Fresno nonprofit recognizes green leaders

The Interntional Green Industry Hall of Fame was created in 2010 by Fresno businessman Sam GeilThe Interntional Green Industry Hall of Fame was created in 2010 by Fresno businessman Sam GeilFive businesses and organizations were awarded for their devotion to environmental causes during the International Green Industry Hall of Fame's annual induction ceremony in Stockton on March 12.

The awards, which were created in 2010 by Fresno businessman Sam Geil, recognizes those whose workplace practices have displayed great achievements in the areas of environment and sustainability.

Dozens of nominations were considered by the Fresno nonprofit group before determining the most innovative in recycling, reducing air pollution, creating renewable energy and pioneering other green solutions.

The final inductees in this year's hall of fame were:

• d. Light Design, based in San Francisco, designs and manufactures solar light and power products throughout the developing world with the aim of transforming the lives of 100 million disadvantaged people by 2020.
• Empower Playgrounds, Inc., based in Provo, Utah, develops electricity generating playground equipment for use in rural third-world communities and supplies children with long-lasting LED lanterns and other electric equipment for educational purposes.
• Free Vineyards, based in Redwood Valley, Calif., set up the country's first organic winery, growing grapes free of chemical pesticides and fertilizers and making wine without synthetic sulfite preservatives common among most winemakers.
• Lange Twins Winery and Vineyards, based in Acampo, Calif., makes wine in a way that benefits the surrounding environment like installing photovoltaic solar systems, using recycled paper, relying on less water and preserving native grasses and trees around its vineyards.
• New Belgium Brewing Company, based in Fort Collins, Colo., brews beer with an aim to reduce energy and water use while cutting waste and greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in the company earning the Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power Leadership Award in 2012.

Four individuals were also honored for influencing better environmental and health-concious lifestyles.

• Brendan Brazier, a Canadian endurance athlete, has authored books on benefits of a Vegan diet and created the Vega line of whole food nutritional products.
• Al Courshesne, an organic farmer from the Bay Area who has advocated sustainable land use, conservation and organic practices throughout his nearly 40-year farming career.
• Jim Kor, a professional engineer from Canada who designs hybrid automotive, bus, rail, agricultural and heavy mobile equipment that are fuel efficient, easy to repair and drastically reduce emissions.
• John Schaeffer, an environmentalist, author and entrepreneur who founded Real Goods, a sustainable lifestyle catalog, and Real Goods Solar, a solar system installer with business in California and Colorado.