Last week I was invited to speak at the Bend City Council meeting on behalf of local businesses. Groups supporting a Bend Climate Action plan found us through this blog and asked if we could present a case for why local businesses might be supportive of the plan. You can watch the 3 minute speech here: (BendCouncilMeeting My talk begins at the 2:40 mark) . . . I have to warn you that it’s a rather dry environment at these meetings, pun intended.
Below is the original transcript of the speech as well.
I’d like to speak to you on a pragmatic basis from a business owner perspective. The “OR Business Climate Declaration” (OR-Clim.Decl.) allows OR businesses to add their name to a list of 400+ companies showing their support for the Climate Declaration. On the website you will see the logos of many high profile OR based companies, including our very own Deschutes Brewery. Now, I don’t know Gary Fish personally, but we all know of his success and how respected he is even on a national basis. Gary might be very concerned about climate change, at least enough to have his company listed on the declaration. But he might not actually be all that concerned either. It really doesn’t matter for the points I’d like for the Council to consider. When I went to that declaration page and saw all the logos, my first thought was, how do I get my company’s logo on there? I thought this because I know, and maybe Gary or his marketing person was thinking this as well, that being associated with this cause is good for business. Businesses want to be known for not only producing a quality product or service but also for doing good for the community or society in general . . . (think Tom’s Shoes or Sevenly). People want their money to do more than just serve themselves, and businesses have come to realize this. Unfortunately for me, it takes 100mm in annual revenue to get your company’s logo on that web page. Nonetheless, my point is that your local companies care about this issue, whether for altruistic or pragmatic reasons, but partially because they know customers care.
The management of the City business resembles that of private businesses. You strive to make Bend flourish for your customers – who are the residents and also those who come here to live, start or move a business, vacation, or get an education. Bend is known for having a high quality of life, being forward thinking and entrepreneurial. The council has an opportunity to move in this same spirit by leading the way in addressing concerns over climate change and implementing an action plan that can be seen as a model for other cities. The extra bonus in doing this, just like the marketing bonus those businesses who signed the declaration received, is that you will also be fulfilling your role of helping Bend thrive by attracting and retaining your customers . . . customers who increasingly demand that their city also be working towards doing good for society and for the planet. A climate action plan is a win for promoting the city of Bend, and for Bend businesses. Please move forward with one.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts on this important matter.