Better Portland: Businesses Working to Make a Sustainable Future for Our City

These are a few of the Portland businesses working to improve the city to create a better future, and how they are doing it.

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We Portlanders know the importance of sustainable living. We're all about properly sorting our recyclables, creating our own compost, and reusing what we can to not add to the cycle of waste. And we also value businesses that have the same green ethos. Below are a few of the Portland businesses working to improve the city and create a better future and how they are doing it.

The School of Business at Portland State University: Creating business leaders who drive positive social impact.

Portland is known worldwide for its dedication to a green economy, and The School of Business at Portland State University is proud to play a role in earning that reputation. Sustainability is embedded into its very DNA, and integrates these tenants into its curriculum. Business is understood as an engine for social innovation, steeped in the idea that any enterprise can and must enhance social, ecological and economic values. Ranked number 5 Green MBA by the Princeton Review, graduate and undergraduate students are taught not just about financial sustainability but also to consider the long-term social and environmental impacts of their actions.

The School of Business also offers small businesses and nonprofits a unique opportunity to work with students and explore sustainable projects. Regional companies can leverage a team of student consultants to apply sustainable business practices to their business, under the guidance of PSU faculty. The students bring a fresh perspective and enthusiasm to lead any project to success. It's a great way for business students to learn practical applications of what they study and contribute to Portland's future.

The School of Business at Portland State University; 503-725-8001;

Indow: Improving your home to save money, energy, and the planet.

Sustainable living starts in the home, and Indow is here to help with your windows. Indow window inserts are designed to cut carbon emissions and preserve the environment. So far, the company has produced enough energy-saving window inserts to eliminate over 52,600 tons of C02. Indow operates under the principle of "lean manufacturing," which means it aims to reduce waste and recycle whenever possible. Among other things, Indow utilizes software that strategizes cuts to maximize the material available during the manufacturing process. The little waste that is created is recycled by Denton Plastics: sustainable recycling solutions, and the inserts are shipped to customers in recycled, recyclable Ecorrcrate: Eco friendly corrugated crates.

Indow is not just trying to make more sustainable homes, but also a more sustainable office. The company leaders have invested in extensive upgrades around the office to ensure the daily operations are sustainable: they added insulation to the ceilings; upgraded to high-efficiency, ductless mini-split heat pumps; switched to LED light fixtures; and even installed low-flow toilets and fixtures. The building also has Indow inserts in all the windows—so the company can vouch for how good its product is. Indow employees have also been working to restore a natural habitat, working with local artists and community members. And they continually strive to adopt new practices to improve their green living. For all of these efforts, Indow has held the Portland Sustainability At Work Gold Certification since 2013.

Indow wants to help Portlanders join its efforts, as well. They regularly share tips for greener living on social media and the Indow blog, and you can follow them to improve your own home and community.

Indow; 503-284-2260;

B-Line: Delivering cleaner air on three wheels.

The small B-Line trikes make a big difference in Portland and have been for the last 10 years. B-line is a last-mile delivery company that reduces congestion and transportation emissions by using people and renewable energy powered tricycles within the urban core. B-Line partners with local businesses (like New Seasons ) to deliver goods across the city at a fraction of the environmental impact of delivery vans and trucks. The tricyclists already account for an overall reduction of 80 metric tonnes of annual CO2 emissions.

That doesn't even consider that B-Lines trikes reduce traffic congestion as well as noise pollution downtown. As we've all experienced, downtown suffers from constant traffic stoppages due to big delivery vehicles parking in an active lane; by contrast, B-line keeps the street moving with the bike's small frame that fits easily on the curb thus creating a model for cities all over the world to improve the livability of the urban core.

B-line is not just a greener delivery solution, it's also part of the local food economy network. It is headquartered in the Redd on Salmon Street, a working hub for the regional food economy. The Redd acts as a warehousing and distribution center, commercial kitchen, and office space for many small local businesses here in Portland. As a business, you can support the B-Line mission by using the trike for your last-mile delivery, advertise with B-Line, or inquire about the Redd to fulfill your business needs. As a Portlander, you can help by supporting the businesses that are using B-Line delivery and giving a wave to fellow B-Line riders next time you see them going by.


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