The St. Louis Green Business Challenge, a program of the Missouri Botanical Garden, has just completed its tenth year of work with companies across the bi-state region to advance sustainability as a business solution. At an awards celebration held Friday, December 6 in Lakeside Café at the Saint Louis Zoo, 61 businesses, non-profits and local government entities were recognized for their work this year to integrate sustainable policies and practices into their operations.
Twelve companies received Awards of Achievement for participation at the Challenge Apprentice Level, including Focal Pointe, Inc. At the Apprentice level, companies work with a menu of fundamental sustainability policies and practices. Each participant chooses to work on measures that will best advance their business goals and fit with company culture. Services include a training seminar, customized coaching, peer-to-peer learning in a report-out seminar, and the opportunity to network and learn at monthly Challenge programs.
Focal Pointe’s Green Team highlighted several sustainable accomplishments for the 2019 challenge:
- Conducted a lighting audit and converted office lights to LED at the Caseyville location.
- Switched office toiletries to recycle paper products.
- Investing in more electric equipment for Landcare crews to reduce emissions and an Arbor Jet system for Plant Health Care to reduce pesticide and drift.
- Distributed single stream recycling educational flyers in English/Spanish to departments and held recycling training during weekly safety meetings.
- Set print settings to double-side default and starting to track paper use.
- Implemented Lean with a continuous improvement mindset into our operations and processes.
- Hired a Continuous Improvement Manager who is updating our standard operating procedures to reflect Lean practices.
- Recycled 1410 lbs of inactive holiday lights and promoting the use of LED lights to customers.
- Relocated construction supplies and bulk storage into open naturally lite structure that doesn’t require lighting during the day.
Challenge Apprentice participants can advance to the Leader Level, using a scorecard that details a broad range of options to “green” the kinds of everyday operations common to every business.
The St. Louis Green Business Challenge supports companies and local government entities’ voluntary efforts to conserve energy and water, reduce waste through recycling and other practices, advance sustainable transportation options, enhance biodiversity on company property, and educate and engage employees around sustainable thinking and practice.
Since the Challenge launched in 2010, 233 companies, non-profits and municipalities have joined the Challenge. This participation has engaged over 155,000 employees and nearly 470,000 residents, for a total of 620,000 individuals influenced by this work, across our regional economy. Ongoing sustainability commitment is strong: 56% of these companies have participated in the Challenge for two or more years, 41% for three years or more. Twelve companies comprise the Challenge Green Decade Honor Roll, as participants for all ten program years.
“The Green Business Challenge is a successful and innovative example of how we can use competition and collaboration to improve both the economic and environmental health of our region,” said Bob Woodruff, CFO of the Missouri Botanical Garden. “As delivered by our sustainability division, the EarthWays Center, the Garden is proud to lead this challenge to embrace sustainable practices for our business and civic community.”
Glenda Abney, Interim Vice President of Education and Director of the Garden’s Earth Ways Center adds, “The Challenge cultivates a powerful combination of business and sustainability expertise across the St. Louis region. Working together with company Green Teams, our program team is able to guide strategic implementation of sustainability measures toward efficient, cost-effective results in accord with each company’s own goals and culture. The companies’ outcomes, in turn, advance our goal of making sustainability work, across our regional economy.”
“Along with enrolling in the Green Business Challenge for a second year, the Focal Pointe team has also adopted Lean Operations into our day to day routine. We have come to find that Lean is Green. Engaging our team members to look for improvement opportunities and ways to reduce waste provides real value to our business, clients, and community,” said John Munie, President/Owner of Focal Pointe.
The St. Louis Green Business Challenge will launch its eleventh year of sustainable business services in March 2020. To learn more, visit www.stlouisgreenchallenge.com
St. Louis Green Business Challenge, a program of the Missouri Botanical Garden, assists companies in integrating sustainable measures into their daily operations. Initiated in 2010, originally in partnership with the St. Louis Regional Chamber, the Challenge delivers “Triple Bottom Line” results (fiscal, social and environmental) to businesses of all types and sizes across the St. Louis region. Challenge activity influences the business, educational, governmental and non-profit sectors of the St. Louis regional economy. The program works for building owners and tenants, supporting companies new to the concept of sustainable business operations and those already engaged and ready to fully integrate sustainable options.