In late August, First Stop Portland partnered with consulting firm Sustainable Hub in hosting a dozen CEO's from Brazil's textile industry here to re-think the term "sustainability" both for their companies and their industry.
The week-long study tour addressed sustainability through the lens of innovation: new materials design and development; new thinking in business models; and the role of public/private partnerships in advancing green business strategies. It also strengthened connections between Portland and Brazil to share innovations and business relations.
Santa Catarina's textile leaders met Portland's - including Pendleton's CEO Mort Bishop, Nike's Laura Vogel, Wieden + Kennedy's Nick Barham, Ziba's Eric Park, and Looptworks Scott Hamlin, to name a few. They toured the emerging factories of Queen Bee and Spooltown on North Williams with owners Rebecca Pearcy and Sarah Tunstall, and Montevilla's Portland Garment Factory with Rosemary Robinson and Britt Howard. They spent a morning at Oregon College of Arts and Crafts with President Denise Mullen.
What did Brazil take back?
1) Challenge assumptions both personally and professionally about the term "sustainability." A common thread among everyone was the connection to craftsmanship.
2) Build a formal relationship with PSU's College of Urban and Public Affairs and Center for Global Leadership in Sustainability for training and course development.
3) "Grab them by the beauty of the product, first - and then educate them"... about sustainability.
Below, some highlights from the visit, compiled by student ambassador Victoria Dinu.