockies has its way, we'll feel the same about greenpower. The Fund uses community education and outreach to make consumersaware of their emerging energy choices and the subsequent environmentalimpact. They also work to motivate public, business, and utility investmentsin green energy, especially power generated from regional wind farms. Thisgrassroots approach is working: 11,000 households, 150 businesses and non-profits,and a dozen city governments have chosen to buy some or all of their electricityfrom wind power farms. To date, the Fund has generated $50 million of demandto support a 50 megawatt wind farm that will reduce C02 emissionsby 3.5 million tons. As a result of these efforts, the Fund has encouragedover a dozen Colorado utilities to offer green power.
Dungeness River Water Sharing Program
A decade ago, "It's our cattle or your fish!" was shouted across thetable during meetings about how to address the Dungeness River water shortage.Realizing they had to cooperate to save their livelihoods, all partiescommitted to a consensus-building process, and in 1994, completed a comprehensiveregional water management plan that "shared the sacrifice," directing effortsat water conservation, habitat restoration, flood management, and education.Today, farmers, tribe members, fisheries agents, and other natural resourcemanagers are on friendly terms, working together to assure a consistentwater supply for both fishing and farming. In 1998, irrigators signed anhistoric "Trust Water Rights Agreement," hailed as a prototype for theentire state for cooperative planning. It has resulted in a 15% declinein seasonal average water consumption and benefits people, salmon, andwatersheds.
Eco-Cycle was founded in 1976 by a handful of people who wanted to starta community recycling and education program. It has grown into a county-wideeducation and business effort to promote sustainable living. Eco-Cyclemeasures its success by the large amount of resources saved, number ofpeople educated, and number of individuals and organizations who becometheir partners or directly participate in their many programs. In 1997,it partnered with the City of Broomfield and a developer to create thecity's first recycling drop-off and community education center. Self-sustaining,Eco-Cycle supports 55 employees and work programs for people with developmentaldisabilities and prison inmates. It is a business incubator for recyclingand remanufacturing companies, and facilitates the purchase of recycled-contentproducts through its 100-member business network. With 700 million poundsof waste reused rather than placed in landfills, Eco-Cycle is helping Boulderwin the war against waste.
Educating for a Sustainable Community
Over 20 years ago, Joan and Hy Rosner were concerned about the well-beingof their beloved but burgeoning Albuquerque. They took action. With inputfrom experts from every sector of society, in 1978 they produced a teacher'senvironmental resource book entitled: Albuquerque's Environmental Story:Toward a Sustainable Community (AES). Today, as then, this comprehensivereview of the region's development and resources challenges students tothink critically about their future and the complex linkages between theenvironment, economy, and community. Now, city staff and local businessesuse it for training, public education, and economic development. The originalcollaboration grew into a self-sustaining, non-profit organization thathas helped Albuquerque create and refine a vision of natural resource conservation,promote historic preservation, and celebrate natural and cultural diversity.Continually updated, internet and CD-Rom versions of AES are used as modelsby other communities, thereby spreading the Rosner's vision throughoutthe nation.
Hy and Joan Rosner
Employee Commute Program
In Minneapolis, many of American Express Financial Advisors' 6,000 employeeshave bucked a trend. Instead of driving to work alone, a remarkable 75%commute by alternative modes, well above the local and national averages.The company's success is based on visible management support, financialincentives, aggressive education and outreach, and flexible work arrangements.Employees can buy bus passes using pre-tax salary dollars, enjoy a guaranteedride home, use taxis for many off-site activities, and telecommute. Asthe first corporate participant in the region's discount bus-pass program,the company increased employee bus commuting by 35%, eliminating approximately600 roundtrip commutes each day, the equivalent of 5,472,000 pounds ofCO2 emissions per year. The company sees these programs as justone part of the efforts to keep workers downtown, revitalize Minneapolis,and improve the quality of life.
Energy Efficiency and Pollution Prevention Program
How can energy efficiency benefit mental health patients? Just ask theNew York State Office of Mental Health. Its ambitious environmental improvementsresulted in over $130 million in cumulative budget savings—money that wentdirectly toward helping 50,000 patients across the state. An aggressiveenergy education and retrofit program at its 30 psychiatric and researchcenters dropped the agency's annual energy use by 54.5%. Old heating systemswere converted to cleaner fuels, 56,000 light fixtures were upgraded, and4,000 occupancy sensors and timers were installed. Working with utilities,universities, engineering firms, and federal and other state agencies,the department has saved the equivalent of nearly 3.5 million barrels ofoil. In an era of limited funding for mental health programs, OMH is showinghow a little creative thinking can not only sustain, but expand, theirability to serve the community.
Neil E. Anderson
Governor Whitman's Sustainable Development Program
In New Jersey, Governor Christine Todd Whitman is demonstrating theleadership role states can play in sustainable development through aggressiveinitiatives on open space, urban revitalization, environmentally-soundbusiness, and reinvigorated state planning. The Open Space Initiative willpreserve an additional one million acres, ensuring that 40% of the stateremains open space. The State Development and Redevelopment Plan redirectsgrowth to areas where infrastructure already exists—cities and older suburbs.The state's first-in-the-nation Office of Sustainability provides technical,marketing, exporting, and financial assistance to environmental businessesand works to encourage more environmentally-sound business practices. Bydirecting all state agencies to use sustainability as an operating principleto the extent possible, Governor Whitman has set the standard for otherstates to follow.
Green Development Services
Linking the greening of the built environment with a healthier businessbottom line is key to the success of Green Development Services (GDS).This business consulting division of the Rocky Mountain Institute has donegroundbreaking work to promote green building and development practicesthroughout the private and public sectors. Its book,Green Development:Integrating Ecology and Real Estate, and CD ROM profile over 100 successfulprojects that incorporate more efficient, cleaner, and healthier real estatedevelopment and building practices. GDS' impressive list of clients, suchas Monsanto, Wal-Mart, the Pentagon, the United Nations, and the Sydney2000 Olympic Village, receive a full range of services and tools--includingtailor-made, aesthetic, resource-efficient, and cost-effective green designsolutions. GDS demonstrates to skeptical practitioners the feasibility,profitability, and desirability of this environmentally-responsible approachto building and development.
The Green Institute
In 1993, residents of the Phillips neighborhood mobilized to successfullystop the siting of a garbage transfer station in their low-income community.But leaders of this racially and ethnically diverse neighborhood didn'tstop there; they created the Green Institute, turning garbage into gold.In 1995, the Institute opened the ReUse Center, a store that sells salvagedbuilding and construction materials; retail sales in 1998 were $440,000.In 1998, their DeConstruction Services program disassembled 25 buildingsand salvaged materials for reuse, creating jobs and keeping constructiondebris out of landfills. In 1999, the Phillips Eco-Enterprise Center opens—asustainably-designed building to house their innovative business incubatorand light industrial facilities for 10 to 15 environmentally friendly-businesses,bringing the neighborhood over 100 jobs. By adding an active environmentaleducation and community involvement program to the mix, the Green Instituteis giving us all the recipe for eco-efficiency, neighborhood revitalization,and sustainable living.
The Green Map System
Trying to find a local farmers market? An organic café for yourvisit to Kyoto? Check out the local Green Map at www.greenmap.org. The Green Map System (GMS) mixes the ancient art of mapmaking with interactivemedia, providing adaptable tools and programs for people of all ages tochart the green places and environmental resources in their communities.The website provides cyber-links to the ever expanding global communityof mapmakers who share ideas and works in progress; and the internationallanguage that links all the maps is a continually increasing number ofdigitized icons. Creating and using these paper and web-based maps is notonly a lot of fun, it helps attract customers to local green businessesand sites, and spurs people to become more conscious of the impact of theiractions when they commute, study, shop, and play.
Mack Avenue Engine Plant Development Project
Recycling contaminated land for use as a new plant site is a worthybut risky endeavor, involving costly clean-ups, daunting regulatory hurdles,and potential future liabilities. The DaimlerChrysler Mack Avenue EnginePlant is an example of the enormous positive impact of taking such a risk.In this case, success was due to impressive corporate commitment, communityoutreach, and common sense; an infusion of environmentally-sensitive technologies;and a path-breaking, consensus-based partnership between DaimlerChrysler,the City of Detroit, the State of Michigan, and the U.S. EPA. The result?A toxic industrial disaster zone was returned to Detroit's tax base ashome to two of the world's most advanced engine manufacturing plants. Atrue model for redevelopment, this $1.6 billion DaimlerChrysler investmentprovides over 800 quality manufacturing jobs and is helping revitalizea neighborhood, community, and city.
For over 12 years, the New Mexico Environmental Law Center has providedgroups with critical legal service, advice, and feedback as they work toprevent the potentially devastating health and environmental impacts ofmining. They have helped the Pueblo fight the expansion of a mica minethat threatens honored tribal sites, a steelworker's union prevent therenewal of a discharge plan for a mine that is contaminating groundwaterand a nearby creek, and a Navajo tribe to block the opening of a uraniummine in its community. Attorneys were also instrumental in reforming andimplementing New Mexico's mining law to require that mining operationsbe compatible with the interests of the community and the environment.Dedication to environmental protection and the interests of people wholack the resources necessary to advance their rights has earned the Centerclient praise and a reputation as a credible and effective watchdog forNew Mexicans.
Navy Whidbey Recycle
Whidbey Island Naval Air Station has truly lived up to its motto "RecyclingIs Our Way of Life" by recycling everything from automotive batteries tocooking grease. Nothing goes to waste: even cleaning rags are launderedand reused. Since its creation in 1990, Navy Whidbey Recycle has divertedan astonishing 63 million pounds of solid waste from landfills, saved $5.3million in trash hauling costs, and generated $1.2 million in recyclingsales. Today, 60% of the Station's waste, including over 440,000 hazardouspounds, is recycled. The program also provides the community with educationalprograms and collection centers, and works with its supply chain to furtherreduce waste. This year, the program will begin operating a compostingfacility which is expected to push the waste recycling rate to 75%. Theseimpressive results have made Navy Whidbey Recycle a model for militaryinstallations everywhere.
NGO Support Center Project
The Rio Grande Basin is one of the most impoverished, unhealthy, andpolluted regions along the U.S.-Mexico border. Residents are isolated fromone another by vast distances, multiple cultures, and different legal jurisdictions.By providing shared office space and equipment for the use of small, local,environmentally-concerned organizations, the NGO Support Center programof the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo Coalition is helping bridge this isolation.Centers scattered throughout the basin provide a forum for local collectiveaction, training, community outreach, and education. These centers alsooffer computer hardware, software, and collective access to e-mail, internet,and fax communication. Communities that decide to operate a center mustdevelop a plan for financial independence. Equipped with new channels ofcommunicating and organizing, once marginalized citizens can now work togetherto steward the basin's resources and improve their communities.
Northeastern Pennsylvania Urban & Community Forestry Program
Creating sustainable economies and livable communities in a region degradedby many years of industrialization and coal mining is the remarkable challengeundertaken by the Northeastern Pennsylvania Urban and Community ForestryProgram. Using a watershed-based approach, the Program's 58 projects and350 partners have contributed to the restoration and reuse of degradedurban lands, barren strip-mine sites, riparian areas, a brownfield site,and railroad corridors. Creating coalitions and empowering volunteers hasresulted in the planting of approximately 10,000 trees and shrubs, therestoration of five miles of river corridor, and the removal of 100 tonsof trash from the banks of the Lackawanna River. By reclaiming forest landand protecting water, the Program has supported the creation of approximately1,000 new local jobs, generated 12,000 hours of volunteer time, and promotedinvestment in the community.
Oregon Biodiversity Project
Senior Environment Corps
The Environmental Alliance for Senior Involvement (EASI) and the PennsylvaniaSenior Environment Corps (PaSEC) are demonstrating what can happen whenan exemplary national program is creatively implemented at state and locallevels. EASI's Senior Environment Corps was formed to mobilize communityelders to be leading environmental stewards. EASI's framework of formingextraordinary partnerships and providing comprehensive support and trainingmaterials are keys to local program effectiveness. Pennsylvania was thefirst state to apply the corps model and develop a partnership betweenits Departments of Aging and Environmental Protection. Recruited and trainedby financially self-sustained local PaSEC units, 300 seniors are now engagedin environmental education and improvement projects, such as monitoringwater quality in their communities and creating and maintaining the nation'sfirst electronic database for standardizing water quality monitoring, collection,and reporting. Now in 30 states, EASI's Senior Environment Corps has engagedthe hands and minds of our nations untapped human resources.
ESH Impact Program
For ITT Industries-McDonnell & Miller, a modestly-sized industrialcontrols manufacturer, meeting U.S. pollution standards just wasn't a toughenough challenge. The company is so serious about sustainability that theybecame the first in Illinois to be certified to the ISO 14001 standard—arigorous international environmental management improvement program. Nomarket is pushing them to adopt this program, which integrates environmentalissues into day-to-day business operations. The facility is located ina community where businesses are more likely to leave than reinvest andimprove operations. The management's commitment to continuously improvingits facility, operations, and employees has produced real gains for theenvironment, the company's economic bottom line, and the workers' and community'swelfare. In 1998, facility water consumption was reduced by over one milliongallons, and a 58% reduction in mercury switch installation mitigates futureconsumer environmental impact.
Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network
Sustainable Forestry Initiative
When the American Forest & Paper Association (AFPA) sets a standardfor its members, it means business—the 15 member companies that refusedto abide by its tough sustainable forestry standards were asked to leavethe organization. The Sustainable Forestry Initiative is significant becauseAFPA members own 90% of the industrial forestlands in the U.S. and produce84% of the nation's paper and 50% of its solid wood. Member companies mustpledge to promptly reforest harvested areas; minimize the visual impactof harvesting; contribute to biodiversity; ensure forest health; improvewood utilization; and protect water quality, wildlife habitat, and specialsites. And it's working—members have reforested 3.7 million acres of land.AFPA also reaches beyond its membership. Over 20,000 independent loggersand foresters have attended AFPA training programs. AFPA is setting anexample for other trade associations with its high member standards andoutreach initiatives.