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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.”
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
BY JONATHAN FROCHTZWAJG
A flare-up in the Elliott Forest raises questions about détente in Oregon’s timber wars.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE
The black soldier fly’s larvae are among the most ravenous and least picky eaters on earth.
Monday, October 06, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Intel's manufacturing way station; Merkley's attack dog; Diamond Foods gets into the innovation business.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY
Travis Knight wants to release a movie a year. Can he pull it off?
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE & KIM MOORE
Oregon Business reports on the visa squeeze, the skills gap and foreign-born residents who are revitalizing rural Oregon.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
BY DIANE BUISMAN
Some common misconceptions employers have about marijuana.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY
Most smartphones come equipped with speech recognition systems like Siri or Cortana that are capable of understanding the human voice and putting words into actions. But what if smartphones could do more? What if smartphones could register feeling?
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Is your business ready to join us in the call for action? This opening panel includes Oregon businesses who will discuss why they signed the Oregon Climate Declaration, the investments they are making to reduce carbon emissions, and how their actions are affecting their companies.
Get ready for two days of special events produced with the EPA, Portland Timbers and ISOS before and after the GoGreen Conference on October 16.
Rotary’s Oregon Ethics in Business aims to raise consciousness about business ethics by honoring exceptional companies.
Barran Liebman’s annual employment law seminar is an industry classic.
Business leaders descend on Portland in December for the region’s largest environmental conference and trade show.
More than 400 "Change Makers" will gather to invest in a socially sustainable community.