Originally published in the Monadnock Shopper News
An Ecology Center hosting biodynamic gardening and farming seminars; a donation of 100 American Liberty elm trees to the City of Keene; a drop-off site for local CSA Farms; a 105-acre organically managed pasture-based farm – these are all offerings from past Monadnock Green Business of the Year Award Winners: W.S. Badger, Filtrine Manufacturing, The Works Bakery Café and the Inn at Valley Farms. We’re excited to add another Monadnock Region for-profit business to the list of awardees in 2014.
Now in it’s fifth year, the Monadnock Green Business of the Year Award recognizes businesses with strong social and environmental practices. Nominations are accepted through March 3, 2014. View an application and more details.
Read how we score nominees with the criteria below, along with examples of programs, practices and policies from past winners:
Energy & Water Use: How has the business reduced its energy and water use, and switched to more renewable sources of energy?
Filtrine cut its energy use by 25% by switching to more energy efficient lighting, adding roof insulation and installing a solar hot water system.
Waste Reduction: How does the business decrease the amount of waste going to the landfill or incinerator?
The Works Bakery Café composts what it can, sending food scraps to Tracie’s Community Farm in Fitzwilliam during the growing season. They use extensive signage to encourage customers to drop their bottles and paper in the correct recycling receptacle.
Workplace Culture: Is the business a great place to work?
W.S. Badger earned the “Best Small Company to Work for in New Hampshire” award from Business NH Magazine and Badger’s employees. Employees enjoy profit sharing, paid volunteer time, onsite yoga and free daily organic lunches made right at Badger. Another new employee benefit is a childcare center for Badger’s kids.
Education & Outreach: How does the business raise awareness of its efforts, and encourage others to do the same?
The Inn at Valley Farms educates its guests and the community about sustainable farming methods through agritourism events, tours, and an interpretive center developed with Antioch New England Graduate School students. Summers include “Food and Thought” Potlucks with a local food discussion hosted on the grounds of Walpole Valley Farms.
Community Support: How does the business support the larger community?
Filtrine donates regularly to the Harris Center for Conservation Education in Hancock and the Elm Research Institute in Keene. The company donated 100 American Liberty Elm trees to the City of Keene, plus funds to another 100 towns nationwide, allowing them to plant their own elm trees.
Transportation: How does the business reduce staff and customer travel?
The Works Bakery Café has seven locations, all intentionally sited downtown — making it easier for people to walk, bike or use public transportation from work to The Works to enjoy a coffee break or terrific lunch.
Product/Service Provided: Does what the business offer provide an environmental benefit?
W.S. Badger’s products are certified organic personal care products. The production of these products supports sustainable agriculture, which in turn protects the integrity of the farm’s soil and entire ecosystem.
Purchasing: Does the business purchase environmentally and socially responsible products?
The Inn at Valley Farm serves locally grown food whenever possible (what they don’t grow themselves, they buy from neighbors), and uses green cleaning products and recycled content paper products. They’ve purchased energy efficient appliances and lighting — and even their towels are made from organic cotton.
The examples above are just a tiny sampling of why each business deserved to receive the Monadnock Green Business of the Year Award. A big thank you to these businesses for going above and beyond, and modeling the change we like to see in our region.
This year’s winner will be announced at the Monadnock Earth Day Festival on April 26, 2014. Stay tuned for more details about this daylong festival organized by Antioch University New England.
The Monadnock Green Business of the Year Program is a partnership with the Keene Cities for Climate Protection, Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Hannah Grimes Center, Monadnock Buy Local and Monadnock Sustainability Network.
Learn more about this award at Keene Green Drinks on Tuesday, February 4, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Courtyard Marriott in Keene, hosted by the Monadnock Sustainability Network.
Honoring businesses that place a value on their environmental and social impacts is just one way to encourage more businesses to adopt these practices. Another way is for you to support these businesses through your purchases — and we’re proud to say that all past winners are locally owned and independent, so by choosing these businesses, you’ll give even extra support to our environment, community and local economy too.