History of the Green Star Program
Green Star began in 1990 in Anchorage, Alaska, as a cooperative effort. The Anchorage Chamber of Commerce successfully partnered with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) and the non-profit Alaska Center for the Environment (ACE) to create the Green Star program. The program, represented by this diverse group of state regulators, environmentalists and business leaders, was created to give positive recognition to organizations that exercised environmental responsibility.
Green Star is both pro-business and pro-environment. Through the Green Star program, it was found that organizations that are environmentally responsible also have a stronger bottom line. By examining an organization’s waste streams and making internal changes to reduce them, significant financial savings—as well as environmental savings—are possible.
The core Green Star Award program focuses on aspects of operations, which includes examining all waste streams (solid waste, utility usage etc.) and eliminating waste through smarter purchasing, restructuring employee procedures, maintaining or updating equipment and recycling. By meeting the Green Star Standards, these organizations can demonstrate to the public that they have gone well beyond compliance with environmental regulations, and have voluntarily implemented a thorough waste prevention and pollution prevention plan.
As the program expanded, the partners decided to incorporate Green Star into a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (in 1996) and over time expanded the program to include other waste concerns, i.e., air quality. Today, Green Star, Inc., is a USEPA-award-winning organization recognizing businesses and organizations that continue to voluntarily meet and exceed Green Star’s high standards of environmental responsibility. When these standards have been met and peer-reviewed to the satisfaction of the Standards Committee, the organization receives a Green Star Award.
In 2000, the Air Quality Award was introduced to target Anchorage's winter outdoor air quality issues. About one dozen Anchorage businesses and organizations continued beyond the Green Star Award to earn an Air Quality Award. In 2008, the Air Quality Award was integrated into the original Green Star Award, bringing the number of Standards necessary to meet the Green Star Award to a total of ten.
Over the years, other support programs have been added to assist organizations in meeting the Green Star Standards. Visit the links below to learn more about the Green Star members, sponsors, staff members, and board members.