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Dolphin Software: Its all about sustainability

by: Vern Uyetake, 
Jeremy Johnson is serving as director of Dolphin Safe Source during an exciting time for Dolphin Software.

Dolphin Software, Inc. of Lake Oswego recently received a BRAG Award from Clackamas County for its sustainable practices.

That was nice. But that isn't the half of it.

Dolphin Software is all about sustainability. Its green product selector software program can help all kinds of companies, from major manufacturers to small janitorial businesses, choose the chemicals that are the safest and best for both people and the environment.

And it is really just beginning.

'This is a new focus for us,' said Jeremy Johnson, director of Dolphin Safe Source. 'Common products have a wide range of hazards, whether it's chemicals, glass cleaners, bathroom cleaners, lubricants, oils or adhesives. We find which ones are safer.'

Dolphin Software was founded in 1991 by Mark Wysong, Tim Dore (both still with the company) and Deb Sepich. The company's initial emphasis was on tallying safety data on software so companies could better meet OSHA requirements and better ensure the safety of their workers.

This was a giant step up from what was used before.

'It was just sheets in binders,' Johnson said. 'It was hard to access and not very legible. Sometimes there were even coffee stains on them.

'We put it in digital form. If the skin or eyes of a worker became exposed to a certain chemical, they knew how to take care of the injury. Companies saved a lot of money and it took a lot of struggle out of complying with MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets).'

This service helped Dolphin to function swimmingly for years. Since its inception, Dolphin has had large global customers, including 3M, the huge worldwide high tech and health care company.

But recently the company has vastly expanded its database in order to help companies find chemicals that are not only more sustainable and safer, but in many cases even cheaper.

'There are 3 million chemical containing products,' Johnson said. 'We have a data base of 1.5 million of those products. We found that companies were buying and using 10, 20 or hundreds of chemicals for the exact same thing. There are 200 kinds of glass cleaner. We found the variance of hazard and the impact on health and the environment of all of them.

'Interestingly, safer products even lower cost. Our software is used to leverage information in an easy-to-use way.'

In the past, Johnson says it was a burden for companies to handle MSDS management. Now, thanks to Dolphin Software, it can be more of a profit center.

'You can actually save money in the long run and improve the bottom line,' Johnson said.

The best thing of all about Dolphin Software's new focus is that it is only starting.

'The program is still very young,' Johnson said. 'It was launched in March of 2007. We're in the process of getting the word out.'

Ten companies have signed on, including a couple of really big ones: the American Red Cross and Mosaic. Case studies from these companies show they are not only saving money (with the potential to save much more), they are proud to be 'good corporate stewards.'

'The potential is vast, because any company of any size is using chemicals on some level,' Johnson said.

But Dolphin is already raising its sights. Local municipalities, including the City of Lake Oswego and the Tualatin Valley Water Bureau, are currently looking at Dolphin's programs.

'There is a lot of growth. This is an interesting journey,' Johnson said. 'We're really at the genesis point of a new phase of our company.

'We're not a huge company and we don't have a huge footprint. But we do want to do our part and take the right steps. We're constantly updating our tools.

'A lot of companies make claims about 'going green.' But our program really says, 'This is what we're doing for the environment and to improve the health of our employees.' '

Much more about Dolphin Software and its green product selector software can be learned at its Web site at www.dolphinsafesource.com .