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Emory sustainability initiatives win Metro Atlanta Chamber award

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Emory’s sustainability partnerships with local non-profits re:loom and the Atlanta Lettuce Project have garnered an E3 Award from the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. 

The Emory initiatives were awarded a Community Strong award, recognizing a non-profit or university program that promotes collaboration and community involvement in making metro Atlanta more sustainable. Both projects help Emory meet its sustainability goals while helping some of Atlanta’s most vulnerable populations.

Emory has donated thousands of pounds of custodial uniforms and athletic uniforms to re:loom, a Decatur-based nonprofit that weaves used materials into new products from shredding textiles, such as uniforms. Re:loom workers weave those materials into upcycled products including purses, scarves and rugs, which are then sold. Proceeds support salaries and health care benefits for re:loom employees, who are homeless, housing-insecure or job-insecure.

The Atlanta Lettuce Project, slated to launch early next year, will provide locally-grown lettuce to large Atlanta-based organizations committed to getting more of their food from local sources, including Emory. The lettuce will be grown through hydroponic methods without pesticide use. ALP is a cooperative owned by its employees, who will be mainly residents of a low-income neighborhood in Atlanta. Each of the 40 employees will receive a living wage, benefits and have profit-sharing rights to the enterprise.

While helping metro Atlanta, the re:loom and Atlanta Lettuce Project initiatives also help contribute to Emory’s sustainability goals of diverting 65 percent of its landfill waste and procuring 75 percent of its food from local or sustainably sources, says Ciannat Howett, director of sustainability initiatives at Emory.

“Emory’s partnership with re:loom and the Atlanta Lettuce Project are great examples of mutually-beneficial collaborations to achieve positive environmental, social and economic results. Re:loom has provided Emory with a sustainable solution that makes a positive impact on people’s lives. Similarly, the Atlanta Lettuce Project is helping Emory achieve its sustainability goals while providing green jobs and healthy food in under-served areas of Atlanta,” says Howett.

In partnership with the Atlanta Business Chronicle, MAC’s E3 Awards highlight the companies, organizations and individuals working to conserve metro Atlanta’s natural resources, develop clean technologies to enhance our economy and environment, support sustainable projects and initiatives, and collaborate on solutions through university connections, marketing and education.

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