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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, August 27, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN
Agriculture businesses ramp up to meet international demand as workforce and succession challenges loom.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
OB Research Editor Kim Moore shares some pointers about the 100 Best Companies to Work For survey.
Friday, September 26, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER
This post focuses on the recent release of the new Apple iPhone as well as Alibaba's IPO, the largest U.S. IPO in history.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY KIM MOORE
University and college tuition fees have been rising for more than a decade, while state funds for higher education have steadily declined.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE
Well-financed outsiders from France and California are buying up vineyards and wineries in the Willamette Valley.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
Dr. Chong Fang isn’t God. But the assistant professor of chemistry at Oregon State University is getting closer to figuring out how he put everything together.
Monday, September 29, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Wehby disappears, Kitzhaber fails to disclose and Seattle gets bike share before Portland.
|A Good Leap Forward|
|Fast Food Slows Down|
|A Taste of Heaven|
|Tight and Loose|
|Startup or Grow Up?|
|U.S. private payrolls increase|
|U.S. construction spending declines in August|
|Johnson & Johnson to acquire Alios BioPharma|
|JAB Holding to buy Einstein Noah|
|DreamWorks Animation may have a Japanese suitor|
|Yahoo, AOL propose merger|
|Cadillac brand to rename its vehicles|
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