Proceed with caution

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Articles - June 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014

LESSON 4: Antagonism between businesses and environmentalists is declining. 

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Allyn Ford, CEO
Roseburg Forest Products

Roseburg’s embracing of green marketing opportunities illustrates just how far Oregon’s environmental conversation has progressed. In the 1990s, eco-activists were spiking trees and setting firebombs to fight logging in this state. In the early 2000s, guards wore Kevlar vests to protect themselves from crowds angry about water conflicts in Southern Oregon. Today environmentalists have calmed down, and many businesses have embraced their messages — or are even driving green policy.

“Working on environmental policy is not a smooth process; there’s still a lot of debate,” Ford says. Loggers want access to burned timber on federal lands scarred by last year’s wildfires, for example. Environmentalists want more restrictions on timber-company pesticides. “But our governor and his administration have provided a forum for us to work together toward compromises.”

Not every corporate proposal is winning environmentalist support — but businesses increasingly fall on both sides of these disputes. Battles over fossil fuels have especially divided the business community, with high-tech and clean-energy businesses often siding with environmentalists. Nine Oregon companies joined 200 businesses that wrote to the Obama administration opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline in March. Among them: 3E Strategies, an environmental consulting firm owned by Gov. Kitzhaber’s girlfriend, Cylvia Hayes, and AmeriStar Solar, which develops portable solar-power systems for the armed forces.

The University of Oregon, an early adopter of environmental policies and research, has a front-row view of businesses’ growing environmentalism. “It’s undeniable that sustainability is becoming an ever-bigger aspect of our national economy and our regional economy,” says university president Michael Gottfredson.

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Michael Gottfredson, president,
University of Oregon

Gottfredson touts UO’s environmental studies program, with 500 students enrolled, and its environmentally focused law and architecture degree options. Increasingly, however, businesses are interested in more than just the workers that the university produces — they want to learn from faculty. Chemistry research into raw materials, for example, has drawn the interest of companies making products that consumers don’t hold on to. Used gadgets are filling landfills and creating waste-disposal nightmares — and businesses want access to research that will help develop products that cause less environmental harm. 

“The sustainability movement is a huge business proposition,” Gottfredson says. “There is value-added synergy when we bring businesses and environmental opportunities together.”



 

Comments   

 
Guest
0 #1 ownerGuest 2014-06-09 21:19:23
It is interesting that public giants like Nike and Intel refuse to participate. More alarming is the pollution Intel put upon us here in Oregon. Nike does it through the jet stream from China in various forms including acid rain that comes here daily. Conformed reports show 30% of the daily air pollution in Oregon comes from Asia and most of that China.
Of course the governors offices in China even if they had any never are going to be green leaders nor is the gov't of China going to get their pollution corrected and over seen by what we have here like the EPA.
The sky over Oregon is not confined in a bubble.
It is made up of everything moving thru it from wherever and easily charted daily.
That sky pollutes everything called Oregon from air to and to water and all habitats human,natural and animal and vegetable.

So Why Not begin like folks in Montana call their BIG SKY and define Oregon's Big Sky and really make things happen.

Last week I signeda petitin to force the labeling of foods that use GMO's

Well how about labels for anything that is produced outside of Oregon that comes here riddled with pollution both in actual product and the air that carries it sooner and in an open form that causes at this time far more damage.

Putting a label on what folks like Nike and Intel and others create here inOregon will at least make the public aware of what they are supporting with their purchasing dollars.
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