How green can Asheville businesses go? City teams with chamber for Workplace Challenge

Business owners and managers, we feel you. Running a business is hard work. Employees have to be supported, customers need to be served and bills have to be paid. You have a multitude of decisions to make every day. So what if we give you credit for making the right ones?

Industrial and commercial buildings alone generate nearly 40% of Asheville’s carbon footprint — that’s over half a million metric tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses. We think Asheville area businesses can be greener, but we need your help to get there.

The City of Asheville is partnering with the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce to launch the Asheville Workplace Challenge, a self-assessment tool that gives guidance to help local businesses save money and reduce their environmental impact.

Every day, more than 77,000 people go to a place of work in Asheville. Our workplaces are more than just economic drivers — they are critical in shaping how we live and the impact we have on our City. By implementing sustainable practices, businesses can have a positive impact on our community and the environment. Through the Asheville Workplace Challenge, businesses can increase awareness of environmental issues and reduce energy use, water consumption and waste.


Who and can participate and how?

In celebration of Earth Day, the Kickoff for the Challenge will be hosted by the Chamber of Commerce’s Business Before Hours event from 8 to 9 a.m.  April 19 at the Junk Recyclers/Regeneration Station, 26 Glendale Ave. At the kickoff, businesses will encouraged to visit, follow the link to the Asheville Workplace Challenge and complete an online survey.

The online survey will assess current energy and water use, how employees get to work and what types of waste are generated. This baseline data provides a starting point. Once a business knows how they are performing right now, they’ll get tips to help them save money, increase awareness and become more sustainable. With this knowledge, businesses can complete a range of tasks designed to improve their workplaces and Green Challenge score. Businesses may edit their surveys until the closing date in September. By participating, they will be eligible for awards in several categories for Asheville’s first Green Workplace Challenge Awards Ceremony, set for October. Businesses and organizations of all sizes throughout Western North Carolina are encouraged to participate. Award winners must be located in Buncombe County.


Why should my business participate?

By participating in the Asheville Workplace Challenge, your business can improve your operations and reduce costs. Your business will also have the opportunity to become part of a larger network with similar sustainability goals that will provide support and recognition along the way. The Workplace Challenge will track your company’s progress and will provide resources to guide you through your sustainability journey. Optional programs such as lunch-and-learns geared toward specific challenging areas will be offered throughout the process. Participating businesses will have the opportunity to win prizes. Lastly, you will have an opportunity to receive awards and recognition for your efforts and be seen as a leader in sustainability.