The City of Evanston announced that businesses taking action to reduce their environmental impact can receive support from the City as well as recognition for their efforts as part of a new sustainable business recognition program.
The program, Sustain Evanston, aims to encourage local businesses to make sustainability improvements, such as installing energy efficient lighting or implementing a composting program, while helping the City meet the ambitious goals outlined in its Climate Action and Resilience Plan (CARP).
The CARP program was developed and approved in late 2018 by a working group comprised of 17 experts appointed by Mayor Stephen Hagerty. The plan itself details incremental changes in daily City operations in order to achieve the aforementioned goals: 100% clean and renewable energy by 2030 as well as both carbon neutrality and net zero waste by 2050. By participating in the Sustain Evanston initiative, Evanston businesses can be active participants in making these goals attainable.
To be recognized through the Sustain Evanston program, eligible Evanston businesses must implement at least 10 of the sustainable actions listed in the program checklist, available on their website. There are 20 sustainable actions that apply to each of two different business categories: restaurants and office spaces and retail locations. Each category has qualifications geared towards particular industries, such as having hair salons decrease their use of aerosol spray, or having one menu item at a restaurant consist of a local and farm-to-table ingredient.
The website offers businesses information about rebates and resources available to help them complete the required actions. A $250 cash incentive is available to recognized businesses to help offset costs associated with meeting the program requirements.
Businesses interested in participating in the Sustain Evanston recognition program must complete the required actions and submit documentation by Aug. 4. Those that complete the program will receive a Sustain Evanston storefront decal recognizing them as a sustainable business, as well as a logo that can be displayed on their website.
This program takes the concept of efficiency further than simply encouraging the public to go green. Three qualifications in each section encourage businesses to take steps to better their community and the treatment of those within it.
From finding three factors that would make a business more elderly-friendly, to providing restaurant employees with uneaten leftovers that would otherwise have been thrown out, the program appears to be using all available factors to work towards an overall state of wellness in the community.
There is even an encouragement for businesses to keep a payroll that is made up of more than 30% Evanston residents, a move that the City says could have a significant net positive impact on the local economy over time.
Companies that would like assistance completing the Sustain Evanston program submission form are encouraged to sign up for a free, 45-minute site visit from City staff. Interested businesses can request a June or July visit at SustainEvanston.com/request-a-site-visit.
Six businesses have already been recognized as part of the Sustain Evanston pilot program: Assembly Creators, Dream to Product, Electronic Processing of North America (EPNA), Hip Circle Empowerment Center, In Fine Fettle, and Notice.