Today the Native American Financial Officers Association (NAFOA) named the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde the winner of its Deal of the Year award at their seventh annual Financial Leadership Awards luncheon this afternoon, as part of their annual conference in New Orleans, held April 14-15.
The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde were recognized for their $10 million investment in MicroGREEN’s InCycle Cups, an Arlington, Washington-based company that created a material technology to make high-quality cups from recycled water bottles.
In December 2013, the Confederated Tribes funded an equipment loan to MicroGREEN, and followed that with their second $5 million funding tranche in January.
"Their investments have enabled us to buy equipment that will allow us to re-extrude [recycled plastic into the plastic sheets from which InCycle cups are manufactured]. It is because they are stewards of the environment just like we are that the tribes have invested," CEO Tom Malone told Indian Country Today Media Network.
MicroGREEN is now expanding production capacity to meet orders from customers.
“It is a great win for us to be recognized by NAFOA for our decision to invest in MicroGREEN,” said Titu Asghar, director of economic development of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon. “This strategy of investment is the future, representing an innovative shift in financial diversification for us. We are looking ahead several generations to create an economically sustainable future, supporting clean technology that helps correct wasteful practices with environmentally sound products that are simply better in performance.”
MicroGREEN has technology that allows it to be a low-cost producer in very large and highly cost-sensitive applications the first of which are beverage cups, a $7 billion market in North America—a key reason Asghar knew this was the right decision for the Confederated Tribes.
Three airlines—Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air and Virgin America—are using InCycle cups on board their planes. Most recently, United Airlines replaced their polystyrene foam cups with InCycle cups. Other airlines are in talks with MicroGREEN; Malone says 60 percent of new production capacity is already spoken for.
MicroGREEN offers both hot and cold InCycle cups to airlines and food service outlets, with plans to expand their cup and lid line later in 2014. The platform technology used to create the InCycle Cup creates benefits that are applicable in many other markets, ranging from building construction and electronics to transportation. In the future, MicroGREEN plans to bring this technology to these applications.