2012 Sustainable Business Leadership Awards announced

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Lipscomb University’s Institute for Sustainable Practice recently announced the winners of the 2012 Sustainable Business Leadership Awards. Winners were recognized as part of Lipscomb’s fifth annual Sustainable Business Summit, a two-day summit that brought together leading voices in the field of sustainable business practices last month.

The Sustainable Business Leadership Awards recognize businesses, organizations, individuals and institutions demonstrating exceptional leadership of sustainable business practices resulting in significant impact and improvement to the area of focus. Recipients were chosen by representatives from the sustainable business community and the Lipscomb University Institute for Sustainable Practice.

Winners of the 2012 Sustainable Business Leadership Awards include:

Tennessee Sustainable Innovator of the Year: Amy Bunton, senior vice president, Pathway Lending

This award recognizes innovation in the State of Tennessee by a business whose practices have altered the market as a result of a radical new service or product they offer. Pathway Lending’s new energy efficiency program has proven to be a valuable tool in the state’s pursuit of sustainability. The initiative is a low-interest revolving loan program aimed at businesses across the state, which invest in an energy efficiency projects. After two years of planning, Pathway Lending partnered with the Tennessee Department of Economic Development, the Tennessee Valley Authority and Pinnacle National Bank to offer this loan program. The program was spearheaded by Amy Bunton, whose spirit of entrepreneurship and collaboration as well as her leadership brought key entities together to make this project a reality.

Southeast Regional Sustainable Innovator of the Year: Walmart

This award recognizes innovation in the Southeast region that has an impact on businesses in Tennessee. Sustainability is about systems thinking and regional thinking. In 2008, Walmart announced a suppliers sustainability program for 100,000 of its suppliers across the United States. As part of this program, Walmart based 20 percent of its vendor performance quality scorecards on sustainability practices. The vendors are scored based on how their company rates in 15 areas of sustainability that helps advance this practice. Walmart is part of one of the largest supply chain sustainability programs in existence. Walmart has also invested financially to develop the Sustainability Consortium to provide life cycle assessment-based tools to help consumers understand environmental attributes of products at the point of purchase.

Lipscomb representatives will present the corporation this award in Arkansas in April.

Sustainable Product of the Year: Eastman Chemical GEM 2-Ethylhexyl Palmitate

This award recognizes products and goods that have been altered in the marketplace with radical new approaches that have had successful sales. Eastman GEM™ 2-ethylhexyl palmitate is a high quality colorless liquid with the added benefit of sustainable manufacturing, guided by the U.S. EPA’s Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry. It is used in skin care products as well as to color cosmetics. The GEM™ technology significantly reduces energy, has resulted in a 52 percent reduction in CO2 emissions, a 93 percent reduction in waste as well as a 100 percent reduction in process water usage compared to conventional manufacturing processes.

Sustainable Service of the Year: LightWave Solar

This award is given to an organization that provides a service to help promote sustainability. LightWave Solar has altered the sustainability landscape by ensuring that solar powered energy products are utilized and installed in residential, commercial, government and non-profit sectors. The company has installed more than 200 solar systems in Tennessee, accounting for more than four megawatts of solar capacity. They have also helped secure over $3 million in federal tax credits for Tennessee and more than $2 million in grants for businesses in the state through the Tennessee Solar Institute and the United States Drug Administration’s energy program. They not only represent excellence in service in sustainability, but also excellence in business culture as well.

Community Servant Leader of the Year: Karen Bennett, Metro Nashville Council Member, District 8

Councilwoman Karen Bennett was a proponent of a bill proposed to the Nashville metro council, known as the urban hen (or chicken) bill, to increase the freedom for healthy, secure and local food. This national initiative became a local reality through her work. In supporting this initiative, Bennett was involved with planning, zoning, animal control, individual constituents, council members, media and nonprofit organizations among other entities in her efforts to get the ordinance passed. Her courage and determination helped the citizens of Nashville have access to new sources of healthy food and increased competition with unhealthy food. Bennett is a member of the budget and finance, public works and transportation and aviation committees.

Community Servant Leader of the Year: Mark Thien, Envolve Strategies

Mark Thein is co-founder of the Nashville Clean Water Project, an organization formed to help clean up Nashville’s Percy Priest Lake. It involves scheduling, coordinating, recruiting volunteers to clean up the city’s “playgrounds.” He is also the founder of Envolve, a full-service marketing and public relations company that focuses solely on the under-served and emerging segment of businesses that works for a sustainable earth. Through his work, Thien uses his unique skillset as a green marketing specialist to make the public aware of the lake’s trash problem, to motivate them to action and to coordinate four years of clean-up efforts. His 2011 event drew 268 volunteers who committed an estimated $30,000 in value over 1,435 hours. Volunteers removed 81 tires with 1,250 trash bags weighing an estimated 16.9 tons.

Sustainable Food Leader of the Year: Jeremy Barlow, SLOCO

Jeremy Barlow is an advocate for creating a more sustainable food system. He works with the National Food Policy Council and with local school food reform. SLOCO, a restaurant that Barlow recently launched has a mission of operating with the smallest possible footprint. Restaurants are the largest users of energy and water in the retail sector and the largest producer of waste. As proponent of local food that tastes better, he also is the author of a new book, “Chefs Can Save the World,” a step-by-step guide for green restaurants and a primer on the impact food systems have on the environment.

Climate/Renewable Energy Leader of the Year: Steve Johnson, president and founder, LightWave Solar

This is a new category for the awards this year that recognizes individuals and companies who are leaders in finding ways to rise to the challenge of survival on this planet based on the environment. This award represents the highest level of excellence in the use of particularly renewable energy. Steve Johnson, president and founder of LightWave Solar, has a unique passion and integrity about his field. He has been passionate about this for many years and started LightWave Solar business out of his home. The owner of an electric car, Johnson has traveled around the globe to learn more about sustainable practices and how to implement them in his business.

“This prestigious group of business leaders are making a profound impact on our community by their leadership to incorporate much needed sustainability efforts into their practice, services and products,” said Dodd Galbreath, executive director of Lipscomb University’s Institute for Sustainable Practice. “Thanks to this group, sustainability initiatives are increasingly seen as a key ingredient to business success.”