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How (and Why) to Take Action on Climate Change

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Mayor Charlie Hales challenges Portland businesses to take action to fight climate change!

By taking the actions below, businesses improve their bottom line, keep money circulating in the local economy, and create an export market for products and services developed in response to climate change.

Here are the top six actions for Portland businesses – and how to take action.

  1. Meet at least 50 percent of business electricity needs from renewable sources. 
  2. Install LED bulbs in all lights that are on for extended periods.
  3. Provide incentives to employees to commute by transit, carpool, bicycle or on foot.
  4. Power at least 20 percent of company vehicles by electricity or low-carbon fuels.
  5. Provide at least one on-site EV charging station for employees.
  6. Participate in food-scrap collection.

Energy Use

Buildings are the single largest contributor to carbon emissions in Multnomah County – accounting for more than 40 percent of total emissions. Reducing carbon emissions from building energy use requires two types of changes: cleaner energy supplies and energy efficiency.

1. Meet at least 50 percent of your electricity needs from renewable sources.

There are many ways to make the switch to renewables:

2. Install LED bulbs in all lights that are on for extended periods.

Learn more about energy-saving lighting options from Energy Trust of Oregon, and:

Transportation

The transportation of goods and people is the second largest contributor to carbon emissions in Multnomah County – accounting for nearly 40 percent of local carbon emissions. Reducing emissions will require making low carbon transportation choices.

3. Provide incentives to employees to commute by transit, carpool, bicycle or on foot.
  • Set up pre-tax or subsidized transit passes for employees. (You can get tax breaks for this!)
  • Offer a monthly cash incentive of at least $10 for staff who bike, walk or carpool to work.
  • Need help? Check out this how-to guide for promoting sustainable commute options at your organization or contact the City’s SmartTrips program staff for one-on-one guidance.
  • Go further: eliminate free or subsidized auto parking for employees. Reduce miles traveled by encouraging staff to telecommute, teleconference and videoconference by providing appropriate software, equipment and training.
4. Power at least 20 percent of company vehicles by electricity or low-carbon fuels.
5. Provide at least one on-site EV charging station for employees.
  • Did you know it’s possible to obtain a permit instantly online and have the installation inspected in as quickly as 24-48 hours? Go to ChargePortland to get a permit for your charging station.
  • Learn more about how and why to install a charging station at Drive Oregon.

Waste

Food scraps are the most prevalent material still heading to the landfill in Portland’s garbage. When food breaks down in the landfill, it releases harmful carbon emissions. Plus, food scraps can be turned into energy and compost.

6. Participate in food-scrap collection.

Fight climate change by preventing food waste, and collecting any remaining food scraps for composting and anaerobic digestion.

Tips and resources were provided by Sustainability at Work, Portland’s free resource to green your workplace. Need more ideas or support? Get connected to a Sustainability Advisor to share your unique challenges and learn more about local opportunities. Email sustaianbilityatwork@portlandoregon.gov, or call 503-823-7037.

Already taking action to fight climate change? Get recognized as a Sustainability at Work certified business. See which of your peers have achieved certification. Visit our Green Business Directory