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June PDX Green Drinks: An Evening with B Corporations

The June 2, 2015 PDX Green Drinks was held at the offices of TriLibrium, a Portland-area CPA firm and one of dozens of area B Corporations. The “B” stands for “benefit”, and is an independently certified recognition of a company’s commitment to triple bottom line principles of people, planet, and profit, as well as a higher echelon of ethics that prevent a business from acting on profit motive alone. In several dozen States, including Oregon, additional recognition is available for companies that legally register with the State as a Benefit Company.

The format for the evening was based on our traditional Green Drinks meetups: A two-hour block of time with 30 minutes of networking, 30-45 minutes for the main speaker(s) and audience questions, and the remaining balance on more networking. For this event, we were honored to have several B Corporations in attendance and on a panel: Franklin Jones, of B-Line; Michelle Carver, of gDiapers; and Richard Rosen, of Rosen Convergence Marketing.

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Left to right: Franklin Jones of B-Line; Michelle Carver of gDiapers; Richard Rosen of Rosen Covergence Marketing.

Previous Green Drinks events on B Corps have talked about the how, the cost, and the benefits. At this event, the panel addressed why a company should become a B Corporation? Panelists shared their story and perspectives on the changing economic landscape, their philosophies on ethics and business that are championed at the hearts of their businesses, and how audience members can become involved in the movement.

Michelle chatted briefly about the history of gDiapers and its connection with Australian values of ‘fair dinkum’, a phrase that more or less means truth and fairness in all that you do and with whom you connect. With the average baby rearing resulting in 5,000 used diapers, gDiapers’ flushable, and in some cases compostable diapers could have a considerable, positive impact in landfill reduction. B Corporation certification was the logical step to show their company’s values and commitment to a better way of business.

Franklin shared anecdotes from his company’s founding, and that there’s no coincidence their business starts with the letter ‘B’. Since their start, B-Line’s bicycle delivery service has upheld B Corporations’ values of ethical business and interdependence. The relationships B-Line has forged with area B Corporations has been instrumental in the company’s sustained growth. More to the point, in a city in which delivery vehicles can overwhelm the transportation grid, B-Line’s environmentally friendly and affordable alternative service is a perfect example of how something can be made better, when done as a B Corporation.

Finally, Richard shared his experiences covering dozens of years in marketing and communications. Rosen Convergence Marketing does much more than assist companies with branding and positioning. Richard has seen first-hand how economic factors are changing. Whereas from previous generations’ attitudes about price and quality, today’s Millenials are placing greater emphasis on how their dollars are spent, the businesses they will support, and whether those businesses support the values of an increasingly progressive, socially responsible, and environmentally-concerned audience. Richard’s company helps businesses understand and adapt to these changing attitudes, and one of the simplest ways his clients can achieve that is by joining the B Corporation movement.

The audience asked excellent questions, including the differences in certification (by B Lab, or an independent agency), whether non-profits can be certified (they cannot but they can still work by B Corp principles), if a company has to certify or whether they can first take the B Impact quick assessment (they can, and at no cost), and if a company can certify as a B as part of its official business launch (not really, as it takes an active business to certify, but you can certify soon after and should).

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The B Corps present included: Green Mountain Energy, Canvas Host, TriLibrium CPAs, Rosen Convergence Marketing, and B-Line

Beyond my role as PDX Green Drinks’ main organizer, my own company is a B Corporation, and I serve on a B Corporation recruiting committee that formed several months ago. There are currently 50 B Corporations in Oregon. The committee’s goal is to double that figure by the end of 2015, so there are 100 certified B Corps in Oregon. Whether we get to that level or not, the amount of enthusiasm at last Tuesday’s event was inspiring. It tells me that, as I and other B Corporations have seen, the times are changing and our customers expect a higher level of ethics if they are to work with us. What better way to show the good we’re doing by not only being a B Corporation, but by acting on those values and helping our community embrace them.

If you’d like to learn more about B Corporations, email sales [at] canvashost [dot] com and we can put you in touch with some of the area B Corps. We love to talk about why we’re B’s and hope to inspire you to join our growing community. Or, you can visit B Lab’s main website, www.bcorporation.net, for complete information on certifications, a browse-able directory of B Corporations, and information on upcoming events in your community.

Finally: If you missed out on this event, we’re thinking of holding a July Westside Green Drinks focused on B Corporations, so stay tuned for details!

Thank you,

David Anderson, Owner, Canvas Host
and PDX Green Drinks Administrator


April Green Drinks review: Rep. Earl Blumenauer

Hi everyone,

If you missed Earl Blumenauer’s presentation at PDX Green Drinks on April 7, we’ve done a write-up of highlights. We’re also including some tweets shared by attendees and Earl himself.

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One thing we want to touch on is the fact that we had to limit attendance. It’s the first time we can remember enforcing the RSVP list. We’re sorry if this in any way inconvenienced you. We would have loved to invite in every single person who wanted to attend. We weren’t prepared for the overwhelming response and again, will try to do a better job in the future of estimating turnout with respect to the meeting space.

The Tweets

https://twitter.com/brianridder/status/58564579943611187

Things you may have known about Earl: He’s a strong advocate for bicycling, agricultural conservation, and progressive causes such as medical marijuana.

Things you may not have known about Earl: He loves hard cider, can’t stand non-craft beer, and loves pointing out the irony that carrots are considered a specialty crop and so are more expensive than Twinkies. 🙂

About Portland Cider House


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We were thrilled to hold PDX Green Drinks at Portland Cider Company’s new cider house. The owners, Jeff and Linda, have hit solid gold with their superb ciders. What’s more, in addition to pouring their seven ciders, the cider house hosts another 18 guest taps. That’s right, 25 excellent ciders right there. Partnering with local eateries, patrons can order food from next door or down the street, and either walk over to pick up the food or have it delivered. This kind of symbiosis is a fantastic business model and something you don’t see outside of Portland.

Moving Forward with Green Drinks


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As with March’s Green Drinks, we set up a Job Postings, Announcements Swag ‘n Stuff table. We invite you  to bring your job postings, community events/announcements, and swag to future Green Drinks, We’ll have a designated table to help organize it all into one place. Though the current Green Drinks format of moving from location to location has helped keep fresh faces coming to events, we don’t want to lose out on one of the strengths of the organization — networking — that we feel had been a lost a bit with our dynamic format.

We hope you can make it to future Green Drinks event and thank you for your continued support!

David Anderson, PDX Green Drinks


Report on March PDX GD with Mayor Charlie Hales

In case you missed it, the Tuesday, March 3 PDX Green Drinks was held at the Oregon Public House, a non-profit brewpub that donates proceeds to charitable causes. Attendees were treated to a wonderful time with Portland’s Mayor Charlie Hales.

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The Mayor’s Office posted the following, excellent review — which we’ve reposted here for you:

Last night spoke about the city’s environmental initiatives at the nonprofit pub The Oregon Public House, alongside its founder Stephen Green, for Green Drinks Portland, Oregon. A very knowledgeable group asked great questions about the city’s role in environmental stewardship, including:

Climate Action Plan: Now open for public comment (http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/64076), the plan serves as a roadmap for the community to achieve an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, with an interim goal of a 40 percent reduction by 2030. Already the city recycles or composts 70 percent of solid waste; has planted 3 million new trees and shrubs since 1996; and has 390 ecoroofs covering 20 acres of rooftops. The Climate Action Plan will help support and advance Portland’s sustainable practices.

Energy benchmarking: The policy will require large commercial buildings (20,000 to 50,000 square feet) to track and report energy usage. It will save companies millions of dollars by leading to reductions in energy use, and it will reduce Portland’s energy use. Other cities have been successful through this program: Washington, D.C., for instance, saw a 9 percent reduction in energy use over three years once buildings learned where they could become more energy efficient. Public support will help Council approve this policy.

City sustainability efforts: The city has been working to be more sustainable, installing LED street lights and traffic signals; generating renewable power through wastewater treatment; installing solar panels on some city buildings and community centers; and gradually making the city fleet electric, with 11 percent achieved. City leaders welcome ideas to creatively protect the planet in its operations.

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From left to right: Mayor Charlie Hales, Oregon Public House co-founder Stephen Green, Angela Anderson of Westside Green Drinks, and David Anderson of PDX Green Drinks

On behalf of the local Green Drinks community, we’d like to thank Mayor Hales for his invaluable time that evening, for addressing the many challenging questions posed to him, and for the many smiles he brought to everyone’s face!

David Anderson, PDX Green Drinks


March Westside GD Report: Starr Sheppard-Decker

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March Westside Green Drinks Discussion on Women in Business, with Starr Sheppard-Decker

Last Thursday, Starr Sheppard-Decker gave a presentation at Westside Green Drinks on women entrepreneurs and solopreneurship. Among the topics covered were the Inspiring Women Leaders conference, which was held on March 7 and saw 60 attendees learn and share about the strengths of women in business.

Following her presentation, Starr shared some remarkable statistics about women, both as consumers, financial managers, and business owners, and their increasingly important role in global commerce.

Among the many facts shared were these statistics on women in business and leadership:

  • Over the last 17 years, women-owned businesses have increased 68%, with more than 9.1 million women-owned businesses operating in 2014, up from 8.6 million in 2013. They’ve also grown revenues by 72%, and added 11% more jobs. This surging-growth pace, which has doubled in three years, has helped to generate nearly $1.5 trillion in revenues for women-owned businesses. women are starting businesses 1 ½ times the national average
  • From 1997 to 2014, the number of firms owned by women of color skyrocketed 216%. Businesses owned by women of color jumped 17% of all women-owned firms to 32% in the same time period. Growth in employment (85%) and revenues (168%) of firms owned by women of color topped growth rates of all women-owned firms (10% and 63% respectively) by wide margins.
  • 35% of small businesses launched in 2013 were founded by women entrepreneurs.
  • Between 1997 and 2006, majority women-owned firms in the US grew at nearly twice the rate of all US privately held firms
  • Globally, women control nearly US$12 trillion of the overall US$18.4 trillion in consumer discretionary spending. In the next five years, women will control US$15 trillion. By 2028, they will control nearly 75% of consumer discretionary spending worldwide
  • 80% of the new self-employed, who started businesses in the UK between the financial crash year of 2008 and 2011, were women
  • Venture-backed companies that include females as senior executives are more likely to succeed than companies with only men in charge
  • The number of wealthy women in the U.S. is growing twice as fast as the number of wealthy men.
  • 45% of American millionaires are women.

Starr included the following details about the status of “small businesses”

  • Approximately 75% of all U.S. businesses are non-employer businesses, which mean they have no paid employees, annual business receipts of $1,000 or more ($1 or more in the construction industries), and are subject to federal income taxes.
  • 19.4 million non-employer businesses are sole proprietorships, 1.6 million are partnerships and 1.4 million are corporations
  • Number of “solopreneurs” in U.S. increases to nearly 18 million in 2013

To that, Starr added the following facts on Social Entrepreneurs:

  • Lots of business owners are creating their biz’s with positive social impact in mind. We’re seeing a rise in social entrepreneurs all across the globe.
  • B Corporations get certified to let consumers and investors know that the purpose of their business is for good. L3C’s are LLC’s focused on social benefit.
  • More and more companies are committing to a triple-bottom line of People, Planet, Profit.

Finally, Starr informed attendees on local events, business leaders, and resources for the Portland Women-in-business Communities:

We thank Starr for her contributions to making the March Westside Green Drinks a great success and hope you can attend a future event!

Thank you,
David Anderson


March Westside GD at the Dublin Pub

Westside GD at Dublin Pub
Thursday, March 12 at 6pm
Guest Speaker: Starr Sheppard-Decker

The Inspiring Woman Leaders Conference is coming up on March 7! The conference is local and focuses on actionable leadership skills and programs for women in the Portland/Vancouver area. Registration includes breakfast, lunch, and snacks, as well as a fantastic program and unmatched opportunity to network with other woman leaders in Portland. It is a day not to be missed.

For more information and to register, visit their website.

Starr is a woman entrepreneur. As the conference takes place before Westside Green Drinks, Starr will talk about how the conference went, how solopreneurs are the fastest growing business model in the world and empowering women business owners, and will give a pulse on the development of women entrepreneurs and leadership in Portland.

Location: Dublin Pub
6821 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy, Portland, OR 97225
(503) 297-2889

$5 Suggested Attendance Donation. Please RSVP and let us know you’re attending March 12!

RSVP to: rsvp@pdxgreendrinks.org

The Next Westside Green Drinks

the next Westside Green Drinks