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Sustainability Spotlight: Phoenix Green Business Leader Program

How Phoenix Recognizes and Promotes Sustainable Businesses

The City of Phoenix Green Business Leader Program recognizes businesses and organizations that volunteer to divert waste from landfills by recycling or composting. Beginning in February 2017, the program has grown to include 38 green businesses ranging from small offices and shops to large retail stores and manufacturers. 

Participating in the program can strengthen your business’s earth-friendly reputation and encourage a more sustainable lifestyle for employees, customers and your community. Diverting waste alongside other like-minded organizations also provides opportunities for collaboration and increases local awareness of your brand or service.

Phoenix Green Business Leader Program Recycling

To date, participating businesses have diverted an impressive 18 million pounds of recyclables from the landfill. The program is part of the city’s Reimagine Phoenix Initiative, with a goal to increase Phoenix’s waste diversion rate to 40 percent by the year 2020.

What Is a Green Business?

A sustainable business, or green business, is any organization that works to make a minimal impact on the global or local environment. To qualify for the Green Business Leader Program, businesses are required to offer recycling. Typically, green businesses incorporate one or all of these environmentally friendly activities:

  • Making sustainable business decisions.
  • Offering eco-friendly products and services.
  • Using green alternatives to wasteful or harmful practices.
  • Working to reduce waste and overall environmental impact.

How Do Participating Green Businesses Benefit?

Becoming a certified member of the Green Business Leader Program has many benefits. Your green reputation can also help to attract new customers, foster greater loyalty and even increase the desire to work for you. According to the 2016 Cone Communications Millennial Employee Engagement Study, 64 percent of millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work. 

Participating businesses will also receive:

  • An electronic logo for your site and online marketing.
  • Standardized recycling bin labels.
  • Employee recycling training.
  • A window decal.

How Does the Phoenix Green Business Leader Program Work?

Participating in the program comes at no cost to your business. Simply fill out the online form to join the recycling community. Shortly after that, a member of the Green Business Leader team will contact you to schedule a brief meeting. The Zero Waste Team will visit to evaluate your business’s current recycling program. From there, you and your employees will be provided with on-site recycling education to help maintain your environmental responsibility.

If your business meets all the prerequisites, you will then be certified as a Phoenix Green Business. The Zero Waste Team will contact you quarterly to check in and collect your waste diversion data. 

Green Business Recognition

The team recently held their very first Green Business Networking event, giving participants the opportunity to meet and collaborate with other green businesses in Phoenix. 

Phoenix Green Business Leader Program Event

What Types of Businesses Are Involved in the Green Business Leader Program?

Businesses participating in the program range from banks and cafes to pet stores and travel agencies. The businesses also range in size, including big names like Whole Foods, A-1 Shredding, Goodwill and McNeilus to smaller local businesses like Pomegranate Café and Noble Beast pet store. 

Many participants have taken steps to reduce their carbon footprints beyond the program’s requirements. For instance, Steptoe & Johnson LLC, a law firm occupying two floors of the Bank of America Tower in downtown Phoenix, not only adopted a recycling program, but also started in-office composting, which even includes the paper towels in restrooms. 

“We changed the whole way we do food services for catered lunches and breakfasts. We now have compostable plates, cups and napkins. And we use metal silverware,” said Kami Galvani, chair of Steptoe & Johnson’s community service committee.

“I had a question about what I could place in my recycling bin and I stumbled across the Green Business Leader Program. At our office, we’ve been trying to implement some greener practices over the past few years. I really enjoyed meeting Alexis and her team.”

Kami Galvani | Counsel, Steptoe & Johnson LLP

In addition to recycling and composting, open offices are used as collection points for employees to drop clothing, housewares and other reusable items for Treasures 4 Teachers. This local non-profit collects items that most people would consider trash – egg cartons, paper towel rolls, Styrofoam – and sorts them for teachers to reuse as supplies in their classrooms. 

Other businesses in the 25-story skyscraper are catching wind of Steptoe & Johnson’s green initiatives and plan to adopt similar programs for their offices.

At, we are excited to see Phoenix businesses working together to achieve a greener city. To learn more, view the full list of the Green Business Leader Program’s participating businesses. And for more ways to divert waste, check out the Sustainability section of our blog.

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