BEST Business Center

Businesses for an Environmentally Sustainable Tomorrow

Guiding Portland's small businesses toward a profitable green future.

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It’s important to have a system, no matter how simple, that evaluates current operations, sets goals for improvement, and tracks successes and setbacks.  After all, if it’s not measured it can’t be improved.

Assessment and Reporting

  • is a free directory of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Sustainability, and Environment reports, including directories of reports that follow the Global Reporting Initiative, AccountAbility AA1000 Assurance Standard and the Global Compact index.
    The site also features a free Reporting Partners directory covering thousands of CSR reporting service providers (e.g., consultants, designers and verifiers). This service is designed to help organizations find assistance for their next CSR report.

  • Global Reporting Initiative

    The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has pioneered the development of the world’s most widely used framework for sustainability reporting.  The cornerstone of the framework is the “Sustainability Reporting Guidelines that provide guidance on how organizations can disclose their economic, social and environmental performance.  The Guidelines also provide stakeholders with a universally applicable, comparable framework in which to understand disclosed information.


    SCORE (Sustainability Competency and Opportunity Rating and Evaluation) is an easy-to-use assessment tool that rates sustainability practices.  It helps organizations understand where they are now and what ‘sustainability’ looks like.  It was developed in collaboration with the International Sustainable Development Foundation, the Zero Waste Alliance, and AXIS Performance Advisors.

Background and Theory

  • Natural Step Network

    The Natural Step Network is a non-profit, research, education and advisory organization that supports business, governmental, and educational organizations move toward sustainability.  The Natural Step Network offers hands-on, in-depth courses, workshops and resources to help organizations integrate integrate triple bottom line strategies into their organizational planning.

  • The Northwest Earth Institute

    The Northwest Earth Institute offers study guides in various areas of sustainability. These self-guided discussion courses allow small groups of people to explore topics such as climate change, sustainable living and voluntary simplicity.

Environmental Management Systems

  • Environmental Protection Agency

    An Environmental Management System (EMS) is a set of processes and practices that enables an organization to reduce its environmental impacts and increase its operating efficiency. The EPA Web site provides information and resources related to EMS for businesses, associations, the public, and state and federal agencies.

  • ISO 14001: Environmental Management Systems

    The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a standard-setting body that develops world-wide industrial and commercial standards.  The ISO 14001 is the standard for environmental management. The intention of ISO 14001 is to provide a framework for a holistic, strategic approach to an organization’s environmental policy, plans and actions.  The generic requirements of an organization’s environmental management system are to: minimize harmful effects on the environment caused by its activities and to achieve continual improvement of its environmental performance.

Recycling Bins – Bike Pannier-Style!

Jon Mehlschau, a Portland architect with SRG Partnership, has been working with the BEST Business Center to achieve designation for SRG as a Climate Champion. Along the way, employees in the company have made many changes to improve their office’s sustainability practices, including finding a way to recycle plastics and other items that cannot be included in their mixed recycling. 

One of their creative solutions was to permanently attach bicycle pannier hardware to two of their kitchen recycling bins. They use these bins to collect rigid plastics such as clamshell containers and plastic bags. When the bins are full, they simply attach them to a company-supplied bike and then ride the recyclables over to a Far West Fibers recycling center in Northwest Portland. Here are several photos of Travis Bell, also an architect at SRG Partnership, collecting the bins and cycling them a little under 1½ miles over to the recycling center and then back again.