The People & Planet Awards recognize innovative entrepreneurial U.S. businesses that deeply integrate environmental and social considerations into their strategies and operations. This round of the Awards focused on green businesses that have a strong commitment to clean energy and energy efficiency.
Winners were selected by the public, who had a month-long open voting period online at Green America’s website. Each of the winners will receive $5,000.
Alisa Gravitz, President, Green America, said: “Energy issues have never been more important, and Green America is proud to dedicate this People & Planet Award to businesses that demonstrate creativity and leadership in advancing clean energy and energy efficiency.”
The theme for the next round is zero-waste. The awards will spotlight and reward the most innovative green businesses that have taken steps to significantly reduce their waste, reuse materials, and advance the most responsible forms of recycling. Nominations will be open from Jan. 2 – Jan. 11.
Learn about the current winners:
Clean Currents is a green electricity provider that goes the extra mile to build a more sustainable community. Clean Currents sells only Green E-Certified wind and solar energy to residents and businesses in Washington, DC, Maryland, and central Pennsylvania. Through renewable energy purchases by both businesses and residential customers, Clean Currents offset 288,430,788 pounds of CO2 emissions in 2011. It also installs solar panels and solar thermal units on homes and businesses in the Mid-Atlantic region, further supporting the growth of the clean energy industry.
“We’re honored to have won the People & Planet Award as it reinforces one of our main goals: to link green-minded businesses, individuals, and organizations together to build more sustainable communities,” said Gary Skulnik, president of Clean Currents. “Thanks to Green America, we can further our Green Neighborhood Challenge program by energizing neighborhoods around clean energy and green projects to build a cleaner, greener future together.”
Third Sun Solar has emerged as a clean energy leader in Ohio, and has been featured as a fast growing company for four consecutive years on the INC. 5000 list. Part of the company’s daily practice involves careful energy conservation, intensive recycling, and the purchase of carbon offsets for its fleet of service vehicles. The company has grown from a tiny start-up to a provider of megawatt-scale systems for corporations, universities, non-profits, small businesses, governments, and homes. Its PV solar installations are known for excellent craftsmanship, innovative use of materials, and tendency to exceed power generation forecasts.
“Third Sun Solar is so excited and grateful to be one of the Green America People and Planet Awards contest winners! Thanks to everyone who voted for us and thank you to Green America for being such a strong and consistent voice for sustainability and protecting our communities and our planet,” said Michelle Greenfield, CEO of Third Sun. “With our award money, we will soon be establishing our new office composting system and teaching the other businesses in our building how to compost with us; we will be reducing our company’s carbon footprint by doing an energy efficiency lighting retrofit; and we will be installing some solar power with our local Habitat for Humanity chapter.”
City Roots is the first and only urban sustainable farm in Columbia, SC. Located on a three-acre site, it grow 75 varieties of fruits and vegetables, keeps bees for honey and plant pollination, raises chickens for eggs and has an aquaponic system that combines hydroponics and aquaculture. City Roots’ main building is Platinum LEED certified, its solar-heated greenhouses are recycled, and ventilation has been designed so that no air conditioning is necessary. The organization volunteers, gives tours, and sells its products at local farmers markets and through its year-round CSA. All deliveries are made in a hybrid vehicle.
Robbie McClam, founder and owner, City Roots said: "We are excited and humbled to be one of the Fall 2012 winners. With so many businesses going ‘green’, we know what a special honor it is to have been selected and to serve as a model of what it can mean to ‘go green’. Green America does a great job of promoting the importance and value of not just participating but contributing to its mission ‘to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society,’ and we look forward to helping in that mission.”
Future rounds of Green America’s quarterly award for green businesses with 50 or fewer employees, will focus on workplace innovations, and other sustainability practices. Check back to GreenBusinessNetwork.org for updates when nominations are open for the next round.
The businesses that the public vote on are determined by public nominations and an expert panel of judges: Katie Galloway & Gigi Abbadie, Aveda; Justin Conway, Calvert Foundation; Elysa Hammond, Clif Bar; Penny Bauder, Green Kid Crafts (summer award winner!); Cheryl Newman, Honest Tea; Theresa Marquez, Organic Valley; Eric Henry, TS Designs; Reed Doyle, Seventh Generation; and Fran Teplitz & Andrew Korfhage, Green America.