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The South is associated with many things: great food, music, literature, Mardi Gras–but rarely is it celebrated as a region that prioritizes protecting the environment. With America Recycles Day taking place November 15, we wanted to gear up by spotlighting Southern businesses that currently support recycling and other eco-friendly initiatives.
Although Southern states didn’t make it into most of the Top 10 Greenest States of 2016 lists, there are still plenty of business owners below the Mason-Dixon line who are doing their part to protect the planet.
The ultimate in environmentally friendly recycling programs recently launched at the Original Oyster House on the edge of Mobile Bay, AL.com reports. The shell of every oyster shucked at the restaurant will be saved and returned to Mobile Bay’s oyster reefs.
The rest of the Causeway restaurants will also participate in the Alabama Coastal Foundation program, and will eventually be expanded to the restaurants in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores. Biologists say it is one of the best things the state can do to help restore the bay’s dwindling oyster beds, and Southern businesses like Original Oyster House are leading the way.
Southern businesses (and folks up North!) can learn a lot from this family operated bakery and tavern with over 100 years of memories in the walls. Why? Parkway is just as known for their charitable initiatives as they are for their award-winning poor boys.
Beyond recently investing in a 100-car, rain-absorbing, True Grid parking lot and contributing to various green projects throughout New Orleans, this world famous destination is a major sponsor for SOULNOLA, a local reforestation initiative.
American Truck Showrooms may be the cleanest, greenest operating truck wash in the world. SoutheastGreen reports that the Atlanta-based company has developed a system to treat waste water created by Semi Truck washing facilities and is actively seeking partners to build-out this system and scale it for widespread use.
A “green” truck washing facility can now clean the thousands of gallons of water polluted by road grime, degreasers, road salts, detergents and other chemicals found on Semi Trucks – and on America’s roadways. The American Truck Showrooms Truck Wash System has effectively taken pollutants out of the environment and disposed of them leaving behind nothing but clean water.
A toast to environmental sustainability! Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Silver Eagle is recognized as the nation’s largest distributor of Anheuser-Busch products, and one of the largest Grupo Modelo distributors in the nation.
Silver Eagle was the first privately-owned fleet in Texas to convert to clean diesel technology and to date, 75 percent of their Houston-area fleet has been converted. Due to their use of clean tech, Silver Eagle reduces an estimated 51 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from Houston’s air each year.
Additionally, Silver Eagle contributes over $3 million annually to more than 700 different charitable organizations across various disciplines, including environmental stewardship. They are also a corporate sponsor with Houston Wilderness, a broad-based alliance of Southern businesses and environmental / government interests that act in concert to protect, preserve, and promote the region’s precious remaining ecological resources.
Recycling is big business in South Carolina, a $13 billion industry sustaining more than 20,000 jobs and 500 companies–and Palmetto Synthetics has contributed to this sea change.
Established in 1997, this industry leader produces high-quality, thermoplastic fibers at its 250,000-square-foot facility in Kingstree, S.C. As an environmentally-friendly firm, the company strives to maintain a sustainable and green approach as it serves the growing fiber market.
Palmetto Synthetics is currently partnering with Techmer PM and Applied DNA Sciences (ADNAS) on the Signature® T DNA tagging and testing system for textiles. The molecular DNA tagging of cotton fibre at the gin is creating a new level of security for the complex cotton supply chain.
Few people immediately associate environmental sustainability with Southern businesses, but they should. The entities we’ve featured understand that corporate responsibility is more than just a blurb on a website; it’s putting values into practices that are ultimately a smart business decision–one that supports the economy and preserves this planet for future generations.
The terms “environmental sustainability” or “sustainable development” were coined by the United Nations World Commission on the Environment and Development in its 1987 report titled Our Common Future. In that report, the World Commission defined “sustainable development” as development which “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
A business’s main priority is to make money and maximize profits for its shareholders, but there’s a strong argument to be made that when a business prioritizes environmental sustainability in ways that extend beyond compliance with legal mandates, not only is it a responsible thing to do–it can also improve financial performance.
In 1966, Lyndon B. Johnson commented on environmental conditions and even on the sustainability of the environment: “. . . To sustain an environment suitable for man, we must fight one-thousand battlefields. Despite all of our wealth and knowledge, we cannot create a redwood forest, a wild river or a gleaming seashore. But we can keep these we have.”