March 3, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Up Front With 2015 Sustainable Quality Awards Grand Prize Winners:

Celebrating its 20th year, the Sustainable Quality Awards (SQA) program will recognize winners at an awards luncheon this Thursday, April 16, at Le Meridien Delfina Hotel in Santa Monica.

This zero waste awards luncheon – sponsored by Morley Builders, LAcarGUY, and Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau – will also showcase small bites from local chefs highlighting local Farmers Market produce.

Co-opportunity Natural Grocer, Pono Burger, West 4th and Jane, Bergamot Café, Lime Cafe, and Perry’s at the Beach will provide sustainable bites during the networking hour.

Santa Monica Bike Center will sponsor the first 35 online registrants who will bike to event.

The SQA Grand Prize is given to businesses that make significant achievements in the categories of sustainable economic development, social responsibility and stewardship of the environment.

Excellence awards are given to outstanding achievements in any one of the three areas.

SQA Grand Prize Winners

• Capital Intelligence Associates (a full service wealth management firm)

• Locanda del Lago (serving authentic, Northern Italian cuisine)

• Shore Hotel (LEED Gold certified hotel)

Excellence Winners

• Alchemie Spa – Stewardship of the Environment

• Community Corporation of Santa Monica – Social Responsibility

• Hulu – Social Responsibility

• Le Meridien Delfina Hotel – Social Responsibility

• Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel – Stewardship of the Environment

• Red Bull North America – Social Responsibility

• St. Monica Catholic Community – Social Responsibility

• Santa Monica Hybrid – The Hybrid Shop – Stewardship of the Environment

• Santa Monica Seafood – Economic Development

• SP Plus – Economic Development

The Individual Stewardship Award for 2015 will be presented to Dean Kubani, manager of the Office of Sustainability.

Le Meridien Delfina Hotel is located at 530 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica.

For last minute tickets or more information, visit smsqa.com or call 310.393.9825.

Locanda del Lago: Megan Heritage, General Manager

What sustainability initiatives has Locanda del Lago implemented?

There are three categories; here are a few initiatives in each:

Steward of the Environment: Our menu is locally purchased produce from the Santa Monica Farmers Market; we use sustainable and local proteins when possible; we use recycled paper for menus, register tape, and toilet paper; we transformed all of our lighting to be more energy efficient and installed motion sensor lights in all areas possible like restrooms and office; we installed water saving faucets and waterless urinals; our fryer oil is recycled by Further Products and turned into soap for local hotels.

Economic Development: We have been in business since 1991 with diverse menu items offering options for all from meat lovers to vegans. We offer many local specials to drive business, we have a strong relationship with SMCVB and Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. to help promote tourism for the area. We have create quality jobs for 50 employees for the past 24 years. We have a high employee retention rate with 45 percent turnover in 2013 compared to the nation average of 63 percent.

Social Responsibility: We have live-work appreciation for our staff by offering flexible scheduling and higher than average wage for non-tipped employees. We are family owned and run, and promote from within first has always been our policy giving opportunities to lower wage employees to learn new skills and grow in the workplace. Lago proudly gives donations to many local schools and charities; we are a strong presence in the community with DTSM, City of Santa Monica, Chamber of Commerce, and SMCVB.

Owner West Hooker-Poletti has been a board member for SMCVB and is currently on the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce board as well as the President of the Italian American Chamber of Commerce. I am chair of PeBL, a Chamber committee geared towards developing young professionals through networking, board interaction, and philanthropy.

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

It is wonderful exposure, pride in achievement, and also a sense of belonging and helping to lead this wonderful city of Santa Monica

Anything else you would like to mention?

It was a two-year process since the restaurant was built in 1991. There were many elements that have changed over the past two decades that caused a difficult transition to being more green. Our motivation was the community, a pride in our business, and a love for the environment. West, Karin, and I all even ride our bikes to work daily. Soon I believe sustainability will be the new norm, nothing less can or should be accepted.

Capital Intelligence Associates: Mitchell Kraus, Owner

Can you talk about some of the sustainability initiatives your business has implemented that led you to being honored?

Several years ago we realized that the financial planning work we were doing for clients wasn’t enough. Traditionally our field was about building financial security. Industry standards would set aside values to focus on concrete financial needs. Through much soul searching and study we expanded our offerings to include Legacy Planning based on three stools: Multi-Generational Wealth Management (Sustainable Families), Philanthropic Planning (Sustainable Communities), and for those who wanted it Socially Responsible Investing (Sustainable Planet). I think our work in these areas set the tone for this award. We are leveraging our knowledge to allow our clientele to really change the world around them in a positive manner.

In addition, we practice what we preach. We drive electric cars, work every day to use less natural resources in our office and try to create an atmosphere where our team is always growing. As a small business sharing office space we have worked with those around us to make changes in what they do. The lawyers we share space with have moved to recycled paper (they use 15,000 sheets per month as opposed to our usage of under 1,000). We also worked with our building owners to put in more efficient lighting, saving electricity (and in the long run them money).

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

This is a difficult question as we don’t know. Our company didn’t make any real changes because of the SQA’s. But, as Margaret Meade once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

As a small company we hope we can have much more impact than the few of us who work here. We hope we inspire others to make changes so little by little we live in a better world. We are able to change the lives of our clients, their families and the causes they care deeply about. We were able to change the businesses around us just by asking for small changes, and we hope that spreads.

Anything else you would like to mention?

Many people are not aware of the problems that need to be solved. They haven’t seriously considered what they really want to do or what can be done. It’s only by asking the right questions that a person, a business or a community can achieve their greatest potential. It is a serious conversation. We are striving every day to get better at what we do, and to help our clients ask the tough questions to achieve goals they never knew they had or even thought were possible. We hope others around us can do the same.

Shore Hotel: Lori Harrison, Director of Sales & Marketing

Can you talk about some of the sustainability initiatives your business has implemented that led you to being honored?

Shore Hotel has been a leader in green buildings and in sustainable hotels since its opening in October 2011. We were awarded the prestigious LEED Gold certification in 2012 and continue to look for ways to improve our impact on the environment and community. Shore Hotel’s strategy is to reduce consumption of resources, reduce depletion of ecosystem recourses, all while maintaining standard of living for our hotel guests and local community. In the past year, we installed a DC Fast Charger in our valet lounge. The partnership was in conjunction with Green Charge Networks and NRG. An eVgo ecosystem enables EV drivers to maximize the use of their vehicles with charging while on the go. This is just one of many exciting initiatives we have focused on in the past year.

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

We are committed to being a green leader in the community and hospitality sector. We are constantly looking for ways to increase our sustainability strategy. In 2014, we were awarded the SQA award of Excellence in Stewardship of the Environment and Excellence in Sustainable Economic Development. We used this momentum to increase our chances towards the grand prize in 2015 and coming up with solutions to strive towards a win within the Excellence in Sustainable Economic Development realm. Being an SQA winner is a prestige amongst our community and helps create awareness of the importance of green business operations. It is all about making the right choices now for futures to come.

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