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Utah businesses come together in a push for sustainability

By Ryne Williams daily Herald - | Sep 23, 2020
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With this week being the state's climate week 2020, the Utah Sustainability Business Coalition came together on Tuesday with various businesses from around the state making pledges to improve their sustainability.

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With this week being the state's climate week 2020, the Utah Sustainability Business Coalition came together on Tuesday with various businesses from around the state making pledges to improve their sustainability.

With this week being the Beehive State’s climate week 2020, the Utah Sustainability Business Coalition came together on Tuesday with various businesses from around the state making pledges to improve their sustainability.

Businesses and organizations that made pledges during the event included the likes of Nu Skin, Qualtrics, Adobe, Young Living, Kodiak Cakes, Larry H. Miller companies, Provo City and more.

The webinar on Tuesday was kicked off by Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who stressed sustainability in relation to the growth the state of Utah is seeing and has been seeing.

“The work that you have done over the past year has been just tremendous,” Cox said of the coalition. “As we look out over the horizon at where we are headed and this idea of business driving sustainability, it is impossible for me to overstate how important this really is. We are seeing changes in our state, we are seeing changes in consumer attitudes and with business leaders and their attitudes which will allow us to continue to grow, but continue to grow in the right way in our state.”

Deven Patten, the host of the webinar and Director of Sustainability for Young Living added that a movement toward sustainability in Utah is “vitally important.”

The coalition hopes to help businesses work in better harmony with the environment and understand how actions, taken by businesses and individuals, impact the environment.

While focusing on education, Patten was adamant in saying that the coalition is not only for businesses that have experience in sustainability but it is also for businesses looking for a place to start.

“Starting is the first key step, beyond that there are a lot of things that organizations can do,” Patten said. “For organizations to really jump into this, it’s asking questions, asking for help. That’s the purpose for the coalition here, to be able to offer help to those who don’t know where to start and for those who are along the path to be mentors.”

With many larger and impactful businesses entering the market in Utah, especially in Utah County, the coalition is looking to bring them together to discuss issues that pertain to the state.

“I hope that it does set the precedent that this is something Utah is passionate about and definitely serious about, understanding that we need to work in harmony with the land and ecosystems present to be able to preserve everything we love about Utah,” Patten said about the coalition setting an example for new businesses in the area. “We hope that it is helping those that are coming into the state to see that this is something they need to absolutely be aware of, be active with and be ready to address.”

Patten pointed to Utah’s booming tourism industry surrounding the natural beauty of the state, with a focus on taking care of those lands Utahns are lucky to frequent.

To accomplish this, the coalition is hoping to not just stop with businesses and their carbon footprint, but reduce waste and educate both employees and consumers about sustainability.

Patten said being a part of the coalition is exciting and extremely humbling.

“To see the reach that it is having is incredible,” Patten said. “That’s obviously the goal of why we formed the coalition. Those of us that are in this type of position in our individual organizations, yeah, we can have an impact and we have some fairly decent-sized organizations, but to see everyone working together and coming together for this greater purpose is just awe inspiring.”

This shift in mentality should not stop once people leave the workplace, Patten said. People should keep sustainability in their thoughts during their everyday lives.

For Patten, his children enjoy sorting out food waste and putting it in their compost bin together. He characterized it as a shift in mentality for his family.

“Does it need to be done this way? Is there a better way to do this that has less impact? It’s not been anything earth shattering, but it’s just that mindset to think about what resources we are drawing on and how to be most efficient with them,” Patten said.

Another thing that has been taken out of the picture, helping air quality and the environment, has been the shift to working from home and employees no longer commuting.

This new reality with the pandemic has forced companies into evaluating flexible options, not only in the present, but going into the future.

Patten added that he remembers looking out on the valley in the spring and being able to see it all without the bad air quality. It was eye opening for him to see the impact a small change can have through a new outlook, something he and the coalition hope to bring to Utah businesses.

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