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BPS News: Portland recognizes seven local business leaders at the 20th annual BEST Awards


April 25, 2012


Jocelyn Boudreaux
Megan Stein

City of Portland recognizes seven local business leaders at the 20th annual BEST Awards

Award winners build on two decades of groundbreaking sustainable business innovations

Portland, Ore. -- Portland's top awards for business sustainability were revealed today at the Businesses for an Environmentally Sustainable Tomorrow (BEST) Awards presented by Sustainability at Work, a program of the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. The event marked the 20th anniversary of the BEST Awards, which recognize businesses demonstrating a commitment to excellence in sustainable business practices.
Portland Mayor Sam Adams presented the awards at the ceremony held on Wednesday, April 25 at the The Nines Hotel. Introduced by Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Director Susan Anderson, the keynote addresses featured reflections from three local leaders about the past, present and future of Portland’s sustainable business efforts: Nik Blosser of Celilo Group Media, Aneshka Colas-Dickson of Colas Construction and Renee Spears of Rose City Mortgage.
“In producing the Portland Plan, which was adopted by City Council just today, we learned something important: that prosperity, education, health and equity are all interconnected. The businesses honored tonight are a model for how sustainable innovation can improve our city in each of these areas. These businesses are one of the reasons Portland is among the most sustainable cities in the world,” said Portland Mayor Sam Adams. “It has been 20 years since the city began recognizing the very best of our sustainable businesses, and it’s inspiring to see how far we’ve come in creating an environment where companies that embrace social and environmental sustainability can truly thrive and prosper.”
The winners of the 20th annual BEST Awards are listed by category, along with a link to a video highlighting their sustainable practices, below: 

BEST Practices for Sustainability - Large companies

Purdy, the Portland paintbrush and roller manufacturer, is dedicated to being a zero-waste-to-landfill facility under the enthusiastic leadership of their “Green Machine” team and offers free English as a Second Language (ESL) training for their employees.

BEST Practices for Sustainability - Medium companies

Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance sited their new office close to the bus mall and offers transit benefits to encourage alternative transportation. Employees also use a carbon tracking platform for travel, commuting and various office practices to help measure and reduce their carbon footprint.

BEST Practices for Sustainability - Small companies

Capital Pacific Bank provides financial services to underserved local businesses and nonprofits, and boasts an impassioned green team that got the entire company excited about sustainability, both in their own operations, and in the businesses they choose to work with.

BEST Practices for Sustainability – Very small companies

FMYI [for my innovation] has a triple-bottom-line business model, helps their clients become more sustainable, and goes above and beyond to support employees and the community. FMYI minimizes travel emissions by offering 100% subsidized Trimet passes and Zipcar memberships, and by meeting with clients in a virtual space -- which has reduced corporate travel by over 40%.

Sustainable Food Systems

NatureBake (Oregon Grains bread) partners with local farmers and food producers to create bread made almost entirely from ingredients sourced within 100 miles. Almost no waste is generated in production, with dedicated staff to facilitate food donation and a contract with an animal feed company to divert food scraps from the landfill.

Sustainable Products or Services (Two winners)

GO Box solves the problem of disposable food cart and take-out containers by providing bike-delivered reusable containers for food cart vendors and customers.
Sustainable Northwest Wood partners with local growers and mills, providing the building community with a steady supply of local, sustainable wood.
For more information about the awards program and the winners:

The Future of the BEST Awards

The City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is excited to announce a new partnership with the Portland Business Journal (PBJ) and Sustainable Business Oregon (SBO). The SBO annual business innovation competition and awards will take the place of the BEST Awards and will be jointly presented by the City and PBJ.

This partnership between a strong local publication and the City’s expertise in working with sustainable businesses will offer increased visibility for sustainable businesses and extend the City’s reach to a larger business community.

About Sustainability at Work

Sustainability at Work offers free tools and expertise to help Portland organizations create more sustainable workplaces. Get matched with an expert Advisor, who will help you create a customized plan, connect you to financial incentives and technical assistance from local partners, and help you celebrate your achievements. As a result, your business can lower the cost of its utility bills, provide a healthier workspace for employees and improve its image. Sustainability at Work is a partnership of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Water Bureau, Bureau of Environmental Services, Bureau of Transportation, Metro, Pacific Power and Energy Trust of Oregon.

About the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS)

To create and enhance a vibrant city, BPS combines the disciplines of planning and sustainability to advance Portland's diverse and distinct neighborhoods, promote a prosperous and low-carbon economy, and help ensure that people and the natural environment are healthy and integrated into the cityscape. BPS provides a forum for community engagement and education, and is a catalyst for action. With a city full of partners, BPS develops creative and practical solutions on issues as far ranging as comprehensive, neighborhood and environmental planning, urban design, waste reduction and recycling, energy efficiency and solar technologies. This innovative, interdisciplinary approach strengthens Portland's position as an international model of sustainable development practices and commerce.