|Hardly a day goes by without seeing something about “sustainability” in the news. We’ve put together answers to some frequently asked questions about sustainability, Ater Wynne’s commitment to sustainable practices, and why it matters to your bottom line.
What are Sustainable Practices?
Although the definition varies, most people would agree that sustainable practices reflect a long-term view that goes beyond maximizing profits in the short term. Sustainability involves consideration of what is often referred to as the “triple bottom line,” i.e., the environmental, economic, and social impacts of a company’s business practices, both internally and externally. Ater Wynne’s commitment to sustainability means that our business decisions take into account our focus on conserving resources, minimizing waste, selecting environmentally and socially responsible vendors, serving our community, and providing a financially and emotionally rewarding place to work.
Why Should I Care About Sustainability?
Sustainability matters because it affects your bottom line. These days, just providing a great product or service is not enough to beat out the competition. Investors, customers, suppliers, businesses, consumers, government agencies, and the military are demanding corporate responsibility as a condition of doing business. These stakeholders are demanding that the companies with whom they do business examine and take responsibility for the effects of their business practices. Sustainable business practices have an impact in all of the following areas:
Will Sustainable Practices Help My Business or Just Cost Me Money?
- Emerging growth business (funding of sustainable businesses and projects)
- Land use (regulation, clean-up, investment credits)
- Construction (green building products, green building standards)
- Environmental practices (upstream and downstream)
- Energy (energy tax credits, renewable resources)
- Agriculture (organic certification)
- Hospitality (organic food, energy conservation, waste)
- Tax (sustainability incentives)
- Employment (best practices to reduce costs, recruit and retain the best candidates, and increase productivity)
- Worker health and safety
- Financial and sustainability reporting
- Government contracts
Sustainable business practices that promote sound economic, social, and environmental results can reduce costs, enhance productivity, and increase profitability, which can help companies sustain long-term growth and prosperity.
Many businesses have discovered that sustainable practices can save money, for example, by reducing consumption of resources like paper and power, increasing productivity, reducing employee turnover, and enhancing brand recognition. Sustainable practices may help you attract and retain customers (including business and government customers), who are starting to limit their support to companies that engage in sustainable business practices.
In addition, federal, state, and local governments offer a wide array of subsidies, tax credits, and other benefits for locating businesses in economically depressed areas, reducing energy consumption, developing renewable energy resources, employing green building concepts and building products, and engaging in other sustainable practices.
Am I Required by Law to Adopt Sustainable Practices?
Environmental, worker safety, and employment regulations have promoted sustainable practices for decades. This trend has recently expanded into finance. Many other sustainable practices are currently voluntary, but increasing consumer demand and global pressures mean that companies with a clear understanding of sustainability concerns will be more competitive.
How Does Ater Wynne Help Clients With Sustainability Issues?
Ater Wynne is founded on collaboration. Our Sustainable Practice Advisory Group is comprised of lawyers from diverse practice areas that are most affected by evolving sustainability policy: environmental, land use, energy, tax, employment, emerging growth, and corporate finance.
We help clients respond and adapt to a changing world by incorporating sustainability concepts into their business plans and daily practices. The unique aspect of our group practice is the desire to help clients find solutions that explore sustainable development options. The following are examples of the projects our Sustainable Practice Advisory Group has handled:
- Renewable energy, cogeneration and energy efficiency financing and development
- Tax incentives and credits for sustainable businesses, construction, and projects
- Certification of organic agriculture
- Redevelopment of brownfield and superfund sites
- Planning, siting, and development of recycling facilities
- Environmental compliance and industrial retrofit
- Sustainability obligations and policy compliance in government contracts
- Sustainable employment practices and worker safety
- Incorporating sustainable practices into an overall business strategy
Where Can I Learn More About Sustainability?
Oregon Natural Step Network
Northwest Earth Institute
City of Portland, Office of Sustainable Development
Global Reporting Initiative
Earth Share of Oregon
Food & Beverage
Technology & Telecom
Tribal Economic Development
|Adam Capital, Inc.
Azuray Technologies, Inc.
Bonneville Environmental Foundation
ClearEdge Power, Inc.
Diné Power Authority
Equilibrium Capital Group
Equilibrium Resource Management Corporation
Green Building Initiative
Home Comfort Zones, Inc., d/b/a EMME
International Bio Fuels Corp.
Renewable Power and Light, PLC
SP Recycling Corp.
|Seminars and Events
Legal Articles and Alerts
|Sustainable Practice Advisory Group Attorneys:
|Douglas C. MacCourt (Contact, Portland)
Stacey E. Mark (Contact, Portland)
L. David Connell
Wallace A. Glausi
Joel R. Paisner
Claudia K. Powers
John M. Schultz
June M. Wiyrick Flores