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Nominations sought for Best and Brightest Sustainable Companies
West Michigan is well represented in annual competition.
It’s that time of year again: The Best and Brightest Sustainable Companies awards program is looking for companies, nonprofits and educational institutions in Michigan that are leading the way on sustainable and green initiatives.
Nominations are being accepted online through July 30 at 101bestandbrightest.com/sustainable.
Winning organizations will be recognized during an educational symposium and awards gala Sept. 16 at Davenport University.
Companies from all industries that are focused on becoming more sustainable, improving the lives of their employees, and committing to the environment both locally and globally are encouraged to apply.
Participating organizations will be evaluated and scored by the Illinois Institute of Technology, an independent research firm, in the following categories: education; communication; strategic planning and operational implementation; innovation and problem solving; building and grounds; community leadership; workforce; and financial performance.
Each company’s entry is evaluated based on a point system. Those receiving the highest points in relation to the company’s sustainable initiatives category are selected as the winners. In all categories, the winners are further analyzed for “Elite” recognition. The highest points assigned in each category are selected as the Elite winners.
Each year West Michigan is well represented in the nominations and on the winners list.
“Based on 2013 data, 40 percent came from West Michigan and the rest were throughout the entire state. West Michigan did very well,” said Jennifer Kluge, president and CEO of the Michigan Business and Professional Association.
Nearly 400 nominations are received annually, but many of those do not make it through the screening processes, opting out after they review the requirements.
While nonprofits, schools and universities always have been welcome to apply, this year there is a special focus on encouraging these sectors to participate.
“It’s important that we cast a wider net so that we can properly acknowledge organizations that don’t necessarily compete with regular business,” said Justin Swan, Best and Brightest advisory board member and vice president of sales and development at Organicycle.
“It benefits everyone to learn what different sectors of the economy are doing so that we can learn and grow from each other,” Kluge added. “This program encourages and scores on implementing best practices. Universities and nonprofits can help provide those best practices and/or learn from them.”
Swan said the Best and Brightest program strives to identify companies that are interested in not only championing sustainability efforts within their own organization, but also sharing the solutions they’ve found through others, championing sustainability in the community at large.
“You have the opportunity to be recognized for the advancements you’ve already taken, but you also have the opportunity to expose some of those advancements and share them with other organizations and businesses,” he said.
“What I am excited about is the Best and Brightest presenting some of the things they’ve done — tailored, custom-fit practices that they’ve developed — so other businesses and organizations can begin to incorporate those, as well.”
Swan said he thinks participating companies will be impressed with the direction the Best and Brightest Sustainable Companies program is taking this year, although he said he could not elaborate on what will be different.
“I really like how aggressive we are this year toward ensuring that Best and Brightest is going to be proactive in providing information and tools that these businesses and organizations require to thrive in sustainability,” he said.
“We’ve got to provide simple solutions, but we’ve got to constantly push the envelope.”
The awards are being co-presented by Corp! magazine and Davenport University.