The 2009 Sustainable Quality Awards were announced on Wednesday, March 25, by co-sponsors Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, the City of Santa Monica, and Sustainable Works to recognize businesses and organizations for excellence in three categories: stewardship of the environment, social responsibility, and economic development. Those who achieve excellence in all three categories are awarded the SQA Grand Prize.
Dean Kubani, manager of the City’s Office of Sustainability and the Environment, commented, “This was a very diverse and highly accomplished group of applicants. Our hope is that we can promote a business climate where all businesses achieve the level of commitment to sustainability that these award winners exemplify.”
This year’s four Grand Prize winners are the Bryan Cave law firm, Saint John’s Health Center, Taxi! Taxi! cab company, and Whole Foods Market.
Awards for excellence in stewardship of the environment go to Blair Graphics, Santa Monica College, and Studio of Environmental Architecture. Business.com search engine, directory and pay-per-click advertising network is recognized for excellence in social responsibility, as is Pluralistic School #1 elementary school. Excellence in economic development awards go to Community Corporation of Santa Monica, a nonprofit committed to developing and managing affordable housing, and to Blair Graphics.
The SQA sponsors cited Bryan Cave’s “innovative, local, and socially responsible sustainable strategies [which] include partnering with local nonprofits” including “coordinat[ing] beach clean-ups with Heal the Bay and green living workshops with Sustainable Works for employees to participate in during paid work hours.” The sponsors noted Saint John’s commitment to “social, economic, and environmental sustainability,” including “provid[ing] on-site child care and opportunities for staff to perform community service”; they said Saint John’s saves “300,000 gallons of water daily by recycling wastewater from their HVAC” and recycles “more than 150 tons of paper and 96 tons of cardboard annually.”
Taxi! Taxi! was praised for its fleet of 10 hybrid cabs that “save over 700 tons of toxic GHGs from polluting our planet and over 60,000 gallons of gasoline annually” and for its “brilliant and efficient paperless dispatching system [that] saves close to one million pieces of paper annually.” Whole Foods’s “strong commitment to sustainable agriculture, supporting local communities, and natural environment” was cited as “included in the company’s core values,” as was the fact that in 2008, “Whole Foods Market banned the use of plastic bags nationwide. By recycling cans, plastic, glass, mixed paper, food waste, and construction waste, they boast 80% waste diversion from landfill.”