Mary Rose and Karl Ostrom founded NBIS in 2003 with the help of an interdisciplinary group of individuals who shared a vision for a new organization that would bridge the private and public sectors to meet the unprecedented environmental and social challenges we face today.
Since then, NBIS has provided regional leadership, professional development programs and a cross-sector collaborative network to help thousands of individuals advance sustainability through their companies and communities.
Over a Decade of Impact
NBIS hosted its first educational workshop, which focused on sustainable purchasing. NBIS has since organized over 50 educational symposiums, workshops and trainings on a variety of sustainability topics, equipping hundreds of professionals to advance sustainability within their organizations.
NBIS organized “Profitable Sustainability: The Future of Business,” the first major conference in Seattle to focus on sustainable business. With nearly 500 in attendance, including over 140 speakers, the conference helped to focus mainstream attention on sustainability as a business opportunity. Multiple participants today still credit that event as the launch of their own organizations’ interest in sustainability.
NBIS hosted “Business in the Long Run: Teaching Sustainable Business,” the first of 3 conferences to engage business schools on incorporating sustainability into their curricula.
NBIS hosted its first Eco-Hour with member PMI. Eco-Hours are evening socials, focused on connecting and showcasing local companies working at the intersection of innovation, sustainability and community. NBIS has since run over 35 Eco-Hours and highlighted the work of over 55 organizations.
NBIS partnered with the WA Department of Ecology, PPRC and the City of Seattle to launch By-Product Synergy NW, a program focused on reducing solid waste and fostering economic development by closing material loops for continuous reuse. Since launch, NBIS has conducted dozens of site visits, provided countless referrals, convened several focused working groups, and hosted 5 half-day conferences with speakers, discussions and interactive exercises.
NBIS partnered with Salmon Safe to certify urban properties to sustainable stormwater and landscape management standards. Our work certifying properties owned by REI, UW Seattle, PCC Natural Markets and the Olympic Sculpture Park earned praise from former governor Christine Gregoire.
NBIS created the Materials Innovation Exchange, a free online resource center that offers companies and other organizations access to a Craigslist-like regional marketplace for exchanging their waste materials, as well as to a global library of case studies and success stories.
NBIS published its first white paper, B Corporations, Benefit Corporations and Social Purpose Corporations: Launching a New Era of Impact-Driven Companies. This paper examined the growth of certified B Corporations and legal entities such as Benefit Corporations and Social Purpose Corporations, which combine business success with social and environmental responsibility and public accountability.
NBIS partnered with Accenture to host “Raising the Infrastructure IQ of the Puget Sound Region: Tackling the 2030 Challenge Intelligently,” a half-day conference designed for participants to collaborate on action-oriented strategies and innovative approaches for developing smart buildings, intelligent cities and resilient infrastructure in order to reach regional sustainability goals of the 2030 Challenge.
NBIS published a second white paper, New Challenges Reshaping Corporate Social Responsibility. This white paper represented presents a shift in understanding about the evolving state of sustainable business. It was the foundation for a year-long strategic planning process with NBIS’ leadership to reposition NBIS for the next wave of leadership: “Breakthrough Sustainability.”