Progressive grower-retailer Eagle Creek Garden Center in Bainbridge and Mantua, Ohio, received an Emerald Award from Crain’s Cleveland Business last week for leading the region in sustainable initiatives.
The Emerald Awards recognize Northeast Ohio companies that have implemented sustainable strategic priorities that significantly trim costs or increase cash flow with innovations and products that reduce their environmental footprint. An independent panel of judges reviewed nominations that included information on an organization’s sustainability initiative and goals, as well as the results and impact of those efforts on the triple bottom line–people, planet and profit.
Eagle Creek won the award in the medium for-profit company category, with $9.9 million in annual revenues or less. “Eagle Creek Garden Center hopes to become nearly fossil-fuel independent by 2011 and employ a 100 percent local work force,” Crain’s reported. “Eagle Creek strives to use biodegradable and environmentally safe products and to recycle 100 percent of polymer and corrugated waste. It also aims to be a vehicle for customers to recycle by using Eagle Creek’s distribution network.”
Initiative that support the three Ps in the triple bottom line include:
- Profits - Double-layered, energy retentive greenhouse curtains have improved heating efficiency by 65 percent; a biomass heating systems has reduced heating costs by nearly $55,000 per acre of greenhouse; and a 50-kilowatt wind turbine saves the company between $7,000 and $10,000 annually. A second one is being installed.
- People - A sustainable business model is changing the company’s culture. A local work force supports the area’s economy, and Eagle Creek is limiting its effects on the local environment by using biodegradable materials.
- Planet - Eagle creek’s recycling program has allowed it to reduce the amount of raw materials it buys. A sanitation system makes it possible to recycle 100 percent of on-site water. Also, efforts to reduce reliance on electricity and fossil fuels have reduced Eagle Creek’s carbon footprint.
Owner Jill Cain accepted the award on behalf of her brother, John Bonner, who has led the sustainable initiatives at the greenhouse production facility in Mantua. Also in attendance was their grandfather, John Gander, who founded BFG Supply.