Eco-friendly workplaces and the bottom line

| Print |  Email
The Latest
Wednesday, June 05, 2013

 BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

During our 100 Best Green Companies to Work for in Oregon awards luncheon on May 29th, atendees heard about a wide range of green workplace practices, including giving employees free bikes to encourage bike commuting, installing innovative solar arrays and growing onsite community gardens.

One week later, I'm awaiting the results of a nationwide green workplace survey that sounds like the perfect follow up to our event: how the bottom line of businesses that adopt green practices fare in comparison to those that do not. The survey and related report will be released by Green America, EcoVentures International (EVI), and the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) tomorrow.

The first-of-its-kind project surveying 1,305 businesses was prepared by Dr. Julie Cincotta, principal, CLA Organizational Solutions. The poll looks at whether sales increased or decreased when businesses offered green products or services, whether environmental business practices influenced consumer preference, and whether green services and products made businesses more or less competitive. The report explores the practical implications of the survey findings.

Tune in tomorrow for the results.  In the meantime, I'd love to hear from Oregon companies about how they think green practices have influenced their bottom line.  That's one question our 100 Best Green survey does not address.

UPDATED:  The results are in:

Three out of four small businesses responding to the survey reported that unlike much of the economy, sales for green products and services actually increased over the course of the recent economic downturn. Among those businesses, the greener the company’s practices, the higher their sales.

In the report presenting the findings, Green AMerica, EcoVentures and the Association for Enterprise Opportunity found that over the past 10 years, the market for green products and services has expanded dramatically. For example, the green building market has increased by 1,700% while the conventional building market has contracted by 17 percent. The organic food market has increased by 238 percent in comparison to the non-organic food market’s expansion of only 33%.

Of the respondents that reported gains during the recession, the greener the company was, the more likely it was to report increased sales.

The survey segmented the 1,305 respondents into three groups based on the green attributes of their products and services and their level of adoption of specific actions intended to make more efficient use of water, energy and/or waste. The “deep green” segment in the survey (the 27% of business owners whose answers reflected the most intense embrace of “green”) reported stronger performance compared to their “light green” peers (38%  of respondents) on nearly every dimension tested. There also was a “medium green” segment accounting for 35% of surveyed businesses.

Linda Baker keeps tabs on CEO and public policy issues, with frequent forays into innovation and entrepreneurship.

 

More Articles

5 questions about the FLIR FX

The Latest
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
FLIR-FX-IndoorBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The Wilsonville-based company is targeting GoPro enthusiasts with its latest release. Is spy gear poised to go mainstream?


Read more...

Short Shrift:The threat of just-in-time scheduling

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Companies can benefit when they use software to meet staffing requirements and address employees' family and life commitments.


Read more...

On the Road

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

My daughter turned 18 last week, and for her birthday I got her a Car2Go membership. Not to label myself a disruptor or anything, but it felt like a groundbreaking moment. The two of us, mother and child, were participating in a new teen rite of passage: Instead of handing over the car keys, I handed over a car-sharing card — with the caveat that she not use the gift as her own personal car service.


Read more...

Picture This

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

As a general rule, the more people with autism can be provided with visual cues, the better they will be able to understand and manage their environment. It’s a lesson Tom Keating learned well. The 61-year-old Eugene grant writer spent 31 years taking care of his autistic brother James, and in the late 1980s developed a spreadsheet that created a series of nonsense characters that grew or shrank depending on how much money James had in his account. 


Read more...

Beyond Bodegas

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Five years in the making, the Portland Mercado — the city’s first Latino public market — will celebrate its grand opening April 11. A $3.5 million public-private partnership spearheaded by Hacienda CDC, the market will house 15 to 20 businesses in the food, retail and service sectors. It has some big-name funders, including the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and JPMorgan Chase. The project goals are equally ambitious: to improve cross-cultural understanding, alleviate poverty and spur community economic development. 


Read more...

3 trends in the garden business

The Latest
Thursday, April 30, 2015
gardenthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Oregonians are scrambling to get their gardens in order for the summer. Here are three tips from landscaping and urban farming expert.


Read more...

Knight Cancer Challenge No Biotech Dream

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

The Knight challenge is an important instance of philanthropy. But we should not assume it will magically transform OHSU into a business- and job-spinning engine for the local economy.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS