Central Oregon Sustainability Business Group Kicks Off in August


Jay Coalson, named one of “10 sustainable business ecosystem leaders to watch,” will speak at Central Oregon’s first meeting of the Sustainable Business Group, Green Town USA, on August 8. Laurel Haas from American Licorice will follow Jay’s presentation with a case study on American Licorice’s journey to zero waste at their plants in California and Indiana as well their office in Bend.

The Environmental Center, EarthShare Oregon, and American Licorice are collaborating to develop and support a team of leaders from the business sector that will inspire and advance the sustainability efforts of the economic community in Central Oregon.

The Environmental Center, a non-profit organization working to embed sustainability into daily life in Central Oregon, is teaming up with EarthShare Oregon (ESOR), an organization managing a workplace giving program to support conservation and healthy communities, and American Licorice, a consumer packaged goods manufacturer headquartered in Bend, Oregon, to form a network of business professionals, non-profits, and government leaders concerned with social responsibility, to identify opportunities and collaborate on local projects to enhance sustainability in the business community and to share sustainable best practices.

The first meeting of the group will take place on August 8, from 9-10am at the Environmental Center on 16 NW Kansas Avenue in Bend. The discussion will feature Jay Coalson, the executive director of the Zero Waste Alliance, who will speak about engaging the community to create zero waste economy, followed by Laurel Haas who will present a case study on American Licorice’s journey to zero waste. The meeting will conclude with a roundtable discussion where participants will have an opportunity to discuss topics they would like to see the group explore.

Coalson has over 20 years of management and strategic planning experience. He most recently founded and spent ten years as the president and CEO of Green Building Services, a leading international sustainable development consulting firm.

Zero Waste Alliance is a Portland-based nonprofit working with industry and communities to create a prosperous and inclusive future without waste. Coalson is also a partner and director of sustainability at G² Energy, a financing and development firm specializing in distributed energy generation projects. He is a board member at Portland Sustainability Institute (PoSI) and at Sustainable Northwest.

Haas has over 20 years of marketing experience at organizations such as Nielsen, Brach’s Confections and American Licorice. She recently took on the role of corporate social responsibility manager and completed an MBA specializing in sustainability at Walden University. She is a member of the Commute Options Working Group, Net Impact, and the California Resources Recovery Association. According to Haas, “Businesses are not only concerned about their impact but are seeking to enhance resources they depend on. Many are adopting a socially responsible model that integrates sustainability into operations and increase engagement with their communities where their associates and customers live and work. By connecting businesses in Central Oregon, we can gain even more impact from our efforts and also create paths to greater sustainability in Central Oregon”.

“Central Oregon is a phenomenal place, rich in both natural and social resources. As our community continues to make national and regional news for our endless outdoor activities, craft breweries, and high quality of life, we could be leading the way in the sustainable city movement,” says Sweet Pea Cole, sustainability advocate at the Environmental Center. “With an inspiring culture of innovation, entrepreneurism, and leadership, our community should be Green Town, USA”.

Visit envirocenter.org for a complete events calendar.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. CascadeBusNews.com • CBN@CascadeBusNews.com

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