Gail Hairston

By

College: Agriculture, Food and Environment

UK Names Sustainability Award Winners

Published: Nov 7, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky., (Nov. 7, 2011) – The University of Kentucky recently honored sustainability leaders with the presentation of the 2011 sustainability awards.

 

The awards honor individuals, organizations and corporations that promote sustainable practices and have made impacts at the state, regional and global levels. Winners were chosen based on their contributions to societal, corporate, economic and environmental sustainability. The awards ceremony was part of UK’s recent Sustainability and Environmental Summit.

 

Recipients of the 2011 awards are as follows:

 

Global Sustainability Award: The Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy works to make a positive impact around the world in more than 30 countries, all 50 states and on a local scale.

 

“We believe that we must make progress now toward creating a more sustainable planet,” said Michelle Lapinski, the conservancy’s director of corporate practices. “The large scale changes needed to make a real difference must come from all sectors of society, including businesses.”

 

Toward that end, the conservancy is working with companies around the globe, including Dow, Coca-Cola, Caterpillar and Cargill, to help them better understand and incorporate nature’s value -- like the availability of clean water -- and to protect some of the most important places on Earth. Likewise, the conservancy is working with Kentucky-based companies like Brown-Forman, Toyota and Ashland Inc. to conserve important natural assets in Kentucky.

 

Corporate Sustainability Award, Small and Medium Companies: Florida Tile. For 40 years, Florida Tile has been manufacturing tiles in Lawrenceburg. Recently, Florida Tile’s parent company, Panariagroup, invested more than $20 million in state-of-the-art tile manufacturing equipment, and sustainability was an important consideration in the new manufacturing process. The company purchased local, raw materials and re-used waste streams and installed energy efficient motors and kilns. With recent upgrades in lighting, they are using less than 30 percent of the energy it used to take to light their buildings. In addition to sustainable buildings, they produce sustainable products. Porcelain tile has the longest useful life cycle of any flooring option on the market. Their products also emit no volatile organics and are certified by GREENGUARD for their lowest emitting category.

 

Corporate Sustainability Award, Large Company: GE Appliances and Lighting. Headquartered in Louisville, GE Appliances and Lighting is an $8 billion business with 27,000 employees in more than 100 locations around the globe. It is an industry leader in major household appliances and lighting systems. GE has developed nearly 400 products that have the Energy Star appliance rating. The company was recently recognized as the first appliance manufacturer to partner with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the Responsible Appliance Disposal Program, which encourages recovery and recycling of refrigerators and their components. The company has partnered with Appliance Recycling Centers of America, Inc., which is using a new technology to dramatically reduce the disposal of insulating foam in landfills and reduce the release of greenhouse gas and ozone-depleting emissions. The company also encourages environmental stewardship and education through its online GE Environmental Information Center. GE’s ecomaginationsm initiative is a company-wide commitment to imagine and build innovative solutions to benefit its customers, consumers and society.

 

Public Service Award: Jane Eller. As former executive director of the Kentucky Environmental Education Council, Eller worked with groups across the state and nation to improve awareness of the need for environmental literacy and to develop strategies for improving environmental education. She implemented the Kentucky Green and Healthy Schools Program, developed and implemented an environmental education certification program, worked with Kentuckians to create strategic plans for improving environmental education in the state and collaborated with UK to measure the environmental knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of Kentuckians. At the national level, she was a member of the Pew-funded State Education and Environment Roundtable, a board member of the North American Association for Environmental Education, and served on the EPA’s National Environmental Education Advisory Council.

 

The awards presentation followed the 2nd Annual Research Showcase, which highlights the accomplishments of UK faculty and students, who conduct interdisciplinary research focusing on sustainability and the environment. Following the awards, Peter H, Gleick, co-founder and president of the Pacific Institute, was guest speaker for the environmental seminar speaker series. His presentation was called “New Thinking for Water in the 21st Century.”

 

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