The 2014 Community Impact Awards: Sustainability in Business Operations

October 21, 2014




University of Washington


The University of Washington has a long-standing commitment to environmental sustainability. In 2000, then-Executive Vice President Weldon Ihrig convened a task force on environmental practices. The commitment was bolstered in 2009 with the introduction of a Climate Action Plan and was reaffirmed by a 2012 executive order from President Michael Young.

The university has backed up all of that bark with plenty of bite. Since 2000, the school has cut its greenhouse gas output by 15.6 percent and its water use by 40 percent. Thanks to education and incentives, more than 80 percent of the UW population commutes via an option other than driving alone. And since 2005, every new building on campus has achieved a minimum of LEED Silver certification.

Via its Business Diversity Program, the UW has also directed its staff to buy green and buy local, benefiting the local economy. By joining the University District Livability Partnership, the school has made efforts to improve the look and vitality of the surrounding community as well.


Seattle Aquarium


Since its major remodel in 2007, the nations ninth-largest aquarium has made comprehensive efforts to reduce energy and water use, and increase operating efficiencies. A 49-kilowatt, 247-panel Community Solar array was installed on its roof and went live in December 2013, and a MacDonald-Miller energy management project will reduce annual power use by 25 percent, natural gas use by 30 percent and carbon emissions by 25 percent versus a 2008 through 2012 baseline.

Harley Marine Services


Harley provides marine fuel storage and transportation services at ports along the United States West Coast, as well as in New York and the Gulf of Mexico. Marine fuel is a dirty business, but Harleys efforts to increase recycling of marine oil, solid waste and batteries have earned praise throughout the maritime industry. Harleys tug services have become cleaner, too, thanks to smart fuel management software that allows the company to eliminate unnecessary idling of large vessels.