DOWNTOWN — The Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce will host the Sustainable Quality Awards luncheon on Wednesday to celebrate businesses who are taking steps to be more environmentally friendly.

City Hall announced the 2009 award winners last week, doling out four SQA grand prize winners and six winners in the Excellence category.

“Now more than ever it is clear that the future of the city is going to be based on environmental, social and economic viability,” said Laurel Rosen, president and CEO of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce.

Grand prize winners included Bryan Cave LLP, a business and litigation firm, Saint John’s Health Center, Taxi! Taxi! and Whole Foods Market. These businesses pioneered best practices that improved their environmental footprint and efficiency, Rosen said.

Bryan Cave LLP adopted the sustainability policy touted by the American Bar Association-EPA Law Office Climate Challenge that encourages offices to adopt best practices and cut water and paper waste and cut electricity use. The company also partners with local non-profits and gives employees paid hours to volunteer.

Saint John’s Health Center uses a cogeneration facility to produce both heat and power to produce 95 percent of power for the Chan Soon-Shiong Center for Life Sciences building. It saves 300,000 gallons of water daily by recycling wastewater from their heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system and recycles more than 150 tons of paper and 96 tons of cardboard annually.

Taxi! Taxi! pioneered the Hybrid cab fleet in 2007 and remains the leader of the L.A. market with 10 hybrids on the road. These cars save 700 tons of toxic greenhouse gas emissions and 60,000 gallons of gasoline per year. The company is owned and operated in Santa Monica and supports local nonprofits.

Though Whole Foods Market operates on a national level, it has local policies that earned it an SQA grand prize. Whole foods buys local organic foods and fair trade products and banned the use of plastic bags nationwide. It also offers college tuition reimbursement and scholarship programs to its workers. The company boasts 80 percent waste diversion and donates 5 percent of store revenue to a local nonprofit.

Other winners were Blair Graphics, Business.com, Community Corporation of Santa Monica, Pluralistic School #1, Santa Monica College and the Studio of Environmental Architecture. These businesses and organizations support environmentally responsible practices and give back to Santa Monica in terms of housing, transportation services and supporting local charities.

The winners will receive their accolades at the Sustainable Quality Awards luncheon on Wednesday. Keynote speakers include former California State Sen. Sheila Kuehl and Andy Lipkis, founder and president of Tree People.

Tickets can be purchased from the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce Web site.

news@smdp.com

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