(ANEW) capped off this year’s by recognizing Tracy Backus of as the latest recipient of the ANEW Social Sustainability Champion Award. As Teknion’s director of Sustainable Programs for the U.S., Backus is a champion for ANEW and the notion that achieving sustainable end-of-life options for office furniture makes good social, environmental and business sense.
The Social Sustainability Champion Award recognizes individuals, like Backus, who advocate a call to action regarding the importance of strengthening communities by serving the non-profits, charities and public agencies within them. This work begins at the project site and fans out across the nation with a network of Teknion stewards of the environment. It is through these efforts that the environment is considered with a focus to mitigate climate change. Specifically, this award is bestowed upon exemplary leaders in the fields of manufacturing, corporate real estate, building, A&D, industry, social service and education.
“The ANEW board of directors receives nominations throughout the year, culminating with a small handful of finalists. We’re delighted to have Tracy join the ranks of Social Sustainability champions, and Teknion as this year’s manufacturing recipient,” said ANEW founder and president Rose Tourje.
Last June, at NeoCon 2012, Tourje and Backus hosted the “Sustainability Without Borders” panel with John Peterson of . Amidst the conversation, Backus’ leadership in the area of social and environmental responsibility struck Tourje. Backus has over 25 years of experience in the commercial interiors field and currently is responsible for the development, outreach, business strategies and support of Teknion’s environmental initiatives.
“To be recognized at Greenbuild for ANEW’s Social Sustainability Champion Award, when Teknion has many champions, was a humbling moment,” says Backus. “I am thrilled to represent our company and the work of so many. Like sustainability, it is shared and successful by the collective we.”
Teknion is an award-winning international designer, manufacturer and marketer of office systems and office furniture products. The company has had a sustainability policy in place since 2003, which includes providing much-needed funding and resources to ANEW as a sustaining sponsor.
Kay Sargent, V-P Architecture, Design and Workplace Strategies, Teknion, says: “As we move from ‘Thinking Green’ to ‘Being Green’ Teknion has embraced common sense solutions to be more sustainable. Designing product solutions that prolong the life of our solutions while seamlessly integrating with new introductions to provide our clients with sustainable, fiscally responsible and flexible solutions is a key element of Teknion’s environmental philosophy. Reducing by reusing and repurposing is another. That is where our relationship with ANEW comes to life. Tracy has been our champion on that front and worked with our team to actively look for opportunities to extend the life of our products while helping our clients solve the problem of excessing furniture they no longer need but is still a viable product. Our partnership with ANEW was a natural next step after we refined our manufacturing process, refocused our design solutions, greened our facilities, and educated our staff and customers to the power of being green. After all, being green is not just the right thing to do, it just makes sense.”
“Sustainable development at Teknion is about trying to teach the organization to look at things in different ways; it’s changing behavior about how we produce, how we design, how we act, and how we carry forward with our products in the marketplace. Not only to bring them into the marketplace, but at the end of life, what should be done with those products,” says Scott Deugo, chief sales officer, World Markets, Teknion.
ANEW (Asset Network for Education Worldwide, Inc.) is a public, non-profit organization dedicated to collecting, organizing and repurposing sur furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) for donation to the underserved. For more information, visit