Footprint boosting sustainability efforts through partnership with Phoenix Suns

Apr 18, 2022, 4:35 AM | Updated: 5:29 pm

(KTAR News Photo/Taylor Kinnerup)...

(KTAR News Photo/Taylor Kinnerup)

(KTAR News Photo/Taylor Kinnerup)

PHOENIX — When Footprint entered into a multiyear naming rights deal for the Suns’ arena in downtown Phoenix last summer, the company had more in mind than just being connected with one of the best teams in the NBA.

The Gilbert-based company specializes in materials science with a goal to reduce single-use plastic by using plant-based fiber when designing food packaging.

“We’re trying to keep harmful chemicals away from people’s food and we’re also helping to save the planet by making sure that at the end of life when people are done with whatever it is, that it can either be composted or recycled,” Heather Knox, senior vice president of communications for Footprint, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“It makes us feel great when we know we are eliminating plastic in the landfills, plastic in the streams and oceans.”

People may not have been aware of Footprint when it first took over the naming rights during the Suns’ run to the NBA Finals last year, but it’s possible they used some of the company’s products.

Footprint’s customers are mainly businesses, with big food brands like Kraft, McDonald’s, Tyson Foods, Beyond Meat and Annie’s using the company’s products that are both microwave and oven safe.

Footprint Center being at the forefront of people’s minds by having the naming rights of the arena, which also houses the Phoenix Mercury and numerous other events, helps bring the company’s message of sustainability to the general public.

“We thought it was a really unique way to also touch a million people a year who come through the doors of Footprint Center either to watch the Suns or to watch the Mercury or to come to an entertainment event,” Knox said. “It was a real opportunity to expose them to more information about what it means to be sustainable and the Suns have been great partners in that.”

Knox added both the company and the Suns are committed to making the arena the center of sustainability in Phoenix.

“We really want Footprint Center to play that role in the Valley, where it’s really not only sending a message and educating but taking action steps and helping other people take action steps that they can to get rid of single-use plastic.”

The company in the first year of the partnership has been testing products at the arena that could help eliminate the waste problem that is generated at big events.

“The Suns are at the progressive end of trying to take action and to help eliminate single-use plastics and show what that means at Footprint Center by replacing things that people are used to seeing every day in venues like that with these new fiber-based materials from Footprint,” Knox said.

“Over time you’ll start to see new things roll out at Footprint Center that are very unique and new and I think it will give people a whole different perspective on what it means to go to a game and enjoy it and we’re hoping they can also do that sustainably.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Kinnerup contributed to this report.

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Footprint boosting sustainability efforts through partnership with Phoenix Suns