Archive for August, 2009
Thursday, August 20th, 2009
There has been a lot of discussion lately on what the city should be requiring from large real estate deals that involve public subsidies. Fortunately, the same discussion is happening all over the globe. Cites, regions, states and even counties are looking at opportunities to create real economic growth. In the “Research Triangle” of North Carolina, businesses are developing their own way to promote a sustainable economy based on profit, people and planet. This is a voluntary initiative that is being sponsored by their own Chamber of Commerce as a model that is pro-business.
Pittsburgh does not compete with our suburbs – we compete with other regions. We need to expect more from government than real estate development – we need real economic development. When it comes to using our scarce incentives and grants, we need to expect more than just profits for land developers. We need a new economic development plan in Pittsburgh that guarantees that publicly subsidized developments improve the public. Pittsburgh needs to become a leader in Triple Bottom Line economics and sustainable growth. By assuring these principles we will minimize negative outcomes to communities and the environment. We will invest in projects that invest in people and the industries that will rebuild our region. And, we will end the cycle of using tax dollars to simply develop land.
The business community of North Carolina’s Research Triangle understand that the model of economic growth and sustainability is vastly different than it was in the 1950s. It is time for Pittsburgh to make this transition for all publicly subsidized projects and enable our new economy to prosper – for everyone.
Wednesday, August 12th, 2009
#1 – What is the Genuine Progress Index?
The Genuine Progress Index is holistic measurement tool used by communities to determine the real detriments and benefits of economic activity. The characteristics of the GPI create a system that has the ability to converge environmental, social, and economic impacts into one measurement, as it counts any harmful activities as negative, and any beneficial activities as positive.
Ron Colman, the Executive Direct of GPI Atlantic says that “In the Genuine Progress Index, we see the economy serving social goals, and we see human society as completely dependent on an encompassing ecosystem.”
GPI is valued by Nova Scotia for several reasons. First, they believe that it will allow them to make better decisions for the future. They also believe it is beneficial to place a value on things that are believed to be important, such as a clean environment and health, and place a negative value on things that negatively impact us, such as pollution.
Watch the video to learn more about the GPI system and it’s benefits.
#2 – A Class Act
Making Nova Scotia (and Pittsburgh) proud!
Monday, August 3rd, 2009
The Triple Bottom Line practice relies upon three main areas of focus that, when successfully implemented together, work to achieve the ultimate goal of sustainability. These areas are the social, environmental, and economic, or in other words, the people, planet, and profit.
- People – A company that follows the principles of the Triple Bottom Line works to ensure that their development has a positive impact upon the people with which it interacts. It would ultimately give back to the community, and be sure to never exploit or endanger any group of people. For example, an operation that follows the Triple Bottom Line would never use child labor, and would ensure safe working conditions and fair working hours.
- Planet – A focus on environmentally sustainable practices is an essential component in the Triple Bottom Line. Energy use and ecological footprint are carefully monitored, and reduced in any way possible. The company would work to reduce the impact of their waste, and be cautious about the amount of resources consumed. The “cradle to grave” process of manufacturing is also a very important idea for this aspect of the Triple Bottom Line. Triple Bottom Line companies would not produce anything that was harmful to society, such as toxic chemicals.
- Profit – Traditionally, profit is seen as the benefit that the company receives from it’s business practices, the main objective of their actions. However, in a Triple Bottom Line business practice, profit is measured not only by the money made for the company, but by a lasting positive role in the economic community they are a part of.
A focus on all three of these aspects by a business is essential to achieve a Triple Bottom Line business practice. All three of these elements work to bring business interests and social interests together, making developments positive for both those inside the business, and in the surrounding community.
To learn more about the Triple Bottom Line: