There’s no doubt about it: 2022 was a strange year. Colorado continued to contend with the effects of the pandemic and climate change. The nation achieved historic climate legislation and faced another contentious Election Day. The world grappled with cost of living crises and the outbreak of a war that greatly changed the global energy landscape.

Nevertheless, we continued our work to create a regenerative future. In fact, 2022 was one of our most inspiring and impactful years to date, with major successes for environmental policy, regenerative agriculture, clean energy and more. Because of your financial support, this year we were able to:

Change Colorado’s policy landscape

Thanks to the hard work of our Regenerative Recovery Coalition members and our innovative strategy for policy development, we influenced 24 new state laws and directed $526 million of state funding in 2022! We are currently developing our 2023 policy platform and preparing to collaborate with lawmakers again in next spring’s legislative session. 

Elevate regenerative agriculture across the state

Our regenerative farm tour in September brought together more than 50 individuals to support local farmers, bridge the urban-rural divide and experience regenerative agriculture in practice. In October, we launched the statewide Healthy Soils Challenge with a party attended by more than 200 regenerative agriculture advocates, including Governor Jared Polis!

Spearhead a managed energy transition

This summer, we commissioned a study to better understand the oil and gas industry and its true impact on Colorado. We found that a just transition for Colorado is not only immediately necessary, but is fully economically viable! Our Just Transition Roundtable Series is now underway. We also activated a 27kW solar array on our building this year, offsetting about 7% of our energy use.

Continue our equity journey

In partnership with The Equity Project, we hosted an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion workshop series throughout 2022 to ensure that the work of our Coalition members is guided and informed by equity. We have also been collaborating with The Equity Project to develop an equity blueprint for our next strategic framework. Our team looks forward to accomplishing deeper and better EDI work in the years to come.

Grow our community of changemakers 

This year saw the Regenerative Recovery Coalition grow to 385 members! We also welcomed six new tenants to our building and collaborated with dozens more changemakers through our coworking, membership and partnership opportunities. In total, we supported more than 30 organizations, 300 professionals, 80 events and 1,200 event attendees through our nonprofit center! Seven hardworking, passionate individuals joined our staff and three joined our board, poising us for success when the Regenerative Recovery Coalition expands nationally next year.

Help Us Make 2023 a Success

The growth and impact of The Alliance Center this past year would not have been possible without our donors. And we have even more exciting things planned for 2023! Next year will bring a new name, a new brand and an evolved strategy for action. This work combines all of the lessons we have learned through our years of convening changemakers and sets forth an ambitious plan for furthering our collective impact.

But we need your support to make it happen! Your donation will go further on Colorado Gives Day. Colorado Gives Day takes place this year on December 6th, but you can schedule your donation today. Whether you donate $10 or $10,000, you are contributing to a regenerative future. 

In these challenging times, bringing people together to solve systemic problems is more important now than ever. We are so grateful for your continued support, and we look forward to including you in our impactful plans for 2023!

The Current State of Colorado’s Energy Economy

Hi! My name is Jane Allen and I am the Assistant Director of Climate and Energy Resilience for the Regenerative Recovery Coalition, a program of The Alliance Center. 

In 2021, the RRC’s Climate and Energy group researched gaps in the state’s climate agenda to determine where our group could provide the most value. It quickly became clear that although the state has set ambitious climate targets, the outsized impact of the oil and gas sector on climate and public health has not been fully acknowledged or addressed by the state. Additionally, jobs in oil and gas have decreased due to the overall viability of the oil and gas sector, which will be increasingly challenged in the coming years as energy markets continue to shift to renewables. This has serious consequences for workers and communities who have historically relied on oil and gas as a main source of income.

We know that the urgency of the climate crisis requires us to rapidly shift from fossil fuels to cleaner forms of energy. Despite this, Colorado remains the 5th largest oil producer and 7th largest gas producer in the country. In addition to the climate, the health and wellbeing of communities are also impacted. A 2022 report found that a quarter million Coloradans, including 74,000 children, are at risk due to their proximity to oil and gas production.

While these harms cannot be ignored, it is important to recognize that this sector plays an important role in Colorado’s economy and that funding from oil and gas taxes support local communities and public goods. This is why a thoughtful, managed transition is essential to repair the harms of the fossil fuel industry and ensure that Colorado workers and communities are not left behind in the process. Colorado has made incredible progress transitioning communities away from coal. The state now has a moral responsibility to look after the oil and gas workers who have powered Colorado, as well as the communities disproportionately impacted by pollutants, poor air quality and climate change. 

In an effort to better understand the oil and gas industry and its true impact to Colorado, we commissioned a study to examine the labor, revenue, environmental and health implications of the sector, as well as potential pathways for a transition. This was an important first step to determining the best course of action given the state’s unique opportunities and challenges in this arena.

Read on to hear our summer intern from the University of Chicago, Kinar, share more about his research on this topic, key findings and recommendations for future action.

A Just Transition is Both Necessary and Viable

Hi! My name is Kinar and I’m a junior at the University of Chicago studying Economics and Philosophy. I was born and raised in Chicago and have spent my past few summers conducting research into economic and legal policy and refugee asylum reform, Most recently, I have worked in investment banking. Outside of class, work and research, I play for my university’s hockey team and help lead a student organization that provides mentorship and career workshops to undergraduates interested in economics.  

While I’ve spent my life in the Midwest, I’ve long held a deep respect and appreciation for the Rocky Mountains. Protecting our climate and natural resources has always been important to me, and this summer, thanks to Jane and the RRC, I was able to combine my interests in environmental reform with economic development. 

The project’s mandate was to truth-test many of the oil and gas industry’s claims in order to conduct an objective cost-benefit analysis of the environmental, economic and social consequences at stake. To this end, Jane and I decided to narrow the scope even further to look at the tax impact of the oil and gas industry for the state and local economies, labor implications for workers, funding for schools and damage to local ecosystems. We then researched and analyzed the viability of clean, renewable energy to fully replace fossil fuels in a long-term, controlled transition for the State of Colorado.  

Instead of conducting a traditional research report, I decided to use geographic information system mapping (GIS) through ARCGIS to create an interactive and engaging experience that leverages data to tell a story. This technology is being used by many policy and academic institutions to try to better understand and communicate the hidden messages in massive datasets.

Combined with traditional research methods, we found that a full, just transition for Colorado is not only needed immediately, but is fully economically viable. Investment in renewable energy is vast, and combined with community and government support is on track to outpace the positive economic impact of the oil and gas industry within the next 20 years. As such, we recommend that the State of Colorado, the public and private sector and individuals come together to advocate for a just transition to renewable energy.  

The report can be accessed here through ARCGIS. I recommend that you explore and interact with the maps and hope that you will advocate for a clean energy transition for Colorado!

A Letter from Our Executive Director

Dear Alliance Center Community,

At The Alliance Center, we believe that climate justice requires fighting for justice in all aspects of society. Every voice counts as we create a better future for people and our planet. Unfortunately, not every voice has been included in creating solutions. Conversations about climate change, often led by people with compounded systemic privilege, can exclude the communities most disproportionately impacted by climate change. These communities, typically low income communities and/or communities of color, get hit first, the hardest and take the longest to recover.

This is a symptom of systems that no longer serve us. Sustainability is a very homogenous industry. It is an industry of privilege—privilege to focus on the future instead of worrying about how to feed your family today. We can no longer silo these issues or their solutions. We must work at the intersection of social and environmental movements to build a regenerative future—a future where everyone has enough, all life can thrive and we are no longer exploiting ourselves, each other or the natural world.

To actualize that future, we must reimagine and reinvent literally all systems that currently govern our lives— and we must do it fast. This will take deep and coordinated collaboration with a diversity of change agents. How do we work at the pace and scale needed to address the climate crisis as well as the speed of trust needed for authentic equity work? How do we accomplish authentic equity work in a world so divided that we have forgotten how to respectfully disagree?

Equity work is forever work. It is a journey, not a box to check or a demographic to measure. Unraveling centuries of oppression and exploitation won’t happen overnight, but the arc of progress bends towards justice.

At The Alliance Center, we have made a great deal of progress—and we are not perfect. We are not striving for perfection, but rather progress, compassion and authenticity. This must be a humble journey to uplift the voices of traditionally marginalized people, not a tool for white people’s self improvement. We are deeply committed to centering our work in equity, but we know we have a long way to go.

 Our History

When I started at The Alliance Center in 2015, the board and staff were 100% white. Through intention and internal work over the last four years, we are thrilled to celebrate and honor 50% racial diversity on our staff and 35% on our Board of Directors. 60% of our staff leadership are racially diverse and 80% identify as women. It is important to note that these demographics are certainly worth celebrating, but they are not the final destination. They are a starting point on a very long journey. Getting more diverse voices in the room can be misguided if the room still isn’t a safe space.

I personally have had to confront my own harmful beliefs, behaviors, privilege and fragility to be a better ally. As a white woman, I was formed by, but not aware of, systems of oppression while growing up. I used to believe racism was an individual problem perpetuated by “mean” people—not a deeply rooted systemic issue. I was, on rare occasions, exposed to racist comments, but didn’t recognize microaggressions. I knew there were racist people in the world, but didn’t realize just how much racism shaped the world we live in.

The systems that guide and govern our lives—from healthcare to education to how policy is created, how real estate is sold and how companies hire and operate—are all built on systems of oppression. Our country was founded and built on the backs and bodies of enslaved African Americans. Prior to that, the land was stolen from the Indigenous communities who called it home thousands of years before colonists arrived. This is a violent and appalling part of our nation’s history. While we cannot change what happened, we can do better every day from now on.

By 2018, I had been with the organization for three years and working throughout that time to add more racial diversity to our program members and approach our work through an environmental justice lens. We kept hitting a wall—a wall built by our own industry. No matter how hard we tried, we kept getting more of the same homogeneous job applicants, board member suggestions and white male “expert” panelists. I knew we needed help to make any progress.

Since 2018, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant and expert Dr. Dwinita Mosby-Tyler of The HR Shop and The Equity Project has helped us examine how we repeat the cycle of oppression. She has worked with us to shape our practices with racial equity in mind. We began internally with our recruiting and hiring practices, equity training, employee handbook and team culture. During this time we also launched an initiative to rebuild our Board of Directors. We developed a skills and qualifications matrix and applied a racial equity lens. Through this, we built a board to help advance the work of the organization with racial, political, sexuality, spirituality and age diversity—something that had been lacking since our founding in 2004.

Dr. Mosby-Tyler also officially helped guide and craft The Alliance Center’s EDI (Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) strategy as part of our strategic planning process in 2019. In 2020, after years of our own internal equity journey, we launched our strategic plan with equity at the center.

This effort has since moved into our external work, helping to shape our programs and supporting us in making decisions through an equity lens. This includes a series of training sessions for our staff, board, tenants and Coalition members led by The Equity Project. We hope to continue transforming our well-meaning intentions into positive, helpful action that will keep pushing equity forward. It all starts with listening and learning with humility and vulnerability, and we can’t thank Dr. Mosby-Tyler and Ariana Flores enough for their willingness to work so deeply with us.

A sunset over a mountain trail.Our Future

Times of disruption are opportunities to reflect on the practices that have brought us to the present moment—to identify and nourish what works and release what no longer serves. The pandemic is only one of many crises facing our economy. Climate change, biodiversity loss and systemic racism and inequality are only a few of the headwinds faced by our economy. Built on unequal prosperity, our energy, food, infrastructure, economic and democratic institutions are more fragile than we knew. Some people say that they want things to return to normal, but for too many, “normal” didn’t work. It was degenerative and detrimental to both people and the planet.

We are now at a tipping point of deep societal change. The Alliance Center is harnessing this potential for systems level change through the Regenerative Recovery Coalition. The Coalition started through deep community listening in 2020, which generated the eight fundamentals of a regenerative recovery. Equity is central to them all: it is the foundation upon which we build. When I started tracking our audience demographics back in 2015, The Alliance Center’s audience achieved only 5% racial diversity. Now, through the work of the Coalition, we have improved that to at least 36%—better, but still not where we need to be. So, what are we doing now?

We will continue to work with Dr. Mosby-Tyler and her team at both The Equity Project and The HR Shop. The Equity Project is guiding us once again to develop an equity blueprint for our next strategic framework, which will take us through 2027. We continue to conduct EDI trainings and workshops for our staff, board, tenants and Coalition members. The HR Shop will continue to help with policy review and recruiting as we build our team for the growth ahead. We also developed an equity lens upon which we now vet all decisions and projects.

Our internal staff is continuing to develop the competencies and areas of expertise needed to advance our EDI work both internally and through our programs. Yet we are constantly on a learning journey to accomplish deeper and better EDI work. I have personally joined the Colorado Inclusive Economy, a group of CEOs, executives and equity champions supporting each other as we build specific EDI strategies into each of our organizations.

The next chapter for us includes a continual focus on internal improvement, intentional relationship building and partnering with stakeholders, frontline communities and organizations who are centering their work in equity. The Coalition is growing wings to scale across the nation in the years ahead, and we aim to do so as an antiracist organization helping to lead the regenerative movement.

The Alliance Center has always demonstrated sustainability in action. It’s now time we focus on regeneration in action, with equity at the center of everything we do. The journey ahead is one of healing: healing the centuries of embodied trauma we have bestowed upon ourselves, each other and the natural world.

With gratitude and appreciation,
Brenna Simmons-St. Onge

Why Vote?

The Alliance Center exists to bring people together to solve systemic problems. This often takes the form of powerful, cross-sector partnerships that drive innovative solutions. Through collaboration, we have influenced 44 state laws, revolutionized policy development, tested groundbreaking sustainable technology and amplified the work of hundreds of individuals and organizations striving to create meaningful change. 

This progress takes place year-round, but the outcomes of this work often hinge on one single day: Election Day. Although voting may seem like a purely individual act, it is actually an act of collaboration. By casting your vote, you join your voice with millions of other voices to build a better future for us all. Bold and comprehensive climate legislation, such as the Inflation Reduction Act, couldn’t find success without voters. Your vote is one of the most powerful tools for creating a significant, sustained transformation at both the local and federal levels.

This year, The Alliance Center endorses two ballot measures. Read more about the measures below, and please be sure to cast your vote this election season!

We Endorse

The Alliance Center endorses ballot measure 306. This zero waste initiative, championed by grassroots environmental group Waste No More Denver, will require all businesses—including apartment complexes, condos, restaurants, hospitals, hotels and sporting arenas—to provide compost and recycling pickup services. It will also require all construction and demolition waste to be sustainably managed. A whopping 82% of Denver’s waste comes from businesses, apartment and construction sites, so voting yes on ballot measure 306 will make an enormous difference in Denver’s environmental impact. In addition, ballot measure 306 will strengthen Denver’s economy by creating local green-collar jobs and will make sustainability more accessible by ensuring that every Denver resident can choose to recycle or compost. Vote YES on ballot measure 306!

The Alliance Center also endorses Proposition 123. Home and rental costs have outpaced the increase of wages and have made living in Colorado more expensive than ever before. Proposition 123 will seek to make Colorado more affordable by dedicating .01% of taxable income to building affordable homes and expanding home ownership opportunities for Coloradans. This will allow hardworking people to remain in the cities they call home, limiting urban sprawl and the increase of emissions, congestion and pollution that come with it. Proposition 123 explicitly prioritizes funding for high-density, mixed-use, environmentally sustainable projects. Vote YES on Proposition 123!

How to Vote

Election day is on November 8th, but early voting in Colorado can begin up to 15 days before election day. You can register to vote through Election Day! Check out Vote.org or the Go Vote Colorado webpage for information on registering to vote and finding early voting near you.

Midterm elections often see decreased voter turnout, though they remain as important as presidential elections in determining our collective future. Please remember to vote and encourage your loved ones to vote as well. Feel free to share this blog and its included resources far and wide.

Thank you for doing your part to build a better world! Systems level change is impossible without individual action. 

Healthy Soils and the Climate Crisis

Can we combat the climate crisis by paying more attention to… soil? 

Yes, we can! Transitioning to regenerative agricultural practices is one of the most effective solutions to the climate crisis, and soil health is a key component of regenerative agriculture. By storing more carbon and retaining more water, healthy soil improves the quality of our food and water, increases the resilience of our land and combats rising global temperatures. 

Unfortunately, due in part to wildfires, droughts and unsustainable land management practices, many farms and ranches in the US suffer from poor soil health. Our nation’s approach to farming has historically prioritized profits over the health of land and people, and we are now paying the price. The current system harms farmers and ranchers, consumers and the environment.

Luckily, there’s something we can do about it.

The Healthy Soils Challenge

A partnership between the Colorado Department of Agriculture, Zero Foodprint and The Alliance Center’s Regenerative Recovery Coalition, the Healthy Soils Challenge is a fundraising campaign for Restore Colorado, a program to help Colorado farmers and ranchers restore their land and implement climate smart agriculture. Just $48 can pull a literal ton of carbon out of the atmosphere—imagine what millions of dollars can do! Restore Colorado will team up with the state’s farmers and ranchers to plant cover crops, apply compost, manage rotational grazing and more.  

Restore Colorado’s first project will be the McCauley Family Farm. Check out the video below to learn more!

What You Can Do

Are you a farmer or rancher? Are you a chef or restaurant owner? Are you a diner or consumer? No matter your role in the food system—and we all have one—you can be part of the solution! 

Individuals can:

  • Donate to the Healthy Soils Challenge. 
  • Patronize businesses that have committed to contributing a few cents per meal to supporting regenerative agriculture.
  • Get involved in the Coalition’s other regenerative agriculture efforts. 

Business owners can:

  • Commit to contributing a few cents per meal to supporting regenerative agriculture.
  • Sponsor the Coalition’s regenerative agriculture efforts.

Farmers and ranchers can:

  • Reach out to the Coalition’s Director, Jolie Brawner, for more information on participating in or benefiting from our regenerative agriculture initiatives.

Everyone can:

  • Join the Regenerative Recovery Coalition, a cross-sector collaboration of organizations and individuals working to create a finer future.
  • Attend the Healthy Soils Launch Party on October 11th, 2022 from 6-9pm! This event, featuring food, drinks and inspiring conversations about building strong and resilient food systems, will kick off the Healthy Soils Challenge. Attendees will have a chance to network and connect with regenerative agriculture leaders, chefs, media outlets, funders, farmers, ranchers and government leaders, including Governor Polis. We hope to see you there! 

Last month, in a thrilling and unexpected move, the U.S. Congress successfully passed the Inflation Reduction Act. Although this bill addresses inflation, healthcare costs and more, it also happens to be the boldest and most comprehensive climate legislation in our country’s history. 

But what, precisely, does this mean? Where does the bill succeed and where does it fall short? What are the next steps for change agents in the environmental movement?

Where The Bill Succeeds

The Inflation Reduction Act has a number of monumental provisions targeting the climate crisis. These include:

  1. Tax credits to incentivize more energy efficient lifestyles. These tax credits will make things like electric vehicles, rooftop solar panels and housing retrofits more accessible to the general public.
  2. Funding for the manufacturing of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and other clean energy technology. This funding will help reduce the price of these technologies and relieve supply chain bottlenecks.
  3. Tax credits and grants to decarbonize the economy. By incentivizing greener manufacturing processes and greener commercial vehicles, these provisions will reduce emissions across all sectors. 
  4. Funding to reduce environmental injustice. Among other things, this funding will invest in public transportation and air quality monitoring in the communities most affected by pollution.
  5. Investments in climate smart agriculture, forest restoration and land conservation. This funding will ensure that rural communities are at the forefront of climate solutions.

What an exciting moment in our country’s history! This legislation reflects decades of work  accelerated by The Alliance Center, our community and the greater environmental movement. We have long understood the importance of investing in green buildings and green technologies: our building is one of the most energy efficient buildings in all of LoDo, and our Living Laboratory program pilots innovative solutions to the climate crisis. Additionally, our multi-issue Regenerative Recovery Coalition drives action with a number of regenerative agriculture initiatives, including a healthy soils challenge and a series of farm tours that aim to foster urban-rural relationships. After many years of work on these issues, it is uplifting to see significant federal funding and attention directed toward them. 

Where The Bill Falls Short

Of course, the bill is not perfect. Unfortunately, it also contains provisions that reduce obstacles for fossil fuel projects. Oil and gas operations contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and are a primary cause of air and water pollutants. Despite Colorado’s commitment to reducing emissions, we continue to be one of the top oil and gas producing states in the country. The Alliance Center remains committed to supporting workers through a managed decline of the fossil fuels industry, and we hope that federal policy will one day follow suit. Until then, the Regenerative Recovery Coalition will continue to spearhead projects devoted to a just transition for oil and gas, including an upcoming roundtable series and an analysis of the oil and gas sector in Colorado.

What Comes Next

This groundbreaking bill is certainly cause for celebration. However, the journey to reach this point was arduous and its outcome was never clear. The unpredictable process of passing this legislation only highlights the everlasting importance of sustained, local action. We still have a long way to go before we achieve our vision: a sustainable and equitable future in which all communities thrive, democracy is strong, the economy works for everyone and the planet is healthy.

It will be exciting to observe the positive effects of the Inflation Reduction Act. In the meantime, stay engaged! Join the Regenerative Recovery Coalition, attend our next capacity building event, donate to support our work. The movement still needs you.

In just two legislative sessions, the Regenerative Recovery Coalition has contributed to the passing of more than 40 new Colorado state laws. Together, these laws have directed almost a billion dollars in state funding toward regenerative projects! This volume and breadth of influence is nearly unparalleled. How does the Coalition affect legislation on everything from air quality to waste diversion to affordable housing? What do the Coalition’s efforts actually entail, and can they be replicated in other states? To answer this, we must learn more about the Coalition’s unique, innovative approach: crowdsourced policy. 

How It Works

Before each legislative session, Coalition members submit their bold, transformational policy ideas through a Google Doc and then digitally collaborate to refine and rank the submissions. The resulting product is an expansive policy platform that represents the interests of a diverse group of citizens. This process was developed in spring of 2021 when the Coalition was asked by Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, Alec Garnett, to produce a stimulus project list to help guide the allocation of ARPA funds. After mobilizing through Google Docs, over 200 policy ideas were generated by the Coalition in just one week!

Once the policy platform is finalized, the Coalition works to share it with key influencers and decision makers. Coalition members meet with legislators, testify on legislative committees and distribute the platform across the Colorado House, Senate and the state administration. In some cases the Coalition does officially endorse policy and carry out grassroots lobbying, but more often the Coalition advocates for regenerative values over specific policies. If the Coalition’s efforts are successful, numerous bills that align with its policy platform will be signed into law! This year, the Coalition’s co-founder, Brenna Simmons-St.Onge, was invited by Governor Polis to a dozen bill signing ceremonies in recognition of the Coalition’s legislative role. 

Why It’s Important

A bill signing ceremony for a law influenced by the Coalition's crowdsourced policy platform.

The U.S. government strives to be “of the people, by the people and for the people”. However, many often go unrepresented in policymaking, especially low income people and people of color. Many American citizens do not have the knowledge or connections necessary to influence policy. The Regenerative Recovery Coalition, with its diverse, cross sector membership and its innovative approach, is working to change this. Through the Coalition, anybody interested in building a regenerative future can join us and make their voices heard. Last winter, Speaker Garnett praised the Coalition. “From zero to sixty in a flash, they have mobilized a powerful coalition and partnered with the legislature in a new and refreshing way to help drive systems change,” he said.

Crowdsourced policy is new but not unprecedented. Around the world, from France to Malaysia to Taiwan, innovators are experimenting with crowdsourcing as a method of civic engagement. Indeed, the Coalition’s process is entirely replicable. In 2021 we were awarded a grant from the Hewlett Foundation to write a replication playbook! The Regenerative Recovery Coalition looks forward to leading this charge across the United States. Please learn more, join us and/or reach out to the Coalition’s director, Jolie Brawner, at jbrawner@thealliancecenter.org to otherwise get involved.

Read our 2022 Policy Platform and 2022 Legislative Recap.

Read our Guide to a Regenerative Recovery and 2021 Legislative Recap.

 

The Alliance Center’s Regenerative Recovery Coalition proudly endorses six new bills this legislative session! After influencing 20 new state laws in 2021, the momentum hasn’t stopped: the Coalition’s recommendations appear in five of the six new bills we support. To learn more, read the Coalition’s 2022 Policy Platform, an innovative, crowdsourced document representing the bold, transformational ideas of the Coalition’s 350+ members.

The need for policy to fight climate change is greater than ever—and our voices are stronger together. You can make a difference with a single phone call to your legislator expressing your support for these bills. Read more on each bill below, and find your legislator here.

  1. SB22-138 Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions 
    • This bill will establish interim GHG goals for the state and require the insurance industry to prepare and file climate risk assessments. 
  2. HB22-1151 Turf Replacement Program 
    • This bill requires the Colorado Water Conservation Board to develop a statewide program to provide financial incentives for water-wise landscaping.
  3. HB22- 1355 Extended Producer Responsibility
    • This bill creates a producer responsibility program for statewide recycling.
  4. HB 22-1159 Waste Diversion and Circular Economy Development Center
    • This bill creates a Circular Economy Development Center in the Department of Public Health and Environment. 
  5. SB22-193 Air Quality Improvement Investments
  6. HB22-1249 Electric Grid Resilience and Reliability Roadmap
    • This bill requires the Colorado Energy Office to develop a roadmap for improving the resilience and reliability of electric grids in the state. 

Learn more about Colorado legislation and the Coalition’s work by watching our most recent Coalition event, Policies for a Thriving Colorado. And if our vision resonates with you, join the Coalition today!

 

Here at The Alliance Center, we view sustainability as a holistic endeavor: a mission that necessitates the participation of both nonprofit and for-profit sectors. We are honored to collaborate with dozens of organizations in our Best for Colorado program who work in the environmental sector or are dedicated to evaluating and improving their environmental impact. We also run the Regenerative Recovery Coalition, which is in part dedicated to fostering regenerative and sustainable business practices across Colorado.

But how do you demonstrate your business’s commitment to sustainability? With few regulations on the labeling of sustainable business practices, and with rampant public misinformation about ethical consumption, many businesses either knowingly or unknowingly resort to a strategy called “greenwashing”. Greenwashing is a marketing tactic that deceives consumers with unsubstantiated claims or with misleading or false information about the environmentally friendly nature of a product or process. Greenwashing degrades consumer trust and can even result in further damage to the environment.

 Here are a few guidelines for avoiding greenwashing as a socially responsible business owner:

    • Avoid using buzz words or offering vague claims about your product or your business like “natural”, “green”, “environmentally friendly” or “sustainable”. Instead, be honest and specific about how your product or your process is sustainable—and even how it isn’t. For example, instead of stamping “eco-friendly” on your packaging and calling it a day, create a page on your website dedicated to explaining the materials, ingredients and/or sourcing of your product. Reveal the steps required to create your product and the areas of your process that could be improved. Honesty and transparency from a corporation can go a long way for an ethical consumer.
    • Don’t expect consumers to take you at your word. Instead, if possible, offer evidence from a reliable third party that your product is or does what you claim. Certified B Corporations meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, but there are other green business certifications available as well.
    • Avoid using irrelevant terms. Instead, only use specific terms that genuinely apply to your product and make sense for your audience. For example, there is no need to call your product organic if it does not make use of ingredients that are grown organically.
    • Don’t create fake labels or certifications. Trust that your honest explanations of your product or process will mean more to your consumers than unverifiable accolades.
    • Don’t only focus on advertising your consumer-facing products as green or sustainable. Instead, try to practice sustainability and social responsibility behind closed doors as well. This might manifest in multiple ways: implementing diversity and inclusivity trainings, giving back to your community through charitable donations or even networking and collaborating with other sustainability-minded businesses and organizations in The Alliance Center’s coworking space or as an Alliance Member.

Sustainable business practices and products have never been more important, more relevant or more sought out than they are today. For example, a recent survey conducted by GreenPrint found that nearly two-thirds of Americans are willing to pay more for sustainable products! Companies who successfully navigate the demand for environmentally friendly products will increase their resilience and improve their reputation. We are proud to partner with so many socially responsible businesses—and look forward to the day that all for-profit organizations are committed to “doing business better”!

The holiday season is a time for giving. This year, consider giving support to our local Colorado businesses! Here are six Best for Colorado companies we’re highlighting because of their ongoing commitment to improving the environment and their surrounding communities.

JoyFill

JoyFill is an eco-minded refill shop located right here in Denver. If you’re wanting to give natural and sustainable household cleaners, soaps, personal care, beauty products and more this holiday season, look no further! JoyFill’s commitment to sustainability and waste reduction is a wonderful contribution to our community! Visit their website at www.joyfill.co.

Glow and Gather

Glow and Gather creates personal care products, home goods and spice blends designed to help people embrace their inner glow and gather friends and family to spread joy. A hand-crafted present from this local, family-owned business is certainly a gift from the heart! Visit their website at www.glowandgather.com.

éclipse Apparel

éclipse Apparel’s line of men’s and women’s tops, pants, sleeves, gloves, cover ups and accessories are ethically and sustainably manufactured in Colorado using the highest quality performance fabric. Give the gift of slow fashion this holiday season. Visit www.eclipseglove.com.

Phunkshun Wear

Phunkshun Wear is a Colorado manufacturer of sustainable outdoor gear who want you to “experience winter. Not the cold.” They offer various forms of face masks to keep you warm and also sell personal hygiene masks amongst the pandemic. Choose one of their designs or get a custom order by visiting www.phunkshunwear.com.

Simple Switch

Simple Switch makes purchasing holiday gifts from world-changing, impactful companies easy! Shop for products people will love and make an impact you can be proud of. Check it out at www.www.simpleswitch.org.

Upslope Brewing

Upslope Brewing is a craft brewery based in Boulder that specializes in hand-crafted, all-natural beers packaged in aluminum cans. If you’re looking for a last-minute gift for the beer-lover in your life, you can’t go wrong with Upslope! Learn more about this company at www.upslopebrewing.com.