Every four minutes on average, Dallas gains a new resident. While this city’s landscape is notable for the continuous construction of highways, homes, retail and office space, it’s also notable for what it’s missing — a corresponding growth of trees and greenspace necessary to support a healthy environment and lifestyle for its booming population.
A growing company in this region is Alliance Data, a leading global provider of data-driven marketing and loyalty solutions. With a front-door view to massive growth across from its headquarters, Alliance Data recognized the opportunity to take a leadership position in researching and supporting the environmental infrastructure necessary to complement the region’s growth.
“Several years ago, we were defining the company’s role in environmental conservation, given our growing carbon footprint and use of paper-based resources,” said Dana Beckman, Director of Corporate Affairs at Alliance Data. “We were looking for investment opportunities with far-reaching ecological impact and opportunities to engage our associates, and the American Forests Community ReLeaf program offered a powerful reach along with a data-driven approach to building a measurable solution.”
In 2015, Alliance Data — which believes better data drives better decisions — joined with American Forests to lay the groundwork for a landmark study about the urban heat island effect and related air quality issues in Dallas, and the role of trees and greenspace to mitigate these climate issues.
“Health is a primary driver for our corporate responsibility programs, both the health of the population and the health of the economy,” explained Ms. Beckman. “Rising temperatures and associated air quality issues can affect all segments of the population and the business community, and trees can deliver an often unrecognized short- and long-term benefit.”
Together with its partner organization in Dallas — Texas Trees Foundation — American Forests is spearheading an urban heat island study for Dallas County that will quantify surface temperatures across the region and their correlation to the presence of trees, paved surfaces and buildings. The report will serve as the basis for developing a strategy to promote tree canopy policies and long-term funding support with local government, civic and nonprofit organizations.
“We want to ensure Dallas remains an economically viable and desirable place for individuals and businesses alike, but we also want residents to maintain a healthy, active quality of life,” concluded Ms. Beckman. “It’s up to individuals, policy-makers and city planners to ensure conservation is part of the region’s growth plan. As a business headquartered in North Texas, we believe it’s part of our responsibility to help foster that conversation.”