From the Editor: The long road

| Print |  Email
Articles - June 2013
Tuesday, May 28, 2013

0613 EditorLetterIf someone were to tally my eco-friendly virtues and vices, the chart would look something like this: In the plus column would be bike commuting; i.e., my daily 8-mile round trip from Northeast Portland to downtown. I also compost, recycle, grow some of my own vegetables and unplug electronic devices at night.

On the minus side, plenty of household activities have me — and my family — dropping a rung or two on the sustainability ladder. We waste too much food, take excessively long showers and buy an abundance of stuff we don’t use. Plus, having two teenagers doesn’t exactly reduce the old carbon footprint. At least in my house, adolescent rebellion takes the form of throwing banana peels and cardboard in the garbage instead of the compost and recycling bins.

So there you have it: a few green hits, more than a few misses and, underlying it all, a (mostly) unwavering desire to do more on the greenhouse gas-reduction front.

That spirit — of accomplishment tempered with continuous improvement — informs our 100 Best Green workplaces project, now in its fifth year. Our ranking of the winners, revealed in this issue, is based on surveys of employees and employers from 440 firms and nonprofits on a range of sustainable practices.

Collectively, 100 Best employees were most satisfied with their employers’ commitment to recycling, energy conservation and transportation options. But employees also called out areas in need of improvement, including water conservation and toxics reduction.

Our cover story this month features yet another sustainability ranking, showing how Oregon stacks up in five industry sectors. That analysis also revealed mixed results, with Oregon pushing full-steam ahead on low-emission vehicles and green materials research, yet stumbling on clean tech manufacturing.

Back to my own green tally: Biking to work, of course, cuts down on pollution and congestion; it also saves money on gas and parking. But the month of May threw a wrench into things, as rainy weather had me hunting for an electric space heater to dry my shoes and socks post-commute. That’s a definite minus in the excess energy consumption column.

Ah, yes … sustainability is rewarding, but getting there is a long and complicated road.




0 #1 Where is list?Guest 2013-06-11 22:55:30
There is a circular reference to "see the list" that keeps coming back to this page. Where is the list?

Quote | Report to administrator
0 #2 WebmasterGuest 2013-06-11 23:00:40
The list is at the link below. If you have any hints on where the circular reference is, we would like to know, thank you!
Quote | Report to administrator
0 #3 guestGuest 2014-04-08 18:37:25
Still no list. Thanks for the link, but it doesn't display the list...even when I copy and paste. :/
Quote | Report to administrator

More Articles

OB Poll: Wineries and groceries

Friday, October 24, 2014

24-winethumbA majority of respondents agreed: Local vineyards should remain Oregon-owned and quality is the most important factor when determining where to eat or buy groceries.


Dan and Louis Oyster Bar opens up to a changing neighborhood

The Latest
Thursday, December 11, 2014
121114-oystervidBy MEGHAN NOLT

VIDEO: Revamping a Classic — an iconic eatery stays relevant in a changing marketplace.


The short list: 5 companies making a mint off kale

The Latest
Thursday, November 20, 2014
kale-thumbnailBY OB STAFF

Farmers, grocery stores and food processors cash in on kale.


Crowdfunding 2.0

Tuesday, December 02, 2014
120214-crowdfund-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

A conversation with attorney Erich Merrill about the latest way to raise money from large groups of people.


The 100 Best Companies survey is open

Friday, October 24, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!


Top stories in 2014

The Latest
Thursday, December 18, 2014

2014 was a year of wild contradictions, fast-paced growth and unexpected revelations.


Editor's Letter: Power Play

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014

There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

— Linda

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02