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|Articles - June 2014|
|Thursday, May 29, 2014|
Page 4 of 6
LESSON 3: The market is already rewarding green practices.
Despite opposition to new regulations and disagreement on incentives, many companies have found that the marketplace is already pushing them to adopt environmental practices.
When asked what “green business” means, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales reels off a list of textile designers and building companies. He cites Neil Kelly remodelers, founded in 1947, which has become a national leader in alternative-energy and sustainably focused home remodels, and property developer Gerding Edlen, which touts the principles of “People, Planet, Prosperity” on its website. Hales shows off his iPad case, made by Looptworks out of other manufacturers’ scraps. Today Portland’s reputation as an environmental leader helps attract talented employees and bolsters the city’s economy, Hales says. But many of the city’s green businesses became market leaders simply by pursuing economic opportunities. “A lot of what businesses are doing now qualifies as green, but we weren’t always thinking about saving the planet when we got started,” he says.
While some Oregon businesses have pursued market opportunities and then been labeled “green” after the fact, others are just beginning to see the financial benefits of environmental practices.
Skip Newberry, president of the Technology Association of Oregon, says green policy issues are not on his radar. “We haven’t posed those questions,” he says, when asked how his members feel about incentives and regulation. But the high-tech companies he works with are thinking about energy use and sustainability within their own operations. “There’s a broad look at environmental footprint among a lot of tech companies,” Newberry says. “There’s an economic reason for this: It’s good marketing, good PR. Some say being good stewards of the environment can be good for retention and recruiting top talent. And operational efficiencies can save resources and be good for business.”
And it’s not just high-tech firms that see the financial logic of adopting environmental practices. The Portland Business Alliance, which acts as a chamber of commerce for 1,700 companies in the metro area, draws crowds of business owners looking to learn from one another at its quarterly Green Bag Lunch events, says McDonough, PBA president. “There’s the ethic of wanting to be environmentally sustainable, and these practices make business sense.”
Even forest-products companies — which have a long history of clashing with environmentalists — say market forces are spurring them to become greener.
That’s the case at Roseburg Forest Products, which CEO Allyn Ford says has adopted an increased focus on sustainable business practices. The family-owned, Roseburg-based company was founded in 1937, a time when Oregon’s natural resources seemed limitless, and quickly grew to become one of the region’s largest private wood-products manufacturers. Today Roseburg Forest Products employs more than 3,000 people in six states. It owns private timber lands and sells lumber and manufactured-wood products. The company has come to understand that its future depends on responsible use of resources, Ford says. It offers one of the largest and most diverse selections of green building products in North America. “We have a relationship with the land, and that involves a commitment to good management of the forest and commitment to the land itself.”
Thursday, December 04, 2014
BY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
How important are institutional and/or program evaluations provided by third parties in selecting a college or university program?
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY OREGON BUSINESS STAFF
An SEC rule targets the disparity between executive and employee compensation, reigniting a long-standing debate about corporate social responsibility.
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
Studying ground-running birds, a group that ranks among nature's speediest and most agile bipedal runners, to build a faster robot.
Sunday, December 07, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
On Friday, Uber switched on an app — and with one push of the button torpedoed Portland’s famed public process.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
A look-in on the life of Norris & Stevens' president.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
BY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
By now, anyone who knows about it has a position on President Obama’s executive order on immigration. The executive order is the outcome of failed attempts at getting a bill through the normal legislative process. Both Obama and his predecessor came close, but not close enough since the process broke down multiple times.
Friday, October 31, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Why are there so few transportation startups in Portland? The city’s leadership in bike, transit and pedestrian transportation has been well-documented. But that was then — when government and nonprofits paved the way for a new, less auto centric way of life.
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