1. FAFCO Since 1969 FAFCO has been a pioneer in thermal solar. They were the first company to create a copolymer solar panel in 1969 and are the largest manufacturer of solar pool heating systems in the United States. In addition FAFCO partnered with the Department of Energy to develop the world’s first lightweight affordable solar heating system for household use . In 2015 in keeping with their pioneering spirit, FAFCO introduced a revolutionary new solar product, CoolPV. CoolPV is the first product of its kind providing both solar thermal(water heating) and solar PV(Electric) Panels to maximize solar output from your roof space.

2. Chico Bag in 2004 Chico Bag founder Andy Keller visited a local landfill after landscaping his backyard. he was appalled to find single use plastic bags as far as he could see. That moment he vowed to never use single use bags ever again and from that visit ChicoBag was born. Chico Bag has been at the forefront of transitioning shoppers from single use plastic bags to reusable bags and totes for 15 years. They became a B Corp, companies based on sustainability, and have been voted best for the world and environment, 2 years running!

3. Klean Kanteen In 2002 there were no personal stainless steel water bottles on the market. Robert Seals, founder of Klean Kanteen, saw the early signs of environmental health issues with plastic water bottles. Robert began prototyping his stainless steel solution and in 2004 Klean Kanteen was on its way. The mission to provide superior solutions and options for consumers from using plastic water bottles has not wavered. Nationwide, even worldwide, there has been a huge shift away from single use containers and Klean Kanteen continues to provide healthier refillable options. In 2012 it became a B Corp and have partnered with many like­minded companies and organizations to educate the public about health and environmental issues.

4. Sierra Nevada Brewery in 1979 Ken Grossman took the plunge of opening a small scale Brewery after his 10 years of passion creating great beer. Back in those days there was no such thing as a micro brews and “Reduce­Reuse­Recycle” was not a catch phrase, it was a business model. In 1980 he introduced the Pale Ale which was the beer that helped launch the American Craft Beer movement. Since then, Sierra Nevada with its deep roots in Northern California has had a solid commitment to the environment and reducing their impact. They have been a prominent leader in sustainability by growing their own hops on Site, utilizing solar for their energy needs, and biogas to run their micro turbines. For a comprehensive look at what has consistently kept them at the top of the recognition and awards for sustainability, check out their website.

5. Chico State University CSU, Chico has long been a sustainability trailblazer. President Paul J. Zingg was a founding signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. It is one of only 21 schools on The Princeton Review green honor roll. They are a natural leader in sustainability and it is part of their strategic plan. They have hosted the CSU sustainability program for the past 5 years, whose goal and commitment is to balance human, social and economic needs with the environment. The campus has award­winning buildings as well as one climate neutral building on its campus. The campus plans to be climate neutral by 2030! Chico State has over 200 Green courses that focus on environmental issues, management of scarce resources, and/or sustainable development. Green courses encourage students to be wise stewards of scarce resources and to understand that individual and collective actions have economic, social, and environmental consequences. Go Wildcats!

6. Hookeez Hookeez began as an idea in 2008 after Chico mom Janae Panzer became frustrated with having to dig through her groceries to get to her reusable bags while juggling a toddler at checkout. After speaking with other frustrated reusable bag users, she decided that there had to be a better way. She began working on creating a way to secure shopping bags to the outside of the cart. After many design changes and revisions, Hookeez was born. Hookeez can be easily attached to the outside of the shopping cart, freeing up space for groceries and making it easy to access reusable bags at checkout. Hookeez is small and compact, with a patented locking feature that keeps it securely attached to the handle of most reusable shopping bags.

After putting Hookeez on the back burner for several years due to a major move from Santa Barbara to Chico, raising two children, and becoming a successful Marriage and Family Therapist, Janae is ready to expand Hookeez to her new hometown. Hookeez recently expanded to include eight exciting colors. Hookeez can be found locally in Chico at all three Safeway locations, S&S Produce, Collier’s Hardware, and most recently Raley’s.

In addition, Hookeez can be purchased nationwide at The Container Store and online at In addition Hookeez has been a strong supporter, dedicating donations, to the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. They do fantastic research and made the discovery of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

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