Posts Tagged ‘sustainability’

A little about SoupCycle, IDA Client

February 18, 2011 1 comment
Jed Lazar of SoupCycle, soup delivery service

Jed Lazar of SoupCycle, soup delivery service

SoupCycle is a locally owned and operated business that delivers organic soups to homes and offices by bicycle.  The concept of SoupCycle began as an assignment while the founders, Jed Lazar and Shawna Lambert, were in their final year of a Masters in Sustainable Business Administration program.  Jed and Shauna had heard of a soup bicycle delivery business in Texas that had recently ditched the bikes for the petroleum-fueled option.  Jed saw the fate of the Texas soup business as a challenge and thought if bicycle delivery could work anywhere, it could work in Portland.  Two weeks after the duo graduated in 2008, the business was launched.

“SoupCycle was about influencing the business and other businesses to start delivering by bicycle and to show that bicycle delivery and lower carbon delivery is feasible.  We also wanted to support local and organic farmers. Soup on and bike, it is a simple idea but it does all of that!”

Jed Lazar came to Mercy Corps Northwest and enrolled in the IDA program as they began starting their business.  He received expert business advice and guidance from the Foundations Business course and the matched savings plan was essential to their success. “The matched savings allowed us to build efficiencies into our business.” Upgrading from an electric to a gas stove, purchasing more soup delivery trailers, and investing in marketing material and web payment programming were all made possible through the IDA program.

Since the business was launched, SoupCycle has made 25,000 deliveries by bicycle and is in the process of hiring additional employees as the business and customer base continues to grow.  Jed Lazar still attends ongoing MCNW business classes and SoupCycle has become a strong member of the bicycle based business community in Portland.

“Mercy Corps Northwest and SoupCycle have opened so many doors and allowed me to interact with the people in this city in a way that I didn’t know was possible.  The IDA program helped my small business to flourish despite the recession.”


Portland Bottom Line featured in The Oregonian

November 9, 2010 Leave a comment

Peter Korchnak, Co-Editor of The Portland Bottom Line
Peter Korchnak

The Portland Bottom Line and Mercy Corps Northwest received special mention in an article by Larry Bingham about crowd-sourced books. 100% of profit from books sales will be donated to Mercy Corps Northwest programs. Support economic development and sustainable business practices in one go by buying this book.

Read the full article

Excerpted here

“One thing both books have made clear: The city has plenty of cheerleaders. And in this age of social media, the cheerleaders are more than happy to contribute…

…[Peter] Korchnak’s idea came after he contributed in other books that started through social media and involved input from several people interested in the topic. The 33-year-old moved from Slovakia to Portland six years ago and runs Semiosis Communications, a company that provides marketing for sustainable businesses.

He asked for 400-word essays on sustainable practices and received thoughts on everything from junk mail and aluminum foil recycling to tips on how to engage employees and brand a green business. While he expected contributors to offer practical advice for readers, he was surprised by the emotions behind many efforts.

“So, who are you?” wrote social media strategist Noland Hoshino. “What do your customers think of you and your business? Think of it this way: At the end of the day, what do you want the people to say? ‘We are gathered here today to remember … had a fancy car and cherishes it,’ or ‘… gave his time to transport cancer patients to and from chemotherapy in that fancy car he cherished. It was the ride of their life’?”

“I had wanted case studies, so this was a pleasant surprise,” said Korchnak, who edited the book along with Megan Strand. It taught him something about Portland and the green movement.

“When people do strive to be as sustainable as possible, it becomes personal,” he said. “It’s very intrinsic; it’s not motivated by the bottom line.”

After sales of the $16.95 book repay his initial investment, proceeds will go to Mercy Corps, a nonprofit the 51 small-business contributors voted to support.”

Read the full article

The Book Party

October 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Mercy Corps Front

What. Portland Bottom Line Book Release Party
When. Wednesday, November 10th 5-8pm, Program at 6
Where. Mercy Corps HQ, 45 SW Ankeny St.
How much. Free! (…just buy a book)

Cool Stuff
Serendipity has it that the Give!Guide and The Portland Bottom Line launch on the same day – we’re so excited. Be the first to pick up your Give!Guide at the event.  In addition, one hundred copies of “The Portland Bottom Line” will be available for sale ($16.95, cash/check only, 2 laptops will be available for online purchases). The contributors to this book have generously selected Mercy Corps Northwest as a beneficiary of book sales. The more books we sell, the bigger the donation, so buy the book!

Also, enjoy some tasty snacks and beverages donated by the book’s contributors and other local businesses.

We’re in for a treat
The contributors to the book (small business owners striving towards the triple bottom line), will be at the event to share their experiences and forge new relationships. Enjoy a short presentation about the making of the book and the challenge of doing business in a sustainable manner.

About the book
Co-edited by Peter Korchnak and Megan Strand, and organized into 12 sections along the triple bottom line of People, Planet, and Prosperity, “The Portland Bottom Line: Practices for Your Small Business from America’s Hotbed of Sustainability” explores how small businesses can effectively and efficiently shift toward sustainability and thrive. In their short essays, 51 Portland small-business people share their experiences with sustainability in their companies.

2010 Ecodistricts Summit Keynote Speaker Announced

October 15, 2010 Leave a comment

(Reposted from Portland Sustainability Institute, a partner of Mercy Corps Northwest)

John Knott, President and Co-Founder of the Noisette Company has been announced as Keynote for the 2010 EcoDistricts Summit at 7:30 p.m. on October 26th at PSU Smith Center Ballroom. Additionally, Kevin Hydes, President of Integral Group and former chair of the US Green Building Council and the World Green Building Council, will give opening remarks at the Summit on October 25th, 2010. The EcoDistricts keynote speech is free and open to the public. For more information on additional events, visit

A highly esteemed member of the sustainable building and planning community, Knott will headline a diverse and accomplished roster of speakers at the three-day summit, held at Portland State University, October 25-27, 2010. His organization, the Noisette Company, leads groundbreaking redevelopment work in North Charleston, South Carolina.

The Noisette Project is one of the best case studies of sustainable, district-level redevelopment in the United States. Taking into account the social needs, environmental responsibility and economic vitality of the Noisette Community—formerly a deteriorating area, encompassing 3,000 acres of former naval yards in North Charleston’s historic urban core—the Project has worked to uplift the neighborhood beyond mere structural renovation and environmentally friendly infrastructure.

Under Knott’s leadership, additional focus was placed on addressing equity in equal proportion to environmental and economic concerns, using innovative policies and programs to meet this goal. Notable successful programs include neighborhood involvement in defining the scope and plan for the Noisette Project, job training integrated through well-supported non-profits, a pilot prisoner re-entry program (Lowcountry Civic Justice Corps) and several social justice initiatives.

As the 2010 keynote speaker, Knott, who is an outspoken advocate of leveraging the power of neighborhoods to catalyze positive change, reinforces equity as a key topic of dialogue at the 2010 EcoDistricts Summit. The EcoDistricts Summit also features equity proponents Twana Hall-Scott, Assistant Director and Outreach Manager of Kansas City Green Impact Zone—a nationally recognized non-profit focused on concentrating and integrating resources to enact drastic and comprehensive neighborhood-level transformation—and Alan Hipólito, Executive Director of Verde—a Portland non-profit that connects low-income people and people of color with the economic benefits of protecting the environment through social enterprise and outreach.

Read Previous Post for more Information on the Ecodistricts Summit

Coming soon: “The Portland Bottom Line”

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Cover of

The Portland Bottom Line (Out in November 2010)

Edited by Peter Korchnak and Megan Strand.

Description: A collaborative exploration of how small businesses can effectively and efficiently shift toward sustainability and thrive. Fifty-one small-business people from Portland, Oregon, share their experiences with implementing sustainable practices in their companies.

Mercy Corps Northwest was selected by the book contributors to benefit from the book’s profits. We are honored to be connected to such a dynamic and important project.

We will be posting more news and updates as the release date approaches.

Click here to learn more about the book

Read about the selection of Mercy Corps NW as beneficiary of the book

Again, we express a heartfelt Thank You to the contributors of “The Portland Bottom Line”!

Announcing… The EcoDistricts Summit

September 23, 2010 2 comments

The Ecodistricsts Summit

EcoDistricts Summit is a conference in Portland, Oregon on October 25-27th, 2010 built to deepen public understanding of the EcoDistricts Initiative and to connect stakeholders and practitioners involved with pilot programs through annual progress updates and shared lessons in the deployment of integrated district-scale sustainability. Attendees will gain the following:

  • A forum for inspiring and activating conversations about next generation urban sustainability at the district scale
  • Elevate the conversation about neighborhood sustainability best practices and to stay informed about progress of Portlands EcoDistrict Initiative
  • Deepen the conversation about integrated performance assessment, neighborhood leadership, green building, infrastructure, and behavior practices to reduce resource consumption, new sources and structures for project finance, and green neighborhood rating systems
  • Unite urban sustainability practitioners working at this scale.


When |           Tuesday, October 25-27th, 2010 | 8:00-5:00pm

Where |          Portland State University | Smith Center, 3rd Floor, 1825 SW Broadway Portland, OR 97201

Who |            Planners, architects, engineers, developers, municipalities, businesses, pilot district stakeholders, engaged citizens, and labor

Visit |