The leading women of sustainable industries.
Co-founder and executive
director, Sustainable Connections
Michelle Long’s desire to create environmental and social change was sparked by a two-year trip around the world. Upon returning home to Bellingham, Wash., she started a new journey, this time through the uncharted waters of sustainable business.
Fueled by her conviction that business could be an “upstream solution” to problems, driving change and influencing policy, she and her husband Derek Long launched Sustainable Connections, a nonprofit aiming to connect sustainable businesses with like-minded customers and influence policy change.
“When business acts, local governments follow,” Long says.
Over the past five years, Sustainable Solutions has grown to include about 700 Whatcom County businesses and 11 employees.
The organization provides education, support and market development to its member businesses, while encouraging residents to direct their dollars to local merchants through its Think Local First campaign and an online directory. Sustainable Connections focuses on locally owned businesses, not only to support community businesses, but because they have the autonomy to make rapid changes, Long says.