November 5, 2013

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Sustainable Business Awards

From constructing buildings that are as energy efficient as they are beaut...Read More

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Article

Sustainable Business Awards

By Rachel Madison, Heather Stewart, Sarah Ryther Francom

November 5, 2013

“Our employees bring us lots of ideas to become more sustainable,” Petruczenko says. “Some of our most popular ideas, such as our campus cruiser program, came from employees. As they see the company investing in these areas, employees get excited and the ideas pour in.”

Overstock.com

At Overstock.com, sustainability is considered a fundamental business strategy. That’s why environmental stewardship is taken seriously, especially when it comes to air quality.

Dave Nielsen, co-president of Overstock.com, says the company has worked to implement the following strategies into its daily routine to accomplish the goal of driving less and smarter: carpooling and vanpooling, public transit, biking, walking, teleworking, flexible and compressed workweeks, and trip chaining.

The company has also participated in Utah’s Clear the Air Challenge and holds an annual Bike to Work Day. During 2012, Overstock.com had an average of 207 associates carpooling and 76 associates using public transportation passes each month.

Overstock.com also participated in Simply Mac’s E Waste recycling event last year. The company donated a full 26-foot box truck of old computer monitors, cables, keyboards, CPUs and other electronics. “Recycling these electronics put valuable resources back to work and reduced greenhouse emissions,” Nielsen says.

“Here at Overstock.com, we value our environment and are committed to doing our part,” Nielson says. “Though we have extensive systems in place, we are challenging ourselves to find new ways to conserve. Taking care of the environment makes good business sense.”

Company Initiatives:

Canyons Resort

Canyons Resort strives to create an unforgettable experience for its guests, and that starts with its environment. From daily and long-term business decisions to company culture to guest interactions, the resort has a strategic focus on enhancing its environment, says Jenna Prescott, senior director of mountain operations. “Our objective is for Canyons to be best in class, and we can only succeed by ensuring the long-term viability of the mountain and its resources.”

The organization has implemented several green initiatives, including a no idling campaign, in-room recycling, composting programs and farm-to-table restaurant initiatives. The resort has also installed energy-efficient snow making machines, purchases wind power and is converting its entire fleet of snowmobiles to significantly reduce its carbon output.

Employees are also encouraged to do their part. “We train all of our employees annually through orientations on environmental stewardship and we provide daily messaging to them in the form of a morning stand up meetings,” says Dana Edwards, environmental manager. “We try to include them in any volunteer or clean up opportunities in the community and provide venues for them to voice any environmental concerns. Canyons understands the importance of protecting the environment for future generations, while providing a sustainable business to preserve the community workforce.”

USANA Health Sciences

USANA’s overarching mission is to improve overall health and wellness, and that includes the health of the environment. “The external, environmental needs of the body also need our attention,” says Jeff Robertson, who leads USANA Green.

“Without a healthy environment, we cannot live. But with a healthy, vibrant environment, we can flourish.”

USANA has implemented key environmental goals, including using water wisely, improving air quality, using carbon-free energy and turning solid waste into something worth reusing or recycling. “Our goal is to make all of our environmental liabilities into assets. In other words, we want to turn waste into worth,” Robertson says.

One of the largest initiatives the company implemented was xeriscaping its landscape, which resulted in a savings of 2,650,000 gallons of water per year. Using carbon-free energy is another priority. USANA has switched to high-efficiency windows, motion and photo-sensor lights, air compressors and solar panels.

“We started by finding ways to simply stop using the energy we didn’t need,” says Robertson. “We also found that not only could we save energy and money, but that we could also help ensure the comfort of our workforce.”

Robertson says employee buy-in has been integral to the company’s green initiatives. For example, employee involvement in USANA’s annual electronics recycling drive has returned 33 tons of electronics back into the supply stream. Employees are also rewarded for carpooling and driving low-emissions vehicles.

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