Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss, Hummingbird Wholesale, and PIVOT Architecture, are finalists for the 2017 Bold Steps Award.
The Bold Steps Award is the kind of business award you would expect the City of Eugene to give. One where applicants describe company camping trips, boast about their chef-prepared organic lunches for employees, reimbursement for employee massages and their distribution system that is bike powered. Unlike other awards that recognize a milestone or quantitative measure, this one focuses on the journey—the bold steps taken-- and our drive to do business differently here. Welcome to business in Eugene.
After starting as a bi-monthly award to recognize Eugene-based businesses living by the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profits, Bold Steps was re-imagined in 2014 as an annual award where being RE:think certified is the cost of entry and the first step for businesses seeking the award. RE:think Certification is run by BRING Recycling, and helps businesses identify ways to reduce waste and save money.
Businesses also submit a brief application that assesses two other core areas: social and economic. Three finalist companies are chosen by a committee and are announced in ads in business publications. Each company also receives a video about their company’s “bold steps.” Applications are due at the end of August for the following year’s award.
The Bold Steps winner is announced by the mayor at the State of the City address held in January each year. The winner walks away with the Bold Steps Trophy to keep for a year. The trophy itself is perfectly Eugene. It’s made from recycled materials and was constructed by local artist Jud Turner.
While the Bold Steps Award may represent Eugene, this year’s finalists, like many in the past, have impact that extends far beyond our city. Coconut Bliss sources organic coconut milk from Thailand; Hummingbird Wholesale is helping grass seed farmers in Oregon to transition to organic food crops, and PIVOT Architecture is designing LEED Certified buildings around the West and beyond.
About the finalists and their sustainable business practices:
Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss
Coconut Bliss is a privately owned, Eugene-based founded to create satisfying ice cream without the health and ecological impacts associated with dairy, soy, or gluten, and valuing ecological and social sustainability since establishment in 2005.
• Coconut Bliss sources only Fair Trade certified cocoa, coffee, and chocolate to protect farm workers from exploitation and empower producers on a local level by paying fair wages, strengthening living conditions, and giving them a stronger voice in the market through training for producer cooperatives.
• They offer an excellent Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) program for wellness needs not covered by health insurance. This includes massage, alternative medicine and prescribed medication.
• Four days a week an organic, vegetarian midday meal is prepared in-house by their talented chef.
• Coconut Bliss places high emphasis on using only organic certified ingredients as a means of preserving bio-diversity and protecting soil and ground water from harmful synthetic herbicides and pesticides used widely in conventional farming.
Hummingbird Wholesale is a bulk and grocery food manufacturer and distributor located in Eugene, offering organic, local and regional food crops to customers from Seattle to San Francisco.
• The company’s Farm Connections program is responsible for converting a considerable amount of land from conventional to organic, and from grass seed to food crops.
• Hummingbird Wholesale boasts extensive Zero Waste strategies in every aspect of their business, and throws away in the landfill less than 2 family size garbage cans per month. Since 1980, the company has established and managed an innovative Container Reuse Program, where customers, as opposed to purchasing new ones, have returned 100% of plastic containers and 98% of glass containers for a deposit.
• In 2016 Hummingbird Wholesale is on track to do over 1900 bike deliveries. This computes to over 300,000 pounds and over 1 million dollars of food to Eugene customers by bike reducing truck deliveries by almost 50 percent.
• In 2014 they implemented a new process for determining annual bonuses. All staff members receive a bonus based on a percentage of their profit. A portion of the bonus is calculated based on points earned for participation in “Extra-Mile” activities, including volunteering.
PIVOT Architecture is a full-service firm that specializes in inspired architecture, planning and interior design and founds their business plan on providing exceptional service to their clients for the last 60 years.
• The company strives to be a leading example of creating a positive impact on the community by demonstrating sustainable business practices and diminishing their impact on the environment with LEED certification
• PIVOT’s leadership is devoted to fostering a culture of employee mentorship and stewardship to ensure the company’s success in the leadership of subsequent generations.
• This year, PIVOT is on track to donate more than 2,000 hours of staff time to community service and professional organizations and nearly 10,000 hours committed in the last five years.
• PIVOT hosts an annual picnic as well as regular company camping trips, cross country skiing outings, and other activities.
• The company seeks to design buildings with a smaller environmental footprint through design, product selection, energy savings and site-specific solutions via office-wide staff meetings and workshops focused on these sustainability topics.
• PIVOT uses their unique opportunity to influence the community by using locally and regionally sourced materials, recycled materials, less-toxic and renewable resources, and by constructing sustainable buildings today that will shape our environment for decades to come.