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The City of Portland, Oregon

Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

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Problem Solved 2014: Businesses from around Portland shared successes and challenges at Sustainability at Work's third Problem Solved event on July 22

We captured the top tips from attendees, as well as success stories that you may be able to replicate at your own organization.

Top tips


Start small

  • Small changes are easier to make, and it’s easier to capitalize on successes.
  • Pilot new practices – with a small group, or for a short amount of time – before implementing on a large scale.


  • Focus on employee education at each step of a new initiative.
  • Share information in multiple ways and places: meetings, emails and web content.

Know your culture

  • Find messaging, actions, and activities that will resonate with your coworkers.
  • Know what motivates your coworkers – like recognition, prizes, or food – to take action.

Get support

  • Strategically engage management to make sure they have your back.
  • Use Sustainability at Work staff for guidance – that’s why we’re here!


  • Make your achievements known, and have fun with it!
  • Celebrate within your Green Team, or involve all staff in a celebration.


Success stories


Integral Consulting

  • Replaced parking subsidies with subsidized transit passes and bike incentives.
  • Reduced their car miles traveled by 20,000 miles.
  • Increased transit participation by 44 percent.


Fortis Construction

  • Removed desk-side trash cans and made sure everyone had a desk-side recycling bin.
  • Set up extra recycling – Styrofoam, odd plastics - to be taken to a recycling depot.
  • Some staff have started collecting “beyond the curb” at home, now that they’ve learned how at work.


Ready to make your organization more sustainable?

Contact Sustainability at Work to connect with an advisor.

The next Problem Solved event will take place in early 2015. Sign up for Sustainability at Work’s e-newsletter to stay informed about Problem Solved and other sustainability tips for businesses in Portland.