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Local First Arizona’s sustainability programs can lend a hand in helping businesses save energy and improve the bottom line. 

Our Southern Arizona Green Business Leaders program has recently helped more than a dozen local businesses achieve savings. Here are a just a few examples:

• Tucson Clean and Beautiful upgraded to a new location and became more resilient by updating their sustainability policies, and created a plan to install passive rainwater infrastructure. 

• Literacy Connects signed up for a water audit, which resulted in hundreds of dollars in savings annually and improved their resiliency planning in order to continue serving frontline communities. 

• House Trevethan developed a resource which compiles statistics on the benefits of offering flexible remote work options to employees to reduce their team’s carbon footprint. 

• Western Sky Communications installed a rainwater harvesting system and sources almost all services and materials locally. 

• Humanity Hub Network launched locally sourced food and retail subscription boxes, partnering with small-scale local entrepreneurs and nonprofits. 

• K Newby Gallery & Sculpture Garden connected with their local community, donating to charities and advocating for electric vehicle charging and more walkable streets in Tubac. 

The Southern Arizona Green Business Leaders program focuses on both businesses and community to reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions and make Arizona more sustainable. With the support of Tucson Electric Power, City of Tucson, Tucson Water and other regional partners, the program has just completed its first year providing businesses and nonprofits in Pima, Yuma, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties with an entry point to learn about and adopt cost-saving sustainability practices through an easy-to-use checklist.

Throughout the program, businesses receive individualized consulting and support and, upon completion, receive marketing promotion and recognition for their leadership in sustainability. Strategies covered include energy and water conservation, transportation emissions reduction and waste reduction. We also touch on community social impact strategies and connect businesses to resources offered by municipalities, utility companies and community organizations to help reduce energy waste. 

The program has 14 current participants and will add 12 more, in partnership with the YWCA of Southern Arizona. The additional participants will primarily be women entrepreneurs of color. 

Current participants cover more than 65,000 square feet of commercial building space, and combined employ 150 Southern Arizonans. The program pivoted to virtual walkthroughs to maximize safety for the community during the pandemic, and hosted 18 Green Leaders Virtual Happy Hours with guest speakers. Attendees heard from City of Tucson representatives who filled them in on publicly available rebates, incentives and audits in the areas of water, environment and transportation.





The program is available in English and Spanish.

Businesses and nonprofits that obtain the Green Business Leaders certification are encouraged to continue to move towards sustainability goals by pursuing other programs available through the Southern Arizona Green Business Alliance, including the SCALE UP program, the Tucson 2030 District Green Champions program, and programs available through Tucson Electric Power, City of Tucson, Tucson Water, and Pima Association of Governments. 

Looking to 2022 and beyond, Local First Arizona is working closely with its business members across the Southern Arizona region and state to better prepare them for the effects of climate change. As Arizona faces a hotter and drier climate, this program encourages participants to be more sustainable in all aspects of their operations. To further this pressing community goal, Local First will expand the Southern Arizona Green Business Leaders Program following the successful first year. The program is providing an ongoing opportunity to increase sustainability and resiliency to improve the Southern Arizona community, economy, and environment.  


Learn more about Local First Arizona’s sustainability programs at localfirstaz.com/environmental-action. Questions about the Southern Arizona Green Business Leaders program? Contact Green Business Leaders Coordinator Kelly Liska at kelly@localfirstaz.com. 

Michael Peel is statewide sustainability director for Local First Arizona. He can be contacted at mike@localfirstaz.com. Learn more about Local First Arizona at www.localfirstaz.com..  





To connect with the certified Green Leaders:  

Tucson Clean and Beautiful, tcb@tucsoncleanandbeautiful.org, tucsoncleanandbeautiful.org

Humanity Hub Network, hello@localboxaz.com, humanityhubnetwork.org

K Newby Gallery & Sculpture Garden, info@NewbyGallery.com, www.NewbyGallery.com 

House Trevethan, heidi@housetrev.com, https://housetrevethan.com

Western Sky Communications, info@westernskycommunications.com, http://www.westernskycommunications.com

Literacy Connects, hello@literacyconnects.org, literacyconnects.org