In Our View: The Green Way to Do Business

County’s new environmental program showcases greenest local companies

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Washingtonians continue to see the definition of “green” expand to include more than just a color or part of our state’s nickname. More and more these days, the word also describes the better way to treat our environment, by adopting sustainable practices. And that’s why we’re glad to give a tip of the hat to the Clark County Environmental Services department and 13 local businesses that have founded a new program promoting industrial sustainability.The Clark County Green Business Program showcases businesses that proudly announce their steadfast dedication to minimizing their impact on the environment. The county program’s founding businesses include corporate giants with local operations such as Frito Lay and Wells Fargo, small local businesses such as Nut-Tritious Foods Inc. and Kadel’s Cascade Auto Body and longtime local companies such as 75-year-old Columbia Machine Inc. Other business that proudly proclaim “we care” about the environment are Columbia Credit Union, Corwin Beverage Company, Heathman Lodge, NuStar Energy, Sharp Microelectronics of the Americas, Sustain-NW, Tapani Underground Inc. and Vancouver Sign Group.

Other county businesses can join this august group by visiting Clark County Green Business Program and checking out the six-step application process. If this group grows as rapidly as county officials hope, the message will be made loud and clear: Clark County’s economy is focused on more than just making money; it’s also bolstered by businesses that can make money while maintaining a green attitude.

The Green Business Program is not intended to maximize profits. Adopting some of the required practices could entail some upfront costs, but in the long run, it’s just the right thing to do. And besides, there could be some residual benefits to come from official recognition. The companies are entered into a Green Business Directory, which is available to anyone searching for companies that emphasize green practices.

The six categories that require data-collection and demonstrable progress toward green practices include:

Waste and recycling — After conducting a waste audit, a business leader learns where improvements can be made in reducing waste that goes to the landfill.

Water and wastewater — Improper landscaping methods and frivolous water use will saddle businesses with needless costs. Reducing those costs helps bring special recognition from the county.

Toxics reduction — Smart business leaders know to do more than just reduce; they also know how to use proper disposal systems.

Energy conservation — Understanding energy consumption on an annual basis helps businesses know where to increase efficiencies.

Stormwater — Maintenance of proper stormwater systems usually is minimal, but these systems are vital in preventing floods, keeping roadways clear and keeping drinking water safe and low-cost.

Community engagement — A green business should do more than just focus on its own property and operations. Reaching out to neighbors, and enlisting help in broader initiatives extends the impact of the Clark County Green Business Program.

We encourage businesses to visit the website and begin the six-step process toward the kind of recognition from the county that bolsters a company’s reputation in the community.