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|Articles - June 2014|
|Thursday, May 29, 2014|
Page 6 of 6
LESSON 5: No disruption.
Some of the biggest corporate success stories in recent years have involved disruptive technology — from Amazon.com’s shakeup of book publishing to Airbnb’s sharing-economy innovations. But if “disruption” is a hot topic at business schools and in many industry sectors, the mainstream rhetoric around green business policy is decidedly incremental. In Oregon today, business leadership is driving green policy as never before — but by betting less on a great leap forward than on a slow build.
Not surprisingly, the business and political leaders we talked to say going green makes economic sense. Cutting waste cuts costs and can boost the bottom line, consumers are rewarding businesses that adopt environmental policies, and sustainable practices can help employers with recruitment and retention of highly skilled workers. In short, market forces are spurring businesses to go green without the cudgel of regulation. A few decades ago, businesses and environmentalists often seemed locked in permanent opposition, but today many businesses are siding with eco-warriors — and asking sustainability experts for help.
No bold proclamations or unified policy prescriptions emerged from our interviews, although Gov. Kitzhaber came close. “A green economy means that we are not spending our children’s natural capital — their lands, waters and clean air — and that our economy is operating on a long-term sustainable basis,” he says. “Oregon businesses already lead on so many fronts in the sustainable economy. The business community can and should lead on these issues, as there is a major competitive opportunity here, and the state should look for ways to support these efforts.” Gov. Kitzhaber says the state should “accelerate the transition to a sustainable clean economy.” He supports a state law passed in 2009 aimed at improving access to alternatives to gasoline. And he’s called for a number of studies and examinations into environmental challenges facing the state’s farmers and foresters.
Mayor Hales says Portland’s urban planning is guiding environmental business decisions, but he’d like more funding. Gottfredson says the University of Oregon is a leader in sustainability — and he wants more state money too. In the business community, Deckert, McDonough, Lee, Ford and Newberry prefer to highlight the ways many companies are already making sustainable choices, and shy away from talk of legislation. Finding the right incentives could spur more companies to go green, Barrow says, but it’s hard to agree on just what those incentives should look like.
So as environmentalists seek action, as policymakers proclaim the value of green business but hesitate to act aggressively, Oregon businesses continue to explore the bottom-line benefits of going green. The leaders we interviewed aren’t trying to disrupt the market — yet market-driven decision makers continue to crowd Green Bag Lunch events. Bit by bit, Oregon businesses are cutting waste and energy, developing clean-tech and alternative-energy innovations, and changing the status quo.
“Not to diminish politicians,” says PGE’s Piro, “But politicians work on policy; real companies work on real problems.”
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy. “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY EMILY LIEDEL
Inside the topsy-turvy world of corporate sustainability rankings.
Thursday, May 28, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR
Reinventing capitalism. Office dumpster divers. Handprints versus carbon footprints.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
While most categories of commercial real estate have performed well, one of the most robust has been apartment buildings.
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
As part of our green workplaces story, Oregon Business checked out a community service project undertaken by Portland Youth Builders, a nonprofit alternative high school. In partnership with Whole Foods, PYB built garden boxes for a Home Forward housing site. Home Forward is a government agency that provides housing for low income residents and people with disabilities.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE
A conversation with Gene Pelham, CEO of Rogue Credit Union.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR
An earthquake would completely destroy many Oregon businesses, highlighting the urgent need for the private and public sectors to collaborate on shoring up disaster preparedness, said panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast summit today.
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Tonkon Torp helps seed sustainability at Gunderson.
Oregon-based Environments helps companies create inspired workspaces. “Simply put, we help companies future-proof their workspaces,” says Chris Corrado, president. Since 1988,Environments has witnessed firsthand the changing landscape of business. Native Portlander and Environments founder Corrado says, “We help our clients navigate the complex realities of the workplace today and plan for their future in a very mindful, strategic way. We think of ourselves as their partners in the process.”
One hundred years ago, the Willamette River might easily have been mistaken for a sewer. Unchecked industrial activity and decades of pollution made it unrecognizable compared to the clean river that now flows north for 187 miles from Eugene through the center of Portland.
3 Degrees Event Celebrates 5th Year Bringing Nonprofit and Business Professionals Together to Benefit Portland.
Bend energy leader brings passion for efficiency and renewable energy to the nonprofit.
Event in Forest Grove marks recognition of Global Food Safety Initiative Certification.