Business owners in the greater New Orleans area have an ally when it comes to going green. LifeCity helps businesses make social and environmental changes in a profitable way. To learn more, I spoke with Liz Shephard, the chief executive officer.

The idea for LifeCity was sparked from an adventure. When Shephard circumnavigated Cuba on a 125-foot 10-sailed Schooner, she learned to cook, manage waste and fuel and take turns captaining the ship.

“I realized it was a metaphor for our planet – we have one home, with limited resources, and I wanted to help others understand how to take care of it so that we can ultimately take care of ourselves,” she says.

After getting accepted into the 2011 Idea Village Accelerator program, Shephard worked with mentors to create a business model around the idea of helping local organizations go green in a profitable way. Although breaking this big vision into smaller steps wasn’t easy, LifeCity now has the staff and know-how to help businesses become both sustainable and fiscally successful. In addition, community members can use LifeCity’s online Impact Directory to locate local businesses that operate in a green, sustainable way.

Building relationships and partnerships in the New Orleans community has been LifeCity’s greatest success so far. In fact, one of these partnerships allowed the organization to secure a designation for the region, making over $1 billion of federal funding accessible to Louisiana. As the Louisiana Chemical Manufacturing Initiative shows, there can be huge financial rewards for partnering with LifeCity to go green.

Going Green Benefits Businesses
According to Shephard, going green can help businesses run more efficiently, save money and improve environmental impact. By using their social and environmental resources in a smart way, businesses can have benefits such as lower utility bills and increased productivity. And LifeCity can help these organizations strategically analyze their business practices to cut costs and improve their environmental and social impact.

Get Involved

At this time, LifeCity is seeking investment and a software partner to help automate current processes so they can scale more quickly. In addition, the organization also needs interns to research sustainable tools. Lastly, LifeCity wants to promote the message that companies can achieve greater financial success by connecting their products and services to environmental and community solutions. Visit them online to learn more at