March 1 Quarterly Meeting — Plastics: What Now?


At our March 1 meeting, staff from the City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and Sustainability at Work discussed what’s happening in recycling and reuse. Below are some the take-aways.

Wondering what’s happening with recycling after seeing recent news headlines? Here’s a short video that explains how January 2018 changes to international recycling markets are impacting US recycling:
grist video
Click here to watch.

Read more about what’s happening here in Portland and what it means for you.

Top take-aways

We don’t know when “extra plastics” recycling will return. Right now those plastics are not economically viable to recycle. Read more.

Portland’s regular recycling (at work and home) has not changed. However, it’s more important than ever to “recycle right” by only recycling the allowed items. So it’s a great time to:

  1. Review the list
  2. Label your workplace recycling with accurate signs
  3. Call Metro’s recycling information line (503-234-3000) if you have questions about what can be recycled.

Reduce and reuse first, then recycle

Recycling is great! By recycling old products into new ones reduces the use of natural resources and saves energy and water in the manufacturing process.

BUT, far more energy and resources are saved by reducing the amount of disposable products you use, and reusing products as much as possible before disposing of them. This infographic from the City’s Climate Action Now campaign shows that disposal is only a tiny percent of a product’s carbon impact:


Tips for reuse in Portland

Find tons of ideas and resources at ResourcefulPDX.

resourceful pdxClick here to see the map of reuse, swap and repair opportunities in Portland.

This quarter’s meeting was generously hosted by:

Cambia Logo          

Our 2017 wins are big, but our goals are bigger

csc december meetingWhether you have a company employing several thousand people, or just a few folks, every business has some goals for being more efficient, using fewer resources, and saving money where they can.  At the Corporate Sustainability Collaborative’s last meeting of 2017, participating companies gathered to share their biggest “wins” for 2017. Not coincidentally, most of their efforts had both sustainability and efficiency benefits.


Some were big projects with far-reaching impacts:

  • The Bonneville Power Administration focused on saving energy by making their data center more efficient.
  • The Port of Portland piloted a project at Portland International Airport to replace disposable food containers in their restaurants outside security areas with real plates and bowls (100,000 of them!)
  • Widmer Brewing installed a CO2 recovery and re-use system in their brewing operations, becoming the first Oregon brewer to “close the CO2 loop”.

Smaller organizations worked just as hard to make their sustainability leaps:

  • Installing LED lights in their office.
  • Purchasing an electric car and charging station for employees to use.
  • Retiring an old energy-sucking computer server in favor of better cloud computing.
  • Adding indoor bike racks.
  • Paying for emergency rides home for employees who bike or take public transportation to work.


When we asked about 2018 goals, things got more ambitious:

One company wants to organize their neighbors in their office building to collectively ask for sustainability improvements, difficult work when building management companies change often.

Elemental Energy, through its own nonprofit organization, Twende Solar, is bringing renewable power to populations without access to power generation systems.

Lloyd EcoDistrict is setting goals that would get the whole Lloyd District to producing zero waste, even with the many new offices and apartments being built now.

Portland Pedal Power is expanding its sustainability metrics into the social impact sphere, tracking and making goals for how their business can have a positive impact on the region, not just their own bottom line.

In it to win it, together

The sustainability professionals and organizations that make up the Corporate Sustainability Collaborative will be relying on one another throughout 2018 to share ideas, resources, and connections to turn their 2018 goals into next year’s “wins”.

December’s Quarterly Meeting is a Happy Hour!


Join us at our final meeting of 2017:

Date: Thursday, December 7th
Time: 4-6 p.m.
Location: Widmer Brothers Pub, 955 North Russell St.
Cost: $10, includes Widmer beer and hors d’oeuvres.

*If the cost is prohibitive for you, let us know, we’ll make it work! At this meeting, we’ll spend time getting to know each other and sharing our own successes (and challenges) from the past year.

Our featured presentation, by Lloyd EcoDistrict, showcases collaborative, sustainability-centered work with Right 2 Dream Too to provide needed resources to people living outdoors. We’ll also have more sustainability pros sharing their workplace’s 2017 sustainability, waste prevention, and employee engagement wins! Moda Health, Ruby Receptionists, and CLEAResult are just a few who will be sharing ideas you’ll be able to take back to your own office.

Reserve your spot now — quarterly meetings usually sell out!

Leadership and Innovative Partnerships to Advance Equity: notes from GoGreen 2017

Leadership in Equity header both logos

At this year’s GoGreen Conference, the Corporate Sustainability Collaborative organized a session highlighting business leadership and innovative partnerships to advance equity in our region.

If you missed GoGreen, or were interested in learning more about the featured organizations and their work, here are some highlights:

Emerging Leaders Internship, founded by eROI

1 Emerging LeadersEmerging Leaders Internship (ELI) places amazingly talented college-students of color, first-generation to go to college, or low-income college students with Portland’s top companies. After just 18 months from its founding, Emerging Leaders Internship received 670 internship applications and has 140 open intern positions to fill at these top-tier companies. They are creating a community of companies who believe in the importance of diversity in leadership and are actively creating pathways to leadership in their companies.



We Hire Refugees, founded by Indow & IRCO

Indow partnered with the Immigrant and Refugee 2 we hire refugeesCommunity Organization (IRCO), a non-profit organization, to form We Hire Refugees. We Hire Refugees is a platform for businesses of all sizes to declare that refugees make our communities, companies, and country stronger. Companies can sign if they welcome, hire, or support refugees.



Partners in Diversity

Partners in Diversity (PiD) operates as an affiliate of the Portland Business Alliance Charitable Institute and seeks to address employers’ critical needs for achieving and empowering a workforce that reflects the rapidly changing demographics of the Pacific Northwest. They do educational programs, job3 Partners in Diversity Logo postings and distribution of information for CEOs and for those who work in human resources or in diversity roles. PiD also helps recently relocated professionals of color connect with the multicultural community through major networking events such as their signature Say Hey! event, civic engagement opportunities, social media, our website and personal relationships.

Portland General Electric (PGE) has partnered with Partners in Diversity to host the PGE Diversity Summit. The 2015 summit drew an audience of over 1,000 people from across the region to discuss diversification of workforces. They anticipate a similar crowd at the 2018 PGE Diversity Summit.



Behavior Change & BBPDX: Highlights from September’s meeting

The Corporate Sustainability Collaborative’s sold-out (but still free!) September Quarterly meeting brought together sustainability pros from businesses of all sizes and sectors.  Some highlights for those who couldn’t be there:


We first heard from Ashley Henry, the Chief Collaboration Officer for Business For A Better Portland (BBPDX). Henry, whose background includes climate, clean energy and affordable housing advocacy, has been a long-time community partner with one of our members, Kristen Connor of Heritage Bank.  She told us about the organization’s roots as a volunteer-group in 2016 called the Portland Independent Chamber of Commerce, and its emergence as a membership organization in early 2017. You can read more about the organization’s history here.

With a focus on bringing greater shared prosperity to all Portlanders, BBPDX has engaged its members and followers in a variety of efforts in 2017 including advocating for tenant protections to prevent homelessness; greater diversity in the workplace in partnership with the Emerging Leaders Initiative; and helping raise over $23,000 for this year’s Pitch Black.  You can read more about their calls to action here, their growing list of members here (over 150 in 9 months) and and how to become a member here.   They will launch a new website and their September Call To Action (a partnership with Street Roots) on Thursday, September 14 so subscribe at the bottom of their home page to get notifications of that and other ways you can engage as a member or volunteer.


Behavior Change: Nudging people towards Action

Lindsey Maser from Sustainability at Work presented behavior change tips to nudge your coworkers towards specific sustainable behaviors, like recycling, biking to work, or turning computers off at night.

Here are the key points from the workshop:

Step 1: Know your audience

Find out what’s getting in the way of your audience taking the action (barriers), and what might motivate them to take the action (benefits). Once you know these, you can reduce barriers and increase benefits, thereby making it easier and more appealing for them to take the action.

Step 2: Make it easy

People are hard-wired to take the path of least resistance, especially when they’re busy. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and go through the action you’re asking them to do: Find any points of hassle or confusion and minimize them as much as possible. Better yet? Make the behavior you want the default, like automatic light timers, or changing print settings to default double-sided.

And for your emails or other communications? These days, most people skim emails and other written materials, so you’ve got 5-10 seconds to make your ask clear. Before hitting send (or print) ask a coworker outside the green team to do a “5 second flip test:” spending only 5-10 seconds, they should skim the communication, and tell you want it said. If they can’t tell you the action you wanted them to take, go back and make it more clear. Find tips for making your emails skimmable here.

Step 3: Make it social

Humans are very social creatures. We take cues from what our peers are doing to know how we should act, and to make better decisions (think of Yelp, TripAdvisor, Amazon reviews). Many sustainable behaviors are invisible, so make them more visible, and show that many people are doing them. Use quotes and testimonials from staff about why and how they do sustainable behaviors: “Biking is fun, I get my exercise in, and I love zipping past traffic,” or “I always leave my reusable coffee mug by the front door, so I don’t forget it.” Or have people share photos, of them biking, or all the places they take their reusable water bottle to (hiking, biking, picnicking, etc.).

Other tips from the behavioral sciences include:

Make it hands on: Host a brown bag to make green cleaners, re-use notebooks or bike buckets. It’s fun, and people actually value things more that they’ve had a hand in creating (It’s called the IKEA effect!)

Give feedback: We often spend so much time asking people to do something, we forget to follow up and let them know their action made a difference. Positive reinforcement, like a “thank you, great job” email or a “look at the big impact we made through everyone’s efforts,” can be very helpful in encouraging people to continue the behavior.

Gamify it: You can tap into people’s competitive nature by encouraging sustainable behaviors through friendly competition. Bike More Challenge and EcoChallenge are great ways to do this. Or create your own version of March Madness brackets for different teams or departments to compete on carpooling, biking, using reusable mugs, etc.

Download the workshop exercises and tips sheet.

For a copy of the presentation, email Lindsey.


Cheers to the host

A Big thanks to CLEAResult for hosting the meeting space and providing lunch. It’s sponsorship like theirs that keeps the Collaborative running dues-free!

If you’re interested in hosting a future meeting, please contact Meghan Humphreys, EarthShare Oregon (

Engagement: as easy as A-D-K-A-R

The Corporate Sustainability Collaborative’s sold-out (but still free!) June Quarterly meeting brought together sustainability pros from businesses of all sizes and sectors.  Some highlights for those who couldn’t be there:

First, big thanks to KPFF for hosting the meeting space AND a delicious lunch. It’s sponsorship like theirs that keeps the Collaborative running dues-free!

Jody Foster and Kymm Nelsen, co-founded Conscious Capitalism Portland, a chapter of a global movement dedicated to elevating humanity through business.  Anyone, or any company, committed to embracing Conscious Capitalism in their business, can learn more and join at

Meghan Humphreys from EarthShare Oregon introduced a new system for planning and understanding employee engagement in your company, a “Cycle of Engagement”. EarthShare Oregon, a Portland-based nonprofit, is using this Cycle to help partner companies engage more employees more fully in sustainability improvements in the workplace and in their daily lives.

The headliner at June’s meeting was Wendy Gibson with CLEAResult.  Wendy works with businesses on energy efficiency improvement projects – work that often is only successful when businesses get their employees to make wise energy choices on an individual basis.  She walked through a useful system for inspiring, driving and reinforcing behavior change in groups of workers called ADKAR, which was originally developed by Jeff Hiatt.  ADKAR stands for:

  • Awareness
  • Desire
  • Knowledge
  • Ability
  • Reinforcement

See the event slides for more on the ADKAR concept.  Attendees used the ADKAR framework to generate ideas on how they might tackle each stage in their office, coming up with everything from company memos posted in bathroom stalls (Awareness) to creating an awards ceremony for participants (Reinforcement).

Learn more about how to use ADKAR to drive sustainable behavior in your office through the book “ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government, and Our Community” by Jeff Hiatt.  A simple online search of “ADKAR sustainability” will provide a wealth of additional resources!

Want to get in on the next Quarterly meeting in September?  Make sure your business is signed up as a member (just fill out our online survey and then RSVP here.)

Earth Month 2017 Highlights

Earth Month 2017 with the Corporate Sustainability Collaborative brought different companies’ staffers together to learn, to volunteer, to have fun and make connections with each other.

Here are a few of the highlights:

Our forum on Equity and the Environment packed the room at Northwest Health Foundation, and brought business, nonprofit, and government leaders together to learn how to elevate equity in the business and sustainability realms.  Check out panel moderator Sam Baraso’s superb list of resources from that event.ross island 1

Staff members from companies including NW Natural, Airbnb, EarthShare Oregon, Keen Footwear, and others joined Willamette Riverkeeper on a canoe and volunteer trip to Ross Island.  This land, which is owned and managed by the City of Portland, needs volunteers to help remove invasive plants and nurture native vegetation on the island.   The day turned out wonderfully, with the sun even peeking out from behind clouds on occasion.

OHSU tour

A week after our volunteer project, a group visited OHSU’s Collaborative Life Sciences Building for a tour of the building led by the property manager.  The inquisitive attendees got all the details on the certified-LEED-Platinum building’s energy efficiency measures and cutting-edge medical research and learning facilities.

bike ride 2We didn’t just learn and volunteer, we closed out the month with a little fun!  Portland’s bike share system, BIKETOWN, generously offered free day passes to anyone who joined our Bike To Brews low-carbon happy hour.  The group happily pedaled to share a pint at Rogue Eastside Pub and Pilot Brewery in southeast Portland, even with the threatening skies.

It’s only 11 more months to the NEXT Earth Month — if you would like your company to join sustainability events like this next year, sign up for a free membership in the Corporate Sustainability Collaborative!

Thanks to our event and prize sponsors for Earth Month:

logo collage



Resources: Equity and the Environment Panel

A full house of business, government, and nonprofit folks attended April 6th’s panel discussion on Equity and The Environment. Sam Baraso from Multnomah County’s Office of Sustainability led the discussion, engaaging panelists Ricardo Moreno, Landscape Program Manager at Verde, and Tim Miller, CEO of Enhabit.

Here are useful resources mentioned in, or related to, the discussion:


Center for Diversity & the Environment‘s Resources page

Local organizations doing equity and environmental work (not an exhaustive list!)

Thanks also to the companies who sponsored our space, prize drawing, food, and beverages for this event:  Northwest Health Foundation, Pacific Continental Bank, NW Natural, Pacific Rim and Company Wine, Widmer Brothers Brewing, and the Portland Trail Blazers.