CYPRESS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Earth Friendly Products, the maker of ECOS™ environmentally friendly cleaning products and a leader in sustainable business practices, is pleased to announce that its president and CEO Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks has received the Orange County Business Journal’s 2016 Women in Business Award.
“The Women in Business Award is presented to Ms. Vlahakis-Hanks for her highly effective leadership and influential voice in the green movement and in corporate social responsibility. She has been instrumental in making Earth Friendly Products a model for green business practices in Southern California and across the country. Ms. Vlahakis-Hanks is outspoken in her commitment to sustainability in her products, her facilities, and her employment practices,” explained Laura Garrett, vice president and associate publisher of the Orange County Business Journal and the Women in Business Award chair.
Vlahakis-Hanks recently opened the company’s flagship manufacturing facility and corporate headquarters in Cypress, California, which features sustainable operations and Zero Waste manufacturing processes and creates over 90 jobs in Orange County (and over 350 jobs nationally). The new facility increases the company’s manufacturing capacity in California by over 30% to accommodate its strong growth. It is one of several sustainable manufacturing facilities that the company has strategically located across the U.S. to reduce its shipping costs, minimize its carbon footprint and enable it to achieve carbon neutrality.
“I am so proud to call Orange County my home and to accept this prestigious award on behalf of the entire Earth Friendly Products Cypress team,” said Vlahakis-Hanks. “We opened our first Orange County facility in Huntington Beach in 1977, and we have continued to call Orange County home as our facilities have grown. As a mom actively involved in the Orange County community and as a CEO, I am passionate about creating a healthy environment for our children and teaching them the importance of protecting our community and the health of our planet.”
Earth Friendly Products is a leader in corporate social responsibility and supports the local economy in Orange County and other regions in which it operates by hiring locally, sourcing materials locally, and paying one of the highest minimum wages in the nation, currently $17 an hour. According to Vlahakis-Hanks, paying employees a living wage and providing them with a strong benefits package has helped the company grow and remain competitive. She says the higher wages and benefits increase productivity and reduce turnover costs, which helps the company keep its prices competitive.
A graduate of UCLA and Chapman University Argyros School of Business and Economics, Vlahakis-Hanks joined Earth Friendly Products in 2003. She was promoted to executive vice president in 2009 and was responsible for opening five new manufacturing facilities and overseeing global sales in over 60 countries. In 2014 she became president and CEO of the company. Vlahakis-Hanks was a leading voice in the formation of the Sustainability Consortium and served as a key strategic advisor to Walmart’s sustainability and conservation efforts. She is an active member of several national and local boards, including the American Sustainable Business Council, Grades of Green, the Environmental Media Association, Chapman University, and the Chief Executive Roundtable at the University of California, Irvine. In 2014 she was named Entrepreneur of the Year at the Orange County Global Women’s Conference, and in 2016 she was named one of Orange Coast Magazine’s Remarkable Women.
Earth Friendly Products has a large presence throughout Orange County with products available at Walmart, Sam’s Club, Ralphs, Whole Foods Market, Smart & Final, Sprouts, Mothers Market, Babies R Us, buybuy BABY, Rite Aid, Costco Business Centers, and many independent retailers. Earth Friendly Products partners with Southern California educational organizations such as the Discovery Science Center to bring ECOScience, a green science education program, to thousands of schoolchildren each year. Earth Friendly Products is proud to support Orange County organizations such as the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides of Orange County, the Nancy Yeary Women’s Cancer Research Foundation, the Girl Scouts of Orange County, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County.
ABOUT EARTH FRIENDLY PRODUCTS
Family owned and operated since 1967, Earth Friendly Products is the maker of ECOS™ Laundry Detergent, Baby ECOS™ cleaners and over 200 other environmentally friendly cleaners that are safer for people, pets and the planet. Made with plant-derived ingredients, ECOS™ products are thoughtfully sourced, free of formaldehyde and dyes, pH balanced, readily biodegradable, and never tested on animals. As a primary manufacturer with manufacturing facilities distributed throughout the U.S., Earth Friendly Products is committed to making green cleaning effective and affordable. The company has received many awards for its innovations in safer green chemistry, including the U.S. EPA’s coveted Safer Choice Partner of the Year. Earth Friendly Products achieved carbon neutrality in 2013 through a series of major sustainability initiatives, including the switch to 100% renewable energy, which saves over 53 million pounds of carbon dioxide annually. In addition, all Earth Friendly Products facilities are Zero Waste Platinum certified, diverting over 95% of their waste from landfills and incineration. ECOS™ cleaning products are available at selected major retailers throughout the U.S. and in over 60 countries. Learn more at www.ecos.com and www.babyecos.com.