Today, on Earth Day, Leon County announces the new SustainaBiz Program recognizing local businesses that have integrated sustainability into their business practices. The voluntary program is free and provides businesses and organizations with an easy checklist combined with technical assistance to help determine their sustainability recognition while building a sustainable business network for our county.
“Sustainability is good business, and the SustainaBiz program helps highlight those local businesses who are striving today to make our County even better for tomorrow,” said Leon County Commission Chairman Rick Minor. “Leon County is committed to promoting sustainable practices both in the County organizations and throughout our community.”
In order to be recognized through SustainaBiz, businesses and organizations must earn a minimum number of points across the sustainability topic areas of energy, water, transportation, waste reduction, employee and community engagement, local economy, and innovation.
“Through SustainaBiz, the County both honors businesses with successful sustainable practices and creates a roadmap for all businesses to achieve even greater success in the area of sustainability,” said Leon County Administrator Vincent S. Long. “The program benefits local businesses, customers, and citizens, all while protecting our precious natural resources for future generations.”
The program is divided up by two different business types: office and retail and bar and restaurants. Any organization including non-profits, faith-based organizations, or any group with an office is eligible to be recognized through the office and retail score sheet.
“There are many businesses in Leon County who are implementing sustainability practices into their operations, and we’re excited to launch a program that will help recognize their efforts and highlight their successes. Through the SustainaBiz program, businesses can also access technical assistance from our sustainability team to help work through barriers, get sustainability questions answered, and ultimately drive their sustainability actions even further,” says Tessa Schreiner, Leon County Sustainability Manager.
The program has several required criteria for any business that wishes to be recognized including:
- conducting an energy audit
- utility and waste monitoring
- eliminating the use of polystyrene (Styrofoam)
- eliminating the use of plastic bags in operations
Depending on points earned on the criteria score sheet, businesses and organizations may be recognized at the Bronze, Silver, or Gold levels. Those recognized will be featured on the County’s Green Map and will receive a Sustainability Action Plan template based on the businesses’ criteria score sheet to help track future sustainability goals and efforts. Recognized businesses can promote their status to clients and customers with a certificate and window sticker.
SustainaBiz has been in development for the past year with key business partners such as the Tallahassee-Leon County Office of Economic Vitality as well as in consultation with two pilot businesses: Square Mug Cafe and Architects Lewis + Whitlock (ALW). Both businesses are certified gold and you can learn more about their sustainability progress at GrowingGreen.org/Sustainabiz.
“Architects Lewis + Whitlock is honored to have been selected for the 2021 Leon County Sustainable Business Recognition Program. We are inspired by the work Leon County’s Office of Sustainability is doing to enhance our community’s adoption of sustainability practices,” said Cam Whitlock, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, ALW Principal-In-Charge. “As creators of the built environment, sustainability is an innate part of our daily lives, and we are actively increasing our efforts to further sustainability initiatives within our office and in our community.”
“The way we approach sustainability at the Square Mug is really from all three pillars - we are a small local business and work to support other small local businesses. We support equity and social wellness for our staff and the community at large, and we've made some significant strides in being environmentally sustainable,” said Donna Elliott, owner and operator of the Square Mug Cafe. “It's great to be recognized through the SustainaBiz program and we hope to show others all the different ways you can be a sustainable business.”
Businesses will also be highlighted on the SustainaBiz website and Leon County’s social media platforms. Citizens are encouraged to get involved by helping share information about the program with their favorite local businesses.
For more information, contact Tessa Schreiner, Sustainability Manager, at 850-606-5021 / SchreinerT@LeonCountyFL.gov or Mathieu Cavell, Leon County Community and Media Relations, at (850) 606-5300 / CMR@LeonCountyFL.gov.