Mayor courts businesses as part of climate change push

Posted by on October 5th, 2015 at 11:17 am

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Screengrab of City website.

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales is appealing to local businesses in an effort to address climate change. As part of “Climate Week” which ran from September 21-25, he launched an effort to get at least 50 companies to “join the city in committing to reduce carbon emissions.”

This is an important initiative to watch for a few reasons. First, if Hales (and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability) succeeds at creating a new coalition of businesses who care about climate change, it could morph into something that gives city council a counterbalance to the Portland Business Alliance — an organization that has tended to fight for the status quo of auto-dependence when it comes to transportation issues.

“There’s this notion that the City of Portland is green, but that the business community is opposed,” Hales said in an official statement. “That might have been true once, but not today. Today, members of our business community share our city’s values of equity and livability.”

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We’re also watching how much Hales will embrace cycling as part of any work he does on climate change. With so much of our carbon emissions coming from the transportation sector, cycling is often overlooked by governments when it comes to moving the needle on this issue.

We were happy to see that at least one of the six actions the Mayor’s Office is encouraging businesses to take is to incentivize employees to ride a bike to work.

And did you notice the lead image on the official website for this initiative? Yep. It shows a guy on a bike.

This effort launched with seven businesses including: Elephants Delicatessen, Hopworks Urban Brewery, Indow, Trillium Asset Management, CH2M Hill, Widmer Brothers Brewing and Moda Health.

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