Air pollution, greenhouse gases, and ozone have been recent hot topics in the press and our state government. Air pollution is a problem in the Colorado Front Range: if you live or work here, you can see, smell, and taste it.

While wildfires have been a significant and obvious contributing factor to this summer’s alarmingly poor air, traffic also plays a major role in our ongoing air quality issues. Due to our unique geography and climate, the Colorado Front Range has a significant ground-level ozone issue, impacted by morning commutes and congestion. The state of Colorado has ambitious plans to combat greenhouse gas pollution with a clearly defined roadmap.

As you may be aware, the state, through the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), was considering introducing single occupancy vehicle (SOV) goals aimed at employers, relating to how employees commute to work. The business community rallied to protest this proposed regulation. They did so for various reasons, but primarily because they objected to the one-size-fits-all nature of the proposal. They felt it failed to consider the work requirements of employees (some work cannot be done remotely) or access to transit (two of the primary tools for giving employees an alternative to commuting by car). These efforts were successful in an unprecedented fashion as the proposed regulation was pulled from consideration in its current form, at least for now.

When protesting the proposed regulation, one of the alternative recommendations from the business community was that voluntary efforts from local companies would be more effective in addressing the issue. Given that regulation is currently not on the table, the business community’s wish has been granted. Now, Front Range companies can address air pollution on their terms, as this issue is not going away.

Some say that businesses do not care about air pollution, but I don’t believe that is true. I think as business owners, executives, managers, and employees, we all have a vested interest in our region’s air quality and want to improve it.

Why is this critical for businesses? Improving air quality is important to businesses because it matters to employees. Colorado prides itself on attracting and retaining a highly skilled talent base. However, today’s workforce is also very mobile, and they can move on as quickly as they came. Some of Colorado’s greatest appeal and main attractions are the climate, the fresh air, the mountains, and the recreational possibilities of the state. Poor air quality undercuts this appeal.

Moreover, initiatives that help improve air quality feed into corporate Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals and metrics, which are increasingly used by employees when evaluating their next career move and investors deciding on their next investment.

Many businesses are already taking substantial actions to respond to these issues – it’s time for us all to communicate those activities to show regulators what we are doing independently. We need to show we care and to use this as a galvanizing call to get more companies not just aware of the seriousness of this issue, but also involved in finding its solution. Now is the time to act voluntarily before action is forced upon businesses by regulation. If organizations do not step up, we may not get another opportunity to do this our way.

Business thrives based on creativity and problem solving – let’s bring that to bear here to show what we can do; we are engaged citizens and we can make a difference. This is an exciting opportunity for companies to write their own destinies and create their own programs to mitigate air pollution.

We are here to help you. Denver South as an organization and a region works to promote economic vitality while striving for improved air quality and congestion mitigation measures. Our transportation management association works with employers and employees daily to develop transportation demand management strategies to support the environment and to help attract and retain great talent.

Reach out to our team today at or call us at 303-792-9447 to find out how you and your organization can work with us to make Colorado the wonderful place we all are privileged to work in, live in, enjoy, and call home.