Top Sustainable Companies
Steeped in history and blessed with natural beauty, Virginia oozes with environmental initiatives. Located in a remarkably compact area are dozens of carefully preserved sites that tell the stories behind some of the Top Sustainable Companies in Virginia. We hope the following organizations inspire you to take part in the sustainable century!
There are many more sustainable companies that we may have missed, so if you believe you should be in the Top Sustainable Companies in Virginia, feel free to contact us and we will evaluate your sustainable initiative. We did not receive any funding or incentives to feature these companies. Our goal is to create awareness on sustainable development and encourage others to participate. Companies listed in this article are also welcome to add our eco-badge to their website, located at the bottom of this article.
Top Sustainable Companies in Virginia
Arcadia Food supports the viability of local farmers and preserves the environment. They address issues linked to food access, food justice and food sourcing. Since they began, they have established a strong network of local, sustainable farms and residents.
Arcadia Food has many programs in place, notably:
1. Mobile Markets: Farm-stands-on-wheels that distribute local, sustainable food in the Washington, DC area. This program focuses on improving access to healthy, affordable food regardless of how much you earn. It does scheduled stops in low-income communities and offers local farm products at affordable prices. In fact, the majority of the Mobile Market’s offerings are grown at Arcadia Farm, their next major program.
2. Arcadia Farm: It is located a few miles from downtown Washington, DC, on the historic grounds of Woodlawn Estate. The Arcadia Farm also encompasses an educational children’s garden, covering a span of four acres. On this farm, Arcadia staff mentor new and aspiring farmers on how to grow food using sustainable practices.
Conservation takes many forms and needs many pathways for people and organizations to protect the land. The Conservation Fund creates solutions that make national environmental and economic sense. It redefines conservation to prove its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, they have worked in all 50 states to protect more than 7.8 million acres of land since 1985.
In Virginia alone, the Conservation Fund protects 65,326 acres of land. Specifically, more than 16,600 acres are protected in partnership with the United States Forest Service. And over 5,200 acres are protected with the Land Conservation Loan Program.
Some of their other projects include, but are not limited to:
Still on the subject of conservation, this next one on our list of the Top Sustainable Companies in Virginia works at a global scale. Conservation International (CI) protects nature for the benefit of all. We know that human beings depend on nature. To that end, CI is helping to build a healthier, more prosperous and more productive planet. They do this through science, policy, and partnerships with countries, communities and companies.
Over the years, CI has helped support 1,200 protected areas and interventions across 77 countries. In total, they have safeguarded more than 601 million hectares of land, marine and coastal areas.
Montfair Resort Farm
Montfair Resort Farm provides beautiful accommodations to conscious families, friends and travelers. They encourage their guests to share their passion for environmental responsibility. This creates a strong community that preserves the natural landscape of their site.
Presently, Montfair Resort Farm uses only recycled paper for all printing and brochures by Greenprinter. They also recycle glass, plastics, newspapers, cans and cardboard. As for their accommodations, they have Energy Star appliances and compact fluorescent light bulbs. And the bathrooms are equipped with low flow toilets.
All laundry is washed with Bi-O-Kleen, a powdered laundry detergent free of bleach and chlorine. They used Envirosafe Plus Wood to build their deck at the Events Lodge and purchase wood from Green Resources of Virginia.
The Montfair Resort Farm is also a member of the following organizations:
- International Eco-Tourism Society
- Native Plant Society of Virginia
- Green America
- United Plant Savers
Rivanna Natural Designs
Rivanna Natural Designs creates awards, plaques, and gifts. What’s interesting is that they make them from FSC-certified woods, bamboo, recycled glass, and other eco materials.
Rivanna designs and manufactures the majority of its products. This has enabled the company to control material inputs and outflows and adhere to an environmental standard. Since 2002, the company obtained its chain-of-custody certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
We chose to include Rivanna Natural Designs in our list of the Top Sustainable Companies in Virginia as they offer a unique service that apply sustainable and ethical practices.
eWaste Tech Systems
Headquartered in the Richmond VA area, eWaste Tech Systems specializes in:
- Green Information Technology Sustainability and Asset Management
- Data Destruction and Disposition Services
- Electronic Waste (e-Waste) Disposal
eWaste Tech Systems addresses the proper disposal of obsolete computers and electronic waste. Electronic waste is a mounting problem across North America. Laptops and workstations are refreshed every 2-3 years by government and corporations. Right now, about 13% of electronic waste is recycled responsibly. The rest that isn’t recycled are thrown in landfills and storage facilities.
Electronic waste contributes to the release of toxic materials into the environment, including lead, mercury, cadmium and an alphabet soup of other toxic chemicals.
These are important natural resources that have the possibility of being recycled when disposed of properly. So if you have an old laptop you want to get rid of, think of contacting eWaste Tech Systems!
Lumen changes how people think of and use energy. Their team starts by auditing buildings and then apply small changes to improve its energy performance.
Their services include:
- Incorporating solar power
- Increasing efficiency through utility conservation programs
- Installing electric vehicle charging stations
- Installation of Nest Thermostats
- Switching to LED lighting: Lumen has partnered with Spark Fund to offer to finance for lighting retrofits that can bring immediate savings, have $0 upfront cost and these improvements are paid for through savings.
Above Green works with developers, architects and contractors from all over the United States to achieve sustainable building. A healthy environment and healthy buildings go hand in hand.
However, various green building certifications aren’t always easy to understand or achieve. For example, there’s LEED, Wells, SITES and more. That’s why Above Green sets out to help builders navigate the intricacies of these certifications.
Here’s a glimpse at some of their projects in Virginia:
- VCS Eye Clinic + Optical Shop, Falls Church, VA
- GMU Potomac Science Center, Woodbridge, VA
- Hilton Garden Inn, Falls Church, VA
Natural Organic Process Enterprises (NOPE)
Formed in 2009, Natural Organic Process Enterprises (NOPE) has established itself within the recycling industry. As one of the Top Sustainable Companies in Virginia, they aspire to promote composting in an effective and educational way.
Being a member of the US & Virginia Compost Council, they engage their local communities to be more sustainable. How? By changing the perspective on food scraps. Food scraps and other organic components are a natural resource that can be conserved through composting.
A key component to their business model has been to “close the loop” through their Compost Credit Program. This program has two parts:
1. Divert organic material from landfills to certified composting facilities.
2. Educate the public and encourage the use of compost.
They return compost for use throughout their community through this Compost Credit Program. Participants receive “compost credits” as an added benefit of partnering with them. For every ton of compostable material that they record and haul, they give a redeemable credit for 40 lbs of compost. This compost is then used on site for landscaping/gardening. Or, it can be donated to a local community garden/agricultural related charity. The compost is delivered free of charge as part of their services.
GreenBlue is an environmental nonprofit dedicated to the sustainable use of materials in society. They bring together a diversity of stakeholders to encourage innovation and best practices. In whole, they promote the creation of a more sustainable materials economy.
How? By fostering the creation of a resilient system of commerce based on the principles of sustainable materials management.
They promote transparency, provide design evaluation tools, guide post-use material communication, create conference-based and classroom-based educational opportunities, engage trade associations and government agencies and offer consulting services.
GreenBlue has co-founded notable sustainable projects run across the country including, but not limited to:
- The Composting Collaborative: This Collaborative unites composters, consumer-facing businesses, and policymakers. Within this community, they share best practices, resources, and generate innovative solutions. Its ultimate goal is to speed up composting access and infrastructure.
- The Sustainable Packaging Coalition: A leading voice on packaging sustainability that focuses on the entire life cycle.
- The How2Recycle Label®: Standardized on-package labeling system that clearly communicates recycling instructions to the public.
- The Environmental Paper Assessment Tool: This is a printing and paper industry specific tool. It is designed to be a vehicle for mills to report environmental performance data. These data are then shared with customers of the mills to aid in institutional printing paper purchase decisions. The platform creates a central data platform linking paper producer to paper buyer.
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center inspires conservation of the marine environment through education, research and sustainable practices.
Their conservation projects reflect the diversity of the animals protected within the aquarium. For this reason, they contribute to the protection of wild animals and their habitats around the world. Their staff starts by providing training and help to research/conservation initiatives. Locals can also help them by recognizing and reporting frog calls for FrogWatch USA or building a Trash Talking Turtle.
The Trash Talking Turtle is a creative approach to resolving the issue of marine debris. Very unfortunate and negative effects of marine debris on sea turtles have been well documented all over the world. One approach to solving the marine debris problem is through public education. Beach cleanups increase public awareness of the size and impacts of marine debris.
Working with local children, the Aquarium launched a campaign to increase public awareness. Especially when it comes to balloons. Children have been creating sculptures of sea turtle with balloons inside of them. These “trash turtle” sculptures were displayed in coastal areas throughout the state along with information on the dangers marine debris create.
Stranding Response Program
The Stranding Response Team is led by a trained group of staff and volunteers. They respond to stranded marine mammals and sea turtles on Virginia’s coast and beyond. Besides rescuing and rehabilitating sick or injured animals, the team collects data on dead animals to learn more about the problems marine life faces and how to help solve those problems.
If you see a stranded animal, alive or dead, report it to the Stranding Response Team immediately by calling (757) 385-7575 or visit Report a Stranding for more information.
This Aquarium has so many more conservation and sustainable practices to discover, including but not limited to:
- Oyster Reef: Oysters provide a valuable resource to the marine environment. They improve the water quality and serve as a protective habitat for juvenile fish and other animals. Over the spring and summer of 2015, a new oyster reef was created at the Aquarium and stocked with over 18,000 juvenile oysters raised by Old Donation Center School, Princess Anne Middle School, and New Castle Elementary School.
- Sensible Seafood Program: The Sensible Seafood™ Program promotes ocean-friendly seafood. Sensible seafood comes from local and sustainable sources that are not overfished or harvested in environmentally destructive ways. Their Sensible Seafood™ pocket guide helps consumers make sustainable seafood choices. They also have a growing list of partner restaurants and seafood businesses that strive to offer sensible seafood options.
Viridiant advances sustainable, affordable and energy efficient construction through education and technical support. Their services cater to homeowners, residential and commercial buildings.
Some of their sustainable building projects completed in Virginia include:
Chesapeake, VA: Heron’s Landing is one the most energy efficient projects realized. Approximately 40% more energy efficient than a standard built apartment today. The building incorporated both a photovoltaic solar electric system and a solar thermal water heater to reduce energy consumption. All units have Energy Star lighting, appliances and triple pane windows.
Scottsville, VA: Scottsville School Apartments, a historic school property, reduced its energy consumption by 50%. The apartment complex is comprised of 34 units primarily serving the elderly. The construction team on site air sealed the units to create compartments and reduce the existing air drafts by half.
Newport News, VA: Built in 1883 as a luxury hotel, The Warwick was once the center of the Victorian-era business district in Newport News, VA. The property after years of vacancy has been converted into 88 affordable units. Its retrofits have reduced the energy consumption by 50%. Each single unit benefits from the energy recovery ventilation system. The latter provides fresh air circulation, thus improving indoor air quality.
With Plugless, electric vehicle (EV) owners can charge without plugging in. Plugless uses inductive charging technology to eliminate the need to plug in your EV.
Plugless Power is an innovative technology that wirelessly energizes your car in about eight hours. Essentially, there are two main components: a charging station you park on top of, and a receiver on the underside of the car that completes the connection. EV owners simply pull into their Plugless-enabled parking space and the charging will begin.
We included them in our list of the Top Sustainable Companies in Virginia because they accelerate the adoption of EVs. Plugless Power makes electric vehicles more convenient.
Suggested reading: A Brighter Future for Electric Cars and the Planet
Virginia Living Museum
The Virginia Living Museum (VLM) is home to more than 250 species of animals found in Virginia including reptiles, mammals, birds and fish. They provide a sanctuary for orphaned, non-releasable or injured animals.
Their sustainable practices have certified them as a Virginia Green attraction. In addition, the Museum promotes conservation to its visitors through the Goodson Living Green House, solar displays, Conservation Garden and use of native plants throughout its exhibits and grounds.
Animal Conservation Programs
The Museum exhibits 10 animals that are on either federal or state endangered or threatened lists. They take part in breeding programs for Loggerhead Sea Turtles, Seahorses and Red Wolves to sustain and/or restore populations. Even more, they assists in the study of Monarch Butterflies and conducts surveys of basking turtles.
Sustainable Operating Practices
The VLM has developed an extensive recycling program throughout their facility. They recycle aluminum cans, glass, steel cans, grease, plastic, office paper, toner cartridges, newspaper, cardboard, packing supplies, batteries, and electronic equipment. Yearly, the VLM recycles roughly 14,040 lbs of cardboard and 8,320 lbs of other recyclables per year, bringing their total yearly recycling to 22,360 lbs.
Besides their impressive waste management, the VLM has made strides in greening their food service practices. VLM has eliminated the use of Styrofoam cups and plates in favour of recycled-content plates and utensils. Old cooking oil is stored in containers and picked up by several staff members who have retrofitted their personal cars to be powered by cooking oil.
Energy and Water Efficiency
High-efficiency dishwashers are found in the kitchen as well as low flow restrictors on faucets and showerheads. VLM has installed a high-efficiency HVAC as well as fluorescent light bulbs in all canned spotlights, ballasts, and lamps. In 2013 VLM installed 165 solar panels on its south facing roof, one of the largest non-profit solar installations in the Hampton Roads area. The solar array produces more than 4,900 kWh of electricity per month, which is enough to fully power more than six U.S. homes. The system saved the VLM more than $5,000 in electricity costs in the first year alone.
SustainFloyd works to preserve Floyd County’s agriculture and craftsmanship. Building a resilient rural local economy, this community works with local and state governments and agencies, local businesses, like-minded nonprofits and local citizens.
Their projects focus on:
- Localizing the economy
- Enhancing and protecting natural and cultural resources
- Advancing food security, energy independence, transportation, waste and recycling
This nonprofit has moved forward many sustainable movements. For example, they participated in the global even 350 Action; launched SplitRail, Floyd County’s first environmental festival; and opened the Floyd Community Market.
The Station building now includes the Floyd Community Market, the Floyd Artisans Market and the Floyd Farmers Market.
We hope you enjoyed L’Autre Couleur’s Top Sustainable Companies in Virginia!
L’Autre Couleur is a responsible content marketing & design agency that represents companies making a difference in positive impact & sustainability. We offer end-to-end full service in digital marketing services, ranging from content writing & web design, to social media and campaign management.
To work with us on content writing or digital marketing projects, feel free to contact us.
This was the 13th post in the Top Sustainable Companies series; one for every State in the United States. By the end of 2017, you can expect a Top Sustainable Companies article for every State in the United States! To stay updated on the up and coming initiatives, subscribe to our monthly newsletter and follow us on Facebook. Also please comment if we have left out any important sustainable companies in Virginia that you believe should be part of our list of top sustainable companies, or if you have any thoughts/comments on the article.
Check out some of the sustainable companies happening in your neighbouring country.
- Top Sustainable Companies in Washington, DC
- Top Sustainable Companies in Pennsylvania
- Top Sustainable Companies in Delaware
Use this code to embed the badge on your site: