More than 300 business leaders, government officials, military personnel and sustainability advocates attended the 4th Annual Sustainability Awards November 9th.

The event and awards presentation, hosted by Sustainable North Carolina, included a panel discussion on “Is There a Future for Manufacturing in North Carolina? Making the Shift to the 21st Century Marketplace” was moderated by Secretary of NC Commerce Jim Fain. Panelists for the discussion included:

-Crandall Bowles, CEO Springs Industries
-Tom Darden, CEO Cherokee Investment Partners
-Travis Simpson, VP of NC Operations, Dell
-Eric Davis, Sr VP, Wachovia Corporate Real Estate Division

The 2005 Sustainability Award Winners across the following five categories are:

Pollution Prevention — Projects that minimize waste and emissions from operations.

WINNER: Naval Air Depot – Cherry Point

Air Depot (NADEP) Cherry Point is one of eight Naval Air Systems Command sites that provide cost-wise readiness and maritime combat power for the Navy/Marine Corps. The depot occupies nearly 150 acres and has a workforce of more than 4000. NADEP Cherry Point has demonstrated its commitment to pollution prevention and waste reduction through aggressive and well-documented efforts. The depot received ISO 14001 certification in 2003 and set a number of specific objectives to reduce hazardous materials. To date, all of the objectives have been exceeded, most by a factor of 3 and within a shorter time than projected. NADEP Cherry Point’s EMS is a state-of-the-art system that focuses on continual improvement and integrates a shared vision and commitment throughout the organization.

Product Stewardship — Projects that lower product life cycle impact.

WINNER: Shaw Contract Group

Shaw Contract Group is the commercial division of Shaw Industries, the world’s largest manufacturer of carpeting, providing a significant portion of total carpet sales in North Carolina. Shaw’s commitment to environmental stewardship is reflected in the development of its two most recent backing systems, EcoWorx and EcoLogix. Shaw’s Cradle to Cradle system, EcoWorx, along with EcoSolution Q face fiber, is designed to be returned to Shaw after its useful life. Both fiber and backing are sustainably recycled back into new face and backing material, eliminating the waste streams normally associated with traditional carpet. EcoLogix is the first high performance cushion system developed using consumer waste material. The EcoWorx product sold in North Carolina over just the past year is estimated to divert more than 330 tons of material from landfills.

Clean Technology — Cutting-edge technologies that build the infrastructure for sustainable products or services.

WINNER: Piedmont Biofuels

Piedmont Biofuels, now in its fourth year, is worker-member owned cooperative with over one hundred members throughout central North Carolina. Currently producing 200 to 400 gallons of biodiesel each week, the co-op is building a commercial scale plant in Pittsboro which will make use of local feedstocks to supply the region with a million gallons of fuel per year. In addition to providing a model for locally-based biodiesel production, Piedmont Biofuels is advancing interest and knowledge in alternative fuels with consulting services, technical assistance, internships and public outreach. The co-op maintains an open-source information sharing policy and is mentoring several nascent biodiesel production facilities both in and out of state.

Global Sustainability – Projects that optimize economic, social and environmental needs.

WINNER: North Carolina Zoological Park

To accomplish its mission “to encourage understanding of and commitment to the conservation of the world’s wildlife and wild places through the recognition of the interdependence of people and nature,” the North Carolina Zoo has made a well-coordinated effort to integrate sustainability into every facet of operations on site as well as its programs at the local, regional, state, national and international levels. Operational initiatives include composting, integrated pest management, water conservation, organic fertilizer, biodiesel and hybrid vehicles, constructed wetlands and solar energy. It is the only zoo in the US to be ISO 14001 EMS certified. The NC Zoo actively promotes biodiversity and sustainability through extensive educational outreach and involvement in dozens of efforts through North Carolina and the world.

Innovative Initiatives – Early stage or general projects that incorporate sustainable principles.

WINNER: SJF Ventures/SJF Advisory Services

SJF is a pioneer in using the tools of venture capital to support sustainable businesses that achieve the triple bottom line by generating profitability for investors, and environmental and job creation benefits for communities. SJF has funded 20 companies since its inception in 1999, and currently operates two venture capital funds with $30 million under management. Small fast growing companies are responsible for the majority of job growth in this country and are therefore extremely important for North Carolina and other states facing severe economic dislocation. SJF believes that creating a critical mass of profitable sustainability-driven companies is essential to development of public policies that will support the development of more sustainable economies.

Sustainable North Carolina: