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    Green CEO Interview with ACF Enterprises Icy Williams


    By Dr. Tyra Oldham, LAND sds, January 31, 2013

    Image provided by ACF Enterprises LLC (ACF)  


    ACF Enterprises LLC is a sustainable company providing expertise and solutions in transferring sustainable education to its clients. ACF Enterprises LLC (ACF) has a proven track record and a rich history. LAND sds is featuring and highlighting ACF for its commitment to sustainability and inclusion strategies that assist companies to meet the demands within these economic times.

    Formed in 2005, as a marketing and publishing firm. The founders, Icy Williams and Joan Carol-Flowers in 2009, seized the opportunity to strategically position ACF to be at the forefront of  sustainability by using technology specifically, "the Internet" to focus on online sustainability delivery methods. And since the company's inception it has been an honor to work with companies and educational intuitions to advance sustainable solutions that translate to a strong supply chain and organization leadership through our education and training.   

    Companies that succeed see the future and work toward the innovation to become the leader in their industry. ACF recognized the need for "sustainability education" within all industries supporting supply chain strategies. ACF developed a library of innovative sustainability curriculum supported by a robust Learning Management System that tracks users and can generate a variety of reports to meet the demands of the industry.

    Icy Williams shared, "ACF is uniquely aligned with America’s vision to foster a greener economy and a green-educated workforce."

    Williams states, "Over the next decade, education and training will play a key role in applying the science of sustainability to tasks and jobs in the workplace. In fact, developing the green skills and competencies of the nation’s workforce is essential to ensuring the competitiveness of American businesses in the global economy."

    Yesterday, President Obama determined that there is a need to have U.S. citizens be trianed and complete college by 2020.  Some of this education will be in the green and sustainable arenas, which ACF expertly provides a dynamic sustainability curriculum for colleges and training courseware for businesses that can be delivered onsite in a classroom setting, online using multimedia techniques, or a combination of both. We work with core-constituencies of labor, industry, and academia to identify relevant opportunities for knowledge transfer. Our competitive advantage is the use of state-of-the-art technology to create online curriculum, seminars and workshops that are thought-provoking, engaging and ensure that learning has been retained.  

    ACF focuses on two aspects of sustainability education and training: Workforce development and supplier development. The Center of Sustainability Excellence is an educationally-centered, college-controlled library of sustainability courseware available for licensing to community and technical colleges, universities and trade schools. The curricula specifically focuses on the technical and scientific application of sustainability. The courses were built for delivery in a traditional classroom setting, with related online assignments and virtual classroom discussion.

    The Institute for Sustainable Business Education is a web-based, virtual learning center with powerful, engaging and interactive e-courses  for workforce development. The program will be launched by ACF in early 2013 collaboration with several colleges and business development organizations. Six different Continuing Education Certificate Programs will be available to working students. The categories include Green Construction,  Sustainability Professional ,  Manufacturing & Industrial , Supplier Development,  Environmental Scorecard,  and Employee Engagement.

    ACF sets the standard for supplier sustainable development with SEMS™ (Supplier Excellence in Managing Sustainability). The SEMS™ program offers a unique risk management solution for the corporate supply chain. The program is completely online and includes everything from a Supplier Assessment that establishes a benchmark for sustainability performance improvement with a variety of interactive online e-courses that increase basic awareness of sustainability principles to an innovative tutorial with an online planning template that creates a customized sustainability plan. This comprehensive program incorporates training for the Supplier Environmental Sustainability Scorecard developed by the Procter & Gamble Company. Suppliers that participate on the SEMS™ program can use an online self-audit tool and SEMS™ Certification as verification that sustainable operations are functional and not just self proclamations. 

    ACF understands a company can claim to be “green,” but a business that participates in any of ACF’s education and training programs can produce evidence of a journey to sustainable development. ACF Enterprises has a strategic alliance with CVM Solutions, the nation’s premier provider of supplier database management. CVM’s corporate clients can track the sustainability performance improvement of current suppliers and potential suppliers through a “green supplier” component of CVM’s Supplier Locator system.

    Many argue that Green is a costly addition to any project or process. ACF responds by stating, sustainability is a self-help way of improving business performance. It does not happen overnight; sustainability happens  over time. In some instances new equipment may be necessary, but for the most part “going green” does not have to be an expensive process. The reality is that sustainable development is a global business strategy that is actually providing major corporations cost savings, cost optimizations, cost avoidance and increased efficiencies. The same principles of sustainability can be applied to the operation of even the smallest companies to reduce costs. 
    The typical use case for our firm’s services is our case study on Environmental threats to a large number of communities affected by combined sewer overflows  promoted The Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) to engage ACF to customize our SEMS™ program to specifically focus on prevention of water and air pollution.  MSD has a unique initiative called, Communities of the Future that is leading the development of a greener city. As part of this initiative, MSD had the goal of providing 50 small businesses (SBEs) in construction and construction-related industries with an opportunity to achieve SEMS™ Certification by taking action steps to protect the area’s water and air quality and to prevent pollution. ACF customized one of its e-courses and created a proprietary assessment specifically for the project.

    ACF Enterprises next step in service delivery to meet the changes in the industry is to use our education and training curriculum to improve the sustainability knowledge and skills of American workers in areas of manufacturing, energy, construction, health care and professional services. Our strategy is to partner with organizations like the EPA, MBDA and WBENC to establish Centers of Sustainability Excellence across the country, so that U.S. businesses have every opportunity and tool to succeed.  

    ACF's biggest challenge is that small business owners and decision makers don’t understand the significance of sustainable development. They view sustainability as an “option” in the sense that it is something you may choose to do or not to do. ACF’s biggest challenge is to change this mind-set before too many of these small companies with the potential to grow suddenly become obsolete.

    Our strengths is conveying “going green” is good for a company’s bottom line. Keep in mind that profits are directly impacted by the costs it takes to run a business. By integrating sustainability principles and practices into business operations, you can lower expenses over time and improve bottom line performance. Small businesses can achieve the same efficiencies as large business, but on a smaller scale. Second, global companies are looking for suppliers that can support their sustainability initiatives. Not only do they want to see value in the supply chain, larger companies are more open to collaborating with smaller companies that bring them green ideas and lower cost. Now is the time to take advantage of a marketplace that is constantly evolving to adapt to climate change.

    We understand  the number of green college programs  and the number of students enrolled in them rises every year.  Sustainability has increasingly become the driving force for thousands of new jobs and careers. In fact, you can read almost daily what executive recruiters, business think tanks, and industry chiefs are saying about the exciting growth in this discipline. By Spring of 2013, ACF will offer six different  Certificate Programs  with CEUs.

    Sustainability training online from ACF’s Institute of Sustainability Business Education will enable working students to become sustainable leaders in their organization. Through convenient video-based lectures, ACF’s sustainability certificate programs reveal how you can reduce waste and the consumption of energy, water and other natural resources, engage the community to boost public perception of your organization, and ultimately yield a return on your investment in the form of profits and cost savings.

    Our training courses and curriculums are best in class and are developed for to support the growing sustainability efforts required by supply chains and economic development in communities across this country and abroad.


    To learn more about ACF Enterprises LLC, please visit