Published: September 18, 2008
From solar power and environmental education to recycling zebra manure,
16 Tampa Bay-area businesses are leading the commitment to social,
economic and environmental responsibility. They will be honored at the
first-ever Earth Charter Sustainable Business Awards of Tampa Bay
luncheon on Friday, Oct. 10, at 11:30 a.m. at The University of Tampa’s
The businesses range in size and scope — from a tea lounge with six employees to a public utility with 4,200 employees.
companies are setting the standards for Tampa Bay area sustainability
practices,” said Dr. Daniel Verreault, a UT associate professor of
accounting who is helping coordinate the event. “They are taking a
people, profit, planet approach to company policies and also realizing
significant cost-savings in their operations.”
The 16 awardees are:
Large Business Category, 251 or more employees
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Fowler White Boggs Banker P.A.
Sirata Beach Resort
TECO Energy Inc.
Medium Business Category, 51 to 250 employees
Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum Inc. (HOK)
MLI Integrated Graphic Solutions
St. Pete Times Forum and The Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Rays
Small Business Category, 50 or fewer employees
Carastro & Associates
Green Earth Group
Kaleisia Tea Lounge
Kessler Consulting Inc.
the luncheon one Sustainability Leader will be named in each category
and the remaining four will earn the distinction of Sustainability
Pioneers. Flush Puppies, a new Tampa business, will receive the
Sustainable Entrepreneur award.
Luncheon speaker will be Eric
Maltzer, a leading consultant at Esty Environmental Partners (EEP),
which produced “Green to Gold,” a template for CEOs and managers who
want to make sustainability a core element of strategy — and profit from
The Sustainable Business Awards are an initiative of The
Earth Charter U.S., a nonprofit organization that upholds an
international declaration of values and principles for building a just,
sustainable and peaceful global society. The event will also serve as
the initial step in the formation of an Earth Charter Sustainable
Business Coalition. The coalition, comprised of top executives and
corporate officers, will help to shape Tampa Bay’s sustainable economy.
team of business graduate students from The University of Tampa, under
the guidance of Verreault, developed the criteria for the awards, led
the campaign to market the awards to bay area businesses and evaluated
the nominations. The team created the criteria using several sources,
including Global Reporting Initiatives, Sustainable Seattle, Sustainable
Florida and the U.N. Global Compact.
“The winning businesses are
walking the talk when it comes to promoting sustainable practices to
the community and their clients,” said Rakefet Bachur-Cohen, a UT
graduate student and a leader of the team.
A Commitment to Sustainability – Five Case Studies
& Associates, of Tampa, installed a $25,000, 2,000-watt solar panel
to establish a leadership role on alternative energy solutions with
their clients. They have also installed energy recovery systems at MOSI
and The University of Tampa.
The Kaleisia Tea Lounge, a small
restaurant of six employees located on Fletcher Avenue, opened its doors
in a neighborhood with one of the highest crime rates in Tampa with the
purpose of helping revitalize the community. Kaleisia’s partners report
steady increases in sales revenues, even in the current economy.
Sirata Beach Resort, of St. Pete Beach, has installed products that
resulted in an estimated reduction of 1,100 tons in greenhouse gases for
2007 and a 20 percent decrease of overall electricity usage.
Gardens’ new Jungala exhibit was constructed with materials purchased
from local suppliers and recycled materials from discontinued rides. The
park also reuses animal waste with its on-site compost facility,
changed its dinnerware to biodegradable products and donates tens of
thousands of dollars to its Conservation Fund.
The Tampa Bay
Rays’ sustainable initiatives include offering free parking to cars with
four or more passengers, recognition at the Rays games to local
community organizations with strong green practices and reduction of
their energy usage with a centrally controlled AC and lighting
for more information about the awards, luncheon, tickets and
sponsorship opportunities, as well as Earth Charter and the Earth
Charter Summit to be held on Saturday, Oct. 11, at UT.