Linda Stone, co-owner of the authentic Mexican restaurant Casa Borrega on O.C. Haley, shares her thoughts as June’s Greentrepreneur.
What are some of your proudest moments as owner of Casa Borrega?
I’m proud that we’ve created a successful business and that we’ve kept a solid group of employees for well over a year, some since we opened two years ago. I’m also proud of how the place looks, being a conglomeration of so many old materials and artifacts, pieces of old buildings and of our past.
How does your organization go about improving your social and environmental impacts?
On the environmental we recycle and have an energy efficient business and also maintain a rain garden out front and more garden space in the back. The fact that the building is made from recycled materials and our mission on the back of our menus illustrates our commitment to our customers. On the social end we promote Latin culture via events, music, food and art. We provide jobs, support neighborhood businesses and events, and offer gift certificates to local nonprofits to assist them in their fund raising efforts.
What partnerships have you formed in order to leverage sustainable impact as a company?
We work with LifeCity of course to certify our green business and learn about opportunities to work with with other green vendors; currently we are participating in the Eat Local Challenge for the Culinary Tour of OC Haley. We are also connected with a network of environmental organizations through my former work with the Green Project, the City of New Orleans and Global Green as well as through LifeCity.
If you had a magic wand to change one thing that would make it easier for your company or other New Orleans businesses to go green, what would that thing be?
There should be incentives at the City level making it preferable to recycle, compost and achieve other environmental benchmarks such as energy and water savings. It would also be ideal if the City were to manage all recycling and composting at the transfer station instead of making it a voluntary effort on the part of residents and businesses. Additionally, the City should install more bike lanes and bike racks to encourage more sustainable commuting and count bicycle parking on par with automobile parking spaces.
What advice would you give to other businesses who are trying to improve their internal practices to benefit their city and state?
Connect with LifeCity for a host of ideas and resources and discounts to go green. When renovating utilize existing materials recycling entities such as The Green Project, The Bank, Preservation Salvage Store, Habitat ReStore, Ricca’s, etc. Look for rebates for energy and water efficiency through Entergy and promoted by programs of Global Green, Green Light, and others. Incorporate rain gardens and outdoor water saving devices and designs – there are numerous entities that also help with this.
Anything else you would like to tell our community of Green Card members and Green Businesses?
Don’t be afraid to be original or quirky create something environmentally sustainable and unique. Let’s set the bar high and make it fun. There is a great opportunity for originality when going green and New Orleans embraces creative innovation.