At the foundation of Azura is the deep belief that the “Food-Water-Energy Nexus” is critical to a truly sustainable future. Our work is focused on delivering practical, real-world engineering solutions that enable a wide variety of industries to operate in a clean and responsible manner. Transforming food waste into renewable energy, and enabling manufacturers to return clean water to the environment, are the core contributions of our engineering practice. We also recognize establishing sustainability requires Giving Back beyond our work.
We’ve formalized this commitment to Giving Back by making the 1% For the Planet pledge. (OnePercentForThePlanet.org). This is huge for a small firm like Azura. We have committed to donating 1% of gross sales (not profits!) to registered charities, in good times AND bad. With the COVID pandemic we are seeing many people around the world, including friends and neighbors, suffer through job loss and income insecurity. Of course, donations to support charitable groups have also dropped.
Azura’s founder, David Ellis, reflected on a career in water and waste treatment when he commented that he first learned of global water insecurity when visiting a project-site in a well-developed country in South America. Even though the standard of living was quite high, there were pockets of people suffering from water insecurity. “To learn that in the 1990s thousands of people were dying from cholera was an appalling shock to me. These outbreaks happened more than a hundred years after Louis Pasteur invented the first cholera vaccine. This outbreak was not due to a technical issue. How to treat water and make it safe against cholera was very well known by this time.” The realization that many people lacked basic access to safe water is one of the reasons that Azura has selected Water as a key focus area for our giving back efforts.
Our Action Steps
Because of this focus on Water, Azura is proud to support the Water-for-People and Water.Org initiatives. These global charities help people bring clean water and sanitation solutions to their communities. We have selected these charities because of their approach to long-term sustainable solutions. Like us, they believe in a world where everyone has safe drinking water, forever.
Our new global partners include:
- Water For People-Canada – Water for People has a sustainable delivery model for Forever Water. Water For People says it best: We know that improved water, sanitation, and hygiene changes everything. That’s why we’re committed to making sure these services are sustainable for the long term, and not just for today. We partner with local leaders and communities to implement the solutions that are right for them, and then we provide the tools to make sure water, sanitation, and hygiene services last for generations to come.
- Water.Org – We know that clean water is a human right, and that pumps, pipes, filters, and faucets are not free. One of the major barriers to safe water and sanitation is affordable financing. Water.Org addresses this barrier head-on through access to small, easily repayable loans. Every repaid loan creates a new opportunity for another family: Together with their 154 partners around the world, Water.Org has helped mobilize $2.6 billion in capital to support small loans that bring access to safe water and sanitation to millions of people in need.
In addition to water related charities, we are also supporting international wildlife and habitat conservation efforts through the Rainforest Trust.
- Rainforest Trust – purchases and protects the most threatened tropical forests, saving endangered wildlife through partnerships and community engagement. Through these highly effective partnerships, the trust ensures sustainable results necessary for the long-term protection of tropical ecosystems and the wildlife they hold.
Our Local Efforts
Closer to home Azura’s Giving Back initiatives support wildlife and habitat conservation through supporting wetlands and conservation efforts.
- Ducks Unlimited Canada – works to conserve, restore, and manage wetlands and grasslands to benefit waterfowl, wildlife, and people. Their goal is to ensure abundant wetlands and waterfowl for generations to come. Waterfowl are migratory. That is why conservation efforts impact diverse areas across all of Canada.
- Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters – formed in 1928, the OFAH is one of Ontario’s oldest charities. With more than 100,000 members, subscribers, and supporters, this is the largest organization of its kind in Canada to support a mandate of fish and wildlife conservation.
Locally, Azura’s founder has been part of the Kitchener-Waterloo 100MenWhoGiveaDamn.Org group since its founding. This informal group gets together four times per year to hear from local charities and to select grant recipients to transform our community.
Whether it’s contributing to local charities with the 100 Men Who Give a Damn KW, volunteering time to mentor young engineers informally and through professional associations, or contributing to global efforts around the key focus areas of i) water, ii) land and habitat, and iii) wildlife at risk, Giving Back is a core value at Azura Associates.