Gresham Chamber hosts panel on sustainability

Want to go green but afraid it will hurt your bottom line? It doesn't have to and the Gresham Chamber of Commerce can show you how.

The chamber will host a panel of experts from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, at the Persimmon Country Club, 500 S.E. Butler Road.

Led by moderator Dorothy Atwood of Sustainability Professionals, panelists will talk about good environmental practices and take a look behind the scenes of businesses that have successfully mastered the art of being environmentally sustainable.

“We will define profitable sustainability,” said chamber CEO Alison Hart. “People have the perception that it costs money, but it actually can save their business money.”

The panel will not only discuss how businesses can help protect the environment, but how to see how sustainable efforts work by "developing metrics to measure the impact,” Hart said, so they can see the benefits of their efforts.

For example, a company can reduce landfill waste by purchasing permanent coffee cups for employees instead of using disposable paper or styrofoam cups. The result is measurable.

Panelists include Natalie Reitman-White, director of Sustainability and Trade Advocacy; Carol Brown, sustainability manager for Portland General Electric; and Michelle Ellam, general manager of Abby's Legendary Pizza.

One of last year's panelists, Jeff Harvey, CEO of Burgerville, told participants about how to get started with sustainable practices and how those practices “trickle down” to vendors, spreading the Burgerville philosophy, Hart said.

This year, Ellam will talk about how green practices work at Abby's Pizza. Panelists also will talk about how to engage employees in crafting a vision, prioritizing and identifying projects, establishing concrete goals and more.

The cost — which includes lunch — is $40 for chamber members and $50 for others. Visit to register and learn more about the forum, which will have room for about 100 participants. Information also will be posted at the chamber's Facebook page, For questions, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 503-665-1131.

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