On October 15, the 2013 GoGreen conference focused on the triple bottom line, emphasizing the integration of social equity, economic vitality and environmental sustainability. Now in its sixth year in Portland, GoGreen was held at the Oregon Convention Center and welcomed over 400 attendees from businesses, nonprofits and government. The annual conference highlights regional leaders in sustainable business and fosters peer-to-peer learning across industry sectors. BPS’ Sustainability at Work program, together with the Portland Development Commission (PDC) and Metro, were presenting sponsors of the conference.
Cheryl Meyers, director of Economic and Business Equity in the Office of Governor John Kitzhaber, opened the conference by describing the state’s efforts to create and promote access, opportunity and connection for minority-owned, woman-owned, emerging small business and disadvantaged businesses.
Later sessions built on these ideas, through discussions around:
- How to engage more diverse audiences in sustainability opportunities.
- New perspectives and ideas through broader inclusion in decision making.
- How to identify where sustainability goals, like creating more walkable communities, offer benefits in health and quality of life, and then how to build new partnerships where shared goals of sustainability, health, and equity overlap.
BPS staff presented on the following topics:
- Actions speak louder: Getting serious about climate change - Policy, Research and Innovation Manager, Michael Armstrong
- Building a bigger table: Strategies to expand the sustainability movement - Equity Specialist, Desiree Williams-Rajee
- Taking action: Collaborative project prioritization and decision-making - Green Building Policy Coordinator, Vinh Mason
Mayor Charlie Hales’ keynote address highlighted how the City’s early work in planning and sustainability led to current sustainability successes including land use policies to create existing healthy, connected neighborhoods that:
- Allow more residents to be within walking distance of services and amenities.
- Reduce costs and carbon emissions related to transportation.
- Create neighborhood business districts.
Just as these early investments in urban livability have led to successes, the Mayor said, the City is now focusing on the challenge of advancing equity as a foundation for how it does business and where it makes its investments.
Sustainability at Work connects Portland businesses to free tools, services, and financial incentives offered by local nonprofits, utilities and city bureaus. The knowledgeable, friendly staff provide hands-on, personalized guidance to help businesses overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities. Sustainability at Work certification recognizes businesses – more than 100 so far - taking actions in energy, water, waste, and transportation. Find more information on assistance, resources and certification on the program website, or contact the program directly.