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Mission of the York Energy Efficiency Committee

Our mission is to respond to the global warming crisis by promoting energy efficiency, alternative energy, and environmental initiatives throughout the town of York, Maine.
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Local business and sustainability

The York Energy Efficiency Committee Business Initiative is interested in how local businesses are thinking about global warming and their efforts to address it by reducing electricity and fuel consumption, recycling and food recovery, reduction of plastic and transitioning to renewable energy. We have developed a series of questions and have initiated conversations with business leaders in a variety of settings.

Thinking about writing this article on sustainability and business, I first wanted to know what major corporations are doing about climate change.

In my research I discovered Climate Counts, a non-profit campaign that scores companies annually on the basis of their voluntary action to reverse climate change. The Climate Counts Company Scorecard launched in June 2007 helps people vote with their dollars by making climate-conscious purchasing and investing choices. According to the Climate Counts web site, “We believe that positive change starts with a hopeful outlook that real change is possible and that the relationship between companies and consumers can become more substantive and constructive.” To see how your favorite companies are doing and provide them with feedback, check out www.climatecounts.org

From there it made sense to look at how one large regionally based company is working towards sustainability. Stonyfield Farms, producer of organic yogurt, started out as an organic farming school in the early ‘80s. Today it’s mission statement is, “Healthy food, healthy people, healthy business, healthy planet”.

A recent innovation is the yogurt multi-pack cups made from a plant-based plastic in contrast to traditional petroleum based plastic. To learn about their journey to corn based containers, the first of its kind in the country, check out their video, On The Road to Sustainable. Their web site is full of useful information for consumers:  www.stonyfield.com

Closer to home, I talked with Joe Lipton about his business, Inn On The Blues at York Beach. A long list of actions designed to reduce his carbon footprint include switching to CFL bulbs, replacing shower heads and toilets to low flow and using low-VOC paint in the lodging.

To decrease electricity use, the restaurant has changed light ballasts to 2 bulbs per bay, a process known as de-lamping. The Gasket Guy regularly replaces gaskets to reduce energy loss and Baker Commodities picks up and pays Lipton for fryer oil. Biodegradable products are in use for cutlery and cups. Business administration is paperless.

In order to make “green” products more affordable, Lipton would like to see local businesses make collective purchases, the products to be distributed from a centrally located site. Stop in and thank Joe for his leadership in sustainability (and enjoy good food and music).

I look forward to highlighting my conversations with Andrew Siegal, co-owner of Pigs Fly Bread and Matt Rothman, manager of Hannafords Supermarket, in future articles.

The Business Initiative of the York Energy Efficiency Committee plans to collaborate with the York Chamber of Commerce and to continue to meet with York businesses so that we can work together to tackle the challenge of global warming.

Submitted by Victoria Simon, member of  York Energy Efficiency Committee, a non-profit citizen’s group which meets at 7 PM on the second Tuesday of each month at the York Library.

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