The Santa Monica Sustainable Quality Awards, dubbed the Academy Awards of green accomplishment, this week opened its nomination period for local businesses thriving in sustainability.
The awards, held annually since 1996, was developed in partnership among the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, the City of Santa Monica, and Sustainable Works. Supported by the year round work of the Chamber’s Environmental Affairs Committee, the SQA has since grown to recognize more than 100 local businesses.
The goal is to identify and recognize businesses in the Santa Monica area that are successfully incorporating sustainable practices into their operations. Significant achievements in the areas of sustainable economic development, social responsibility, and stewardship of the natural environment are all taken into consideration.
Brian Chase, the Chamber’s Director of Government Affairs, said the awards ceremony would be held at a luncheon at the Sheraton Delfina Hotel on May 2 next year.
“It’s essentially the Academy Awards of green accomplishment,” Chase said. “We recognize that Santa Monica has a very strong environmentally friendly brand, and a lot of businesses want to know what the best practices are.”
Once nominated, SQA applicants work closely with a number of expert judges who help evaluate practices ripe for either recognition or improvement.
Chase said the SQA program created a sense of competition in an arena that is continually evolving with new research and technology.
“The SQA puts a spotlight on those operations we feel meet our highest standards,” he said. “In highlighting those best practices, we create examples for other to follow.”
Those model businesses are eligible to be recognized with excellence awards in stewardship of the natural environment, social responsibility, and economic sustainability. The coveted SQA Grand Prize is only awarded to those businesses that demonstrate excellence in all three categories.
Last year’s SQA Grand Prize winners were PS #1 Elementary School and LAcarGUY. Other previous winners range from Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier to the Natural Resources Defense Council, and include many of Santa Monica’s greenest hotels, restaurants, and offices.
Nominations close on Jan. 6, 2012. Additional information can be found at www.smsqa.com.