Greensboro, N.C.-based Unifi, Inc. is the inaugural business recipient of the 2018 UNC Sustainability Award from Kenan-Flagler Business School’s Center for Sustainable Enterprise and the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. The award recognizes leadership and best practices in environmental and business sustainability for North Carolina enterprises. The global textile solutions company, which makes its REPREVE performance fiber from recycled materials, including plastic bottles, accepted the award Thursday, May 10, at a special dinner.
UNC chose Unifi to receive the award because of the company’s strong history of commitment to sustainability, along with its strategic and thoughtful business practices. Criteria selection includes:
Initiative: The drive to act or take charge before others do.
Innovation: A new or novel idea, method, or approach.
Impact: To have a strong effect on someone or something.
“Unifi is honored to be recognized by UNC as a leader in developing innovative, environmentally-friendly practices as part of our business model,” said Unifi CEO Kevin Hall. “We are proud to have partnered with the world’s leading brands to transform more than 10 billion bottles into performance fibers, and are on track for 30 billion by 2022.”
“The Center for Sustainable Enterprise has been a thought leader in sustainability for almost 20 years,” said Albert Segars, PNC Distinguished Professor, Strategy & Entrepreneurship and Faculty Director, Center for Sustainable Enterprise. “There are also many businesses in North Carolina that have been innovative leaders in sustainable enterprise, in some cases for much longer than 20 years. We thought it was time to highlight the positive stories of those organizations and highlight their leadership in building profitable as well as sustainable models of business.”
“Unifi is a leader in sustainability among American-based companies,” said Brad Ives, UNC’s Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Enterprises and Chief Sustainability Officer. “They have long been a leader in using recycled materials to manufacture their innovative yarns while showing that superior products do not need virgin materials. Likewise, their commitment to landfill-free manufacturing demonstrates a great environmental commitment to their local communities. As a North Carolinian, I am immensely proud to have a forward-thinking company like Unifi headquartered here.”
Leaders at UNC say the goal of the award is to highlight the exceptional work that North Carolina businesses are doing, while continuing to pursue green initiatives and goals. They hope the award challenges other businesses to take a look at their practices and follow sustainable suit.
Photo: left to right: Kevin Hall, Unifi CEO; and Al Segars, PNC Distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and Faculty Director of the Center for Sustainable Enterprise at UNC.