List rankings were announced on Thursday, May 31, 2018, at The Nines Hotel in Portland, Oregon, as part of the annual 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon Luncheon and Celebration. This gala came after a lengthy and comprehensive look at eligible Oregon businesses, which included independent evaluations of each contender’s sustainability practices and more than 1,300 anonymous employee surveys. During this evaluation, employers provided a detailed sustainability policy with statements of clear goals.
“To be ranked five of the 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon 2018 is a remarkable achievement,” says ACHS Founding President Dorene Petersen. “As a holistic health and wellness college, our commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship is vital. Sustainability has been part of our mission for 40 years, and we aim to help our community—students, alumni, staff, faculty and customers—transform their view of ‘green’ choices into something not only ‘do-able’ but highly desirable, too. I thank ACHS employees for their feedback provided in the Green Workplaces surveys and am grateful we’re able to share in this accomplishment together.”
ACHS’s new President Erika Yigzaw (formerly chief strategy officer), who accepted the award with Petersen on May 31, says, “As a Certified B Corporation, our entire team works every day to help educate others about the importance of issues like organic farming, giving back, and banding together to achieve more. The best part about being included on the 100 Best Green Workplaces list is that it lets Oregon companies learn from each other about the best practices. The friendly competition positively inspires us to strive more each year. We hope the work of Oregon Business magazine, who have spearheaded these awards for 10 years, helps us inspire other businesses to join the top 100 in the corporate responsibility movement and in considering the ‘triple bottom line’: People and Planet, along with Profits. Listening to the great work being done by other members of the top 10 and national companies like Alaska Airlines yesterday, I was reminded of the U.S. motto ‘E pluribus unum,’ or ‘from many, one’—as from all our many actions working together, we get ONE healthier planet. It is exciting to see Oregon leading the way with green innovation!”
This is not the first time that ACHS has ranked high on the list of greenest workplaces or has been recognized for environmental integrity. The college’s commitment to sustainable programs, with an emphasis on holistic living and environmentally responsible practices, pushed ACHS from number 12 on the greenest workplaces list in 2015 to number six in 2016. Last year, ACHS came in at number two. Even before this, in 2009 the college achieved the Gold Seal of Approval from Green America’s Green Business Network—America’s oldest network of socially and environmentally responsible businesses. Additionally, ACHS’s Apothecary Shoppe college bookstore is Oregon Tilth Certified Organic, and the college was awarded Gold Certification by the City of Portland Green Business Directory.
The college credits its green standing to not just the vision of the leadership but to the faculty and staff who are all continuously striving to push and adhere to sustainable models and instill these same green-living standards in students and graduates. ACHS’s sustainability initiatives include Oil to Water, an Apothecary Shoppe initiative, which in 2018 is funding four wells in one of the poorest regions of Nepal, where growers learned about organic growing from Petersen during a 2016 service mission. A portion of all essential oil sales is donated to global sustainability and wellness education initiatives. ACHS’s Portland campus also takes its wind, geothermal and solar power from local renewable sources, composts, participates in SOLV cleanups, uses harvested rainwater to irrigate an organic herb garden, use eco-friendly cleaning and building supplies, participates in Northwest Earth Institute’s EcoChallenge, is a Certified Organic handler by Oregon Tilth and uses occupancy sensors to turn off lights when rooms are not in use, among other things.
ACHS—its main campus located at 5005 SW Macadam Avenue in John’s Landing area of Portland—has been part of the Oregon business landscape for 30 years. In 2017 ACHS opened a second campus in Kona, Hawaii. The college offers online classes, degrees and certificates in several wellness specialties, including holistic nutrition, herbal medicine, integrative health and fitness, holistic spa management, aromatherapy and more.