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  • 15 Oct 2019 3:31 PM | Tricia Covert (Administrator)

    Published on on October 15, 2019

    To further dialogue about Arizona climate change impacts, Arizona Forward initiated roundtable meetings with members of Congress and leaders from its membership ranging from large corporations and public sector organizations to small businesses. The primary objective of the roundtables was to gather Arizona stakeholders together to exchange information about their viewpoints and local-level plans to address climate change for the state. A series of four meetings took place in Phoenix and Tucson from August through early October.   

    Arizona Forward moderated the dialogue and proposed to be an on-going facilitator and resource to address topics that align with the organization’s initiatives such as climate change adaptation plans, water, alternative energy, clean transportation choices and forest restoration.  Climate change has become a growing focus for Arizona Forward over the past couple of years.

    Arizona businesses engaged in conversations included SRP, APS, Intel Corporation, Nikola Motor Company, HDR, Inc., Global Water Resources, Central Arizona Project, City of Phoenix, City of Tempe, Tucson Chamber of Commerce, PSOMAS, Pima County, City of Tucson, Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University, Vitalyst Health Foundation, Tucson Electric Power and Tucson Airport.

    The first meeting was held in Phoenix with U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s office. Policy advisor, Gary Gold, attended the meeting on behalf of Sinema.

    U.S. Representative Greg Stanton attended the next meeting in Phoenix. As the previous mayor of Phoenix, Stanton shared some distinct ideas about how local involvement from cities and businesses can produce large-scale returns to Arizona as it relates to climate change.

    “Cities continue to lead the way when it comes to sustainability, and there’s more that we can do in Congress to support local leaders and mayors in this fight,” said Rep. Greg Stanton. “We need to come together to find solutions to make our communities more sustainable and resilient. And that leadership can come not only from government, but also from the business and education community and grassroots leaders.”

    The final two roundtables were held in Phoenix and Tucson with U.S. Representative Tom O’Halleran where he expressed a sense of urgency to both groups.  “Climate change is a real and an immediate threat affecting Arizona families; we must not wait to take action,” said Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01). “Organizations like Arizona Forward are combatting this issue by bringing public entities and private businesses together to discover real world solutions that will ensure economic prosperity and a healthy living environment for all of us. I was pleased to be able to participate in their discussions and hear directly from Arizonans on this important issue."

    The roundtables helped participants understand each other’s perspectives on Arizona’s climate change issues, and establish an agreement to further the discussions.

  • 26 Aug 2019 12:44 PM | Tricia Covert (Administrator)

    Published in Phoenix Business Journal in MyView section on August 16, 2019

    Phoenix Light Rail Proposition Does Not Move Phoenix Forward

    The Phoenix Community Alliance op-ed published in the Phoenix Business Journal on August 9, 2019 highlights the benefits of light rail and why Phoenix voters should vote “NO” on Proposition 105. There are additional reasons Arizona Forward is urging Phoenix business leaders and other voters to consider.

    For 50 years, Arizona Forward has supported multi-modal transportation, healthy communities, economic growth and preservation of our natural environment in effort to create a resilient and sustainable Arizona. Through on-the-ground projects, advocacy and education, quality of life for Arizonans has been at the forefront of Arizona Forward’s efforts.

    In statewide surveys conducted by Arizona Forward, Arizona’s No.1 transportation issue revealed is the need for expanded public transportation. A light rail system in Phoenix is an important way to support that need. Throughout the years, Arizona Forward has partnered with city of Phoenix mayors and community leaders to advocate for a light rail system.

    Dramatically reducing greenhouse gas, air pollution emissions, lessening impacts of land use and increasing community connectivity is essential as Phoenix continues to grow in its rank as one of the largest cities in the nation. One thing is for certain: the dynamics of Phoenix will be different in the future. Technology is already altering how we operate our cars and travel. Planners tell us that in the future, improvement of mobility and transportation choices will be necessary for a diverse, changing population – including a segment of Phoenix that is aging and will no longer be able to drive. The expansion of a light rail system is a low-cost transportation choice to accommodate the residents who live here.     

    Arizona is at a juncture related to its environment and quality of life. The livability and economic vitality of Arizona’s cities and towns will be impacted by pivotal decisions made by citizens today. Widespread adoption of clean transportation solutions, a public transit system and transportation choices have started to become and will continue to be transformative for Phoenix. Light rail in Phoenix has begun this transformation and for the sake of the state’s economy and its environment we need to continue this progress.  By voting “NO” on the Prop.105 initiative, you will help Phoenix continue to move forward for a better Arizona.

    Phoenix citizens approved advancing light rail at the ballot box three times, most recently in 2015 which supported light rail as part of a comprehensive transportation plan. Since 2015, Phoenix has leveraged its position to accumulate billions of grant dollars to develop a more robust light rail system that cannot be allocated to other transportation projects, all of which would now be lost if Prop. 105 passes.

    Arizona Forward and our diverse membership of nearly 200 large corporations, small businesses, municipal, county and state agencies, educational institutions, related nonprofits and concerned Arizonans who help ensure smart growth and development, efficient transportation, improved air quality, responsible water management, energy alternatives, forest health and meaningful education urge you to vote “NO” on Proposition 105.

  • 24 Jan 2019 10:48 AM | AZF Staff

    Arizona Forward can look back at 50 years of members who have shaped the state’s transit options, water supply, open spaces and much more. From light rail to Tempe Town Lake, our members have impacted the everyday lives of today’s population. But there’s a question in the back of our minds: Who will succeed us to make an even bigger impact over the next five decades?

    This is a significant strategic question. We must plan today so that we can count on a next generation of skilled, enthusiastic sustainability leaders. That’s why AZF has launched the pilot class of its Emerging Sustainability Leaders Program. Participants will be sustainability advocates in decades to come, and we are committed to building a program that will set the standard for environmental thought leadership. As Emerging Sustainability Leaders participants take greater leadership roles in their organizations, we hope they will likewise assume greater roles on our boards and committees.

    Our member organizations are backing this program with time and resources. The pilot class recently visited Intel to meet with Todd Brady, Director of Global Public Affairs and Sustainability. He demonstrated Intel's far-reaching sustainability success, including initiatives to preserve valuable water and generate clean, renewable energy. By connecting with such world-class organizations, program participants will build the tools to connect the needs of business and the environment. And AZF will position itself for another half-century of leading conversations in partnership with the state’s leading businesses, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions.

    We are seeking sponsors and speakers for the Emerging Sustainability Leaders Program. Please contact Lori Singleton to discover how you can be part of growing the future of sustainability leadership. You can also read our blog post to learn more about the participants in our pilot class.

  • 20 Dec 2018 3:40 PM | AZF Staff

    Arizona Forward is just months away from its 50th Anniversary. Over the decades, our members have had a profound and positive influence on the state’s built and natural environment. Many of our current members – especially those serving on the Board of Directors, regional councils and issue committees – have been with us for years. Now, they’re equipping a new generation of advocates to integrate practical sustainability knowledge into the organizations and communities they serve.

    Earlier this month, we launched the pilot class of its Emerging Sustainability Leaders program, which consists of 14 participants. The Emerging Sustainability Leaders program is the state’s first sustainability-focused business leadership program of its type; it will guide participants in developing tools to usher in a more sustainable, resilient future.

    The program is geared toward early to mid-career professionals who have been identified for their leadership potential. Participants in the pilot class were selected for: their commitment to sustainability; capacity to integrate sustainability into their organization; interest in being a long-term influencer in Arizona’s sustainability initiatives; and the capacity to take on a new challenge. The selection process resulted in a balance of participants from government, nonprofit and business organizations.

    Over the past year, Arizona Forward has pursued a focused agenda aimed at influencing long-term transformation in areas such as: urban waterways, including the Rio Reimagined and Santa Cruz River Heritage projects; forest health; clean transportation; and canal redevelopment. The Emerging Sustainability Leaders participants will learn more about these and other efforts essential to the long term economic and environmental future of Arizona. Arizona Forward plans to offer the Emerging Sustainability Leaders program every year.

    Congratulations to the pilot class participants, and thank you to those who nominated them! Here is a short bio of each participant; as you can see, they span a variety of disciplines. 

    For a larger view, please click on the photo. 

  • 16 Nov 2018 8:44 AM | AZF Staff

    New categories and an updated show format added plenty of excitement to the 38th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards presented by SRP. The quality and diversity of the entries also made this year's competition one to remember. The organizations and individuals that entered showcased how sustainability continues to improve our quality of life in communities of all sizes.

    Let’s take a look back at all the first-place Crescordia winners for some inspiration: Though the 2019 Call for Entries seem far away, it’s never too early to prepare your future Crescordia-winning entry!

    reclaim pale ale pure water brew challengeTHE GOVERNOR’S AWARD FOR ARIZONA’S FUTURE

    The Arizona Pure Water Brew Challenge

    The Arizona Pure Water Brew Challenge successfully lobbied to rescind a multi-decade, statewide prohibition against potable reuse, aka “toilet to tap.” And yes, the team also worked with brewers statewide to convince people to drink craft beer made from recycled water!

    • 17-member team
    • 9 months of face-to-face interaction with residents statewide
    • 26 craft brewers
    • New legislation, a new life for potable reuse


    Wurth House

    Local First Arizona founder Kimber Lanning saved a bungalow that was slated for demolition and gave it new life as the Local First Arizona headquarters. Her effort preserved a piece of Phoenix history while giving it a functional future.

    • Focal point for 30,000 First Friday events each month
    • Built in 1910
    • Process took more than three years


    Ocotillo Restaurant

    The Ocotillo Restaurant features desert-adaptive materials and water-harvesting elements that blend perfectly into the Southwest. It’s a sustainable gathering place for all ages that improves the surrounding community.

    • Desert palo brea and mesquite trees provide shade.
    • The restaurant’s namesake ocotillo plants are featured at key locations.
    • A sunken lawn provides a versatile gathering place and harvests water.


    Northern Arizona Pollinator Habitat Initiative (NAZPHI)

    The Northern Arizona Pollinator Habitat Initiative promotes the creation, protection and registration of pollinator habitat across Northern Arizona, while highlighting the important role pollinators fulfill in the global food supply. The initiative also provides guidance to other communities who’d like to replicate the effort.

    • Designed to stop the decline of pollinators around the world
    • Increased local pollinator garden registration tenfold in its first year
    • Provides a step-by-step guide for implementation by communities worldwide

    tohono chul arizona forwardTohono Chul Park Master Plan

    The Tohono Chul Park Master Plan is the culmination of consistent, considered effort that began in 2001 and resulted in a fine balance between increasing visitation and environmental protection. It’s not easy to sustain a vision for nearly two decades, but Tohono Chul succeeded brilliantly!

    • Enhanced visitor services, including easier accessibility, ADA upgrades, interpretive signage, lighting, expanded parking areas and public restrooms
    • Expanded plant propagation areas
    • Added new trails and enhancements to existing trails

    *Judges named two Crescordia winners in this category.

    spaces of opportunity crescordia arizona forwardHEALTHY COMMUNITIES - SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES

    Spaces of Opportunity

    Spaces of Opportunity addresses community connections, food deserts and social justice on an inspiring scale and allows residents to learn about science, technology, engineering and agriculture. It has incredible potential to become a community point of pride and could have a positive effect in reducing poverty in the area. 

    • Incubator farm encompasses 3,000 square feet
    • Kale, mustard greens and beets sprouted this year
    • Makes farming a source of income, self-esteem and respect


    Mesa Rio Salado-Stadium Connector Pathway

    The Mesa Rio Salado-Stadium Connector Pathway filled a critical 3.5-mile gap in the Valley’s network of shared-use paths along the Salt River, Crosscut Canal, and adjacent neighborhoods. It also connects to a larger vision to make the Rio Salado a recreational, commerce and residential hub for metro Phoenix.

    • Connects to destinations in Tempe, Scottsdale and Phoenix
    • Community partners include the Chicago Cubs, Oakland A’s, Riverview Development, SRP, Arizona Department of Transportation, Flood Control District of Maricopa County, United States Army Corps of Engineers, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, City of Mesa, and the City of Tempe
    • Incorporates Low Impact Development principals such as bioswale water harvesting landscape islands

    south mountain park and preserve master plan arizona forward crescordiaHEALTHY COMMUNITIES - PUBLIC POLICY/PLANS

    South Mountain Park and Preserve Trails Master Plan (SMPTMP)

    The South Mountain Park and Preserve Plan will help this nationally recognized desert mountain preserve address the challenges of increasing popularity so future generations can connect with the desert. The timing is perfect with the park’s 100th anniversary approaching.

    • Identifies 51 miles of existing designated trails to be protected or improved
    • Adopts 38 miles of existing non-designated trails into the designated trail system
    • Adds 11 miles of new trails for connectivity
    • Identifies 80 miles of non-designated trails intended to be restored back to their natural condition

    u-haul crescordia arizona forwardHEALTHY COMMUNITIES - PARKS AND TRAILS

    U-Haul / The Conservation Fund: Upper Granite Creek Aspen Restoration Project

    U-Haul designated a portion of customer contributions in 2017-2018 to the National Forest Foundation to support its Prescott Aspen Restoration Project in the Prescott National Forest. This effort also protects a watershed that is critical to Prescott and its residents.

    • 150 acres across two aspen stands were restored
    • Aspen stands are an increasingly rare but important habitat in the Prescott National Forest
    • Hand-thinning treatments removed ponderosa pine in and around aspen stands
    • Trail rehabilitation improved the user experience

    peoria police arizona forward crescordiaENERGY AND TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION

    City of Peoria Patrol Services Building

    The City of Peoria’s new Patrol Services Building provides an immediate return on investment through ongoing water and energy reduction while providing a comfortable work environment for Peoria’s officers and staff. It’s also a perfect example of how green building offers a noticeable return on investment.

    • Photovoltaic system will offset two-thirds of the facility’s total grid power and provide shade for the public safety fleet
    • 41 percent reduction in energy cost over a typical building
    • 27 percent reduction in lighting power density compared to a typical building of this size
    • 17,000-square-foot LEED Gold (certification pending) building


    Glendale Desert Food Forest

    Part regenerative landscape and part outdoor classroom, the Glendale Desert Food Forest connects residents to the Sonoran Desert’s array of water-wise edible plants. It engages residents in learning about our arid landscape and shows there is more to our flora than meets the eye.

    • Over 100 edible plants
    • Funded through an Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management grant
    • Involved several partners, including the Glendale Public Library, Linking Edible Arizona Forests Network, Maricopa County Master Gardener program, and Trees Matter
    • “Taste Your Yard” programs encourage people to sample desert foods, such as agave syrup, prickly pear candy and pomegranate juice

    northern arizona forest fund arizona forward crescordiaSUSTAINABILITY CHAMPION - ORGANIZATIONS AND PROJECTS

    Northern Arizona Forest Fund

    The Northern Arizona Forest Fund focuses on projects that reduce wildfire risk, minimize erosion and sedimentation, improve hydrologic function and protect invaluable watersheds. It also offers a replicable model for other arid regions facing threats from declining forest health. (NOTE: The Northern Arizona Forest Fund was also selected from among the Crescordia winners as the President's Award winner, which is the highest honor of the evening.)

    • 20 high-priority watershed restoration projects across all five national forests of northern Arizona
    • 10,500 acres of fuels reduction projects
    • 100 miles of erosion control and drainage improvement on roads and trails

    greg stantion crescordia arizona forwardSUSTAINABILITY CHAMPION - INDIVIDUALS

    Greg Stanton

    Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton worked tirelessly to establish Phoenix as an oasis of pragmatic, economically beneficial environmentalism. His efforts enhanced the city’s reputation for embracing ideas that can make it more resilient.

    • Asked Phoenix voters to approve a tax increase to benefit mass transit while running for his own re-election
    • Implemented changing 100,000 Phoenix streetlights to LED bulbs
    • Worked to convert city vehicles to alternative fuels
    • Instrumental in developing public-private circular economy partnership through ASU to raise landfill diversion to 30 percent
    • Awards include the Cities4ZeroWaste, C40 Award, the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence, and the Mayor’s Climate Protection Award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors

    waste management phoenix open crescordia arizona forwardWASTE REDUCTION

    Waste Management Phoenix Open

    The Waste Management Phoenix Open (WMPO) is a Zero Waste Event that tracks greenhouse gas emissions and minimizes the tournament’s carbon footprint. It also provides a platform for Waste Management to share its knowledge with other organizations - which creates a more modest learning curve to help other companies embrace sustainable practices.

    • Uses renewable energy, saves and restores water, stores materials and signage for reuse, educates attendees through messaging and on-course activations, and ensures that discarded items go to their next best use.
    • Restored 236 million gallons of water to freshwater ecosystems across Arizona
    • Recognized by the Council for Responsible Sport
    • $56 million in proceeds have benefited charities throughout the state
    Once again, congratulations to all of our winners and a big "thank you" to our friends at SRP for making this event possible!
  • 2 Oct 2018 2:53 PM | AZF Staff

    Arizona Forward recently welcomed a new team member. Stacie Beute joined us from the Desert Botanical Garden, and she will fill the role of director of membership and programs. Here’s a short Q & A to help you get to know Stacie!

    • What’s an encouraging sign to you that Arizona is becoming more sustainable?

    That’s an interesting question with a complicated answer. I feel hopeful about sustainability in Arizona. We have some of the planet’s top researchers and sustainability incubators right here in our state. There are many individual, nonprofit, public and private sector efforts to advance sustainable practices, and those efforts add up. Flagstaff’s 2018-2020 strategic plan for sustainability and Phoenix’s 2050 environmental sustainability goals are just two examples of municipalities putting forward bold targets for sustainability. At the same time, it’s difficult to measure the impact of those dispersed efforts. I’d love to see Arizona aim hard at the Sustainable Development Goals and get strategic and coordinated around sustainability.

    • What do you consider an easy-but-effective change people can make in their lives to help the environment?

    Day-to-day habits are hard to break, so the first thing I’d say is don’t worry about being perfect. Just do the best you can right now. That said, I think the most impactful thing an average Arizonan can do to make a positive impact on the environment is reducing their use of single use plastics. Use that reusable water bottle! Buy that branded beverage container at your local coffee shop and use it for your daily iced tea. Bring your bags to the grocery store. It’s an old message, but we’re still not there on single use plastics. Those little, individual choices make a huge difference. There are more than 7 million of us in this state.  We add up!

    • What’s your favorite outdoor spot in Arizona?

    That’s like picking your favorite child! Truth be told though, something shifts in me when I’m in the forest – any forest really – but I’m nuts about aspen groves. A weight falls away that I didn’t know was there. I feel at peace. I feel connected. And it’s no wonder! Did you know the largest organism on Earth is a clonal colony of aspens? So for that reason, I’d say my favorite outdoor spot in Arizona is under the aspens on Inner Basin Trail in Flagstaff.

    • What’s one of the best pieces of professional advice you’ve ever received?

    The best professional advice I received was also the best human advice I’ve ever received. Every person you meet is a potential door to a new opportunity – personally or professionally. Treat people well. Be gracious. Build good bridges, because you never know how that will weave into the larger picture of your life and work.

    • What initiative would you most like to implement to engage Arizona Forward members?

    Great question. We’re researching that now, digging into member surveys, strategic plans, analyzing the opportunities … let’s turn this question to our membership. What initiative would YOU most like to see Arizona Forward implement?

    You can connect with Stacie via email at

  • 13 Aug 2018 9:20 AM | AZF Staff

    By Lori Singleton, President and CEO, and Dave Skinner, Board Chair

    It’s hard to believe we are over halfway through this exciting year. We hope you all have noticed some changes in Arizona Forward this year. As Yogi Berra said, "If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else." In this blog post, you’ll get a progress report on our four key 2018 initiatives, an update on the Environmental Excellence Awards presented by SRP and an introduction to some of our newest members. We hope you’ll share this with other people and organizations that could join us in making Arizona a better place to live and work.

    Rio Reimagined and the Santa Cruz River

    Arizona Forward Rio Reimagined

    The revitalization and restoration of Arizona’s urban waterways is critical to our mission of environmental stewardship. The inaugural Statewide Sustainability Summit in May of this year was a statement of intent from Arizona Forward: We will be active and relevant in Rio Reimagined and the Santa Cruz River Heritage projects; these two projects will alter that landscapes of Arizona’s largest metro areas. Guest speakers from Arizona, California and Texas showcased how large-scale urban waterways projects have succeeded in metro areas nationwide. Projects along the San Antonio River and Los Angeles River are not only inspirational, but proof of concept that the time, energy and resources required to bring projects such as Rio Reimagined and the Santa Cruz River Heritage Project will benefit all Arizonans for future generations. This conversation is just beginning, and Arizona Forward members are beginning to define their role moving forward. Our next step in messaging was at our Southern Council Meeting in July where the panel discussed “Bringing Arizonan’s Back To The Rivers.” We'll keep you informed on ways to get involved as more develops with both of these projects. Also, feel free to reach out directly to Healthy Communities & Sustainable Growth Committee Chair Teresa Harris or Co-Chair Odette Bakker to find out more.

    Forest Health

    Sometimes, it’s hard to get someone in a desert to care about the forests. But let’s put it this way: We are one catastrophic wildfire away from a water shortage. All of a sudden, the problem has statewide immediacy. We’ve already taken steps to address forest health by joining a successful effort to address fire borrowing practices. If you’re not familiar with fire borrowing, here’s the concept: The federal government sets aside funds to thin forests and take other measures to improve forest health. The prior practice, though, was to use those funds to fight wildfires, which depleted funds available for fire borrowing. Our legislators ended that practice, certainly in part because Arizona Forward members added their voices to this issue. We also hosted a luncheon event to discuss further solutions to our forest health challenge, which includes exploring ways to get the timber industry more involved in thinning overgrown forests. There is more to come from us on this topic.

    Arizona Forward Grand CanalscapeCanal Redevelopment

    Venice and Amsterdam are defined by their extensive canal systems. Metro Phoenix has more miles of canals than either of these historic cities, but we’ve literally turned our backs on our canals. The Grand Canalscape project Arizona Forward is undertaking in partnership with SRP and the City of Phoenix aims to transform that approach. The project will upgrade nearly 15 miles of canals with improved multiuser paths, lighting, public art and signaled road crossings – it will also create a new bridge connecting Central High School and Brophy College Preparatory. Arizona Forward members are moving toward reclaiming our canals for pedestrians, for bicyclists, for public art and other creative uses that meet the community’s needs. We are also working toward developing enhancements for the Grand Canalscape project, with options such as pop-up farmers markets and wayfinding apps among the possibilities. We’re also interested in being a resource for other canal redevelopment projects statewide – or even nationwide! If you want to help us continue to transform our canals, please contact Central Regional Council Chair Kathy DeBoer for ways to get involved.

    Autonomous Vehicles

    Did you ever expect to leave your house, see a self-driving car and … not really be surprised? That’s where we are today. Autonomous vehicles are among us – testing, learning, continuously improving, and already changing the way we think about future transportation. Arizona Forward is preparing to help policy makers evaluate the progression to this new transportation technology. Our Transportation Committee has connected with experts across the nation to host a series of Autonomous Vehicle Town Halls. These events will help educate and explore the opportunities and impacts from autonomous and connected vehicles, and to enhance our ability to incorporate these concepts into the built environment in different regions of Arizona. WestGroup Research also partnered with us to gauge Arizona drivers’ opinions of autonomous vehicles; there will be a second survey in the future, and we’ll compare responses from both. These surveys will help drive the conversations at our town hall events and will also provide feedback on how opinions about autonomous vehicles are changing. In short, we’re making strides toward providing Arizona decision makers with information they’ll need to determine what’s right for their communities and constituencies as well as opening the eyes of our committees to future opportunities as we incorporate AV into our world. Please contact our transportation committee co-chairs Lauren Evans and Jennifer Pyne if you would like to get involved in our efforts.

    EEA Program Takes Shape

    The program for our 38th Annual Environmental Excellence Awards presented by SRP is taking shape. Judging recently wrapped up, and planning is underway for an evening that will be a fitting tribute to the many innovative finalists who will be featured during the gala. Invitations have been mailed, so please watch for yours to arrive. We are also seeking sponsors to support Arizona’s most-significant environmental awards program. If you’re interested in sponsoring the event, please contact President and CEO Lori Singleton. You can also register today!

    New Member Roundup

    This quarter, we welcomed Circonomy Solutions, Hollystreet Studios, Lowell Observatory, Perkins Coie LLP, Ryan Companies, Holistic Engineering and Land Management (HELM), Global Water Resources, Gould Evans, NV5-Technical Engineering & Consulting Solutions, and the Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority (NAIPTA). We’re very excited to broaden our range of industries represented, as well as add to the ranks of members from outside Maricopa County. Thank you to all the new members for stepping forward to improve Arizona’s natural and built environment!

    You can support Arizona's oldest environmental nonprofit. Donate today to make a more resilient, sustainable Arizona!

    Please follow us on your favorite social media networks.

  • 21 Jun 2018 12:16 PM | AZF Staff

    We have some great news to share about this year’s Environmental Excellence Awards presented by SRP.  Please mark your calendar for Saturday, October 6 at the Westin Kierland Resort. 

    First of all, we’ve extended the entry deadline to July 9. That’s seven extra days to work on your entries.

    We also have some great changes to the program that will make the gala even more engaging:

    New Award Categories

    Does your organization have a particular person driving its sustainability efforts? Do you know a tireless advocate for improving the environment? They may be just the right candidate to take home a Crescordia in our new Sustainability Champion category, which we created to honor individual efforts. We’re also looking for organizations – waste management companies, municipalities, restaurants, hotels and other hospitality-related companies – to showcase their efforts in our Waste Reduction category.

    Tuning Up the Gala

    You’ll find this year’s program to be fast-paced, and a new format, which will allow more time for networking and a post-event dessert bar reception.

                                                                                                     Display Boards Go Electronic

    If you’ve previously arrived early to view the award finalist displays, you’ll notice the transition from printed displays to electronic displays. This will allow venues statewide to display the finalists simultaneously – and it will save us quite a bit of driving!

    All Finalists Featured in Awards Booklet

    In years past, we’ve kept you waiting to receive the project booklet. This year, all finalists will receive equal space in the brochure. And you’ll be able to see who else is in the running for a coveted Crescordia.

    We hope you’re anticipating this year’s Environmental Excellence Awards just as much as we are. Thank you for making this the state’s original and longest-running celebration of sustainable innovations!

  • 6 Jun 2018 9:28 AM | AZF Staff

    -By Jack Emerick

    The world and practice of sustainability is a vastly growing and more leaders are emerging every day to shape a better future. These leaders range from CEO’s of multimillion-dollar corporations to chemists. They come from a large array of industries including tech, clothing, and consumer goods. Who are these leaders and how are they impacting and influencing your future? Here are just a few of these sustainability leaders you should know about:

    1.       Elon Musk - CEO and Chairman, Tesla

    Most famously known as the CEO of Tesla, Elon has always been an innovator and change-maker. In his early days, he taught himself how to program which paved the way for a bright future. His wealth began to grow after he created and sold PayPal to Ebay in 2002. He continued to strive to push humankind forward. He founded Tesla, with the goal to provide affordable, mass-market electric cars, while promoting renewable energy. He is a strong advocate for advancement and innovation. After acquiring Solar City, he has since developed highly efficient solar cells. With Space-x becoming highly successful, and his idea of the Hyper-loop gaining some traction, he will continue to shape our future for years to come.

    2.       Paul Polman - CEO, Unilever

    Year after year, Paul Polman continues to lead the way for corporate social responsibility and his held in high regard amongst his peers in terms of sustainability. As the CEO of Unilever, one of the largest consumer goods companies in the world, sustainability is no easy task. However, he has championed the art of what it means to be a “Green Company.” He has realized the change that a large company like Unilever can make and has used that to his advantage. In 2012, he was even asked by the UN to help establish their Sustainable Development Goals and as the only corporate executive on this committee, he gained renown. As Unilever is changing, they are considering a successor to Polman possibly. The legacy he has built at Unilever is a strong one, however the mark he has left on the world is much larger.

    3.       Christiana Figueres - Former Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC)

    Christiana is recognized as a leader on global climate change. After the failed negotiations in Copenhagen, she powered through and was determined to create a successful framework. Her work came together finally in the Paris Agreement of 2015. She has received several awards and recognition including the Great Cross of the Order of Merit of Germany, the Legion of Honor of France, and the Grand medal of the City of Paris. She continues to bring together powerful people including leaders of government, corporations, financial institutions, technology, and NGO’s to create her own brand of diplomacy. She encourages major players to talk about climate change as a serious matter and stresses the need to come together as a global entity to get back on track.

    4.       Michael Braungart - Chemist, Co-author of Cradle to Cradle

    Michael is one of the founding fathers of the idea of Cradle to Cradle which is discussed in a book of the same name. This is a simple idea, but also a profound one. It urges us to change the way we make and develop products and other goods. By developing production and production process in a loop instead of a linear cycle, it is not only harmless to man or nature, but even beneficial. Cradle to Cradle also keeps several sustainability aspects in mind including health, the environment, economics, and society. It limits harmful chemicals in products and the financial costs of systems is shown to be lower. Dr. Braungart has won several awards including the Impose Award, Hero of the Planet Award from TIME Magazine, and the Urban Mining Award.

    Jack Emerick is a student intern at Arizona Forward and a senior at Arizona State University studying sustainability and minoring in business. He served four years in the United States Marine Corps before moving to Scottsdale, AZ. His hobbies include snowboarding, hiking, and traveling. He hopes to someday run his own business using sustainable techniques and practices.

  • 12 Dec 2017 1:46 PM | AZF Staff
    2017 Annual Luncheon, Arizona Forward, HDR, RISN Incubator, Shelton Group, IntelArizona Forward’s 48th Annual Luncheon on Dec. 8 sparked an important conversation that delved straight into the purpose of corporate social responsibility. While looking through the lens of sustainable practices, four guest speakers demonstrated how being green also means being more profitable.

    Suzanne Shelton, founder of the sustainability-focused marketing company Shelton Group, led a discussion featuring:

    • Todd Brady – Director, Global Public Affairs & Sustainability at Intel Corporation. Todd has published more than 20 papers on scientific topics.
    • Alicia Marseille ­– Director, RISN Incubator at ASU. Alicia is finding ways to recycle and reuse waste to keep it out of landfills.
    • Michaella Wittmann – Director, Sustainability at HDR. Michaella founded HDR’s sustainability program and was among the first people in the U.S. to receive LEEP AP credentials.

    Thanks to more than 250 guests, we had a lively, insightful event. We took care of some internal business before launching our keynote discussion. For those who didn’t make it, here are some of the key takeaways:

    • We are in the middle of a global shift in thinking. Just as littering is no longer socially acceptable, we’re heading the same direction with sustainability. Green practices – from renewable energy to reclaiming water – are becoming the norm.
    • Even more importantly, customers are voting with their wallet to favor companies that are solving environmental problems. According to Shelton Group polls, 66 percent of global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable brands.
    • It’s great for companies to implement green policies. But improving the bottom line also requires a concerted effort to tell that story to the public. If they don’t know about the actions you’re taking, you can’t influence their choices. Unilever, a brand well-known for its sustainability efforts, has this recent example of putting its story into its products.
    • Simplify the way you’re communicating to the public, and tell the story in a way that evokes emotion. Here’s some key advice Suzanne offered as an example: Instead of saying that you work in the circular economy, tell people you are working to eliminate landfills.
    • Michaella said that encouraging HDR take its first steps into sustainability involved answering a simple question: What’s the benefit to customers and employees? Today, she considers HDR’s sustainability program one of the keys to recruit top talent.
    • 2017 Annual Luncheon, Arizona Forward, HDR, RISN Incubator, Shelton Group, Intel
    • The Q & A portion of the event raised a provocative question: Why don’t we just consume less? That would be an ideal, of course, and panelists said that would be the best outcome. It’s also the hardest behavior to change. Imagine a growing family trying to “buy less stuff.” Asking them to choose recycled products from a company that uses renewable energy? That’s much easier to sell.
    • Suzanne wrapped up with an important question: What’s the ROI for destroying the planet?

    If you attended, what resonated with you?

    Interested in driving initiatives that will impact quality of life for Arizona far into the future? Find out how you can join us in leaving a positive environmental legacy!

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