Since moving to Sudbury, Ont., over the past year, Xavier Icardo has already made an effort to make his hotel more eco-friendly.
As the general manager of Towneplace Suites, he has a recycling policy, is establishing a garden, and planning to buy electric car plug-ins and bicycles.
Icardo does not want anything to go to waste.
He is even using ripe breakfast bananas for cakes to offer his guests at check-in.
"People pay attention to that," Icardo said. "Customers will choose companies that are aligning with their values."
Icardo's company is being recognized as the environmental champion of the year by the business program Green Economy North.
'Bring those kilometres down'
For the first time, the group handed out several awards out to local businesses on Thursday at College Boreal.
Erica Lagois is being commended as being part of one of the most engaged green teams.
Her business, Eat Local Sudbury, aims to reduce people's carbon footprint by offering food from farmers in the region.
"Part of our main mandate is to work locally to bring food into the community, downtown Sudbury, where people have access to it," Lagois said.
"To bring those kilometres down. To work with local farmers."
'Others take notice and they follow the same path'
The changing economy requires companies to become more sustainable, according to Green Economy North program manager Richard Eberhardt, who hopes to reward more local businesses on their endeavours in the future.
"When we recognize leaders, others take notice and they follow the same path," Eberhardt said.
"What we're really trying to do is create an environment of leadership on sustainability within our business community."