Oregon Business recently published its 2013 list of the 100 Best Green Companies to Work for in Oregon. So, of course, I immediately scanned the list to see how Central Oregon fared. Hmmm, not as well as I would have imagined.
     The sustainability movement has been growing by leaps and bounds in Central Oregon over the past decade. These days, you can find green companies — both large- and small-scale — in just about every sector. There’s PV Powered, which manufactures photovoltaic solar panels. The Cascade Culinary Institute, which teaches “Eat Local” principles and integrates sustainable operational practices that students can use in their future careers in the hospitality industry; its Jungers Culinary Center was constructed to Earth Advantage Commercial Gold certification standards. There’s Primal Cuts, which sells meat products from livestock that are locally and sustainably raised and fed. There’s Brilliant, which sells environmentally friendly building materials. The list goes on.
    Heck, sustainable tourism is even thriving here. (Did you know that Bend’s Riverhouse Convention Center is LEED-Platinum-certified? Or that the Oxford Hotel has gained national recognition as an eco-chic boutique hotel?) We have green spas, green restaurants, green boutiques, and, of course, green real estate. In fact, we have a lot of recently constructed green homes and many more in the works. Entire neighborhoods are Earth Advantage-certified (Northwest Crossing, Shevlin Pines, Forest Meadow II and Woodhill Park, for example).
    However, when you live in one of the greenest states in the country (Forbes puts Oregon at No. 2, behind Vermont), with perhaps the greenest city in the country (Portland), the competition is fierce. So it should come as no surprise to learn that the No. 1 green company to work for in Oregon is a Portland-based green-centered business: Research Into Action specializes in energy-efficiency and renewable-energy program evaluation and market research.
    I was pleased to see that a member of the real estate industry came in at No. 3: Gerding Edlen, one of the nation’s leading real estate investment and development firms focused on urban, infill, office, apartment and mixed-use properties. Nestled in between No. 1 and No. 3 is a company devoted to producing another Oregon staple: craft beer (Ashland-based Standing Stone Brewing Co. is a family-owned business that has become a leader in restaurant energy conservation).
    As for Central Oregon, its highest-ranking business on the list came in at No. 24: Culver-based Earth2O, one of the first U.S. bottled-water companies to use 100% recycled plastic in its bottles. Next up was G5, a tech company that provides software and services in the property management sector (67). Our final entry was the Bend Area Habitat for Humanity (85), which is building LEED-certified homes at no additional cost.
    Oregon Business chose the 2013 100 Best Green Companies based on the following: “Sustainable Practices sections in both the employee and employer surveys completed last year by 18,394 employees from 440 for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations. Participation in the 100 Best survey is voluntary and free of charge. Companies needed at least 15 full- or part-time Oregon employees at the time of the survey; nonprofits needed at least 10 employees or qualified volunteers.”
    Congratulations to everyone on the list. Thanks to them (and others like them), we all win.