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

Habitat Suites Wins Green Business Leadership Award
November 16, 2005

Recognized for demonstrating outstanding leadership in advancing the Green Business Movement

San Francisco, November 3, 2005 – Habitat Suites Hotel in Austin, Texas was honored with the 2005 Green Business Leadership Award given by Co-op America's Green Business Network™ at the third annual Green Business Conference held November 1st – 4th in San Francisco. The Green Business Leadership Award was created to recognize an extraordinary company or business leader that has led the way in using business to help create a just and sustainable society, and whose efforts are at the forefront of the green business movement.

Habitat Suites is one of the 2,500 green businesses nationwide that have been screened to be a part of Co-op America’s Green Business Network™ and be listed in the National Green Pages(tm). Habitat Suites was selected for the award, by other green businesses, for its outstanding commitment to socially and environmentally responsible business practices.

"We are pleased to present this award to Habitat Suites for their leadership," said Denise Hamler, Co-op America's Business Programs Director. "They have pushed the envelope in the hospitality industry, where greening and maintaining healthy, happy staff are difficult to accomplish."

Habitat Suites boasts the largest solar array on a hotel in North America, a property free of pesticides, herbicides and toxic cleaners, and remarkable staff retention. They do this through their programs in air quality, land use, energy efficiency, waste reduction and management, recycling, resource conservation, water quality and conservation, human health, and public education. Habitat Suites is also a charter member of the Green Hotels Association.

Natalie Marquis, General Manager of Habitat Suites Hotel shares the source of their success, "Ecological Consciousness in Action is our commitment to creating an environmentally sustainable future for us all. We are proud to be recognized not only for the energy and resource conservation aspects of how we do business but also for how we have sustained and nurtured our key staff to have zero turnover in the past five years. It is a privilege to work with the same team year after year and continue to learn together."

"The same care for people that keeps our staff happy gets our guests to return as well," Marquis explains. "We've tracked that 85% of our guests are repeat customers and nearly all of our new business comes from word of mouth advertising and guest referrals. At a time when travel is down and national hotel properties are being sold, our locally-owned hotel enjoys significantly lower operating expenses and an occupancy rate 10-15% higher than the average Austin hotel. What we have demonstrated is that doing the right thing for people and our planet translates into healthy business performance and profits."

Six businesses were nominated for the Green Business Leadership Award – Habitat Suites; Choice Organic Teas; Cottonfield, LLC; Earth Healers; Frontier Natural Products Co-op; and Zhena's Gypsy Teas – and all are taking steps to further the green business movement. The winner was chosen by their green business peers, with each business representative attending the Green Business Conference getting one vote. Past Green Business Leadership Award recipients are T.S. Designs and Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps.

The award was crafted by Rivanna Natural Designs, a green company that produces awards and gifts from natural and recycled materials.

About Habitat Suites
Habitat Suites Hotel is an award-winning all-suite hotel located within 5 minutes of downtown Austin, Texas. The 20-year old, smoke-free property has both one and two-bedroom suites. The two story two-bedroom suites are the largest in Austin and have two full baths. The spacious suites satisfy travelers with full kitchens, real fireplaces, windows that open, premium cable TV, dual-line data phones with voice mail and free local calls. Amenities include an outdoor pool and heated whirlpool spa with a salt generator to eliminate chlorine use, coin-op laundry and lush gardens. The complimentary morning breakfast buffet is generous and features a number of organic items, including whole oat groats, eggs, yogurt, granola and fruit, soy milk, shade grown coffee and kukicha twig tea. They also serve pancakes and French toast, or sausage and biscuits. www.habitatsuites.com

About Rivanna Natural Designs – Award Maker
Rivanna Natural Designs, a private business dedicated to supplying responsible corporate gifts ranging from plaques to clocks, donated this year's award. www.rivannadesigns.com

About Co-op America
Co-op America’s Green Business Network™ is the largest and oldest national association of socially and environmentally responsible businesses in the nation. Co-op America is a nonprofit consumer education organization for environmentally wise purchasing and investing, located in Washington, DC, with over 70,000 members throughout the country. Co-op America is the publisher of the National Green Pages® and co-produces the Green Festivals.

The Green Business Conference took place in San Francisco, November 1st – 4th, 2005. For more information on the conference and the Green Business Leader Award visit www.coopamerica.biz.

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