An Example of Integrated Sustainability
Last week, Pi’s founder, Chris Sommers spoke in Jay Swoboda’s class on Sustainable Operations. He shared that Pi was started with a green mission, a major differentiator when it opened on Pi Day in 2008. Since then, sustainability has always been integrated and never an afterthought, which explains the growing restaurant chain’s low-key sustainability profile. Besides recycling and standard eco-friendly practices, Pi strives to source locally and uses natural cleaning products. Mr. Sommers has also recently invested in the Tower Grove Farmers Market to demonstrate commitment to local produce. The company previously bought carbon credits to offset long-distance ingredient shipping, but has reconsidered their effectiveness. Every store is designed with sustainability in mind as well, including reclaimed wood and local artisan workmanship. This includes their 6th store at the MX mall on Wash. Ave., due to open this summer!
With his experience and leadership, Mr. Sommers is active with the Green Dining Alliance, helping St. Louis restaurants achieve certification from reducing, recycling and composting restaurant waste, as well as sourcing sustainable food, to-go ware and cleaning supplies. Now that Pi is running sustainably on its own, Mr. Sommers is launching two tech ventures. If you’re interested in his background and Pi, take a look at the St. Louis Business Journal “40 under 40″ spotlight. Yet another example of a sustainability-minded, highly successful entrepreneur!
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