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BPS and partners publish Portland Clean Industry Study

Blog Post
Large group of people in chairs sitting facing a speaker who is holding a microphone with a slideshow displayed behind him.
The Portland Clean Industry Study provides insights gained through the City’s work on the first phase of the Clean Industry Initiative. It includes an overview of the current industrial landscape, opportunities for inclusive practices and a roadmap of next steps.

This first phase of the Clean Industry Initiative serves as a foundation for future work the City, community partners and the industrial sector must undertake to see real environmental benefits and meet key goals.

Pie graph with four sections to note electricity use by industry cluster. The largest, at 50.4%, is metals and machinery manufacturing; the next is miscellaneous manufacturing at 23.2%; then food and beverage manufacturing at 17.9%; and finally electronic manufacturing at 8.5%.
Figure 13 from the Study shows total electricity use per sector in mWh. Source: PGE and Pacific Power

The Portland Clean Industry Study includes two components: a research into the current conditions of Portland’s industrial sector, global clean industry models, and relevant policy and finance tools; and a collaborative roadmap to identify priority strategies moving forward. The project was guided by an advisory group of 28 leaders representing private, public, nonprofit, and academic sectors.

The study analyzed six industrial subsectors: food and beverage manufacturing, metals and machinery manufacturing, electronic manufacturing, miscellaneous manufacturing, hospitals and universities, and waste management. Key opportunities for each industry subsectors to address greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, and waste include:

  • Food and beverage manufacturing: This subsector is high in waste, carbon emissions, and air pollutants, and is ideal for an integrated approach.
  • Metals and machinery manufacturing: This subsector generates high CO2 and waste heat that could be productive for other sectors.
  • Electronic manufacturing: Water use is a significant impact in this subsector.
  • Miscellaneous manufacturing: Focus on textile outputs, which represent some of the highest-impact waste streams.
  • Hospitals and universities: The high volumes of waste in this subsector could be recycled/reused in the same or other place-based facilities.
  • Waste management: There are opportunities to reduce or repurpose waste for all sub-industries in the study set.

Additionally, the study identified seven core strategies needed for a successful clean industry hub. These strategies include a robust business support ecosystem, connections between industry and higher education, transformative investments, supportive policy and regulation, a strong brand and community engagement, funding, and effective collaboration structures. While all of these are present in Portland, the Clean Industry Initiative should continue strengthening these strategies. The study also found that Portland has the supportive conditions in place for a cleaner industrial sector, but that transition will require additional financial resources.

In 2021, BPS and Prosper Portland began exploring the concept of a “clean industry hub” as a way to address greenhouse gas emissions from industry, universities, and hospitals, with a focus on equity and environmental co-benefits. Over the past two years, the Clean Industry Initiative has worked closely with industrial businesses to identify and design climate solutions that recognize the unique challenges faced by the industrial sector.

The next phase of the work will focus on ramping up financing and policy to accelerate change to meet the urgency of the climate crisis. This work will focus on implementation of the study’s top recommendations.