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|Wednesday, August 06, 2014|
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
It’s been about a year since I first wrote about Green Endeavor, a Portland company that provides green cleaning solutions for industrial clients. Barely two years old, the startup was busy scoping out the market, building an expert advisory team (including University of Oregon green chemistry experts) and tracking down eco-friendly products from small batch producers.
This past week, Green Endeavor struck gold, inking a partnership with Underwriters Laboratories, an Illinois-based consulting and certification company with offices in 46 countries — including an outpost in the Portland area. UL’s Environment Division verifies sustainable product claims through a variety of certification and testing services.
The UL partnership validates Green Endeavor’s vision, said CEO B. Scott Taylor, sounding positively elated. Collaborating with a global heavy hitter will help scale business and standardize the fledgling industry, he said.
UL "saw a unique opportunity" to partner with an organization that has identified a market and helped drive change, said Mark Rossolo, UL's global director of public affairs. Green Endeavor "is doing something currently nobody else is really doing."
The UL deal caps a year of growth for Green Endeavor. Taylor declined to reveal revenues but the company has since landed about 20 new accounts, including Royal Canin (a division of MARS), Royal DSM Traditional and the Long Company, an independent bakers coop that assists its 250 wholesale bakery members with management and operations.
Participating bakeries include a Puyallup, Wash. facility that churns out 1 million McDonalds' buns daily.
Over the past 10 years green household cleaners have become, well, household fixtures in the U.S. But industrial users such as food processors and manufacturers have been slow to jump on the eco cleaning bandwagon. Convincing a stodgy conservative business sector to use products that lack uniformity or validation has been a slow and often frustrating process, says Taylor,
But change is on the horizon, driven in part by local and federal environmental regulations limiting use of toxic chemicals. Hazardous materials “are also going to be regulated and required by people who buy products from us,” said Long Company president, Bill Zimmerman. Retail buyers such as WalMart are demanding stricter environmental performance from suppliers, he said.
Green products can also be gentler on machinery and help reduce employer health care and liability expenses. “It’s important we stay on top of new developments out there," Zimmerman said. "Green Endeavor, Taylor, has an eye on the future.”
A self-described “visionary,” Taylor doesn’t lack for ego — or a sense of humor. "Man this chemistry is making my head hurt,” he said. “I should be swinging a hammer somewhere instead.”
Taylor had just returned from a trip to Detroit, where he pitched Green Endeavor services to GM and Ford. “They are very anxious to engage us,” he remarked.
The combination of Green Endeavor’s knowledge and ULs certification background will help sway big companies that “had never thought of doing this before,” said Rossolo.
Industrial cleaning is not nearly as sexy as Uber, Airbnb or any number of tech startups. But the market is worth $13 billion, according to Taylor. Backed by UL name, the Portland company is now playing in the big leagues.
One (irksome) hurdle remains.
“Raising capital has been a bitch,” Taylor complains. The only stakeholders who "still don't get" the magnitude of the market and the changes coming down the pipe are investors, he says. "I tell them; ‘you’re saying people won’t be interested. But the reasons you think you’re worried about investing — that’s the opposite of what’s happening.’”
Linda Baker edits Oregon Business magazine
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY HANNAH WALLACE
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Wednesday, April 08, 2015
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Thursday, May 28, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR
Reinventing capitalism. Office dumpster divers. Handprints versus carbon footprints. These are some of the ideas panelists and attendees discussed during the second annual Oregon Business “Green Your Workplace” seminar yesterday.
Friday, May 22, 2015
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Latest development in Nestlé plant saga sparks debate about the value of water.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
The entrepreneurial spirit was alive and well at the Oregon Angel showcase, an annual event for angel investors and early stage entrepreneurs.
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BY CHRIS NOBLE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
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Monday, April 27, 2015
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Live, Work, Play with Christine Jump.
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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.
The Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) will be presenting its third annual Entrepreneurial Summit on Friday, June 5 at Castaway in Portland, Oregon.
On June 13th Mayor Charlie Hales will attend nonprofit organization Dream Change’s inaugural Love Summit and will introduce one of its keynote speakers, Dan Wieden of Wieden+Kennedy advertising agency.
34 spots for food, 17 places to sip, and 7 sites to choose a brew beckon visitors.