Abigail Paris serves as Program Assistant for the Socially Responsible Business Program.
Today is Earth Day—a day to reflect on the importance and value of the natural environment. Started more than 40 years ago in the United States, Earth Day is now celebrated in over 175 countries. It also serves as a time to take note of year-round environmental stewardship. In the 2010 edition of our annual Labor Day List: Partnerships that Work, we did just that.
The eight businesses featured in the report are leaders in the green industry, in terms of both environmental sustainability and labor-management partnerships. Litecontrol manufactured the first architectural lighting systems to be Cradle to Cradle™ certified. Gerding Edlen Development led the first LEED-Platinum certified renovation of a building on the National Register of Historic Places. McGough Construction built the first office building in Minnesota to be certified LEED Platinum. Flambeau River Papers will be the first pulp and paper mill in North America to go fossil fuel free by using a biofuel plant that turns wood byproducts into green diesel fuel to power the mills.
These companies, along with Eurofresh, Golden Solar, Sharp Solar, and United Streetcar, showcase the success of the green jobs movement–which is combating rising global temperatures, providing quality jobs for workers, and a lucrative bottom-line for businesses. Together, businesses and their employees are working toward the long-term sustainability of industry—sustainability defined not only by the conditions of the natural environment, but also by the conditions of the businesses and workers operating within it.
On this Earth Day, it’s important to remember that a commitment to the environment and business success are not mutually exclusive. And as the 2010 Labor Day List companies demonstrate, going green works best when employees have a voice on the job and a stake in the success of the company—working in partnership with their employer to ensure the long-term viability, of both the business and the environment.
Photo courtesy Flambeau River Papers.