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The City of Collinsville, recipient of the St. Louis Green Business Challenge Award

By Devese “Dee” Ursery 

COLLINSVILLE — The City of Collinsville has been awarded the 2023 Green Business Award for its efforts to create, maintain and sustain a clean and healthy environment.

The St. Louis Green Business Challenge assists companies with integrating sustainable measures into the kinds of daily operations common to every business. The program is organized through the Missouri Botanical Garden that encourages businesses, nonprofits and municipalities of all types and sizes across the St. Louis region to integrate endurable clean air measures into their everyday operations. 

The Green Business Challenge delivers Triple Bottom Line results (fiscal, social and environmental) to businesses of all types and sizes across the St. Louis region. The Challenge supports integration of sustainability measures into the kinds of everyday operational practices common to every business.

“The city of Collinsville is dedicated to being a leader in sustainability in the St. Louis Metro-east area,” City Manager Derek Jackson said. “The Green Cities Challenge helps the Collinsville staff to focus and unite our efforts, coordinate with other municipalities and partners, and drive communities on both sides of the river to push sustainable innovations even farther.”

The award was presented to Cool Cities Committee Member Bailey Martin, former Cool Cities Committee Staff Liaison Logan Pelo and Superintendent of Willoughby Farm Carol Frerker during the Green Business Challenge Awards Banquet in mid-December.

The Challenge is a fee-based program, generously supported by sponsor companies with additional local grant support. Four Challenge levels support achievement of sustainability goals for every company’s current culture and strategic priorities:

Challenge Apprentice – works with a menu of basic green policies and practices to launch a sustainability program

Green Cities Challenge – works with the Apprentice level menu augmented by community-based options defined by OneSTL, our regional sustainability plan.

Challenge Leader – works with a categorized, point-based scorecard to facilitate efficient team management of operational sustainability measures, and support innovations specific to each company’s kind of business.

Challenge Champion – has the option to work with a scorecard covering more advanced measures, or complete a Champion Innovation Project.

Given the nature of the Challenge, it’s only fitting that the award is “printed on a cost-effective, high-quality white corrugated cardboard made with primarily recycled content, that is recyclable.”

Jackson said the Challenge allows participants to identify and adopt strategies that improve financial performance and engage employees in voluntary measures to reduce environmental impacts. 

“Since the program launched in 2010, 270 businesses, nonprofits and municipalities have joined the Challenge,” Jackson said. “This participation has engaged over 160,000 employees and nearly 570,000 residents for a total of over 730,000 individuals influenced by this work.”

Ongoing sustainability commitment is strong with 60% of these companies having participated in the challenge for two or more years and 50% for three years or more, Jackson continued.

The City of Collinsville staff, Cool Cities Committee members and volunteers during 2023 made great strides in sustainability with some of their accomplishments and innovations, which are listed below.

First off, the City established a City Hall Garden Club. Collinsville Parks and Recreations is also expanding program offerings to include a “Sustainability Series” and creating a Sustainability Tag on the City’s events webpage, as well as completing a two-year Sustainability Plan Progress Report Card.

The City is also planting over 137 trees throughout Willoughby Farm and other city park properties with volunteers, teachers and students. Expanding compost collection and processing methods as well as expanding the use of compost in City parks and properties, developing numerous areas in the parks with rain gardens, native restoration zones and experimental urban forestry labs.

The City of Collinsville is also teaming up with Madison County Agriculture to teach 400 third grade students about food waste, composting and soil nutrients. 

Lastly, Collinsville staffers are collaborating with Table to Garden and local businesses to collect and compost over 300 pounds of food and paper waste.

“The City of Collinsville looks forward to participating in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge every year,”Jackson said. “The Challenge provides an opportunity to network with staff from surrounding municipalities and share ideas for how we can improve the quality of life in the communities we serve.”

The City of Collinsville has been awarded the 2023 Green Business Award for its efforts to create, maintain and sustain a clean and healthy environment. From left to right: Bailey Martin – Cool Cities Committee Member, Logan Pelo – Cool Cities Committee Staff Liaison and Carol Frerker – Superintendent of Willoughby Farm. (Photo courtesy of the City of Collinsville)

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