Businesses Can Help Protect Our Environment

Stu Swineford in the Colorado Backcountry - Photo by Johnny Copp

Relish Studio Joins the Colorado Outdoor Business Alliance

As long-term Colorado residents, we at Relish Studio cherish our natural lands and regularly participate in recreational activities in the Colorado outdoors. As such, we see a direct benefit to living in this great state from both a personal and economic perspective, and actively strive to protect our public lands from over-development. At Relish, we have built our business as a reflection and extension of our own personal ethics, but we wanted to be part of a larger community of business leaders supporting the preservation of Colorado’s great outdoors.

That’s why, in 2017, we are cementing our dedication to Colorado, its environment, and the preservation of its open, public spaces by joining the Colorado Outdoor Business Alliance (COBA).

For those unfamiliar with COBA, it is a coalition of businesses who recognize how much our public lands mean to the state of Colorado and the strength of our economy. COBA’s mission is to unite business leaders from across Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy and emerging industries to conserve and protect access to our public lands. COBA provides an opportunity to share our brand’s values by getting involved in conversations that drive policy decisions in the state of Colorado. We view the protection of our environment and public lands as paramount to preservation of the economic, social, and recreational advantages we have here in Colorado, and seek to strengthen our commitment to these values through our partnership with COBA.

Our participation in COBA has both personal and professional roots. Team Relish spends a significant chunk of our off-time recreating in Colorado’s great outdoors on its 24 million acres of public lands – running, biking, skiing, snowboarding, climbing, hiking, and more. The time spent outside rejuvenates us and sparks creative processes that drive our business toward success. As members of the Colorado business community, we feel we have an obligation to use our voices to protect the places that help foster creativity and longevity in our community.

In today’s business world, there has been a distinct move toward the idea that businesses have a voice in how decisions get made on the local, state, national, and (increasingly) international playing field. This was evidenced earlier this year when Patagonia opened its doors on Black Friday and generated over $10 million in donations to causes that support environmental protection. We recognized the value and importance of being able to be a part of that type of action and have joined other Colorado businesses through COBA to help lend our hand to that effort. Though we probably won’t be able to match Patagonia’s level of giving, we do recognize that the largest river begins with a trickle, and we want to establish Relish Studio as a part of what we hope will be an eventual flood of participation in protecting our great outdoors.

Already, on the first day of the 115th Congress, we’ve seen a provision in the U.S. House of Representatives that will make it easier to dispose of federal public lands by ruling that they have no budgetary value. Now, any bill that proposes the privatization or transfer of public lands to states does not require budget cuts elsewhere to compensate for lost revenue, and thus is that much easier to pass. Later that week, Senator Murkowski (AK) introduced a bill gutting the Antiquities Act, the tool used to create national monuments like Browns Canyon and Bears Ears. Many COBA members have signed on to a letter opposing this bill, recognizing that many of our favorite national parks started as monuments and that these protected public lands have been powerful economic engines.

This is only the start. We live in troublesome times for the protection of our public lands, and we’re likely to see many more attacks on bedrock conservation laws in the coming few years. The voice of our business community can make difference. We must stand up to protect these lands that help support the high quality of life and strong economy of Colorado.

What can you do to help? Join Relish as a member of COBA, align your brand and values, and look for your opportunity to join us for a networking event with like-minded businesses in late February.