Three businesses in Evergreen are setting the “green” standard for sustainability through their enrollment in the Green BizTracker program.
The Colorado Green Business Network launched the GreenBiz Tracker in early 2022, which is a rebrand of its former “Environmental Leadership Program.” Evergreen Sustainability Alliance has teamed up with CGBN to help local businesses enroll in the tracker and provide localized support.
Vice President of ESA Heather Miner explained the dynamic between the two groups.
“ESA has partnered with CGBN and we are providing the upfront enrollment and application and baseline assessment support in the evergreen and foothills area,” she said.
Randi Zimmermann is a fellow from Colorado State University working with ESA on the Green BizTracker. She hopes that sustainable changes in businesses can bring visible change for residents.
“As the program becomes more well known and popular, I’m hoping they’re going to notice small things. They’re not going to see a Starbucks cup on the trail anymore, they’re not going to see a plastic water bottle in the lake anymore. They’re going to notice things feel cleaner, things feel a lot more environmentally friendly,” she said.
One of the ways the program is incentivizing businesses is by showcasing them on the ESA’s website.
“Any business that finishes their application, we put them on ESA’s website to be able to recognize the businesses that are making that bigger effort,” Miner said.
The Evergreen Area Chamber of Commerce is one of the three businesses already enrolled in the program. President Nancy Judge said the chamber hopes to encourage other businesses to join.
“The chamber is always looking to be one to set an example for our entire business community,” she said.
Judge pointed out that the name of the town is reason enough to care about sustainability.
“We participated because the name of our town says it all,” she said. “Be as green as possible if you live in a place called Evergreen.”
The chamber is an example that even the little things matter in the name of sustainability. The chamber recycles paper and cardboard, disposes of electronics safely and sustainably, and always makes sure to turn off the lights in its workspace.
Bivouac Coffee, another business already enrolled in the Green BizTracker, was founded in the name of sustainability.
The coffee the shop roasts, ships and makes into drinks is sun dried instead of water-processed like most coffee beans, and this process saves water and waste.
Operations Manager and Roaster Scott Wilton explained the beans are the foundation for the business.
“Our source product is much more sustainable than a lot of coffee, and that’s how our company was founded,” he said.
Bivouac appreciates the accountability of the Green BizTracker, as well as the mentorship piece it hosts.
“They’re able to help us look at what we are doing in detail and help advise us,” Wilton said.
Through the tracker, businesses can share best practices and sustainability tips they have learned along the way.
The ESA helped Bivouac with the application, and drove home the point that every business needs to start somewhere. One of the biggest takeaways from the process, in Wilton’s experience, was about starting where you are.
He hopes “to help share the message that you don’t have to start with the perfect solution.”
Besides its coffee process, Bivouac has numerous sustainable practices, including composting coffee grounds, incentives for reusable cups and containers, and paper packing materials for shipping beans.
Cactus Jack's Saloon and Grill in downtown Evergreen has also enrolled in the Green BizTracker, but it has been involved in the CGBN Environmental Leadership Program since 2007.
This year, Cactus Jack's was already recognized as gold level status with the Green BizTracker. To be recognized, the CGBN completes a written report, evaluates the sustainability practices of the business and provides feedback.
Megan Mitchell, owner of Cactus Jack's, is hopeful for growth in participation for sustainability all around.
“I really think the more businesses and the more residents we get involved, the easier it will become,” she said.
At Cactus Jack's, Mitchell’s crew practices a number of sustainability measures. Their composting efforts have reduced the trash pick ups to only two or three times a week, they take part in a wind energy offset program, and they implement other strategies like LED lighting and landscaping that requires no watering.
Miner said that people in the community are becoming more aware and inquisitive about sustainability, and the Green BizTracker gives a way for businesses to provide answers.
“More and more businesses are seeing their customers be interested in asking questions about their sustainability practices,” Miner said.
Nearly 10 more businesses are in the beginning stages of the enrollment process for the Green BizTracker in Evergreen, and the ESA will be there to help them with applications and provide local support.