SF green companies that practice what they preach 

click to enlarge City CarShare
  • Mike Koozmin/the S.F. Examiner
  • City CarShare CEO Rick Hutchinson exits the Metro station on Market Street at Montgomery on his way to work. Hutchinson takes public transportation regularly in a 'practice what you preach' effort, mirroring one of the basic car share principles of reducing the amount of cars on the road.
Every workday, Rick Hutchinson takes Muni to the Montgomery Street station and walks to his San Francisco-based company’s office about a block away. For trips to the East Bay, he takes BART. On the rare occasion he needs a car, such as a recent trip to Ikea, the City CarShare CEO uses one of the company’s vehicles.

In fact, none of the two dozen employees at City CarShare uses a personal car to get to work or to get around on weekends. It isn’t a company policy, Hutchinson said, but a practice that came naturally for the organization.

“I hope people not only appreciate it and look at it as we’re living what we preach,” the 56-year-old said. “It’s a possible lifestyle you can have here, and more people are finding ways to really enhance their lifestyle by not having a car.”

Today, Earth Day, is an especially fun day for Hutchinson and his employees because they participate in several events in The City, educating people about the environmental benefits of living a car-free lifestyle.

City CarShare, founded in 2001, is not the only green company with 100 percent of its employees living by their product.

Method, which since 2001 has sold nontoxic, biodegradable cleaning products, provides all 36 of its products to its 100 employees headquartered in San Francisco to take home at their leisure.

“We see our employees as the best testers and word-of-mouth advocates for our brand, so we want to make sure they have easy access to them,” Method spokeswoman Katie Molinari said.

Zipcar, based in Cambridge, Mass., has 30 employees in San Francisco of its 800 worldwide. Spokeswoman Jennifer Mathews said she did not know how many employees take part in green commutes, but that many are city dwellers and rely on public transit on a daily basis.

Currently, there are 212 businesses in The City that have received San Francisco Green Business recognition, according to green-business specialist Anna Frankel. The San Francisco Department of the Environment began granting green business recognition in 2005. Most businesses that have met the checklist of requirements are small- to medium-size and in the office and retail sectors.

“It’s actually a good number because we don’t have a checklist for all of the sectors,” Frankel said. “It’s also a function of interest from the business community.”

Among the latest to receive the recognition is Greener Cleaners, a noncarcinogenic clothing cleaning service run by the owner and one other employee that opened a year ago on Earth Day.

About The Author

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong covers transportation, housing, and ethnic communities, among other topics, for the San Francisco Examiner. She covered City Hall as a fellow for the San Francisco Chronicle, night cops and courts for the San Antonio Express-News, general news for Spanish-language newspapers La Opinión and El Mensajero,... more
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