A four-year-old pet retailer and a hotel with a long history in town were awarded top honors, in the form of recycled glass trophies, Wednesday at the 17th Annual Sustainable Quality Awards, where community leaders touched briefly on the future of doing green business in Santa Monica.
The awards honor thriving Santa Monica companies that in addition to using environmentally friendly products, do well by employees and local organizations. The winners of this year's grand prizes were and the .
"The businesses recognized today embody the possibility of a sustainable Santa Monica," said Shannon Parry, of the city's office of sustainability and environment.
In fitting with the theme, Mayor Richard Bloom boasted of the city's green successes of the past year, including winning the , opening the , installing hundreds of bike racks and committing to expansion of electric vehicle stations. Some of these projects, he said, were commendable in their own right, but especially so given the economy and state budget crisis.
"Here in Santa Monica at this very pivotal time in our state, in our country, we are a community that exhibits both environmental progress and economic prosperity," he said.
Local businesses saw their share of success, too. Just last month, Shore Hotel announced it has earned LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. In addition to the grand prizes, "Excellence in Stewardship of Natural Environment" awards were doled out to Bridgid Coulter Design, , l and the Media Policy Center for
At Wednesday's event at the Sheraton Delfina, the menu of lamb, crudo, pilaf and salads, consisted only of ingredients grown or sourced within 75 miles. The approximately 200 guests dined using biodegradable bamboo plates and cutlery.
Healthy Spot opened its doors in 2008 to sell eco-friendly toys and supplies—most notably biodegradable doggie bags and bio-training pads—and a variety of services ranging from doggie-day care to pet grooming with organic, natural and raw products. The company uses discarded dog hair from the grooming salon which is spun into yarn and then turned into clothing. It donates to local charities and collects unwanted pet items like leashes, crates, and toys for Operation Blankets of Love, an organization that distributes these items to pet shelters and rescues
Its staff has grown in the past four years to 40.
Ownership of the Miramar Hotel property has changed hands many times since its first use as a hotel in 1924 until 2006, when it was purchased by investment from MSD Capital, LLS, but award organizers said it has boasted a strong employee retention record with over 141 on staff in the past 10 years.
A Sustainable Quality Awards judge, one of nine, noted, “the Fairmont operates their hotel like a family."
In addition to health benefits, employees receive discounts at local fitness clubs, financial assistance for part-time studies related to career goals within the company. Miramar's Green Partnership program, created in 1990, includes the use of LED lights; reduced water use via no-flush water free urinals in men’s restrooms; and discounted valet parking rates for hybrid car drivers. In donates yearly to more than 200 Santa Monica area charities.
When the Annual Sustainable Quality Awards were created in 1995, one of the judging criteria, environmental stewardship, was centered on the adage, "reduce, reuse, recycle." Moving forward, the city, the Chamber of Commerce and the nonprofit organization Sustainable Works, will look to inspire businesses to do more.
Parry said companies will need to find ways to not only reduce their ecological footprint, but to also "regenerate the earth" by "building and renewing an appreciation for natural resources."