North Canton's Green Business Roundtable Expands Throughout Stark County
The program, which promotes sustainable business practices, was such a hit in 2012 that it will expand outside of North Canton this year
In the past year, the North Canton Medical Foundation became serious about sustainability.
Just how serious? The medical campus at 6046 Whipple Ave. has worked to get all its employees on board with recycling and using more energy-efficient lighting and air conditioning. And, for its efforts, it's even earned a $2,000 scholarship through North Canton’s Green Business Roundtable program.
"Communicating with employees is the top thing on our agenda," said Bob Nappi, director of human resources and facilities at the North Canton Medical Foundation. "We've got to get their attention and make sure we're not just paying lip service."
The foundation is one of several businesses that takes part in the Green Business Roundtable, now in its second year in North Canton. The program provides a platform for businesses, community members and city administrators to share information, best practices and innovation toward improving sustainable business practices.
And, the program has become such a hit, it's now expanding throughout Stark County.
That's a huge win for the county, said Stefanie Smith, a green building consultant and sustainability coordinator employed at Stark State College who spearheaded the program.
"We're working with eight chambers in Stark County to offer more formal green business roundtables," Smith said. "We really used the North Canton Green Business Roundtable as a pilot to see what worked."
The North Canton Green Business Roundtable would meet from 8-9 a.m. on the first Wednesday of every month at the North Canton Chamber. Discussions focused on waste minimization, energy and water conservation, local foods, green cleaning, sustainable design and corporate responsibility.
The North Canton program launched in the beginning of 2012, and by the end of the year, Smith said she could see a real change in participants' attitudes and efforts regarding sustainability.
"It was great to see how far people have come, how their thinking has changed and how they've improved their organizations," Smith said.
For Nappi, it was an easy decision to get involved. He said the foundation has always been community-focused and has had a great relationship with the North Canton Area Chamber of Commerce. Getting on board with the chamber's Green Business Roundtable was just an extension of its involvement with the community and chamber, Nappi said.
"We’re taking baby steps at this point, but I think it’s going to be a long-term, never-ending process," he said.
So, would he recommend the program to others in Stark County?
"Absolutely. There's a lot of idea sharing, and it's often things we don't think of (on our own). ... The more people involved, the better opportunity for everyone to have some success."