Natural Step US to merge with Cascadia Green Building Council
The Natural Step US, an early leader in promoting green business philosophy, has announced they will be merging with the Cascadia Green Building Council in order to expand the offerings of both non-profit groups.
The Portland-based group, which is an extension of the original Natural Step organization founded by Swedish doctor Karl-Henrik Robèrt in 1989, focuses more on the concepts behind green business rather than specific technologies.
“We’re focused on providing a framework,” says Executive Director Regina Hauser. “That really creates a mind-shift, and that mind-shift then enables large steps toward sustainability. Some organizations will start with incremental steps, but that kind of incremental how-to is not where we operate.”
This move is a boost to The Natural Step US because in recent years their organization’s size has decreased to a mere 3-person staff. The merger will save money for them, as well as bringing a whole new dimension of green business philosophy to Cascadia.
The Cascadia Green Building Council, unique for being not only the only regional Council to be a member of both the USGBC and the CaGBC, is also the creator of the Living Building Challenge, a new standard that many people view as the successor to the LEED rating system. The addition of The Natural Step US philosophy fits in very well with the direction that Cascadia is taking, as the demand for green business is growing beyond energy efficient buildings.
“It ends up expanding our mission, which we’re very excited about,” said Jason McLennan, Cascadia chief executive. “You can’t get to the place we’re hoping to get to without affecting both the corporate world and the built environment, so it really seems like a great fit to take a more integrated, holistic approach.”
This move lends some support to the belief that Cascadia will be the driving force in uniting the USGBC and CaGBC into a single organization to direct green building practices in North America, and bringing the Living Building Challenge to the forefront as the new green building benchmark.