Moving the needle

| Print |  Email
Articles - June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014

I was in a rut. A few months ago, I was at my desk trying to come up with cover story ideas for our June “green” issue.  But I was stuck on a concept that is a bit too tried and true in the magazine business. That would be the “10 innovators/game changers” story format, as in: “10 green innovators (or innovations) changing the world.”

Google the words “green,” “innovators” and “changing the world,” and watch the search engine results rush in.

Fortunately, April Streeter*, a longtime journalist and occasional Oregon Business contributor, infused my brain with some fresh thinking. Instead of writing about trendsetting eco innovators, she said, why not focus on the people who play an equally important role in shaping the course of green business: the executives and civic decision makers who craft the public policies and business strategies that define Oregon’s economy? 

Bingo. It was a simple but great idea. Take a cross section of executives, industry association leaders and civic leaders, and get their perspectives on the state’s sustainable economy: What does it mean for Oregon to have a green economy, to balance private sector leadership and government regulation? And is it important for the state to be a national green leader from an economic perspective?

The result is a feature that is less about transformative green ideas and technologies than gradual, market-based changes that help all businesses operate in a cleaner and more sustainable fashion. 

Our 2014 100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon list is similarly rooted in a philosophy of incremental improvement. The majority of organizations listed (see page 46) are not game-changing green businesses per se but instead are banks, software firms, auto-parts stores, etc.: mainstream companies that are slowly but surely greening their workplace practices.

Elsewhere in the magazine, we do spotlight the sexier, more groundbreaking ideas often associated with moving the sustainable economy needle. For example, one of the companies featured in our  “Launch” column is Rogue Rovers, an Ashland startup building a “smart,” sensor-equipped, electric-powered ATV aimed at reducing water use in orchards and vineyards. 

Cutting-edge technologies designed to leapfrog environmental problems versus cautious, market-oriented business practices: This is the combination — and the tension — that defines Oregon’s green-business climate in 2014.

—Linda

 

*April was unavailable to write the article, as she was otherwise occupied writing about corporate sustainability in Southeast Asia for the U.K. magazine Ethical Corporation. I assigned the story to freelancer Courtney Sherwood, who executed the idea admirably.

 

More Articles

100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

As momentum grows at the state level to introduce far-reaching environmental regulations, such as carbon pricing and the Clean Fuels Program, Oregon employers continue to go the extra mile to create green workplaces for their employees.


Read more...

6 key things to know about summer baseball in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, June 05, 2015
basedthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.


Read more...

Sun set

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE

The right sunglasses can protect your eyes and look cool at the same time. This being the 21st century, select shades are socially conscious, too. Portland brand Shwood uses wood and other natural materials and manufactures locally. Founded by Ann Sacks, the brand Fetch dedicates a portion of its profits to animal welfare. But whether you choose classic tortiseshell or aviator chic, please, shed the sunglasses when you walk in the door — and, of course, at night. 


Read more...

6 things to know about the Amtrak Cascades route

The Latest
Friday, May 22, 2015
thumb3BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The recent tragedy in Philadelphia has called attention to Amtrak and the nation's woefully underfunded rail service. Here are six facts about the Amtrak Cascades corridor between Eugene and Vancouver B.C. 


Read more...

Biker dreams

The Latest
Friday, May 15, 2015
bike at ater wynn-thumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is seeking input from businesses on a $5.5 million initiative to create a network of biking, transit and pedestrian trails within Portland’s central city.


Read more...

The Green Paradox

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY EMILY LIEDEL

Inside the topsy-turvy world of corporate sustainability rankings.


Read more...

Credit Unions Perspective

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Gene Pelham, CEO of Rogue Credit Union.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS