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Green Briefs

Green building group gets new leader

Portland-based Green Building Initiative has hired green building veteran Jerry Yudelson as its new president.

The Green Building Initiative operates the Green Globes rating system throughout the United States, touting it as a business-friendly alternative to the LEED system used to accredit green buildings.

Yudelson authored 13 green building books, and chaired the steering committee for Greenbuild, the industry’s annual trade show.

Green Globes is controlled by a business-dominated board that includes several timber and home products manufacturers whose products aren’t well-regarded under LEED. Green Globes’ reputation has been tarnished by its more lenient treatment of those products — inspiring complaints of “greenwashing” by many environmentalists.

But the Green Building Initiative scored a coup last year when the U.S. General Services Administration concluded that federal building projects should use either LEED or Green Globes to certify their green buildings.

“We’re delighted to have someone of Jerry’s caliber in the green building industry step up to lead the GBI,” says Ray Tonjes, an Austin builder who is chairman of the board. “With the recent update of Green Globes and recognition by the General Services Administration, as well as growing use by federal agencies and the Fortune 500 sector, the timing couldn’t be better,” Tonjes says.

B is for Beans

Portland-based Better Bean Co. has earned certification as a Certified Benefit Corp. or “B Corp.”

B Corp status, bestowed by the nonprofit B Lab, is a business sustainability label akin to LEED for green buildings or “fair trade” for coffee producers. B Corps consider the impact of their decisions on their consumers, employees, shareholders, suppliers, the community and the environment.

There are 894 certified B Corps in 29 countries. Thirty-seven of them are based in Oregon — second-highest among the states on a per-capita basis.

Better Bean Co. offers all-natural, organic, vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO beans.

“We create positive relationships with our employees, vendors and customers and offer them a level of transparency that speaks to our common goal of creating social change and producing a tasty and healthy product,” says co-owner Keith Kullberg.

To see our past coverage of the company: portlandtribune.com/sl/129792-next-frontier-for-food-packaging-.

Going a step further

First there were B Corps, and now there are Benefit Companies as well.

Thanks to the passage of House Bill 2296 in the 2013 Legislature, Oregon companies may register as Benefit Companies, starting Jan. 1.

For both designations, companies set a higher bar for sustainability practices.

B Corps are a way for a company to brand itself based on those practices, while Benefit Companies make a legally binding sustainability obligation. The companies write into their governing documents that management is permitted to pursue social and environmental benefits alongside shareholder interest. That means they can make business decisions that run contrary to maximizing shareholder value, putting purpose over profits.

Shortly after the law took effect, 28 businesses registered as Benefit Companies in Oregon, many of them B Corps.

“We join a growing army of companies that believe that good is the guide to wealth, not the other way around,” says Bill Campbell, principal at Equilibrium Capital Group. He and Eric Friedenwald-Fishman, creative director of Metropolitan Group, led the Be the Change Steering Committee that pushed for the law.

The first round of Oregon companies to register as Benefit Companies include:

Bald Guy Brew Shoppe; Basis & Berries; Besthq; CafeGive; Canvas Dreams; Chime; DP Packaging; DP Staffing; Equilibrium Capital Management; Flying Fish Co.; FMYI; Freeroot Ventures; Gastropublica; Gilded Rogue Enterprises; GladRags Sustainable Women’s Health; Good Clean Love; Green Girl Land Development Solutions; Immix Law Group; Ingenuity Innovation Center; Lilka; Metropolitan Group; Neil Kelly Co.; Palace Industries Inc.; Red Dahlia Property Management; Respite Link; Sonmundo Inc., and Wild Recherche.

For more information on

becoming a Benefit Company: sos.oregon.gov/business/Pages/benefit-company.aspx