Annual Sustainability Awards

Annual Sustainability Awards – Empowering Role Models


Begun in 2005, the Annual SBC Sustainability Awards recognize the sustainability successes of businesses and individuals in our community, provide a platform to share best practices, and inspire others to act. We look for Missoula area entities and individuals who address all three aspects of sustainability – planet, people and profit. During the selection process, a slight preference is given to entities and individuals with significant impact on sustainability in the Missoula area. Nominations are made in four categories:

  • Sustainable Business of the Year
    (a business that exhibits all three facets of sustainability – planet, people and profit)
  • Sustainable Nonprofit of the Year
    (a nonprofit that exhibits all three facets of sustainability – planet, people and fiscal responsibility)
  • Sustainable New Venture of the Year
    (a business, project of an existing business or new product line that began in the last 2 years)
  • Sustainability Advocate of the Year 
    (a person who has made significant contributions to sustainability efforts in Missoula in the last year)


2013-14 SBC Sustainability Award Winners

The award ceremony for the 2013-14 Sustainability Awards was held during our Local Food Feast & Fundraiser on September 17, at Ten Spoon Winery.The winners of the 2013-14 SBC Sustainability Awards are:

Sustainable New Venture of the Year: Missoula Hybrid Poplar Water Reclamation Project (MHPWRC)

The MHPWRP takes advantage of the nutrient-processing abilities of poplar trees to further purify reclaimed water from the City’s Wastewater Facility before discharging it into the Clark Fork River. This is an innovative multi-stakeholder effort coordinated by the City of Missoula in partnership with the Hybrid Energy Group, Watershed Consulting, the Clouse family, Morrison-Maierle Inc., and others. Although it is a 16-year project, 2014 has seen the bulk of the initial installation, including 120 acres of drip irrigation and the planting of 72,000 hybrid poplar trees (or 3⁄4 of the total planned 96,000 trees). The project removes nutrients that would otherwise create ecological problems in the river. It also sequesters carbon from the atmosphere, produces marketable wood and energy products, and serves as a model for other projects.

Sustainable Business of the Year: Upcycled

“Upcycling” is the creative reuse of refuse. Since opening its Hip-Strip retail shop four years ago, Upcycled has helped over 100 “upcycling artists” market their products and grow their brands. All products sold in the store are made from at least 50% repurposed materials, and most products are made from 95% or more repurposed materials; all are produced locally by Montanans. Upcycled actively pursues the discovery and development of local upcycling talent. The retailer also produces a house brand of wallets, belts and accessories that are sold in stores nationwide. Crafted from used bicycle inner tubes, these products divert thousands of bike tubes from Western Montana landfills each year.

Sustainable Nonprofit of the Year: Sussex School

Sussex School is being recognized for excellence in educating the next generation to be responsible stewards of the natural and social environment. The Sussex curriculum focuses on the natural world, addressing problems and issues through service work, field trips, and challenging outdoor activities. Each grade is paired with a community organization to instill a service ethic. Students raise money, remove trash, weed, plant, and build trails, in addition to assisting with seniors and those who are hungry or homeless. The school’s Sustainable Transportation Plan includes a map of bus lines, bike paths, and carpooling options for each student. The Sussex campus features two LEED-certified classroom buildings, a garden, and employees that receive health insurance and retirement benefits.

Sustainable Advocate of the Year: Amy Cilimburg

As the Director of Conservation and Climate Policy for Montana Audubon, Amy Cilimburg has worked tirelessly in a number of roles to educate and inspire action around issues related to global climate change, energy, birds, and wildlife. Specifically, this award recognizes Cilimburg’s leadership on two projects. First, she developed Missoula’s Conservation and Climate Action plan, which was approved unanimously by City Council in 2013. Second, she brought together a broad network of community members for a series of Climate Summits to produce a Community Climate Action Plan. Amy worked closely with her co-chairs (Ross Keogh and Jill Alban respectively) and exemplified a strong collaborative spirit on both of these projects, embodying this important best practice in sustainability.



To view the past award winners, click here.