"We're replacing the bad stuff with good stuff that works," says CEO B. Scott Taylor.
// Photo by Adam Wickham
Taylor agrees authenticity is the key to success. "Our integrity has to be second to none," he says. To date, he feels comfortable saying Green Endeavor has replaced 4.8 million pounds of caustic, a commonly used toxic cleaner, with “EPA-DFE” (designed for the environment) approved formulas. The company’s 30-plus customers — “we’re adding more every week” — include blue-chip firms such as the Kellogg Company as well as local operations like Myers Container, a Portland company that manufactures and refurbishes industrial drums.
Green Endeavor recently announced its first funding round; the goal is to raise about $2 million in the coming year. The timing looks good. Although environmental regulations have been slow to move in this area, pressure is mounting. In 2012, Gov. John Kitzhaber signed an executive order to invest more resources in green chemistry; the directive requires state agencies to develop plans favoring healthy green products in purchasing for electronics, furniture and building.
A similar shift is taking place within industry. “For the younger guys and women in these companies, this isn’t just a conversation," Taylor says. "They grew up with sustainability." Kyle Stavig, Myers' CEO, is a case in point. It took five tries before Green Endeavor found an effective substitute for the company’s caustic cleaner, says Stavig, who stuck with the trial-and-error approach and now serves on Green Endeavor's board.
“Taylor is a change maker who has succeeded in a couple of other industries," Stavig says. "That’s what gives me confidence.”
Taylor, whose varied accomplishments include co-authoring a roman à clef about West Hills matrons, The Great American Stay-At-Home-Wives Conspiracy (2006), says he's positioning Green Endeavor to be an industry leader, growing jobs and Oregon’s reputation for pioneering sustainable businesses.
“My kids are like, ‘Dad, are you going to start wearing Birkenstocks?' No, I have my Nike flip-flops. I’m not the poster child for the environmental movement. I’m a capitalist who may just do something really good for the world.”