Employee Steve Bass, John Skvarla (NCDENR Secretary), Ted Bush (NCDENR) and Joe Harwood (NCDENR Ombudsman)
Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company (SFNTC) has long been recognized for its commitment to environmental responsibility. That commitment earned SFNTC new status in 2014 as the first tobacco company to be awarded the highest level of recognition in North Carolina’s Environmental Stewardship Initiative (ESI), which is led by the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The state honored SFNTC in February 2014 at a ceremony at the company’s manufacturing plant in Oxford, N.C.
Organizations selected as N.C. Environmental Stewards undergo a rigorous review by DENR staff and an ESI Advisory Board composed of representatives from large and small businesses, nongovernmental organizations, public agencies, military organizations and academia.
“Companies such as Santa Fe Natural Tobacco show that economic success and environmental stewardship can go hand in hand,” DENR Secretary John Skvarla said. “The demonstrated solid waste reduction, energy reduction and creation of habitat for wildlife show this plant’s commitment to balancing the needs of the environment with the demands of business.”
Jamie Morgan, the senior manager of safety and security at SFNTC’s Oxford location, notes with pride that the facility has been certified carbon neutral for the past two years and that it recently achieved its long-sought goal of becoming a zero-waste-to-landfill facility.
“We couldn’t have achieved these milestones or earned this high recognition without the efforts and support of our employees at our headquarters in Santa Fe [N.M.] and here at our operations in Oxford,” he said. “Their ongoing commitment to environmental preservation is at the heart of how our company performs.”
Little said that receiving recognition as an N.C. Steward is an honor held by only a select group of companies.
“That list includes some heavy hitters, including Daimler Trucks North America, Firestone Fibers & Textiles, Michelin Aircraft Tire Company and Thomas Built Buses,” he said. “These companies have all gone beyond what’s required by law to operate sustainably, conserve natural resources and ultimately promote economic growth in North Carolina. We feel honored and proud that our ongoing environmental efforts have earned us a place on this prestigious list.”
In a letter to Little announcing the recognition, Skvarla praised the Oxford operation, adding that the board was particularly impressed by the facility’s carbon-neutral and zero-waste-to-landfill goals.
The Oxford facility’s “efforts to achieve sustainability goals, commitment to exceeding compliance with environmental regulations, integration of its environmental management system into core business functions, program for communication with the local community, and stated goals of a continued diligence toward lessening its environmental impact exemplify the goals of the ESI,” Skvarla said.