Green America: Growing the Green Economy for People and the Planet

Winners Announced in "People & Planet" Green Small Business Contest

$5,000 Prize Awarded to Three Companies in Alabama, Massachusetts, and, Michigan for Dedication to Producing Apparel in an Ethical Manner

September 24, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC -- Three winners were announced today for Green America’s quarterly “People & Planet Award”, which recognizes America’s best green, small businesses. Each of three winners will receive $5,000. The winners are: Earth Creations, Nancy’s Gone Green, and Maggie’s Organics. Winners were selected by the public, who had a month-long open voting period online at Green America’s website. 
 
Green America’s “People & Planet Awards” recognize innovative entrepreneurial U.S. businesses that deeply integrate environmental and social considerations into their strategies and operations. This round of the Awards focused on green businesses that have committed to the production of apparel in an ethical manner.

Alisa Gravitz, president, Green America, said: “The Bangladesh sweatshop accident this year cast into stark relief the terrible conditions that many workers in the clothing industry endure and which also claim lives. Yet, these three businesses prove that there are alternatives to that reality. Green America is proud to recognize businesses that demonstrate a commitment to green products and to the pursuit of safe working conditions and fair living wages with this People & Planet Award.”

The winning companies’ descriptions are below:

  • Earth Creations, Bessemer, AL., http://www.earthcreations.net/.  Earth Creations produces a full line of organic apparel for men, women, and children. Their clothing is dyed with natural and low-impact colors. Originally inspired by the color of Alabama red dirt, the company first started experimenting with clay as a dye for t-shirts over 17 years ago. Today, the company’s sewing plant is located in Moulton, AL. Over the years, Earth Creations’ mission has not changed. Nature is still their greatest inspiration, and protecting the Earth remains their passion. They strive to create high-quality, eco-friendly clothing in a sustainable manner, and still make it something beautiful that customers love to wear day after day. They work to give back to the community in meaningful ways, helping out good causes and supporting environmental efforts.
  • Nancy’s Gone Green, Framingham, MA., http://www.nancysgonegreen.com/.  Founded by a mother-daughter team, Nancy's Gone Green is an eco-friendly online boutique devoted to bringing customers the best in ethical fashion. They work with dozens of established and up-and-coming designers to offer finely-crafted collections that are organic, recycled, Fair Trade or made-in-the-USA. Additionally, they sell pre-owned styles, as well as a locally made collection of upcycled designs. Nancy’s Gone Green loves fashion, but hates the sweatshops, child labor, harmful chemicals, and pollution that are too often the byproducts of the industry. They believe in protecting the planet and the people who inhabit it. Every product at Nancy's Gone Green is made from natural, organic, or recycled materials. Each product is either made in the USA or produced outside the country according to fair labor practices. They use a system of “eco icons” to let consumers know about the ethics behind every product. They are currently developing their own organic clothing line, made by a group of women artisans in Nepal.
  • Maggie’s Organics, Ypsilanti, MI., http://www.maggiesorganics.com. Maggie’s Organics began in 1992, when an organic blue-corn farmer inadvertently showed them the ‘true cost’ of conventional cotton growing. Once they learned that cotton is the second most pesticide-laden crop on Earth, responsible for 10 percent of the world’s pesticide consumption, and nearly 25 percent of the earth’s insecticides, they knew they had to find a different path.Having no business models to follow, they took their newly harvested organic cotton to various US mills, and quickly realized that pesticides were only the tip of a confusing, convoluted and chemical-laden supply chain that included heavy metal dyestuffs, formaldehyde, and disenfranchised piece-paid workers.Today,their line of socks, tights, leggings, scarves, hairware and apparel is made from organic wool and organic cotton grown by close to 3000 family farmers, and is produced by three supply chains that include worker-owned cooperatives, family-owned and -operated U.S. sock mills, and long-term business relationships.

Martin Ledvina, co-owner of Earth Creations said, “We express our commitment to people and the planet through our organic, made-in-the-USA clothing as well as community outreach. We firmly believe that being involved as an active steward of our vision in our community is equally as important. Some of our recent activities include participation and donations for a fashion event that is to benefit the Alabama Environmental Council in their efforts to restore the Birmingham Recycling Center, and fundraising for a new Vestavia Hills LEED certified library. Some of the funds received from Green America will be devoted to similar projects as part of a grassroots campaign to build awareness and educate consumers about the Slow Fashion Movement.” 

Mary Savoca, co-owner of Nancy’s Gone Green said, “Nancy's Gone Green is a mother-daughter-owned eco-friendly online boutique, representing dozens of designers who produce organic, recycled, Fair Trade, and made-in-the-USA fashion. We are incredibly honored to be a recipient of this award, and we're so grateful to Green America for offering this grant program for small businesses like ours. The $5K grant will have an immediate impact on our business this fall and winter, helping us expand our brand new collaboration with an artisan group in Nepal. We'll be introducing the first pieces from our new collection starting this October, with organic cotton and bamboo dresses and tops.”

Bena Burda, owner of Maggie’s Organics said, “Heartfelt thanks from all of us at Maggie’s Organics for this honor. To every person who voted for us and to the amazing cast and crew of Green America, you provide the inspiration for us to carry on each day with our work. Since our founding back in 1992, one of Maggie’s missions has been to connect the workers that make our socks and apparel to the folks that wear them. We truly believe that if these two groups could get to know one another, the world will be a more just and vibrant place. We are thrilled once more to work with Green America, and we dedicate the proceeds from the People & Planet Award to bringing more of our cooperative producers to meet and interact with our customers.”

Future rounds of Green America’s quarterly award for green businesses with 50 or fewer employees, will focus on green travel and commitment to a green and healthy home. The businesses that the public vote on are determined by public nominations and an expert panel of judges: Katie Galloway & Gigi Abbadie, Aveda; Justin Conway, Calvert Foundation; Elysa Hammond, Clif Bar; Cheryl Campbell, Eileen Fisher;; Renee Bowers, Fair Trade Federation; Jenny Burns, Honest Tea Jonathan Reinbold , Organic Valley; Eric Henry, TS Designs; Reed Doyle, Seventh Generation; Allison Arbib, Verite; and Fran Teplitz & Andrew Korfhage, Green America.

ABOUT GREEN AMERICA

Green America is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today's social and environmental problems. http://www.GreenAmerica.org.

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