New Program Launches to Encourage Sustainable Local Businesses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kendall Jones, Media Relations, Local First Arizona
[email protected], 602-956-0909 ext. 7

New Program Launches to Encourage Sustainable Local Businesses
Local First Arizona initiative seeks to boost sustainability practices in local businesses

Phoenix & Tempe, AZ (Aug. 15, 2019) – Local First Arizona announces a new program for businesses looking to implement sustainable practices into their business model. The Local First Arizona Green Business Program is a certification process for Arizona’s locally owned businesses, large and small, seeking to operate with environmental sustainability in mind. The program has two purposes - to recognize businesses that are leading the way, and to assist those looking to start adding sustainability into their operations by making the process clear, cost-savings oriented, and fun.

“The Green Business Program is the result of our work to better understand the successes, challenges and opportunities that local businesses have with incorporating sustainability into their operations. For businesses just starting to work on sustainability, it is often hard to know where to start and without the staff or resources to get their programs running it can be overwhelming. This program allows us to develop a plan for each business and assist them in implementing practices that can lessen their environmental impact while lowering their bottom line. We also see many independent businesses that are excelling at sustainability and this program provides an opportunity to shine the spotlight on them.” - says Helene Tack, Director of Sustainability Initiatives at Local First Arizona.

To participate, businesses answer a checklist of questions focusing on waste diversion, energy consumption, water conservation, pollution prevention, wastewater management, transportation emissions and creating a sustainability culture in the workplace. A site visit is performed to learn more about the business’s sustainability practices, a custom sustainability plan is developed and hands-on assistance from the LFA team is available to help participants reach their goals. Research is done into costs involved, potential savings and rebates, how to engage staff and communicate their actions with stakeholders. Businesses must reach a designated number of measures to achieve certification. Once certified, they are added to the online directory and mobile app, making it easier for conscious consumers to find them. Certified businesses will be promoted through Local First newsletters and social media, along with local media partners.

Businesses that have gone through the pilot program are already making positive changes including installing water saving devices, starting programs to encourage sourcing of locally grown food, diverting waste properly, working on alternative transportation strategies for staff members and creating written policies that detail how sustainability is practiced throughout their operations.

“Our participation in the Local First Arizona Green Business Certification Program has been an eye-opening and educational process. While we have always made an effort to recycle, reduce waste, monitor our water and power use, it has been so helpful having another set of educated eyes to take us through the steps of putting even better practices into place. The Local First team makes it so easy to participate by connecting us with other parties involved in the program and providing information to help us improve our effort. We believe businesses and business owners need to evaluate their environmental impact and can be leaders in educating their employees, fellow business owners and customers in ways to do so.” - Tracy Dempsey, owner of Tracy Dempsey Originals.

The Arizona Green Business Program is currently open to independently owned businesses in Tempe and Phoenix that operate office, retail or restaurants. Plans to add more business categories and more cities are in the works. The Program is launching thanks to funding from the City of Tempe’s Innovation Fund and the City of Phoenix’s Reimagine Phoenix initiative.

More information can be found online at www.localfirstaz.com/greenbusiness or by emailing Helene Tack, Director of Sustainability Initiatives at Local First Arizona, [email protected].

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Local First Arizona

Founded in 2003 by Executive Director Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona (LFA) is a community and economic development organization working to strengthen local economies. LFA educates consumers about the interconnectedness of the economy, trains small businesses to be more effective and more competitive, helps larger Arizona businesses and institutions tell their story as champions of Arizona, and creates programs and events that make it fun and easy to discover local businesses and buy local. Visit www.localfirstaz.com for more information and a directory of more than 3,000 locally owned businesses.