Sustainability Advisory Committee


Peter Kristian


Mark Baker


Assist the Town of Hilton Head Island and Beaufort County with the education of residents and visitors to the Greater Hilton Head area on the benefits and opportunities to make our area more sustainable.

Town of HHI Planning Commission moves GIC Sustainability Resolution Forward 

On June 16th, Mark Baker, GIC member presented the GIC Sustainability Advisory Committee’s (SAC) “The Beaufort County Landfill and the Town of Hilton Head Island” resolution position paper on solid waste management for Beaufort County to the Town of HHI Planning Commission. It was approved at our general membership meeting in May.  Mark reviewed the history of the SAC which was created in 2012 to enhance Hilton Head Island and Southern Beaufort County’s sustainability practices.  He explained that the current Jasper County landfill’s estimated life is 5 years but could be extended to 15 years with much more waste being efficiently and effectively recycled and sold.  The ideal solution is a 50-100 acre state of the art transfer/recycling center in S. Beaufort County which would allow trash haulers to go a shorter distance and ensure that recyclables are made salable and therefore a more environmentally sustainable solution.  Currently, Waste Management charges to dump recyclables into the landfill but trash is free, a backwards incentive for sustainable waste management.  Further, businesses are no longer allowed in convenience centers like HHI’s which could lead then to avoid the long trip to Jasper and dump trash illegally.  Beaufort County is aware and working on the issues.  The resolution, which unanimously passed by the Planning Commission asks HHI’s leadership to work with Beaufort County to develop a forward thinking solution.  The resolution will be moved on to the appropriate HHI and Beaufort County committees and hopefully next to their full councils.


To view the video of Mark Baker’s presentation, click here: 394150558594131 (Mark’s presentation is 4 minutes into the meeting)


To view The Beaufort County Landfill and the Town of Hilton Head Island resolution position paper, click here: Position paper


Why and How GIC SAC was created:

The Mayor’s Task Force for the Island’s Future Vision 2025 Report identified eleven key initiatives to “enrich the experiences of residents and guests, to accelerate private sector investment in the three primary economic drivers, to strengthen the island’s leadership legacy of being a “green” community and/or to underscore its commitment to its Vision and Core Values.”

One of the Vision 2025 initiatives called for the appointment of a Sustainability Advisory Committee (SAC) “to identify, explore and promote environmental and “sustainability” options, policies and practices.” The stated purpose of the SAC was “to strengthen the Island’s environmental leadership position, enhance long term economic and environmental sustainability and attract “green” businesses and “green oriented” travelers.”

The SAC was created in 2011 and Teresa Wade, President and owner of Sustainable Solutions was recruited to serve as Champion to lead our efforts and to identify sustainable practices and policies. One of the SAC’s first actions was to create and fund a non-profit organization called Experience Green.  This organization was founded to identify ways to enhance sustainable practices on Hilton Head Island and Beaufort County.  Teresa Wade was hired to serve as Experience Green’s (EG) first Executive Director.  EG provided a wide variety of functions including hosting events, conducting Earth Day celebrations, conducting classes on sustainable practices, offering Master Recycler classes and Certifications. In addition, EG created and managed a Sustainability in Golf program and assisted many local and state golf course operations with sustainable practices and certification in this program.

The GIC Sustainability Advisory Committee, together with Experience Green also raised funds to conduct a community-wide Baseline Sustainability Assessment (BSA).  The purpose of the BSA was to establish a baseline measurement of the community’s position as it relates to sustainable practices so that future improvements and activities could be measured against the baseline to determine impacts.  This document continues to serve the community today and help prioritize the many sustainable practices that are discussed and considered. This important survey identified four key priority areas of improvement. They are Waste, Water, Energy and Transportation.

Today the SAC is working with the Beaufort County and the Town of Hilton Head Island to identify and advance policies and goals to improve the ways we deal with waste management on the island. Other topics are also under consideration and discussion within the committee’s monthly meetings.


Baseline Sustainability Assessment


Click below to see each of the sections of the Baseline Sustainability Assessment (BSA):

Baseline Sustainability Assessment Project Summary

Responsibility Section

Risk Section

Resiliency Section

Community Response Survey Summary