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Footprint Center is Getting Back to Business

The Footprint Center, originally known as Talking Stick Resort Arena, is named after a Gilbert firm that strives to reduce single-use plastic by using recyclable or compostable cups, lids, cartons, and other food packaging. It’s the arena’s fourth sponsored name in its 29-year history, which also hosts the Phoenix Mercury, concerts, and other events and attracts over 1 million visitors each year. The arena, which is the home of sports for many from Arizona, is owned by the city but managed by the Suns, was initially named America West Arena before being renamed U.S. Airways Center and finally Talking Stick Resort Arena.

With 1,500 people worldwide, including 300 in Arizona, Footprint has a global reach. Although CEO Troy Swope indicated confidence in reaching the requirements of the arena-naming arrangement, the company does not disclose its income or other financial data. McDonald’s, Tyson Foods, Conagra, and Beyond Meat are among the company’s clients.

Former Intel engineers Swope and Yoke Chung created Footprint in 2014 after discovering that plastic was a significant component within Intel’s processors. Footprint was founded as a materials science company with former Intel scientists and engineers. It aimed to create a healthier planet by getting plastic away from food through plant-based fiber technology. This technology crafts biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable food packaging after investigating plastic contamination of food through packaging.

Footprint has developed its technology and equipment for developing biodegradable food innovations. It has already made connections with essential firms in the food industry, with over 3,000 invention disclosures. The Suns’ relationship will help them connect with even more potential partners by promoting products within the arena.

The arena has always had ties to well-known Arizona firms. Before America West Airlines merged with U.S. Airways, the arena was known as America West Arena. It was then renamed U.S. Airways Center. After U.S. Airways merged with American Airlines and relocated its headquarters from Tempe to Fort Worth, it became Talking Stick Resort Arena.

Last November, the Suns’ naming rights were not renewed by Talking Stick Resort. In 2015, the Arizona casino resort took over the spot previously held by U.S. Airways. It was a ten-year contract paying more than $20 million in total.

A New Era

Footprint’s goods, such as disposable cups, plates, and food trays, have already been used by the venue to substantially minimize the amount of packaging waste thrown away by fans. Sugar cane, bamboo, wood, and other plant materials are used in the seven-year-old, privately held company’s products. Additionally, the Footprint Center will include instructional elements to help fans understand the benefits of removing single-use plastics from their daily lives.

The rise of vehicle production with a focus on alternative fuels has aided the state’s claim to sustainability. In addition, the state has strong and developing ties to technology, particularly semiconductors, with Intel and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, among others, expanding or opening new plants.

The Suns were one of the first venues to switch to solar-powered energy over a decade ago. With the Footprint collaboration, they wanted to continue on that road, which many fans will perceive as an excellent addition to the team’s off-court meaning.

This collaboration is a significant step forward in the arena’s transformation, which began in 2012 and has included over 8,200 tonnes of material diverted from landfills, 757 tonnes of plastic and metal recycled, new LED lighting in all finished spaces, new energy-efficient mechanical systems with economizers for more fresh air, and reused and recycled materials throughout the arena.

The push to be more environmentally conscious is in full force in the corporate sector, with nearly half of all enterprises aiming to raise their environmental spending between now and 2023. While the initial expenditures of becoming a sustainable business may be a deterrent, there are numerous advantages for forward-thinking companies, including winning business.

Businesses that wish to stay competitive for years or decades would benefit from taking action now to keep their loyal customers and to attract excellent staff. In addition, customers and employees of younger generations have grown up with a greater knowledge of sustainability, and they expect businesses to represent their values and goals.

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