November 5, 2013

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Sustainable Business Awards

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Article

Sustainable Business Awards

By Rachel Madison, Heather Stewart, Sarah Ryther Francom

November 5, 2013

The company is now the second-largest residential solar developer in the country, says Merkley, and offers consumers a unique opportunity to go solar without incurring any of the considerable up-front costs. Vivint Solar designs and installs the system for each customer and handles the permitting process—all at no cost to the homeowner, who agrees to purchase the power generated by the solar system each month.

“Customers are excited to be able to contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable environment in a way that does not cost them anything and, in fact, saves them money,” says Merkley.

Based in Utah, Vivint Solar currently operates in Hawaii, California, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

Olanova Global

Most individuals wear only 20 percent of their wardrobe—the remaining 80 percent ends up gathering dust in the closet or in a landfill. Sonia Quiroga Thomas, founder of Olanova Global, has created a win-win solution for eliminating this waste. Her organization collects donated clothing and hires local seamstresses to repurpose the items, which are then resold. All proceeds go to hire more impoverished women to work as seamstresses, as well as to provide sewing machines for women who want to start their own clothing-making companies.

Thomas was raised by a single mother who struggled to make ends meet. In search of opportunity, Thomas migrated to the United States and, upon the success of her for-profit organization, Olanova, launched Olanova Global to give back in a sustainable manner. “A sustainable economy is based on human development. I have seen impoverished women do self-destructive activities to provide for their children. I wanted to help them from a sustainable model. By helping the mothers becoming self-reliant we are helping the children, the economy and community improve.”

The organization has since helped many women get on their feet and aims to donate 1 million sewing machines by 2020 to women around the world. It’s also diverted hundreds of pounds of clothing from the landfill.

Utah Food Services

As one of Utah’s largest catering companies, Utah Food Services (UFS) strives to serve its clients a tasty menu that is sustainable from the chef’s preparations to the final bite. 

The company’s green efforts stretch back to 1996, when Doug Curry, facilities manager, implemented a cardboard, paper and fry oil recycling program at the Salt Palace, and later allowed neighboring organizations—Abravenal Hall, Salt Lake Art Center and Visit Salt Lake—to use the company’s recycling method.

As additional resources became available, UFS teamed up with Momentum Recycling to implement an aggressive recycling program, including monthly collection logs that quantify the volumes of glass, green waste and mixed recyclables diverted from the landfill. “Our management staff uses this data to continually train our staff to improve our diversion rate,” says Kate Sullivan, director of marketing. 

Over the years, the organization’s devotion to environmentally friendly practices has grown substantially. From buying organic, seasonal goods from local farmers to composting unusable food portions to donating leftover goods to the Utah Food Bank and local shelters, the organization is committed to being as green as possible.

“Respect for our environment is intuitive in our corporate culture,” says Sullivan. “Leading by example as well as providing training, support and resources makes the ultimate goal obtainable, no matter if it’s a successful convention or a new recycling program.”

L-3 Communications Systems West

L-3 Communications is so dedicated to sustainability that its group president has made it one of the group’s 10 objectives, says Andrew Petruczenko, senior manager of facility services. Included in this objective is a focus on the importance of clean air.

L-3 Communications actively participates in the state’s Clear the Air Challenge and won the 2012 team award. It also has its own L-3 Frontrunner shuttle that picks up employees from the transit stop on North Temple and drives them work.

In addition, the company participates in UTA’s rideshare program, has assigned carpool parking and provides assigned “clean air” parking to employees who have vehicles that meet the requirements of the “C” plate, such as a Toyota Prius or Nissan Leaf. Additionally, the company has installed charging stations for fully electric vehicles.

L-3 Communications also has a campus cruiser program called the L-3 Bike Club that loans bikes to employees to ride between campus buildings, in addition to secured bike parking for employees who bike to work.

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