"We're replacing the bad stuff with good stuff that works," says CEO B. Scott Taylor.
// Photo by Adam Wickham
For his part, Taylor agrees the key to Green Endeavor’s future success is authenticity. “Our integrity has to be second to none.” To date he feels comfortable saying Green Endeavor has replaced 4.8 million pounds of caustic, a commonly used toxic cleaner, and replaced it with “EPA-DFE” (designed for the environment) approved formulas. The company’s 30-plus customers — “we’re adding more every week” — include blue-chip companies such as the Kellogg Company as well as local firms such as Myers Container, a Portland company that manufactures and refurbishes industrial drums.
Building on that momentum, Green Endeavor has launched its first funding round, aiming to raise about $2 million over the next year. The timing looks good. Although environmental regulations have been slow to move in this area, the drumbeat is there. In 2012, for example, Gov. John Kitzhaber signed an executive order to invest more resources in green chemistry, including requiring state agencies to develop plans favoring healthy green products in purchasing for electronics, furniture and building.
A similar shift is taking place within industry, says Taylor. “For the younger guys and women in these companies, this isn’t just a conversation; they grew up with sustainability.” Myers’ CEO Kyle Stavig is a good example. It took five tries for Green Endeavor to find and tailor a workable alternative to the company’s caustic cleaner, says Stavig, who not only stuck with the company’s trial-and-error approach but now serves on the board because of his own interest in eco-friendly practices.
Besides, says Stavig, “Taylor is a change maker who has succeeded in a couple of other industries. That’s what gives me confidence.”
Taylor, whose eclectic accomplishments include co-authorship of a roman à clef about West Hills matrons, The Great American Stay-At-Home-Wives Conspiracy (2006), says he is 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?’” says Taylor. “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.”