Tag Archives: Phoenix


GoGreen Phoenix | Sport’s Game Changing Model for Sustainable Performance



GoGreen Phoenix 2012 | Photo Op Anyone?

Our second year in Phoenix went off without a hitch at the Phoenix Convention Center West Building on December 6th. We would like to take this as a moment of reflection on the day and to thank all of our wonderful attendees, speakers, and sponsors who made the entire day possible! We couldn’t do it without you and hope to continue the trend in 2013. Check out some of this years highlights –

Green Line Series PHX | Courtney Klein Johnson On Building A Triple Bottom Line Enterprise

ImageOn her first day of college at Arizona State University, SEED Spot Co-Founder Courtney Klein Johnson would have told you she’d be well on her way to being the next Katie Couric by now. Instead, a life-changing experience working in rural Mexico significantly altered her life course and she is now thriving as a social entrepreneur working to catalyze and grow a business community that values impact as well as profit. Courtney will participate in our Make Money by Doing Good: Designing A Triple Bottom Line Enterprise Workshop, Thursday, December 6 in Phoenix — but first, we’ve got a primer on the Triple Bottom Line concept and how it plays out in the world of business.

GoGreen Conference: To get us started, can you give us a quick backgrounder on SEED Spot and what it is that you do there? 

Courtney Klein Johnson: Chris Petroff and I started SEED Spot in February of 2012. The name behind SEED spot comes from the idea that everyone has a seed inside of them — an idea that is yet to be born. We’re a place where you can go to get the resources and guidance to take that idea out into the real world. We’re working with social entrepreneurs in Phoenix with dreams of creating sustainable businesses that have impact via a product, service or technology that improves lives and communities. We have 16 full-time companies and 40 part-time companies that we’re supporting this year.

GG: On your website you talk about the intersection of purpose, passion and work. What happens when you align these three elements? What lies at that intersection?

CKJ: Magic. Incredible stuff. I think that authenticity lies at that intersection. People who find a cross-pollination of all those things often arrive at the most authentic place for themselves and for the businesses they create. And with that comes a loyal customer following; a base of people that believe in the “why” even more than the “what.” And I believe that brings more value to whatever project or service you’re providing.

GG: A lot of times when we talk about sustainability, the conversation can stagnate on environmental performance metrics — efficiency, consumption, technology — but SEED Spot seems to have a broader perspective on what it means to be sustainable. Fill us in on your philosophy. 

CKJ: We would argue that a sustainable business is one that is not only created in a way that is fruitful for the entrepreneur, but fruitful for the people that intertwine or interface with the company as well. That goes for your employment practices to the product or service itself — how is it made, the lineage of its components and the impact they have. Sustainability also means sustainable revenue. SEED Spot itself is set up as a non-profit organization, but we’re still charged with setting up sustainable revenue channels for ourselves. It’s important to look at setting up your organization properly in the market and assessing your costs appropriately. The tension comes in when you look at the higher costs that come with supply chains to be sustainable or eco-friendly. It matters where and how things are made, but so does the price point — and the most sustainable companies are the ones that have found the right balance between that sacrifice and sustainability.

GG: Have you seen a big shift in the Millennial and Gen Y generations in terms of better integrating the concept of “doing well and doing good” into their business models? Is the traditional belief that profit is king be on its way out?

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Green Line Series PHX | Mayor Stanton On The Sweet Spot Between Business, Government & Sustainability

Phoenix has a new Mayor who is not afraid to take on big challenges. Greg Stanton took the reigns in 2012, winning with a platform that unabashedly advocated for the growth of a greener economy and implementation of sustainable practices in the public and private sectors. After eight months in office, Mayor Stanton is hitting his stride and gives the Green Line Series the scoop on how business and government can work together to drive an environmentally and economically sound Phoenix region.

GoGreen Conference: What is your vision for the intersection of thriving business enterprise and sustainable development in Phoenix? They are obviously not mutually exclusive — what does the sweet spot of the Venn Diagram look like?

Mayor Stanton: I believe that the role of the City should be to create conditions under which all businesses have the ability to grow and thrive. I am championing and will push to have Phoenix be known as the leader within business and sustainability. The City is open and ready to partner, and find creative pathways for organizations that want to pursue sustainability as part of their core strategy.

GG: What is the role of the business owner/leader in driving this vision? How can the private sector put their muscle behind building a more sustainable community and economy in Phoenix?

MS: Private businesses and leaders are not only important, but crucial to the shared vision of success we all want. It is the entrepreneurial and ingenious spirit of these leaders that will help us move forward. In particular, I think that there is significant opportunity for businesses — focused on benefiting others — to simultaneously do well and do good.

GG: From the corporate perspective, how does working in sustainable systems drive healthy economies and communities? And how does that benefit business?
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Green Line Series PHX | Boosting The Bottom Line By Greening The Ballpark

In less than a decade under Derrick Hall’s leadership, the Arizona Diamondbacks have become one of the MLB’s most successful franchises on the field and in the realm of sustainability. Building upon a deep commitment to the Phoenix community and a pursuit of innovation on the operations front, the Diamondbacks have proven that greening the ballpark is both financially prudent and the right thing to do as a corporate citizen in the Valley.

GoGreen Conference: What was the motivation for the Diamondbacks journey into sustainability? What was the first initiative and why did you start there?

Derrick Hall: We have a social responsibility to pursue sustainability in all aspects of our operation. We recognize that we can serve as a very strong influencer for local businesses, as well as our stakeholders, such as season ticket holders, corporate partners and casual fans. Every action that we take here at Chase Field can be replicated in the business or home of these people. We figure if these people observe the changes we have taken in such a complex facility, they will be encouraged about following our lead.

The Northwind system was arguably our initial foray into sustainability, and was developed from the need to air condition our facility during the hot Phoenix summer. It uses a chilled water and serves as a sustainable air conditioning provider for most office buildings downtown. Other early initiatives have included recycling programs with Waste Management and solar projects with APS. Several corporate partners are showcasing their own sustainability efforts and we are a strong platform for them to partner with. The Diamondbacks (and its venues) are making some substantial capital investments into facilities.

GoGreen: Why have you chosen to take the leap past simple efficiency retrofits (recycling, LED lighting, low-flow faucets, etc.) and into more infrastructure-related projects? What do you believe the ROI will be literally (financial terms) and figuratively (environmental/community impact/etc.)?

DH: Again, social responsibility leads these decisions. We recognize the business efficiencies and ROI that will result from many of these changes, but this is not the motivating factor behind these investments. Our ownership has an interest in the D-backs becoming industry leaders in all aspects of our business and sustainability is no different. Also, as our facility enters the second half of its lifespan, many areas are in need of renovation or replacement, so it just makes sense for us to include sustainability. Making the change to sustainable components is the easy decision to make and, in some cases, the only alternative (i.e., light bulbs and government policies phasing out incandescent light bulbs and requiring the use of CFL or LED instead).

GoGreen: Have you found programs like MLB Green Tracks to be good motivators? Is it helpful to feel some added pressure from friendly competition? If so, do you think a similar model could be used in other industries successfully? How so? Continue reading

GoGreen Phoenix 2011 – Photomontage Excellence

Photos from GoGreen Phoenix 2011 are up! Many thanks to everyone that attended our inaugural event; you helped make our first year a smashing success! Shout outs to all of our sponsors, speakers, exhibitors and our awesome photographer:  Ken Baker —you made us all look great and really captured the excitement of the conference. Enjoy!

GoGreen ’11 Phoenix Green Vid: Kevin Tuerff Brings Straight Talk On The Evolution of Greenwashing in America

It might be a wee bit dramatic to say that greenwashing has reached epidemic proportions in America. But the truth is some companies and organizations are trying to cash in on the brand equity true sustainability can bring without walking the talk themselves. Also true—there are far more businesses doing the work to be green, but going overboard on their message unintentionally. The folks at EnviroMedia, and co-founders Valerie Davis and Kevin Tuerff in particular, are experts when it comes to spotting the phonies, the unwitting offenders and advising companies on how to communicate their sustainability values in an honest, transparent way. In this special video edition of the Green Line Series, Kevin shares with us his views on the politicization of sustainability, strategy to stay ahead of the regulatory curve and the evolution of greenwashing in America.

To learn more about greenwashing and how to avoid its pitfalls, come see Kevin live at GoGreen ’11 Phoenix, Tuesday, November 15! Kevin will give a special lunch presentation on the topic for attendees. Learn more about Kevin and Enviromedia at their website and the Greenwashing Index (created in partnership with the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication)

GoGreen ’11 Phoenix: Park Howell on Incorporating Sustainability Into Your Brand

Park Howell HeadshotPark&Co founder and CEO, Park Howell, knows a thing or two about branding and marketing. Lucky for us, he’s also got an award-winning perspective on how to successfully incorporate sustainability into your brand. We sat down with Park to talk shop on building a sustainable brand, avoiding greenwashing and putting your green initiatives into context your audience can relate to. Park will also be leading our Green Branding & Marketing panel at GoGreen ’11 Phoenix on November 15—so if you like what you read, consider joining us for our first event in Arizona!

GoGreen Conference: Park & Co. focuses on the storytelling aspect. It seems like a lot of companies sometimes get nervous because they think, “Well our story is not perfect. In one aspect of my business we are working on sustainability, but in others we might be falling short.” How do you think businesses should handle talking about sustainability while they are still early on in their journey?
Park Howell: It’s a great question. You always hear that you want to be completely transparent and accountable—and all of those buzz words. That’s all true, but I think where some companies miss the mark is they think that they have to be perfect to tell the story. There is no such thing as a perfect story and, if you think about it, any great hero has to go through something really tough, otherwise they don’t have what it takes to be a hero. It’s the same with a company.

Even throughout the process of “greening themselves” or becoming more sustainable, companies need to be talking about the journey—answering the questions of what’s working for them and what’s not working for them. Second thing to consider is: Are you sharing best practices? Because that helps educate everyone else on a couple of different levels. First, it tells the consumer they are dealing with an honest company and that your company is not only trying to do better, but its also bringing people along for the journey. Most people like that. There’s a humanness about that kind of behavior from a company that people can relate to.

Number two, it shows leadership by example. People and other companies can learn from their experience—especially from where someone has blown it and it’s not quite working for them. I can apply those lessons to my own life—whether it’s personally or professionally through my company.

There’s also something really endearing about a company that admits it isn’t perfect, but can show the steps it’s taking to improve. I think Patagonia does a really nice job with that. It earns trust. I’ve seen immense distrust lately in large corporations, specifically because of their role in bringing on the worldwide recession. Wearing your greenness on your shirtsleeves in an ethical way—both the successes and the things you’re working on—is going to help win over consumers and earn back their trust. You’ll also likely find evangelists and experts willing to help your brand take sustainability initiatives further.

GG: What are you looking for in potential clients at Park&Co? How do you determine if a company is far enough along in their sustainability journey for you to work with them?
PH: We work on a case-by-case basis, but we can start from the very beginning—at the zygote stage, if you will. Even if a company is just thinking about embarking on this kind of journey, and figuring out how to start enacting green practices within their business, we can help them build a brand story around those values.

A good example of a company where we did that is Adelante Healthcare. The whole case study is up on my blog (www.parkhowell.com). What they were, and still are, is a 30-year-old community healthcare center here in Arizona. Their roots literally started in the fields working with migrant workers and those who didn’t have a lot of healthcare insurance, or those with no healthcare insurance whatsoever. Well, times have changed since they were founded, especially in Arizona with our immigration laws and the decline of farming in favor of development and so forth. The result of this is that their market completely changed. Despite that, Adelante still wanted to maintain their mission—which is to make healthcare available to everyone insured or not.

In order to maintain relevancy for the next 30 years, we had to change their brand and their approach to healthcare through the development a brand of sustainable healthcare. For Adelante that goes well beyond just saving the planet. There’s really three legs to their particular sustainability stool.

1. Sustaining the health of their individual patience through world class, comprehensive care.
2. Sustaining the availability of healthcare for everyone by pursuing their original mission of treating all patients regardless of their ability to pay.
3. Sustaining health in the home, neighborhood, community and planet by advocating for healthier consumer habits.

In developing the sustainable platform for Adelante, one of the first tasks was to quickly start assessing how their operations needed to become more sustainable and making changes for things like handling bio-waste and recycling. They took a really comprehensive viewpoint of things when switching over their brand.

For instance, instead of just completely gutting all of their clinics and rebuilding them, they saved as much of the leftover materials as possible for reuse. And if they couldn’t reuse something in the redesign of the building, then Adelante made the materials available to local non-profits or contractors. We helped them create a new vision for themselves and discover new relevancy in their market based on core values that had always been in place. And we helped them tell this evolution of their story in a way that resonated with their audience.

GG: You mentioned that Adelante was taking a “balanced approach” to sustainability. In general, should brands lead with their green credentials or is sustainability something that plays more of a supporting role for the most part?
PH: Sure, if sustainability really is your primary brand attribute, then certainly lead with it. But I think for the vast majority of companies, their primary brand attributes are something other than being green. Take Adelante, for instance, their main brand attribute is to provide the best, most efficient, highest quality healthcare for their patients. Sustainability supports that, but it’s a secondary brand attribute. I think that’s pretty true with about every brand.

Consider, GreenWorks from Clorox. Do you buy it solely because it’s a greener cleaning option? Or do you buy it because it works well—oh and by-the-way it’s green as well? I think most companies should first lead with their primary benefit and then secondarily they can benefit from building and sharing brand attributes around being sustainable.

GG: What are a few examples of things you see in the marketplace that make you cringe? Anything that makes you roll your eyes, because it’s so overused?
PH: Ha! Well, I’ve gotten to the point finally where I am so tired of leaves—green leaves on logos are starting to make me cringe. It’s such a visual cliché at this point.

The word is green is also getting overused. It’s not just about saying, “I’m green.” It’s also about how you’re going about being green. What are the actions and operations of what you’re doing to back up your “greenness”? The use of the word ‘green’ in company names products and services is getting old. And there are others too. I just did a post on 10 big green clichés that you want to avoid—and one of them is to avoid calling yourself green unless you’ve got the kahones of Greenpeace to back it up.

GG: How do you approach incorporating hard data in more compelling ways in order to avoid both greenwashing AND going over people’s heads?
PH: I see companies doing that more through their corporate social responsibility reports. And they’re doing a better job of getting consumers involved. Gamification of reports and information—where you are rewarding the consumer going through information and at the same time making it fun for them to take in the data—is an interesting new trend you’re starting to see sparks of life in.

It’s difficult, and you have to find and cater to a very motivated consumer that’s going to take the time to dig into what your product is about. But, it goes beyond offering simply offering a product benefit. You’re also asking the consumer to be accountable in their purchases.

I was just talking to Jacquie Ottman, who wrote a really terrific book called, The New Rules of Green Marketing. She’s been doing this a long time, and what she and I were talking about is that it goes beyond the basic consumer and product relationship. Consumers have to be engaged and pay attention to how they will use, repurpose and recycle that particular product. And even more so, Jacquie will go as far as saying there is no such thing as a truly green product because you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet—and that’s true in every green or non-green product’s case.

There’s always something. Diapers are a good example of this concept. Maybe you want to use cloth diapers and keep waste out of the landfills. But then you have to account for the energy and water that it takes to wash those diapers. So consumers have to get involved and be accountable if they are really interested. And for brands, it’s most likely going to be a secondary thing, because what consumers want to know first is: Does the product work? Is it convenient for me to get? Is it an affordable price? Is it healthy for me? And after they’ve gone through all of that—then they start digging into the numbers.

GG: What ways do you see people most connecting to sustainable stories? Is it on things that relate human health or perhaps on locally relevant issues?
PH: Geography and health are certainly going to factor into it. But I still get the sense that consumers are being bombarded with so many things in their lives—from the recession, to regular advertising, to getting their families though the day—that the green industry is a bit of a blur to them. They don’t know where to turn. It may come down to product placement—when they walk into a store and see a Seventh Generation product and roll with it because it’s right there, on sale and buying it makes them feel good.

Another area that’s interesting is the automotive industry. Rising and fluctuating gas prices are forcing auto companies to develop greener cars very quickly. But they’re also building gamification into their product. The gamification response mechanisms are built right into the dashboards, so that people can see just how effectively they are driving in terms of fuel savings and efficiency. That sort of education plays really well in the operation of that product, but it also gets ingrained in people’s minds and transfers to other activities in their lives. They may start to think, “Well, how can I apply this to my dishwasher, my swimming pool and my electrical use?”

GG: What message are you bringing to GoGreen attendees? What are you hoping they will learn from your session?
PH: What I want to do in that session is based on your first question: Is it OK, if you’re company is not beautifully green or perfectly green, to still talk about your journey into sustainability with the world and see if you can get them to come along with you? I want to show and talk about ways to do that through real world examples. And we’ll talk about inspiring consumers to change their behavior. Not just the behavior of purchasing a greener product or service, but the behavior that transcends these things and makes people more responsive participants of the planet Earth.

GG: Real quick coming out of your last response—why do you think sustainability is important? What is your particular entry point to perusing a lifestyle that places sustainability and social responsibility in the forefront?
PH: It’s really simple—I’m in it to protect this planet for my kids and grandkids. We have three kids, and humanity has absolutely ravaged this planet. We’ve got to get global warming in check and do something about conserving our resources. The amount of waste we produce is mind-boggling. Now, I am not a perfect green individual and I think that’s one of my strengths—I talk to consumers from a relatable standpoint. I advocate doing your part in incremental ways, which can not only save you a lot of money and avoid stress, but it can also save the planet. We can all be a part of the solution for saving the planet.

Park Howell is Co-founder and President of Park&Co, a full-service advertising agency based in Phoenix, AZ. He’s also the moderator for the Green Branding + Marketing panel session at GoGreen ’11 Phoenix, November 15, 2011. For more information about GoGreen ’11 Phoenix, please visit: phoenix.gogreenconference.net. Follow us on Twitter (@GoGreenConf) and Facebook.