A pair of South Sound companies are among the six winners at the Association of Washington Business' Evening of Excellence, held this past week at Seattle's Benaroya Hall.

The award recipients, selected from 18 finalists, were recognized for exemplifying the goals outlined in AWB's mission and vision statements. 

The “Connect Award” was presented to Alaffia, the Tumwater-based skin-care product manufacturer. Founded in 2003, the fair-trade skin and body care company was recognized for its efforts to alleviate poverty and promote gender equality in the West African nation of Togo through its sustainable sourcing of raw materials from the country that are then manufactured here in Washington state.

Earth Friendly Products took home the “Leading Environmental Practices” award. The company has made green manufacturing a priority since 1967. In 2010, Earth Friendly Products switched to 100 percent renewable energy and achieved carbon neutrality in all of its five locations, including Lacey. As a result, the company avoids emissions of 54 million pounds of carbon dioxide each year. The company is the recipient of numerous sustainability and green leadership awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other groups.

“The award finalists – from a world-renowned national lab to a local skin-care product manufacturer – illustrate the diversity and innovation of Washington state’s employers,” said AWB President Kris Johnson. “Each of them were deserving of praise and recognition for all they do to improve lives, strengthen communities and create economic opportunity here and around the world.”