Jul 13, 2015
We mean business! With a loud and respected voice, the business community in Oregon is speaking up for action to transition to a clean energy economy and lead the way in reducing climate pollution. Businesses make up a big part of our coalition at Renew Oregon and using innovation and investment, we can tackle the biggest challenges we face.
In its second year, the Oregon Business Climate Declaration now has more than 400 businesses signed on. Since the original release – signed by 70 companies last July including Adidas, Waste Management, the Portland Trailblazers, eBay, Moda Health and more – 330 new businesses from Astoria to Hood River, Coos Bay to Bend and Portland to Ashland have signed. Companies in 61 Oregon cities and towns are represented in the new list.
These businesses understand climate change is already affecting our economy and our health and we must do something now to minimize the risk while also maximizing growth, investment and savings from efficiency.
“We have an opportunity to build Oregon’s competitive advantage by leading in clean technologies and saving through efficiency,” said Robert Gootee, president and CEO of Moda Health. “We already have some of the best and brightest minds designing green buildings, developing smart urban planning, advancing clean fuels, practicing sustainable agriculture and so much more. Many of these are exportable goods and services that give our region an economic advantage – and set the standard for social responsibility.”
The new declaration signees come on as regular Oregonians and businesspeople are feeling the effects of climate change: one of the worst droughts in history threatens farmers, ranchers and fisherman; deadly algae blooms and rising ocean acidification will greatly impact the shellfish industry; wildfires cost untold millions and put communities at risk; air pollution and heatwaves hurt people’s health, especially children; and poor snowfall has slowed tourism. Those are just the direct costs and affects.
"In banking, identifying and mitigating risk is an important part of our jobs. To not see climate change as a prevalent risk that can have huge adverse consequences for our community would be irresponsible,” Mark C. Stevenson, Executive Vice President and Chief Nonprofit & Sustainability Officer at Pacific Continental Bank said. “We are proud to join this group of esteemed organizations in supporting a healthy climate, through energy efficiency, innovations in renewable energy, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Investing in clean energy innovation will enrich economic development and help to make our region's economy robust and resilient."
The Oregon Business Climate Declaration focuses on the economic opportunity in tackling climate change. Portland-based Walsh Construction Co., a new signatory company, is a leader in making buildings energy efficient.
“Oregon has been a leader in the energy efficiency and green building design arenas for many years,” said Mike Steffen, general manager of Walsh Construction Co. “We’ve invested in ways to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings, and this is certainly becoming the norm within our industry. We understand that a building which uses less energy will reduce environmental impacts and operating costs. Reducing energy use makes pure economic sense to us and our customers, and we also know it is important to address climate change in the work that we do.”
Oregon’s billions of dollars in investments in renewable energy are creating jobs and tax dollars for critical services in rural and urban parts of the state. Many sign-on businesses embrace efficiency and clean energy in their own operations.
“Having a healthy environment is essential to the long term success of our business, which is why we’ve invested in renewable energy, alternative transportation options for our employees, and so much more,” said David Gremmels, President and Cheesemaker at Rogue Creamery. “Our customers and our employees love it, and it’s been great for our operating budget. Regardless of politics, it’s time we come together to cut carbon pollution in Oregon.”
Rogue Creamery already has a commitment to produce 100% of their own energy by 2021, with currently 45% of their energy powered by the sun.
Dean DeSantis, owner of DeSantis Landscapes in Salem, Ore., signed the Climate Declaration because not only is it consistent with the values and passion of the company and its employees, but climate change impacts the landscaping industry.
“We are on the front lines of making environmental improvements, conserving water and using natural assets to keep our urban areas cool, lush and green,” DeSantis said. “Without nature, our cities would be so much hotter. As part of the business community, we are stepping up to say that our policy makers need to work across the aisle to solve the climate crisis.”
DeSantis Landscapes does more than compost grass clippings and recycle cardboard. The office is solar-powered and its fleet of vehicles runs on fuel made from leftovers from a potato chip cookery.
Some of the new companies to sign the Oregon Business Climate Declaration include:
Business leaders from the signatory companies encourage other businesses to join them and sign the Oregon Business Climate Declaration by going to: climatedeclaration.us/oregon
The Oregon Business Climate Declaration is a companion to the Climate Declaration launched in 2013 by Ceres, a nonprofit sustainability advocacy organization, and its business network, Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP). The Climate Declaration has more than 1,500 signatories nationwide.