We asked Grant Estrade, owner of Wood Materials and Laughing Buddha Nursery, to share with us this month as our featured Greentrepreneur.Tell us a little bit about your company, and what’s on your plate right now both as a business and as a member of the sustainability conscious New Orleans community. I'm currently wearing 3 hats so to speak. As Owner of Laughing Buddha Nursery, Partner with Wood Materials in Composting, and as a Project Manager for Wood Materials Sand and Aggregate business, I stay very busy focusing on how to do things better while keeping in mind a multiple bottom line approach of Profit, Impact, and Growth.
What are some of your proudest moments as owner/employee of (your company)? I'm proud of the companies and staff I work with every day. Two events that come to mind are 1) When I worked with local leaders to reroute most of Jefferson Parish's vegetative debris generated by Hurricane Isaac to our Harahan Facility to be composted, and 2) When the concrete crushing/recycling project at the Harahan Facility came to fruition recently, and I was able to personally oversee the first delivery of "Oyster Rock" to Oystermen in Empire, LA for oyster reef construction.
How does your organization go about improving your social and environmental impacts?
I'm a Green Capitalist who believes in the rules of the natural market/economic ecosystem. I'm not trying to improve our environmental impact by doing anything exotic or complicated. We recycle, via composting, locally generated organic matter to be consumed by local landscaping projects and household landscaping/vegetable gardens. We do it in a fashion that decreases the traveling distance and the number of times handled in order to reduce petro consumption.
What partnerships have you formed in order to leverage sustainable impact as a company? I consider being in partnership with every one of my customers, vendors, coworkers, and those companies who I patron using the profits I personally realize. Remember that spider web exercise you did during that environmental science lesson? The economic world is no different. We're all connected and we are all in a partnership.
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?
It's always easy to put the responsibility on government, politicians, and business leaders. I believe in personal accountability. The magic wand would be for individuals to vote with every dollar that they spend. If you're for environmental sustainability spend your dollars with those who are promoting vetted sustainable products/services. And yes, it may cost more in the short term, but if those products/services are vetted they'll be cheaper in the long term.
What advice would you give to other businesses who are trying to improve their internal practices to benefit their city and state?
Do what you can. Focus on your circles of influence. Have personal accountability.
Anything else you would like to tell our community of Green Card members and Green Businesses such as upcoming events or promotions they should look out for?
There are always new products and specials being offered. Visit our websites at www.woodmaterialsyard.com and www.laughingbuddhanursery.com (a new LBN website will be rolling out shortly), and LBN's Face Book Page.