Sustainability with integrity
By Maria Lopez
The opportunity for a more environmentally conscious work environment lies within every industry. Don’t believe us? Integrity Valet and Desert Parking, local parking companies, prove how it can be done. Sustainability is a passion for owner Ryan Rabish, and it has seeped into the way this small
business operates. It starts at their headquarters and their footprint doesn’t travel far.
Rabish was one of the first Arizona Green Business-certified businesses through Local First Arizona. Being a steward of Arizona and our natural land is a personal value of Rabish, but he implemented good business practices quite seamlessly into his operations. Read how in this Q&A and find more green businesses to support at www.az.greenbiztracker.org.
Share a bit about what sustainability means to you
Sustainability to me is having the smallest “footprint” I can and “leaving no trace” if at all possible. This considers the human experience while also nature itself, the animal kingdom, the resources that have taken millions of years to develop, plants and trees, etc. Our company’s environmental
policies state, “ensuring all aspects and consequences of operational decisions are considered, to promote efficiency and embody a ‘Do No Harm’ ideology.”
Share how you started implementing sustainability within
your business. Was it a lot of work? How did staff react?
We strive towards efficiency to manage more with less naturally, so sustainability goes hand in hand. We schedule shifts based on where employees live to limit drive time. Single-use plastics are banned in the office and field. We consciously order supplies and equipment considering
shipping and impact. We use smart technology like Nest thermostats and purchase from local vendors. Pela phone cases are a great biodegradable option. We offer one complimentary vegan meal per employee, per week, paid for by the company. I’m 99% vegan for animal rights and sustainability purposes. This one can be more challenging to implement, but positive,
respectful conversations with staff are fun! Many on our team are students and will be in leadership positions one day, so it’s good to promote critical thinking and diverse backgrounds coming together.
Share how COVID-19 is impacting your business with
events being canceled and restaurants closed How are you adjusting and what does the future look like for you?
Like many businesses in the hospitality and service industry, the lights went out March 16. Turning the switch back on isn’t as simple as turning it off. When everything froze, I did my best to preserve what has been built over the past 13-plus years and communicated with staff what was happening. Though not ideal by any means, I’m extremely thankful to be where we’re at as a business and that our families are healthy during this time.
Moving forward, a few restaurants were ready for us to start again on May 22. I prepared our own COVID-19 Guidelines specific to the valet parking and management industry and have been in touch with other operators in town. I’m hoping to be slammed by October as we adjust to each client’s specific needs this summer. Safety is always number one, so we’ll be
extra prepared as we all try to navigate this unprecedented time. We’re a resilient group with amazing clients and look forward to serving again to the best of our abilities.
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Maria Lopez is the communications manager for Local First Arizona, a coalition of more than 3,000 local, independent businesses and nonprofits working to promote, support, and celebrate a vibrant and sustainable Arizona economy by educating citizens about local business ownership, social equity, cultural diversity, and environmental impact. More at www.localfirstaz.com.