Virginia Green Initiative (VGI) Green Business Challenge Awards – 2/6/2020
Text and photos by C.D. Guillaudeu – 2/8/2020
Thursday evening Feb 6th, the Virginia Green Initiative (VGI) had their first Green Business Challenge (GBC) awards celebration for all of the 2019 participants. Carol Kearney, Master of Ceremonies, kicked off the event by introducing Justin Dobson, VGI Chair. Tony Howard from the Loudoun County (LC) Chamber of Commerce came by to say a few words about the history of the Challenge and how great it was to see it being continued.
VGI’s Green Business Challenge has its roots in the Loudoun County Green Business Challenge which was started back in 2009 with the initiative of then LC Supervisor Andrea McGimsey. It was carried on for several years by the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce and handed over to VGI starting in 2018.
Justin introduced Najib Salehi, Loudoun County’s Energy Manager to say a few words about the Green Business Challenge and how learning about sustainability is not only good for the planet, but also good for business and their bottom line. Salehi is and has been a wonderful resource to the Green Business Challenge, not only in its beginning when it was only a county initiative but now in its new form, available to all Virginia businesses to take for free.
Awards were handed out by Justin Dobson Chairman and Carol Kearney, Master of Ceremonies. GBC Traditions were carried on especially with the Patricia Trammell Innovation Award. Patricia Trammell was revered at The National Conference Center in Leesburg for getting them started on their path to sustainability by participating in the Loudoun County Green Business Challenge in the very beginning. A testament to Ms. Trammell’s initiative was in making sure their 2011 LC GBC was submitted before she wasn’t able to work any more.
VGI also made the event as Zero Waste as possible, by having guests sort their trash into different bins. No bottled waters were used and less than ONE Pound of trash went to the Landfill!
Each event place is different, for example bin types will depend on utensils, plates, etc. that are being used. At our VGI event, our utensils were wood, we had paper plates, plastic cups and bottles that could be recycled. So our bins were from left to right, “Cups/Bottles”, “Paper/Wood”, “Compost” (food scraps), and then everything else left over is “Trash”.
A note on trash bags, we had to use regular plastic bags for most of the bins, but were able to use a bag made from 100% compostable materials for one of the bins. These green bags are meant to break apart easily so the contents can get absorbed into the landfill that much quicker.
Building sustainability into a business’s culture and processes isn’t only about the environment, it’s also about building in resiliency, new habits, helping one’s community through volunteering, buying locally, and of course about the people that contribute and help.
VGI meets the 4th Thursday of every month where the general meeting is from 2-3pm. For our next meeting on Thursday February 27th, we have Michael Mulcahy speaking about a new biobased all purpose cleaner that he has developed and is getting to market.
Take the 2020 VGI Green Business Challenge! Note, if your business owns its own commercial building, use the Commercial Challenge. All others would use the Home Based/Tenant form.
Many thank-yous to Tony Howard of the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, Najib Salehi Loudoun County’s Energy Manager, the VGI staff and especially to all of the businesses that participated and continue to participate!