The Sustainable Business Council (SBC) recently announced the Inaugural SBC Industry Achievement Awards recipients during an awards ceremony attended by preeminent sustainable business leaders from throughout Southern California. Five Inaugural SBC Giving Tree Awards trophies that are Ficus Bonsai in Bamboo planters, to coincide with Earth Day and be symbolic of the event’s sustainable message, were presented during the award’s ceremony.

“We have already received an incredible amount of positive feedback from honorees, attendees, and sponsors. We will definitely make these awards an annual event,” said Steve Glenn Chair and co-founder of the Sustainable Business Council.

Van Vlahakis, Owner and Chief Executive Officer, Earth Friendly Products presented with SBC's Lifetime Achievement Award in Sustainability by his daughter, Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, VP, Earth Friendly Products.

“I was inspired to see such a talented, successful and diverse group of businesses and industries embracing the principles of sustainability in their daily lives and workplaces,” said Laura Berland-Shane, Chair of the SBC Industry Achievement Awards and a co-founder of the Sustainable Business Council and member of the board of directors.

Earth Friendly Products honoree Van Vlahakis, a pioneer in sustainability, gave an inspirational talk about his company’s commitment to sustainability. Attendees also received a preview of the upcoming feature film, “A Green Story” produced by Paramyth Films and directed by Nick Agiashvili that chronicles Vlahakis road from humble beginnings in Greece to founder of the multi-million dollar green company, Earth Friendly Products.

Regarding SBC’s Lifetime Business Achievement Award “the SBC Board of Directors chose Patagonia for a number of reasons, including their historic commitment to pesticide-free cotton; the fact that they have helped to create a huge demand for organic cotton; their tithing initiative; their commitment to donating one percent of sales or ten percent of profits to charity; and the fact that they became California’s first Benefit Corporation, which will likely inspire many other businesses to do the same,” said Glenn.

Steve Glenn Chair and Co-founder of the Sustainable Business Council presents Patagonia with SBC’s Lifetime Business Achievement Award, accepting Jason McCaffrey, Director of Surf, Patagonia.

“The remarkable diversity of the 21 finalists (an electric utility, 3 solar power companies, two hotels) reflects increasing significance of sustainability and its principles to a wide range of industries and services,” said Berland-Shane. SBC’s Sustainable Business Award had 21 finalists competing:

  • American Solar Direct,
  • Amonix, Inc.,
  • Bowman Design Group,
  • Brooks + Scarpa Architects,
  • Casa Barranca Organic Winery,
  • Eco-Me,
  • Evenson Design Group,
  • Ecovations,
  • Kanner Architects,
  • Growing Roots LLC,
  • LAcarGUY,
  • Los Angeles Department of Water and Power,
  • Miyako Hybrid Hotel,
  • Nature Woven,
  • Neat-os,
  • OM Spirits,
  • Points West Group,
  • Repurpose, Inc.,
  • Rideshare, Inc.,
  • Solar Universe of Westlake Village,

Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, Until the awards ceremony, the identities of SBC’s Sustainable Business Award recipients were only known by Neil Prasad, CPA, a partner with the national independent accounting firm of Marcum LLP, and another colleague, both of whom confidentially collected and tabulated the judges’ scores. “We were extremely impressed by the high caliber of the nominees for the inaugural SBC Sustainable Business Award – the judges clearly had their work cut out for them!” Prasad said.

SBC’s Sustainable Business Award results were a tie. The two recipients have impressive sustainability credentials. The Miyako Hybrid Hotel is a Silver LEED certified hotel built to show that business, luxury services and green facilities and operations are not mutually exclusive. As a business located in the city of Los Angeles, with an active Sustainable City Plan implemented in 1994, LAcarGUY commits to conducting business in a manner that safeguards health, protects the environment and conserves valuable materials and resources.

For SBC’s People’s Choice: Sustainable Restaurant Award, attendees participated in the final round of judging by casting their ballot after tasting a sample appetizer from the eight restaurant finalists. SBC’s People’s Choice: Sustainable Restaurant Award finalists were:

  • Akasha,
  • Euphoria Loves Rawvolution,
  • Duke’s Huntington Beach,
  • Haven Gastropub,
  • Taco Asylum,
  • Tender Greens,
  • Naya Sunset,
  • And Oceans & Earth Restaurant,

The evening was made possible through the generous support of: Marcum LLP, Lexus Santa Monica, Miyako Hybrid Hotel, Earth Friendly Products, LAcarGUY, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON, An EDISON INTERNATIONAL Company, LivingHomes, erbaviva, Corporate Counsel Partners, Evenson Design Group, NatureWoven, Image Square Print and Graphics and many others.

Photo: Belanger Images

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