Santa Monicans are known as a green people with high consumptions of fruits/veggies, commitments to recycling and a focus on sustainability. Locals expect their businesses to have similar values and the Chamber of Commerce will recognize green companies at their annual award on April 20.

The 22nd Annual Santa Monica Sustainable Quality Awards (SQA) will be recognizing businesses that are also focused on the environment with an eye on sustainable economic development, excellence in social responsibility and excellence in stewardship of the environment.

“Santa Monica businesses continue to drive the Sustainable City Plan goals by taking the extra steps to ensure a robust economy, a commitment to human resources and a healthy natural environment,” said Susy Borlido, Co-Executive Director of Sustainable Works, in a recent press release.

Since 1995 the SQAs have recognized 143 businesses with over 175 awards, proving they are the longest running sustainable business award program.

Every year the event brings together the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, City of Santa Monica and Sustainable Works with the event featuring a keynote speaker.

This year John Picard will be making an appearance. Chamber of Commerce, Director of Events and Marketing, Gigi de Pourtales said Picard is particularly relevant at the moment because of his focus on promoting innovation as an essential element of sustainable solution in every sector of the economy.

According to the chamber, Picard established the foundation of what would eventually become the US Green Building Council under President Bill Clinton and he has worked with a diverse group of companies including Microsoft, BP, Sony, The Gap, eBay and MGM.

Officials said the SQA continues to promote the efforts of local businesses as they embrace sustainable ways. There are specific awards given to businesses with exceptional achievements in one of the three areas, Sustainable Economic Development, Social Responsibility, and Stewardship of the Natural Environment.

This year American Cancer Society Discovery Shop won Excellence in Economic Development Award. Excellence in Social Responsibility Award went to Le Meridien Delfina Hotel. Excellence in Stewardship of the Environment went to Back on the Beach Café, Beautycounter, Red Bull North America, Uplifters Kitchen, and Water Garden.

The grand prize awards, given to businesses for excelling in all three categories, will be awarded to Apogee Electronics Corporation, LivingHomes, Santa Monica Place – Macerich, and The Albright.

“The four grand prize winners have paved the way to more sustainability in their specific industry,” said De Pourtales. “The Albright as a long-standing family owned restaurant continues to model green practices on the Santa Monica Pier.”

The Albright is owned by Yunnie and Greg Morena, and has previously won Excellence awards. The Albright was the first business on the Pier to achieve Green Certification status.

With every child that comes into The Albright they receive a kids’ menu and crayons. There were so many crayons being used, the Morena’s decided it was best to team up with the Crayon Initiative.

“Crayons are not bio-degradable so we give them the used crayons and they are then repurposed and given to the Children’s Hospital,” said Yunnie.

The Albright is also partnering with Further, the company collects the depleted oil, refines it into biofuel and then converts it into glycerin soap. They don’t stop there. They get their fish from the Monterey Bay Sustainable Program, and recently they began developing their own oysters.

“Oysters are the most sustainable seafood in the ocean because they are natural filters,” said Greg.

The Albright owners said they feel honored to be recognized, and they will continue to work hard to making the Pier and the City green.

In order for a business to be selected there are qualification they must fulfill. The business must be in operation for at least two years, while located within the City of Santa Monica or a Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce member. The business must employ at least two full time equivalent employees. They must also be in compliance with all local, state and federal regulations.

Winners will not only receive an award trophy, they will also receive special recognition and media attention to highlight their success as a model business.

The SQA will take place on April 20 at 11 a.m. at Le Meridien Delfina Hotel in the Penthouse Ballroom. Tickets can be purchased online at www.smsqa.com . Pre-paid tickets are $50 for Chamber members and $60 for non-members.

marina@smdp.com

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