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Up Front With Two Previous SQA Excellence Award Winners:

Time is running out to apply for Santa Monica’s 20th annual Sustainable Quality Awards (SQA), which will be held April 16 next year. The deadline is Dec. 10.

SQA nominations can be submitted by any interested party for any Santa Monica area business. It is a simple process and businesses can self-nominate.

The goals of the SQAs are to identify and recognize businesses that are successfully incorporating sustainable practices into their operations. Significance is placed in the areas of sustainable economic development, social responsibility, and stewardship of the natural environment.

The 20th annual SQAs will be held at Le Meridien Delfina Hotel in Santa Monica on April 16, 2015 – an engaging and entertaining luncheon that offers excellent networking and marketing opportunities.

Nominations are quick and easy. Visit smsqa.com and click on “How to Apply” then download, complete, and submit the SQA 2015 nomination form by email or fax.

The nomination period closes Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014. For event tickets and sponsorship information visit smchamber.com/sqa.

For any additional information contact Carl Hansen of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, at 310.393.9825 ext. 116.

The Mirror spoke with two previous winners about their experience with the SQA Awards.

Claire Ruud, Santa Monica Museum of Art, Deputy Director

When was your business recognized?

We received the SQA Stewardship of the Environment in 2014.

What was the process like of nominating for the SQAs?

It was such an honor to have the opportunity to consolidate all of our sustainable business practices and programs into a single document that distills one of our core values. The Santa Monica Museum of Art has been a green certified business through Arts: Earth Partnership since 2010, and our commitment to responsible use of resources permeates every aspect of what we do, from purchasing policies to bike programs like Tour da Arts. Our SQA nomination gave us the opportunity to document, review, and reassess our environmental policies and procedures with the support of our peers in the nonprofit and business community. At the same time, we took the opportunity to conduct a formal evaluation of the Museum through the City of Santa Monica’s Business Greening Program and Sustainable Works, which is a very valuable and efficient program.

Why do you think these awards are important?

The nomination and award process asks organizations and businesses to take a very close look at their values and the way that their behaviors support those values. Internally, it requires conversations and data gathering across all departments, and creates a truly institution-wide conversation about sustainability. Externally, it builds a community of like-minded people and businesses around environmental responsibility.

What are some of the long lasting positive effects of the SQAs on your business?

Our policies around sustainability are better than ever, and our staff has become more personally invested in maintaining and improving them. And, some of our fellow SQA nominees – like Perry’s Café and Rentals, who won the grand prize last year – are great partners in our public programs.

Anything else you would like to mention?  

We are about to head into a new chapter for sustainable transportation in Santa Monica. The arrival of the Expo Metro line at Bergamot Station in 2016 is such an exciting prospect, not least because it brings new public transportation to the Museum’s doorstep. We are already thinking about how the train – and the “first” and “last” mile on foot or bike from the train – will be part of the Museum’s sustainability strategy and programming in the coming years. We are looking forward to working alongside other SQA nominees and the sustainable community to maximize the value of this new era for transportation in Santa Monica.

Paige Dunn, Red Bull, 
CSR and Sustainability Lead

When was your business recognized?

We received the SQA Social Excellence Award in 2014.

What was the process like of nominating for the SQAs?  

It was a thorough process! It was rewarding for us though as we were able to really aggregate and review everything we are doing.

Why do you think these awards are important?

These awards are great for sharing best practices. Hearing what has worked well for other companies allows us all to improve our initiatives around environmental, social, and economic responsibility.

What are some of the long lasting positive effects of the SQAs on your business?

It is a point of pride for our employees. It is always great to be recognized for initiatives we have worked hard on!

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