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A Healthy Bottom Line 

Three Spokane businesses balance profit and environmental goals

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The survival of every business depends on making sure revenue outpaces expenses, so it's natural to cut costs anywhere possible, whether it's something big like using cheap foreign production facilities or something simpler like ordering supplies online.

Some businesses, though, also build an ethos of sustainability and community into every decision they make. It might cost them more money on the front end, but the long-term benefits to the environment and its future residents are important enough to warrant the expense. They want their businesses to do well, but they also want to do some good.

Erica Johnson, an associate professor of economics at Gonzaga University specializing in environmental and health economics, says that while bigger businesses have led the way in being more environmentally friendly, more and more small businesses are incorporating being green and sustainable into their business plans. Businesses of all sizes are finding good reasons to go green.

"There are three main reasons why CEOs say they pursue sustainability," Johnson says. "A big one is reputation. They are able to say, 'Hey, look, we're doing all these great things for the environment.' ... Another is cost savings. If there's something they can do that's more efficient, then obviously they want to do that. And sometimes it can be more efficient to bte green. The new one that's kind of up-and-coming is that more CEOs are saying they're doing it because it aligns with their mission, because it's the right thing to do fundamentally."

This month we look at three Inland Northwest businesses that put sustainability front and center in their business plans: Manito Tap House, Roast House Coffee and Mountain Gear.

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