The company even put out a press release that they were going to mandate
LEED green building certification for
all their franchises. However, after finding out that one franchisee in Houston, Texas would have to pay $40,000 to
get the LEED plaque on their wall due
to unregulated third-party consultant
fees, they decided to change the mandate so that all the franchises were built
to LEED specifications instead.
“I can still go to bed at night knowing that we are meeting the most rigorous environmental standards out
there,” Lazar said.
Reaching out to the community.
Outreach is also a big part of Pizza Fusion’s green efforts. Inspired by Home
Depot’s free educational workshops,
Lazar and Gordon developed a free
monthly “Kids’ Organic Class,” where
kids, ages six to 14, get to make pizza
and learn about everything from the
health and environmental benefits of
organic to hybrid cars and alternative
“It’s the best way for us to let our customers know that we stand behind the
authenticity of our product. People look at that seal and they know that there
are no chemicals in their food that will hurt them,” said Vaughn Lazar, president and co-founder. “It shows that we are willing to go to the extreme to ensure that our food is as healthy and safe as possible.”
“There was no magic
green bullet. It was just
about making simple little
choices that all add up.” In the short time since”Pizza Fusion opened their first restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 2006, the chain has grown to 15 locations throughout
the country. Pizza Fusion has also become a leading green role model to businesses around the world. While this growth has not been without its challenges,
it proves that consumers out there want healthier, ethically-conscious options
and while pizza alone may not be able to save the world—a tasty pie can be a
powerful platform for change.
Leading the Way to a Greener World
One Slice at a Time
When Lazar and his co-founder Michael Gordon started Pi zza Fusion, they were both feeling uninspired by their jobs and
were looking to start a business based on principles instead of
just profits. Organic was key to their plan and after seeing
Whole Foods open up in Boca Raton with lines of people
wrapping around the side of the store waiting to get in, they
knew there was a market for it. And what better way to get people to try organic food than through one of their favorites?
“Pizza is the best gateway food to introduce people to the green
food movement. Who doesn’t like pizza?” Lazar said.
After that, it just became about building on that healthy and
“Michael brought up the point that if we are going to deliver
organic pizza, we have to do it in hybrids. Then it became a game
to see who could come up with the next green idea. It still is,”
Lazar said. “We didn’t get our degree in sustainability from Bainbridge University, but every time we were presented with a choice, we chose the
path that made the most sense for us and the planet. There was no magic
green bullet. It was just about making simple little choices that all add up.”
In addition to those already mentioned, the chain’s green choices include
low-flow toilets that use 40 percent less water, lighting that reduces energy
usage by 18 percent, 100 percent organic cotton uniforms and a custom-made
heat exchanger that takes the heat generated by their pizza ovens and uses it to
heat water. This is so effective they don’t even own separate hot water heaters.
And, Pizza Fusion’s list of earth-saving deeds is still being added to every day.
P izza Fusion offers free classes to teach
kids about organic and sustainability.
Pizza Fusion also helped put together the Green Festival in Florida,
which is not traditionally a green state.
Everywhere they go, they bring more
awareness to the green movement,
“We’ve become local green heroes.
People want to associate themselves