How YOU can be sustainable:
- Support local green businesses in our Green Marketplace
- Take our Green Business Pledge
- Read the latest North Florida Sustainability Report
Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. This goal will be achieved when everyone enjoys:
- The same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, and
- Equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.
- Download here, an overview of EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice, including information about Strategic Opportunities for Advancing Environmental Justice, Tools and Products for Environmental Justice Action, Environmental Justice Integration, Direct Support, and Partnerships and Engagement.
#SocialSustainabilityMonth Employer Toolkit
The Green Chamber of Commerce is proud to be your source for implementing more Social Sustainability in the workforce. Because we know that employees are 13% more productive when happy. The First Friday of each month, watch for our unique and proven tips to make employees love where they work. Download these toolkits for FREE
In the past, most of our electricity came from power stations that used fossil fuels like coal and oil. Coal, oil and gas are non-renewable sources of energy because only a limited amount exists and once they have been used up, that’s it. When a power plant burns the fossil fuels, greenhouse gas is made, including carbon dioxide and methane. This is why they are called dirty sources of energy. Renewable energy is generally defined as energy that is collected from resources which are naturally replenished, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal.
The North Florida Green Chamber of Commerce (NFGCC) is working to make energy cleaner and better in North Florida. We believe that, in the Sunshine State, it is important to engage business owners, utilities, government and solar companies, while we move toward cleaner energy. Find resources for small businesses, energy economy data and workforce training at the Department of Energy.gov. And get inspired and watch our favorite top 10 Ted Talks on Clean EnergyParagraph
It is encouraging that the business community is leading the way. One of our favorite business organizations, The Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA), is out to transform the way America’s biggest companies invest in renewables. The goal of the 200-member trade group is to make buying wind and solar power easier for corporations and consumers alike. Find a corporate tracker here.
Around the world, businesses use more than they need and scrap the excess, setting our planet on the course to irreparable damage in innumerable respects. Find the North Florida Recycling toolkit or by visiting our Benefits Page>Toolkits>Recycling to learn how you can recalibrate the trajectory of our environment as well as that of your business. Resourceful business practices are smart business practices, and our recycling toolkit gives you resources.
We support the mission of Plastic Free July and encourage our North Florida community to reduce their use of single use plastics. More details coming soon . . .
Business owners hear more about how air relates to wind turbines than they do about how it affects their longevity and that of their community. The NFGCC is here to change that by introducing you to the USGCC’s Air Advocacy Page, which shows you ways in which the impact of your business on local air quality can be improved.
We bring to your attention developing policies designed to address issues of air pollution, and inform you of pollution’s various forms beyond the dangerously generalized notion of “smog:”
- The North Florida TPO staffs and supports the nonprofit corporation, North Florida Clean Fuels Coalition, which advocates using alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies to reduce petroleum consumption, improve air quality and develop regional economic opportunities. Learn more »
- The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has an up-to-date air quality monitor, which is found here. In addition, according to the FDEP, emissions in Florida are at their lowest they have ever been and are decreasing.
- Governor Ron DeSantis has recently announced an initiative to install electric car charging stations at every Florida Turnpike service plaza. See news article here »
As our businesses grow, our world shrinks. It is time to think more critically about how we commute in it. The USGCC’s transportation and infrastructure advocacy page discusses ways that your business can work to change the fabric of your environment. We would like to help your business run more smoothly and minimize your carbon footprint.
In Northeast Florida, Jacksonville has teamed up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Smart City” Challenge: “the Smart Region Master Plan builds on previous master plans created by the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization (North Florida TPO). The plan identifies and implements new and emerging technologies to collect, analyze and apply data from multiple sources to enhance the region’s livability and ultimately create a safer, more efficient and more reliable transportation system.” Learn more by going to the website here »
The NFGCC wants to help your business identify healthier, greener services, and products with guaranteed performance. Whether you are looking for green and healthy products or manufacturing them, visit the USGCC chemical advocacy page to learn about the new realities–both good and bad–brought about by novel chemical processes so that you can harness this immense potential to launch your business forward while also protecting the planet. There you will find DOE and EPA approved means of bettering your business’s chemical management and creating a healthier work environment, in addition to current developments in chemical legislation.
Springs! Wetlands! Rivers! Oh my!
Perhaps one of the most beautiful features that makes Florida a unique and wonderful place to live and work is its abundance of surface waters. Florida is home to hundreds of freshwater springs, which pump out an average of 6.5 million to 64 million gallons of freshwater per day.
In addition to freshwater springs, Florida contains an abundance of wetlands. Wetlands are dynamic ecosystems, which provide many beneficial functions to the natural environment, including protecting and improving water quality, providing fish and wildlife habitats, storing floodwaters and maintaining surface water flow during dry periods.
Possibly the most well-known inland water body found in North Florida is the St. Johns River, which flows north from Indian River County and feeds out into the Atlantic Ocean in Duval County. The St. Johns River is a crucial component to commerce and recreation in North Florida. In addition to the St. Johns River, North Florida is blessed with the Intercoastal waterway.
In addition to Florida’s abundant waters, it is a tourist mecca. Our natural resources are intrinsically tied to our economy, so keeping our waters crystal clean and beautiful must be a number-one priority for any business that plans to thrive.
However, there are times when our desires to maintain a certain aesthetic can run afoul of our ecosystem’s natural beauty, and that is when there is an overuse of fertilizers. Most chemical fertilizers contain two ingredients, nitrogen and phosphorus, which are known to contribute to the growth of nutrients which cause toxic green algae. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Environmental Protection Agency both regulate the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that can be used in the State of Florida to stop the pollution of our surface waters. However, every year, especially in warm summer months, there seems to be an issue with that nasty green slime also known as algae.
Algae not only threatens biodiversity and the functions of our waterbodies, it can also put a damper on tourism and recreation. Businesses and individuals who want to be mindful of protecting Florida’s fresh and brackish inland waters can help by doing the following:
- Xeriscaping: xeriscaping is a landscaping philosophy that uses as many native, drought-resistant plants as possible and arranges them in efficient, water-saving ways. Using native, drought-resistant plants in landscaping reduces the need for fertilization as well as irrigation, which is cost-effective as well as environmentally friendly.
- Buy Certified-Organic: Organic certification is a certification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. In general, any business directly involved in food production can be certified, including seed suppliers, farmers, food processors, retailers and restaurants. The “USDA Organic” or “Certified Organic” seal on your food means the item has been certified to have an ingredients list that is free of synthetic additives like pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and dyes, and must not be processed using industrial solvents, irradiation, or genetic engineering, according to the USDA.
- Lower Chemical use: The EWG Certification and database, provides a platform for cosmetic companies to be responsible in their chemical use in household products.
While water conservation is generally understood to be one of the biggest ways we can save our ecosystems, it is also essential to your business in more ways than you realize. The USGCC Water Advocacy page brings those less obvious points to your attention. There you will find not only EPA verified means to increase the efficiency of your water usage, but also a wide range of hot topics in water usage legislation that enable your business to take its activism beyond popularized yet specious and ultimately insufficient efforts so commonly encountered in the media.
August is National Water Quality Month, a time to focus on something we usually take for granted. The North Florida Green Chamber of Commerce has announced its inaugural Water Quality Award.
The Water Quality Award will recognize examples of water quality improvement and conservation that best demonstrates significant, lasting, and measurable excellence in water quality improvement or in prevention of water quality degradation by Green Chamber members and other business leaders in North Florida. The award is given to the best candidate that demonstrates superior accomplishment in the categories below or other activities that result in groundwater or surface water quality improvements, respond to water quality threats and improve clean water resource availability and projections.
What are you doing to protect and conserve your sources of freshwater? Let us know so we can acknowledge you during National Water Quality Month or nominate someone. Submit a nomination application here.
Category 1: Creative Landscape Award. Successful candidate uses engineering design principals of Low Impact Development (green infrastructure) to reduce or eliminate flow of storm-water and potential contaminants carried with it from the property to receiving waters or that uses natural systems to manage storm-water and contaminants. Living shorelines, Florida Friendly Landscaping and concepts included in the low impact design manual are good examples as well as other efforts to use existing natural landscape or restoring landscape in order to provide water quality improvement and wildlife habitat. https://www.coj.net/departments/neighborhoods/docs/environmental-quality/epb-sym-2010—lowimpactdev.aspx.
Category 2: Conservation and Water Reuse Award. Successful candidate successfully demonstrates sustainability through reduction of consumption and reuse of water resources. Examples include water conservation through indoor high-efficiency fixtures and appliance, outdoor efficient irrigation systems including microirrigation and or smart irrigation technology. Reuse features may include; water reuse from converting wastewater or storm-water into water that can be reused for other purposes. Types of reuse include: urban reuse, agricultural reuse (irrigation), environmental reuse, industrial reuse. Reuse may include irrigation of gardens and agricultural fields. Reused water may also be directed toward fulfilling certain needs in residences (e.g. toilet flushing), businesses, and industry. Rainwater harvesting projects will also be evaluated. Creative reductions in energy use and resource recycling are included.
Category 3: Stormwater Management Award. Successful candidate demonstrates creative and beneficial stormwater management activities in their Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans, either on behalf of their own facility or their client’s, by keeping potential contaminants from stormwater exposure at covered industrial sites or optimizing erosion and sedimentation controls at construction sites.
Category 4: Wetland Protections Award. Candidate demonstrates successful efforts in protecting and enhancing wetlands through project design that avoids impacts to wetlands, including secondary impacts, enhancing wetlands through exotic species removal and hydrologic restoration or other efforts that preserve and expand wetland functions. Creation of new wetland areas may be included.
Submit a nomination application here. The deadline for submitting in 2021 has ended
Water Quality Award Winners for 2021 are . . .
Creative Landscape Award: Blue Leaf Landscape
Landscape architecture design for residential, commercial, industrial and government projects. Certified and proficient in sustainable practices and alternatives.
Conservation and Water Reuse Award: Ecologel Solutions, LLC
A developer and manufacturer of innovative products for water conservation, plant nutrition, pond and lake management, anti-fungal coatings and more.
Stormwater Management Award and Wetland Protections Award: Florida Green Building Coalition Founded in 2000, FGBC is the leading certifier of green residential and commercial projects, and developments and local governments in Florida with water conservation being a main focus.