Last Thursday, the Green Natties: First Annual Sustainable Business Awards Ceremony was held the celebrate the greenest businesses in the city. The event was co-sponsored by LifeCity, Natural Awakenings Magazine, and the New Orleans Chamber Foundation.
“For the first time in New Orleans, we took the time to honor those businesses in our community that are truly operating in a socially and environmentally responsible way,” said City Council Member Susan Guidry, a member of the Selection Committee for the awards ceremony. “I am proud of my city and the emerging green business movement in New Orleans.”
The Green Natties Awards Ceremony was the culminating event for the year long Green Games Competition, where over 60 companies entered and received a sustainability assessment, set target goals, and competed in how “green” they could be or their overall social and environmental impact on our community.
“The past year was not easy,” said Liz Shephard, Chief Sustainability Officer for LifeCity. “Each participating business took time out of their busy schedules to learn and improve – and that’s saying a lot for the emerging market of green consumers and real financial opportunities that come when businesses embrace sustainability.”
“I believe in supporting an economy that promotes healthy living through environmentally sound practices by businesses and individuals. The sustainable business sector is gaining as a driver of economic growth and we hoped that the Green Games would encourage even more businesses and organizations to move in that direction. At the same time we wanted to recognize those who were already striving toward sustainability. It’s been inspiring to see the efforts so many local businesses and organizations have put into this process,” says Lolita Werhan, Publisher of Natural Awakeings Magazine. “We wrote a short profile article for every participant in the Green Games because these companies seek to embody the ‘healthy living, healthy planet’ focus of our publication.”
The Green Natties ceremony recognized 18 companies who had worked toward creating a positive social and environmental impact through business practices. In the five business sectors – restaurant, office, manufacturing, retail and nonprofit – two categories of awards were given: Most Improved and Best Overall:
Best Overall, Franchise: La Divina Gelateria
Best Overall, single venue: Canal St. Bistro
Most Improved: Hey Cafe
Best Overall: Eco Urban
Most Improved (3): Joule Energy, Green Coast Enterprises, and Future Proof
Best Overall: NOLA Brewing Company
Best Overall (2): Hollygrove Market and Farm, Bayou Kayaks
Most Improved (2): Green Serene, ZukaBaby
Best Overall: ARC of Greater New Orleans
Most Improved: Global Green
Additionally, businesses were recognized across all sectors for Innovation, Equity, and Profit-Strategy:
Innovation Award: AMCREF Community Capital, LLC
Equity Award (2): the Louisiana Green Corps and Liberty’s Kitchen
Putting the $Green$ in Green Award: Second Line Stages
The Green Natties – the physical awards – were flower vases made from recycled glass by Unique Products. Everything about the event was as “green” as possible, making a statement about the hard work and future of the green businesses and people who participated over the past year. Over 150 people attended the event, representing over 125 Green organizations from the City.
“The green community in New Orleans needs more recognition, organization and leadership,” said Troy Von Ottnot, Founder of South Coast Solar, the largest solar company in the Southeast. “Elizabeth Shephard inspired us tonight with the possibilities that come when growing a community that is committed to not just wealth and job development, but also our environment and long-term health.”
For more information about the winners, see LifeCity’s blog post.