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Climb every mountain

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Articles - June 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Surely one of the most unique economies in the state is the one that has developed in the magnificent Mount Hood region. In our cover story, writer Jon Bell takes a long and deep look at the economic driving force of the mountain. Bell brings a unique perspective to this story because he wrote the book on Mount Hood. Titled On Mount Hood, it’s out this month.

Bell, a longtime contributing writer to Oregon Business, has a deep knowledge and love of the iconic peak. His book is subtitled A Biography of Oregon’s Perilous Peak. While he didn’t risk his life for our story, his thorough examination of the many industries and businesses that depend on the bounty of Mount Hood wasn’t easy. But Bell climbed the vast and complex "Money Mountain" and lived to tell the tale.

It’s a fitting symbol to have the majestic mountain on this issue’s cover as we also announce the third annual 100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon. Like our 100 Best Companies and 100 Best Nonprofits projects, employee satisfaction around how their company addresses sustainable issues in the workplace put these companies on the list. A newcomer, real estate and construction firm Redside, based in Oregon City, toppled green guru Gerding Edlen Development from its two-year perch as the No. 1 Best Green Company.

But it isn’t easy being green, as the results of this month’s Input show. Although a whopping 82% of respondents say their company employs sustainable business practices — up from 70% five years ago — a large majority also says those green efforts do not give their business a competitive advantage.

That’s an interesting disconnect. Maybe companies are not adequately explaining the benefits of saving energy, reducing waste and supporting a local supply chain (among other things) to their triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. Looks like a lot of people are going through the motions of being green without believing in a payoff for their business.

If your company is in that boat, take a page from the 100 Best Green Companies playbook. They walk the talk of sustainable workplace practices, and their employees not only get it, those values greatly help contribute to overall workplace satisfaction. And we can help. If you’d like to enter the 100 Best Green survey, sign up first for the 2012 100 Best Companies survey, which opens in mid-August. That’s your portal into the green project. Watch oregon100best.com for details, or email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to get signed up.

June is the time when I get my own triple bottom line into gear: parties, pools and picnics. I plan to think deeply on green portals and regional economies as we finally head into summer.
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Robin Doussard

 

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