SQA Online Resource Center
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For the Santa Cruz & Monterey Region
The Sustainable Quality Awards (SQA) program, started in 1993 in Santa Cruz County, California, by founder Daniel Robin and a team of voluneers, is designed to recognize outstanding achievements in sustainable workplace "EcoQuality" -- an integrated approach to sustainable economic development, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship.
The SQA program has since expanded from Santa Cruz County to other communities (for example, the City of Santa Monica, CA), where it continues to operate through the tireless efforts of volunteers and staff. Similar program are being evaluated for implementation in countries around the world. Already many regions have introduced green business programs and seals. But sustinable quality is not merely "green." The focus is on the triple bottom lines of people, planet and profit -- sustainability with prosperity, including the social aspects as well as the "green" of environmental stwardship. Not necessarily an easy task -- but clearly a necessary one if we are to survive and thrive into the next century. See below.
The mission of this program is to recognize and encourage sustainable quality ("eco-quality") practices in business, non-profit organizations, government agencies and educational institutions that have not yet reached a level of Sustainable Quality but choose to make the commitment to moving toward Sustainable Quality principles.
In addition to providing well-deserved recognition to award recipients
once each year, the SQA also serves our community by inspiring additional
eco-quality practices, resulting in more and better jobs, preservation
and restoration of our natural environment, and improved quality of life.
What is Sustainable Quality?
Sustainable Quality, also known as EcoQuality, defines the ability to balance organizational short-term demands to create efficient, high quality products, services, and work environments while meeting the longer-term needs of stakeholders. Sustainable quality is an integrated system of ecologically-conscious quality management, or "eco-quality." Eco-quality is a way of addressing the needs of everyone who comes in contact with a business or organization -- not just the fiscal stakeholders. This ecological view cuts across economic, social and environmental concerns. In recent years, that has become known as the "triple bottom line" -- where the downstream effects of decisions on people, profit and the planet are all taken into account.
Award recipients represent the "best in class" for-profit businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies and educational institutions.
In his book The Ecology of Commerce, Paul Hawken suggests that a sustainable organization delivers its goods or services to the customer in a way that "reduces consumption, energy use, distribution costs, economic concentration, soil erosion, atmospheric pollution, and other forms of environmental damage." This also happens to be good for the bottom line.
The Natural Step (TNS), a non-profit organization started in Sweden, has defined four "system conditions" of sustainability. To learn more, see our linked articles about TNS and other concepts of sustainability which can be found at our 'Sustainable Innovation Round Table Learning Circles' page.
How It Works
Modeled after international sustainability and quality-based programs, the SQA provides recognition for organizations practicing excellence and innovation in three key areas:
A team of quality experts, environmental science professionals, organizational development practitioners, and business and community leaders, design the criteria and selection process. Awards will be given for combined excellence in these areas. Evaluations are based on information provided to the SQA selection committee via the online application, plus on-site visits of the finalists in each category.
SQA recognizes and encourages all sincere efforts at balancing the demands for environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and sustainable economic development that result in healthier workplaces and communities, meaningful and bountiful jobs, and restoration and preservation of our natural environment, for improved quality of life.
The SQA program aims to raise quality standards for regional commerce by highlighting what is working, and to encourage the movement toward sustainable development. The SQA process demonstrates that Sustainable Quality is not simply altruistic but is actually critical to maintaining a competitive advantage in an emerging, global, economic system.
You can support SQA by making your tax-deductible donation payable to 'SBQA' and mailing it to:
SQA, PO Box 548, Santa Cruz, CA 95061, Email: email@example.com, Tel. +1 (831) 761-0700.
SQA is operated as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization under the laws of California.
Copyright © 1994-2013 Sustainable Quality Awards / Daniel Robin & Associates