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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.”
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY
How State Representative Julie Parrish (House District 37) balances life between work and play.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY
Travis Knight wants to release a movie a year. Can he pull it off?
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY JENNIFER MARGULIS
In 2012 The Dalles, a city of some 14,400 located 75 miles east of Portland and often seen as the poor cousin to adjacent Hood River, completed a massive project to revitalize its dock.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY KIM MOORE
The ubiquitous fast-food restaurant may be on the decline.
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
A Design Week panel discussion raises questions about how innovative we really are.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY KLINT FINLEY
Treehouse CEO Ryan Carson builds a 21st-century trade school.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS
Historically, when the leaves fall, so do the markets. This year, earnings, Europe, energy and Ebola have in common? Beyond alliteration, they are four factors that the investors are pointing to for this year’s seasonal volatility.
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