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How the Colorado Chamber of Commerce is Breaking New Ground in Environmental Sustainability

Employers throughout our great state have long been invested in a clean environment for the communities where they operate for the future of Colorado. We’ve worked closely with our members at the Colorado Chamber of Commerce to address environmental policy, and we’ve seen firsthand how committed the business community is in regards to promoting sustainability within their companies and industries.

READ: Becoming a Zero-Emissions State — How Alternative Fuels Are Transforming Transportation in Colorado

From the construction of our buildings to energy infrastructure to sustainable products, it is primarily up to businesses to develop, finance and build the infrastructure of the future to improve our environment. Many employers have developed innovative solutions that not only address current climate concerns but also improve the environment for their communities. We know from experience that any industry can be a critical leader in this space when given the flexibility to do so.

Despite these successes, job creators have experienced a costly and complex regulatory climate in the last few years. A Colorado Chamber of Commerce 2022 survey of businesses statewide revealed that Colorado’s current regulatory climate continues to be a significant challenge for business operations, and environmental regulations were specifically identified as a top concern.

The Colorado Chamber of Commerce believes there is a better way, and that environmental progress and economic growth are not mutually exclusive.

That’s why the Colorado Chamber has launched an Environmental Sustainability and Climate Action Task Force — a key strategic initiative in supporting a cleaner environment while maintaining a competitive business climate in Colorado. Our long history of constructive collaboration among employers, state leaders, regulators and the public means that we are well suited to bring business leaders to the table and develop responsible, balanced environmental policies and regulations that are predictable and avoid a one-size-fits-all approach for businesses.

The task force brings together 20 different companies and industry groups that are committed to taking sustainability initiatives to the next level, representing the transportation, energy, agriculture and manufacturing industries, and more. Participating companies include Molson Coors, EVRAZ Pueblo, the American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado, Chevron, United Airlines and Tri-State Generation – the full list of task force members can be found on our website. We will expand on the progress that’s already been made through diverse, cross-industry collaboration to find creative ways to achieve common goals.

To help us navigate the process, we’ve commissioned the Keystone Policy Center to provide expert facilitation to the task force. Keystone has a strong reputation of bringing together stakeholders with diverse perspectives through strategic collaboration to address pressing issues with lasting solutions. The non-profit research organization will assist with task force design, goals and objectives, strategic framework, facilitation of task force meetings and documentation of outcomes. Our first task force meeting begins this month and will continue through the end of the year.

READ: Understanding ESG & Colorado’s Energy Transformation

Our end goal is to develop long- and short-term policies that allow businesses to effectively meet environmental sustainability expectations, partnering with legislators and state agencies on a balanced approach for the domestic production of resources. We will also educate policymakers and regulators on the innovative efforts employers have undertaken through technological investments, the sharing of data, and the development of best practices.

Together with Keystone, the task force will develop a policy report at the end of 2023 with potential legislative recommendations and other collective actions that can be taken to reach environmental goals and objectives.

We are very excited to break new ground in environmental collaboration and lead this coordinated effort to tackle climate action and sustainability while preserving a healthy economy for Colorado.

 

Loren FurmanLoren Furman is president and CEO of the Colorado Chamber of Commerce. The Colorado Chamber champions free enterprise, a healthy business environment and economic prosperity for all Coloradans. It is the only business association that works to improve our economic climate for all sizes of business from a statewide, multi-industry perspective.

Colorado Chamber selects new President and CEO

Loren Furman

The Colorado Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors today selected Loren Furman to serve as its next president and CEO. Furman, currently a senior vice president for the Colorado Chamber, succeeds Chuck Berry who earlier this year announced his retirement effective December 31, 2021. Berry has served as Chamber president and CEO for 21 years.

The decision follows a selection process by the Colorado Chamber Executive Committee led by Chamber Board Chair Rachel Nance. The organization will undergo a transition process until Berry’s retirement date at the end of the year. Furman’s first day as president and CEO will be January 1, 2022.

“Identifying the next leader for the state’s business community was no small feat. It was critical to find the right person who can build on decades of legislative and regulatory success in Colorado,” said Nance, senior director of customer relations and strategic accounts for Xcel Energy. “We found the unique combination of vision and political prowess in Loren. Her successful track record and respected reputation as collaborator will propel the state chamber to a new level with the business community reaping the benefits!”

Furman has served as the Colorado Chamber’s senior vice president for state and federal relations since 2008, where she directs the Chamber’s legislative priorities and strategy. She has worked with employers of all sectors and sizes, local chambers, and industry groups to determine the most pressing policy issues facing business and has singlehandedly built coalitions on key legislation and topics, using her expertise to be a fierce advocate for employers. She has been at the forefront of every major business policy issue in Colorado for over a decade – from critical labor and employment issues to tax policy and health care, she’s had a hand in shaping legislation and rulemaking for the issues that matter to employers.

Furman has been widely recognized for her leadership and accomplishments as the voice of business at the Colorado state capitol. She was named one of Colorado’s “Most Influential Women: Up and Coming” by The Denver Post in 2012 and was named a “Top Business Newsmaker” in the Denver Business Journal Power Book Awards in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Her record of coalition building, legislative strategy and advocacy will be an asset to the Colorado Chamber’s membership and the broader business community as the state works towards economic recovery.

“I’m honored to have been selected to lead the Colorado Chamber at such a critical time,” said Furman. “The voice of business is key to ensuring the Colorado economy is poised to recover from the challenges of the pandemic – and the Chamber’s role of engaging with business leaders, lawmakers, and local communities is more significant than ever. I look forward to working with our members, state leaders, and Chamber staff to build on our important work.”

“This is a defining moment for business in Colorado, and I know the Colorado Chamber will be in good hands with Loren,” said Chuck Berry. “I consider her both a colleague and a friend, and I’m proud to have worked closely with her over the years. Our members have trusted Loren’s deep knowledge and strategic mindset to represent them at the Capitol for over a decade. I’m confident that she will continue the Chamber’s reputation as the powerhouse for the statewide business community. Loren’s depth of experience will undoubtedly position the Chamber for success, and I look forward to working with her on a seamless transition in the coming weeks.”