Six Massachusetts companies ranging from a ski resort in the Berkshires to the largest grocery chain in New England have been named winners of the inaugural Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) Sustainability Award. The award recognizes excellence in environmental stewardship, promotion of social well-being and contributions to economic prosperity.
AIM announced today that Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort of Hancock; PeoplesBank of Holyoke; W.D. Cowls, Inc. of North Amherst; Cavicchio Greenhouses, Inc. of Sudbury; Gorton’s Seafood of Gloucester; and the Stop & Shop New England Division of Ahold USA were selected from among 33 nominations. The six companies will be honored at a series of regional celebrations throughout Massachusetts in September and October.
“These companies set the standard for sustainably managing their financial, social and environmental resources in a manner that ensures responsible, long-term success,” said AIM President and Chief Executive Officer Richard C. Lord.
“Sustainability guarantees that the success of employers benefits our communities, our commonwealth and our fellow citizens. We congratulate our honorees and all the worthy companies that were nominated.”
Sustainability has gained widespread acceptance in recent years as global corporations such as Wal-Mart, General Electric and IBM make it part of their business and financial models.
The six honorees were selected by a committee that included the co-chairs of AIM’s Sustainability Roundtable - Johanna Jobin, Director of Global EHS and Sustainability at Biogen; and James McCabe, Sustainability Manager, Global Operations Group, Waters Corporation.
AIM initiated the Sustainability Roundtable in 2011 to provide employers the opportunity to exchange sustainability best practices and hear from experts in the field. That opportunity has attracted dozens of participants from companies such as Bose, Siemens, Coca-Cola, Boston Beer, MilliporeSigma, Ocean Spray, Analogic and Cisco.
Here are summaries of each recipient, along with the date and location of the celebration when each will receive the award.
Stop & Shop New England, Division of Ahold USA – October 24, Gillette Stadium, Foxboro
Stop & Shop in April opened an innovative, state-of-the-art, Green Energy Facility in Freetown that uses a natural process called anaerobic digestion to convert inedible food that cannot be donated into clean energy. The process produces up to 40 percent of the energy for Stop & Shop's 1.1 million square-foot adjacent distribution center, enough power to operate the center for four months of the year.
Each day, 95 tons of inedible food from 208 Stop & Shop stores is brought to the 24,000 square-foot facility to be processed and converted into biogas. The bio-gas fuels a generator that in turn, generates electricity providing power for heating, lighting and air conditioning systems in the sprawling distribution center.
“As a responsible retailer, one of our top priorities is reducing our environmental footprint, specifically through the conversion of food that would otherwise go into a landfill,” said Mark McGowan, President, Stop & Shop New England. “The Green Energy Facility is a perfect example of our ongoing efforts to be greener in our operations.”
The Green Energy Facility is part of Stop & Shop’s strategic and long-term efforts to reduce its environmental footprint. Today, Stop & Shop diverts 88 percent of its total waste from landfills with the goal to be “zero waste” by 2020.
Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, Hancock – September 20, Interprint Inc., Pittsfield
Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort will add to its extensive renewable energy portfolio this season by installing high-efficiency snowmaking guns on its downhill ski facility in Hancock. The resort expects to be completely powered by renewable energy by 2017.
The 450 new snow gun heads will replace older, less efficient technology and will reduce the amount of electricity used for making snow. The new LPXY snowmaking guns generate twice as much snow using half the amount of compressed air as the older model. Jiminy was able to take advantage of a National Grid energy efficiency incentive program to help offset a portion of the cost for the upgrade.
The project, along with the installation of LED lights on nine night-skiing trails, is the latest in a long history of environmental stewardship for the resort. Recent additions to the portfolio include a 2.3 megawatt community shared solar facility with Nexamp and a co-generation facility located in the Country Inn. These renewable projects are in addition to the 1.5 megawatt GE wind turbine for which the resort was awarded the Golden Eagle Award from the National Ski Areas Association.
Jiminy Peak is the largest ski and snowboard resort in southern New England and a premier four-season resort in the Berkshires. The 167-acre facility includes extensive conference and wedding facilities.
“Controlling and reducing the snowmaking operating costs, maximizing snow production and optimizing the benefits of all capital reinvestments have long been the mantra of this organization,” the company says.
“Jiminy's policy of environmental awareness is seen in all of our activities. We seek to raise the environmental awareness of guests and employees, and to broaden their knowledge and appreciation through educational programs.”
Jiminy is also a participant in the NSAA Climate Challenge, joining other resorts striving to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and preserving the earth for future generations.
Cavicchio Greenhouses, Inc., Sudbury – October 17, Hanover Theatre, Worcester
Cavicchio Greenhouses, Inc. established in 1910, is a company that works and lives off the land, so it’s no surprise that the company spends a lot of time understanding and mitigating its impact on the environment.
Cavicchio is New England’s most comprehensive wholesale horticultural grower and distributor, cultivating and sustaining more than 250 acres of annuals, perennials and nursery stock, complimented by a premium selection of loam, mulch, stone, and landscape supplies.
The company operates 10 acres of state-of-the-art greenhouse space powered by computerized environmental control systems. Water usage has been addressed by installing flood floor systems to recycle water and by grading the fields (160 acres) so that irrigation water circulates back to irrigation ponds.
The company utilizes wood-fueled heating and cooling systems in its greenhouses year-round. The wood that fuels these boilers is chipped on-site from logs and cut trees brought in by landscape contractors. The process provides a convenient way for customers to recycle debris and has eliminated the need to use fuel oil.
Cavicchio Greenhouses, Inc. communicates, both internally and externally, the importance of not misusing the land they occupy, and has engaged customers by implementing free plastic-pot and tray recycling programs, recycling over 300 tons of plastic annually. And, Cavicchio has dedicated 10 acres to composting and recycling of grass, leaves, soil, brush, asphalt, concrete and cement. Other environmental efficiency improvements include incorporating electric carts and replacing diesel-powered tractors.
PeoplesBank, Holyoke – October 20, Wood Museum of Springfield History, Springfield
PeoplesBank is not only building environmental responsibility into its own future, but also helping others do the same.
The 131-year-old community bank based in Holyoke recently constructed LEED® certified branches in Springfield, West Springfield, and Northampton – the first of their kind in the area. LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.
After building the branches, PeoplesBank initiated community education events to spread the word about environmentally friendly construction and building operation. It also installed electric-vehicle charging stations at three locations and held e-recycling events that have collected more than 100,000 pounds of material to date.
But the bank didn’t stop there. Using one of its core business capabilities, PeoplesBank has financed more than $100 million in wind, solar, and hydroelectric power in the region. The organization regarded tackling the sheer complexity of financing these projects as another opportunity to serve the community.
The bank even sponsors of a farmers’ market for associates, a program that led to the formation of an Environmental Committee to promote green values at home and at work.
“Through our commitment and actions to support environmental sustainability, we believe that we can make the region a healthier place to live, work and raise a family,” said Tom Senecal, PeoplesBank President and Chief Executive Officer.
W.D. Cowls, Inc., North Amherst – October 20, Wood Museum of Springfield History, Springfield
Here’s proof of sustainability - W.D. Cowls Inc. has been continuously managing generations of the same forest land in western Massachusetts since 30 years before the Revolutionary War.
The North Amherst forestry, real estate and building-materials company has been working woodlands in the Pioneer Valley since 1741, through nine generations of family ownership. Cowls grows and harvests diverse mixed species - including pine, oak and hemlock - along with other forest products. It also retails lumber, paint, hardware and building materials at its Cowls Building Supply store.
The long-term sustainable view that has led Cowls to care for and maintain the same Massachusetts forest for more than 275 years led the company to create the largest private conservation project in Massachusetts history, placing a Conservation Restriction on 3,486 acres of timberland now known as the Paul C. Jones Working Forest. An additional 2,000 to 3,000 acres are due to be conserved during the next 12 months.
In a textbook definition of Smart Growth, Cowls uses revenue earned conserving outlying open space to sustainably develop downtown North Amherst. Cowls’ generational Home Farm redevelopment is as sustainable as the company’s forest practices.
Every generation of the Cowls family since 1741 has built what was needed on the 20-acre Home Farm in North Amherst. The site in the past has produced tobacco and onions, and housed such diverse operations as the Amherst-Sunderland branch of the Holyoke Street Railway system, a major dairy operation and the first electric sawmill in the country.
For this generation, the Cowls’ Home Farm is becoming a new town center called The Mill District. The project already includes Cowls Building Supply; Atkins Farms Market in the old cow barn; The Lift Salon and Bread and Butter Café in the new Trolley Barn; and more than a dozen apartments.
The next phase of growth is about to begin. North Square in The Mill District will feature 130 apartments and 22,000 square feet of restaurants, shops and services underneath.
Today, as the state’s largest private landowner, Cowls sets the bar for environmental and economic sustainability.
Gorton’s Seafood, Gloucester – October 26, Riverwalk Complex, Lawrence
One of the most recognizable names in seafood discovered that reducing its environmental impact is a matter of degree – nine degrees to be exact.
Gloucester-based Gorton’s Seafood, for many years a leader in preserving the oceans that yield its products, utilized data and scientific analysis to determine that raising the temperature at which its frozen seafood was distributed would significantly reduce diesel emissions tied to climate change. So the company changed its recommendation for delivery temperatures from minus 10 degrees to minus one degree
The result was that the company’s carriers saved 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel a year, the equivalent of removing 85 cars from the road or planting 696 trees. Gorton’s was also able to smooth out significant swings in temperature to which its seafood is often subjected during the long journey from plant to grocery store to home freezer.
The program is part of a broader sustainability program at Gorton’s called Trusted Catch. As part of that commitment to sustainability, Gorton’s currently sources 97 percent of its wild-caught seafood from fisheries that are certified as sustainable by a third party.
“As a seafood industry leader located in America’s oldest seaport, Gloucester, Massachusetts, we recognize that preserving our oceans and natural resources is not merely an option, it is a mandate. It is a mandate that we have followed for generations by partnering with a select group of suppliers and adhering to strict quality controls and standards that are among the toughest in the industry,” the company said.
All of the regional award celebrations are free and open to AIM members, but registration is required.