Portland businesses help each other to help themselves
By Megan Stein, BEST Awards and Sustainability at Work Program Manager
BEST Awards and Sustainability at Work Program Manager
Megan Stein is the BEST Awards and Sustainability at Work Program Manager for the City of Portland's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.
Recent headlines illuminating how iPhones and other devices are produced — in ways we'd rather not think about — are a reminder that it benefits a business to improve the sustainability and equity not only of their own business, but of those within their supply chain.
Businesses applying for the 2012 Businesses for an Environmentally Sustainable Tomorrow — or BEST —Awards demonstrate innovation in changing their supply chain both upstream and down.
The BEST Awards are presented annually by Sustainability at Work, a program of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. The awards recognize companies that exemplify ambitious and creative solutions for sustainability while promoting social, economic and environmental equity for the Portland area. Tickets for the event are on sale through this Friday, April 20.
Naturebake's Oregon Grains Bread project went right to the start of the supply chain, with the goal of sourcing all ingredients from within 100 miles of the bakery. By working directly with farmers, the bakery had all the grains they needed grown for them. The farmers, having converted from commodity market-bound grass seed to direct sale organic food crops, benefit from a steadier income and healthier cropland. By the time the Oregon Grains Bread hit shelves, the only ingredients not found locally were yeast, salt, and gluten. The local supply chain work done for the Oregon Grains bread has already expanded to their Dave's Killer Bread line, with one million pounds of local wheat to be grown for the bakery in the 2012 harvest.
Sustainable Northwest Wood was created to fill a key missing link in the local lumber supply chain. In 2008, contractors wanted to buy wood from the few local mills producing FSC certified wood, but with no one in the middle, long wait times and high prices made it very difficult. Sustainable Northwest Wood solved the problem by creating a Portland lumberyard that carries exclusively local, sustainably harvested wood and wood from many native species. By acting as a farmers' market for lumber, Sustainable Northwest Wood keeps small mills running, educates customers, drives demand for native species and sustainably harvested wood, and increases the pressure on other lumber companies to offer locally grown wood.
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