Carson Toyota first in state to be certified green business

From left, Hugo Chavez of the Carson City Toyota facilities department, Erica Gallegos, program coordinator for Nevada Green Business Network, and Cliff Sorensen, director of Campagni Auto Group, at Carson City Toyota on June 25.

From left, Hugo Chavez of the Carson City Toyota facilities department, Erica Gallegos, program coordinator for Nevada Green Business Network, and Cliff Sorensen, director of Campagni Auto Group, at Carson City Toyota on June 25.
Photo by Scott Neuffer.

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Carson City Toyota has become the first auto dealership in the Silver State to become a green business as certified this spring by the Nevada Green Business network. It is an effort that has led to cost savings and positioned the company for the future, according to Cliff Sorensen, director of Campagni Auto Group.

“It seemed like a huge mountain to climb,” he said of the certification program. “It was always on my mind, and we had done a lot of things already to a level that was good for us, but maybe not certifiable.”

To pursue and achieve certification was a collective endeavor, Sorensen said, from Toyota corporate’s environmental vision to the owners of the Campagni Group to employees at the dealership.

“They (Toyota corporate) came out with this program called DEEP, and it’s ‘Dealer Environmental Excellence Program,’ and they challenged us,” Sorensen said. “It’s voluntary, but if you sign up for it, then they hold you to certain standards.”

The corporate initiative naturally dovetailed with the Nevada Green Business Network, which Sorensen had become aware of through a Carson City Chamber of Commerce meeting. To become certified, the dealership was audited for waste and energy practices. It had been implementing eco-friendly measures in the past, but the certification program accelerated those measures, Sorensen said.

The dealership enhanced its recycling operation for tires, oil, paper, cardboard and other items. Water and power usage were better monitored and managed including installation of LED lights and more xeriscaping outside. Greener World Recycling, based in Carson, now recycles metal parts from the dealership, and clean-tech innovator Redwood Materials, also based in Carson, has set up a drop box at the dealership to recycle lithium-ion batteries and devices.

“It’s a team effort,” said Hugo Chavez, who works in the facilities department of the dealership and oversees the new programs. “That’s how this is happening, being together, working together as one.”

The Nevada Green Business Network was founded in 2019 through a partnership with nonprofit greenUP! and Western Nevada College. It has since partnered with the City of Las Vegas, the Reno/Sparks Chamber of Commerce and other entities.

According to Erica Gallegos, program coordinator for the network, there are more than 60 green business members statewide. Carson City Toyota is the first auto dealership. With a 60,000-square-foot facility, it’s also the biggest certified green business in Carson, she said.

“I would love for more dealerships to become certified, anybody in the automotive industry,” Gallegos said. “Automotive is a national emphasis area for the EPA. They really want to focus on that because there is a lot of pollution involved and waste in the auto industry, and so just curbing that a little bit goes a long way.”

Has it helped business to embrace green practices? Sorensen said yes.

“It’s recognizable savings, absolutely,” he said, stressing savings in utility and water costs alone.

As far as the dealership’s product line, Sorensen said Toyota has positioned itself to offer traditional gas vehicles for those who want them but also plenty of hybrids and EVs. Campagni Auto Group also runs Capital Ford in Carson, which could join the green program depending on how corporate and local goals align, Sorensen said.

“Dealerships, we are franchises,” he stressed.

But he added that with the right initiatives, companies can have a direct impact on the environment.

For information on Campagni Auto Group, visit https://www.campagniautogroup.com.

For information on Nevada Green Business Network, visit https://nvgreenbusiness.org.

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