Generating Sustainable Economic Development
THE GLOBAL FUTURE OF GREEN CAPITALISM
Dr. Marc A. Weiss, Chairman and CEO, and James Hurd Nixon, President,
Global Urban Development
People around the world are embracing Green Capitalism because it is now possible to create a higher standard of living for every person and community by shifting from resource-wasting to resource-saving industrialism. In the 21st Century, people, places, and organizations will literally “get richer by becoming greener” – earning and saving more money by conserving and reusing resources more efficiently.
Global Urban Development (GUD) is designing and implementing Sustainable Economic Development Strategies to help enable Green Capitalism to succeed worldwide. This model adapts sustainable business concepts from experts including Paul Hawken, Amory and Hunter Lovins, Ray Anderson, Hazel Henderson, Peter Senge, Karl-Henrik Robert, Thomas Friedman, William McDonough, Daniel Esty, Elliott Hoffman, Aron Cramer, and the McKinsey Global Institute, as applied in various ways by companies such as GE, IBM, Toyota, Interface, IKEA, DuPont, Disney, Wal-Mart, Google, Nike, Stonyfield Farm, Seventh Generation, Siemens, Cisco, Philips, Applied Materials, and Johnson Controls. Sustainable Economic Development Strategies apply these concepts to sub-national economies, including states, provinces, regions, districts, counties, cities, towns, villages, and neighborhoods.
Sustainable Economic Development Strategies generate substantial economic and employment growth and sustainable business and community development by demonstrating that innovation, efficiency, and conservation in the use and reuse of all natural and human resources is the best way to increase jobs, incomes, productivity, and competitiveness. In addition, Sustainable Economic Development Strategies are the most cost-effective method of promoting renewable energy and clean technologies, protecting the environment, and preventing harmful impacts from climate change. A Sustainable Economic Development Strategy has four key elements, which GUD refers to as the Four Greens:
1) Green Savings—cutting costs for businesses, families, communities, and governments by efficiently using renewable resources and by reducing and reusing waste.
2) Green Opportunities—growing jobs and incomes through business development and expanding markets for resource efficiency, sustainability, and clean technologies.
3) Green Talent—investing in fundamental assets such as education, research, technological innovation, and modern entrepreneurial and workforce skills, because people are now the world’s most vital green economic resource.
4) Green Places—establishing sustainable transportation and infrastructure, and protecting and enhancing the natural and built environment, to create more attractive, livable, healthy, vibrant, prosperous, productive, and resource-efficient areas and communities.
Fortunately, there are success stories in which business sustainability principles have guided economic development. People in the State of California saved $56 billion on energy costs between 1973 and 2006, primarily from policies requiring higher energy efficiency standards for new buildings, new electrical appliances, and new motor vehicles, combined with financial incentives for utility companies, businesses, and households to conserve energy and use renewable resources. Consumers reinvested much of this savings in the state's economy, generating 1.5 million new full-time jobs with a total annual payroll of $45 billion.
Similarly, people in metropolitan Portland (Oregon/Washington) save more than $2 billion annually due to land-use and transportation changes over the past three decades. By modestly increasing population and building densities and developing light-rail transit, together with mixed-use communities built to promote walking and bicycling, Portlanders have substantially reduced vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions, while jobs, incomes, and investments have grown significantly since 1980.
Throughout the world, from Singapore to Stockholm, urban regions have improved their economies by becoming more sustainable. Some of these places are profiled in the World Bank’s “Eco2 Cities” report. Curitiba, Brazil is a leading example of a city with a successful four-decade economic development strategy based on growing businesses, jobs, and incomes by improving urban quality of life through innovative land-use and transportation planning and related environmental and social initiatives. One of Curitiba’s innovations, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), has become a model for sustainable transportation and land-use planning in many cities and regions worldwide.
During June 7-8, 2011 in Curitiba, the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas held an international conference, sponsored by the Brazil and U.S. Governments, on “Planning for Sustainable Economic Development Across the Americas.” GUD worked with the American Planning Association, the City of Curitiba, and the U.S. State Department to organize this historic meeting exploring the potential benefits of state/provincial, regional, and local Sustainable Economic Development Strategies from Argentina to Canada.
GUD has worked with places including San Antonio, San Jose/Silicon Valley, Southwest Florida, Metropolitan Portland, Metropolitan Denver, and the State of Delaware, using our four-part framework for Sustainable Economic Development Strategies to save money, create jobs, raise incomes, grow businesses, and improve the environment. Recently GUD completed a Sustainable Economic Development Strategy, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, for Sarasota County, Florida to become a “Center for Innovation in Energy and Sustainability.”
In March 2011, Global Urban Development published Sustainable Economic Development Strategies, describing in detail the key elements of the various strategies, and explaining how to design and implement such approaches most effectively. This document can be downloaded from our website at www.globalurban.org.
Please click here for GUD’s combined slide presentation on Metropolitan Economic Strategy and Sustainable Economic Development.
The purpose of this global policy initiative is to promote a worldwide conversation and movement for generating and sustaining prosperity and quality of life for all, in urban regions and rural areas on every continent. Sustainable Economic Development is a new framework spearheaded by Global Urban Development, emphasizing cooperation and teamwork across urban regions to improve economic, social, and environmental health. The framework focuses on creating coordinated public, private, and civic investment strategies that treat all people and communities as assets to be included in the policymaking process, to contribute to the productivity of society, and to benefit from the fruits of prosperity. Sustainable Economic Development is a force for unity in that it emphasizes the common interests of everyone across governmental jurisdictions, and the vital importance of social equity, participatory governance, and environmental sustainability as key building blocks of a competitive and innovative economy at the local, regional, national, and international levels.
Sustainable Economic Development emphasizes the importance of regional cooperation and public-private-civic leadership. In addition, it highlights the importance of social equity and inclusiveness, and environmental protection and sustainable development, in strengthening the economic productivity, innovation, and competitiveness that enables urban regions to thrive by investing in their fundamental assets of people and place, and identifying and growing their dynamic industry networks. Sustainable Economic Development brings together leaders from government, business, professional institutions, community groups, non-governmental organizations, and the communications media in urban regions from nations all over the developed and developing world.
Sustainable Economic Development enables urban regions to develop a cohesive identity based on a sense of common purpose and cooperative teamwork, and to foster new global, national, and local economic policies that recognize the dynamic contribution of urban areas and the necessity of promoting economic and social equity and a sustainable environment as essential building blocks of prosperity and quality of life for all. Through various research and actions projects, national and metropolitan leaders will be able more effectively to engage in public policy, private investment, and community development for the mutual benefit of their respective urban regions, for reducing poverty, and for generating sustainable and equitable economic growth worldwide.
GUD’s program committee on Generating Sustainable Economic Development furthers the work of GUD in 2008 and 2009 in collaboration with the Climate Prosperity Alliance (CPA), including the Global Climate Prosperity Agreement in partnership with the United Nations, the Global Climate Prosperity Scoreboard (now the Green Transition Scoreboard) in partnership with Ethical Markets Media, the Global Coal Transition and Clean Technology Investment Initiative in partnership with the Carbon War Room, and the Climate Prosperity Handbook in partnership with the International Economic Development Council, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Environmental Defense Fund.
These initiatives helped encourage the agreement by developed countries, operating through the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to establish the Green Climate Fund, which beginning in 2020 will make available $100 billion annually to developing countries for climate mitigation and adaptation. They also played a role at Rio + 20 in encouraging more than $50 billion of private sector investment commitments, another $30 billion from multilateral development banks, plus billions more from national governments, for the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All program to promote universal energy access, renewable energy production and distribution, and energy conservation and efficiency improvements in developing countries by 2030.
Thus far the project consists of GUD’s Sustainable Economic Development Practice, in which GUD will work with sub-national governments and local authorities worldwide – states, provinces, regions, districts, counties, cities, towns, villages, and neighborhoods – to strengthen their economies by improving their environments. By actively promoting innovation, efficiency, and conservation in the use and reuse of all natural and human resources, places can increase jobs, raise incomes, grow businesses, and enhance their overall productivity and competitiveness. This approach serves as the basic framework for Sustainable Economic Development Strategies. James Nixon and Marc Weiss recently co-authored a two-page article, The Global Future of Green Capitalism, and a 32-page manual, published by GUD, entitled Sustainable Economic Development Strategies, explaining in detail how places can engage in such environmentally friendly initiatives to generate economic, business, employment, and community development.
GUD has worked with places including San Antonio, San Jose/Silicon Valley, Southwest Florida, Metropolitan Portland, Metropolitan Denver, and the State of Delaware, using our four-part framework for Sustainable Economic Development Strategies to save money, create jobs, raise incomes, grow businesses, and improve the environment. Recently GUD completed a Sustainable Economic Development Strategy for Sarasota County, Florida. This initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, is a strategic plan for Sarasota County to become a “Center for Innovation in Energy and Sustainability.” During June 7-8, 2011 in Curitiba, Brazil, the Brazil and U.S. Governments and the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas held a conference on “Planning for Sustainable Economic Development Across the Americas.” GUD worked with the American Planning Association, the City of Curitiba, and the U.S. State Department to organize this historic international meeting exploring the potential benefits of state/provincial, regional, and local Sustainable Economic Development Strategies from Argentina to Canada. The GUD team advising, supporting, and collaborating on Sustainable Economic Development include Rosa Alegria, Jobeda Ali, Edward Blakely, Lawrence Bloom, Ian Bromley, John Cleveland, Aser Cortines, Gene DePrez, Sarah Dimson, Daniely Votto Fontoura, Nicky Gavron, Emilio Haddad, Peter Hall, Ken Heatherington, Paul Krutko, Jaime Lerner, Rodrigo Loures, Richard Lindberg, Tony Manwaring, Andreia Marin Martins, Lisa Nisenson, Laurie Kaye Nijaki, James Nixon, Marta Nunes da Costa, Emilia Queiroga, Elaine Yamashita Rodriguez, Tom Roper, Joao Pedro Roth, Nathan Sandwick, Nancy Sedmak-Weiss, Al Victors, Ramiro Wahrhaftig, Marc Weiss, David Wilmoth, Cynthia Wilson, and Larry Zinn.
Sustainable Economic Development Committee
Co-Chairs: Hazel Henderson, Jaime Lerner, and James Nixon
Habiba Al Marashi
Sergio Besserman Vianna
Cid Blanco Jr.
J. Thomas Cochran
Lauren Moser Counts
Richard David Hames
C. S. Kiang
L. Hunter Lovins
Andreia Marin Martins
Laurie Kaye Nijaki
Marta Nunes da Costa
Mary Jane Ortega
Christina Carvalho Pinto
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber
Molly O'Meara Sheehan
D. Wayne Silby
W. Cecil Steward
Mary Jo Waits
Eva Willmann de Donlea
Darcy Stallings Winslow