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Sustainability Offers Promise of Long-term Profit for NC Businesses

Photo: New Belgium Brewery site rendering, Asheville. Courtesy: New Belgium Brewery
Photo: New Belgium Brewery site rendering, Asheville. Courtesy: New Belgium Brewery
January 17, 2013

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Going green and making green can go hand in hand, as some North Carolina businesses are finding out. New Belgium Brewery is a business new to the state that is making sustainability a priority from day one. It is one of 125 businesses that have committed to greener practices through the N.C. Sustainability Center. This new organization has a goal of establishing North Carolina as a leader in sustainability.

Jenn Vervier is the director of sustainability for New Belgium Brewery. The Colorado-based company is opening up a brewery in Asheville in 2015.

"We believe that we are more successful because of our sustainability, rather in spite of it. In some cases, we may spend more money. We believe that we reap higher return in the long run."

Vervier says that the Asheville area's commitment to sustainability is one of the things that attracted the brewery to the state. The N.C. Sustainability Center says other businesses will come to the state for the same reason if communities continue to make greener practices a part of their everyday lives.

Harrington Bank, based in Chapel Hill, is another business participating in the N.C. Sustainability Center program. Branch manager Lori Eichel says incorporating sustainability practices goes hand-in-hand with the bank's overall goals for the community.

"We're client-focused, so it wasn't such a big jump from that to a really deep involvement within the community we serve, and sustainability was another component of that."

The N.C. Sustainability Center is also developing an economic developer's guide to sustainability.

Reporting for this story by North Carolina News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest. Media in the Public Interest is funded in part by Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

Stephanie Carson/Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC