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Santa Monica Names Sustainability Award Winners

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
By Jorge Casuso

February 20, 2013 -- A Santa Monica company that provides “eco-chic” dining services and another that offers “sustainable yoga tools,” along with the agency that lures tourists to the beachside city are the winners of the of this year’s Sustainable Quality Awards Grand Prize.

The prize -- which recognizes “significant achievements in the areas of sustainable economic development, social responsibility and stewardship of the natural environment” -- are awarded by the Chamber of Commerce, Sustainable Works and the City of Santa Monica's Office of Sustainability and the Environment.

Marking their 18th year, the awards will be presented March 13 at a luncheon featuring special appearances environmentalist and actor Ed Begley Jr. and California State Senator Sheila Kuehl.

"We are thrilled to highlight so many great businesses this year" says Laurel Rosen, president of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce.

The Visitor’s Bureau is being recognized for environmental policies that include energy efficiency, natural lighting, environmentally preferable purchasing and walking or biking for local errands, award officials said.

“SMCVB also encourages visitors to go car-free by providing biketineraries and green transportation guidance,” officials said.

In addition, the bureau supports Santa Monica's hospitality workforce “by offering free customer service training and recently launched a citywide customer service recognition program called The Thelma Parks Tourism Spirit Award,” officials said.

Another of the three Grand Prize winners, Tiato & An Catering -- which offers “eco-chic dining,” a retail market and catering services -- hires locally and utilizes sustainable goods. The company is located in a LEED certified building and is certified as a Santa Monica Green Business.

“The company promotes employee wellness and professional development by providing tuition assistance, wellness discounts, team building and internal training opportunities,” according to award officials.

It also “goes above and beyond for resource efficiency and environmental purchasing,” hosting “biodynamic and organically grown wine tasting,” recycling used kitchen oil into hand soap for its restrooms and “integrating environmental practices through training.” 

The third Grand Prize winner, yogitoes “is a creative yoga products company making sustainable yoga tools that integrate need with design,” award officials said.

The business “offers products made with recycled content and interacts with the community through their Experience Lab, providing a retail space and a venue to host special events supporting environmental and wellness efforts,” officials said.

The company, whose employees have flexible schedules, donates to programs that include the Santa Monica-based 5 Gyres Institute and San Quentin prisoners yoga and meditation programs.

Nine businesses will be given the Sustainable Quality Awards for Excellence.

Recognized for Excellence in Stewardship of the Natural Environment are The Ambrose, which in 2006 became the first pilot Santa Monica Green Certified Hotel, and Bru's Wiffle, which “has reduced its waste by composting, reusing empty cleaning chemical containers and recycling used cooking oil for SMMUSD buses.”

Also receiving Excellence awards in environmental stewardship are Hostelling International LA/Santa Monica, which provides only reusable dishes and utensils in the communal kitchen, prints double-sided on recycled content paper and uses Green Seal Certified cleaners, and Three Squares Inc., a woman-owned environmental consulting firm that engages its client’s employees with environmental education and “organizes some of the nation's most prominent sustainable events and marketing campaigns.”

Santa Monica Place, whose newly-redeveloped open-air mall was certified LEED Gold last year, also will be recognized with an Environmental award for reducing or offseting more than 3 million kWh from its 104 kW photovoltaic plant, implementing energy management systems and purchasing green power, among other green efforts.

Recognized for Excellence in Social Responsibility is Central Parking, which offers a rideshare board with alternative transportation solutions, encourages volunteering and provides bike valet services for local events.

HGA Architects and Engineers, which is “working on a zero-plus approach” in building design that includes “going beyond net zero and producing more energy than consumed,” is the recipient of the award for Excellence in Social Responsibility and Stewardship of the Natural Environment.

PayrollCentric TM, which launched an innovative "paperless payroll" system, is being recognized for its Excellence in Economic Development and Social Responsibility, while Heal the Bay's Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, which offers bus passes, provides bicycle parking for staff and volunteers and a Smart Car for work-related trips, is being recognized for its Excellence in Economic Development and Stewardship of the Environment.

More than 100 local businesses have been honored since the awards were launched in 1995.

"Reaching the 100+ awards milestone is a remarkable achievement for our community," says Shannon Parry, assistant director for the City’s Office of Sustainability.

The awards luncheon will be held March 13 at 11 a.m. at the Sheraton Delfina Hotel. Pre-paid tickets are $55 for Chamber members and $60 for non-members until March 6, 2013. Reserve tickets by calling 310.393.9825. Tickets can also be purchased at www.smsqa.com.

For more information on the Sustainable Quality Awards visit www.smsqa.com.


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