Economy

"Our human destiny is inextricably linked to the actions of all other living things. Respecting this principle is the fundamental challenge in changing the nature of business."
- Paul Hawken, The Ecology of Commerce

 

A SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY
- = Sustainable Economy Initiatives = -

This is a series of case studies of local economic sustainability that I have written for the journal ‘Local Economic Development’, published by I-Documentsystems, based in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Bay Area Green Business Program
The Bay Area Green Business Program is a partnership of environmental agencies, professional associations, waste management agencies, utilities, and a concerned public that assists, recognizes and promotes businesses and government agencies that volunteer to operate in a more environmentally responsible way.

BancoSol, Bolivia - A private, commercial bank which provides loans to low-income micro-entrepreneurs in Bolivia. It started life as an NGO, and incorporated as a fully-fledged bank in 1992 in order to meet the growing demand for microloans on a self-financing basis.

Calmeadow - A Canadian charitable foundation which specializes in microlending to low-income entrepreneurs, both overseas and in Canada, where it operates two microloan funds.

The Ceres Principles - A set of environmental principles designed to encourage greater environmental responsibility in business. The Principles are administered by the CERES Coalition, a not-for-profit organization comprised of leading social investment professionals, environmental groups and public interest groups in the USA. 81 companies have so far endorsed the Principles, including the Sun Company, Polaroid and General Motors.

Cleveland Urban EcoVillage - A national demonstration project in Cleveland, Ohio, that seeks to show that urban life can be both socially and ecologically sustainable. www.ecocitycleveland.org

Co-operative Auto-Network, Vancouver - A highly successful non-profit membership-owned car-sharing co-operative, whose 1,000+ members share 66 vehicles. www.cooperativeauto.net

Danish Wind Turbine Guilds - Denmark, with a population of 5 million people, generates 1600 MW of its electricity by windpower, 10% of the nation's total. 79,000 Danes own shares in the country's 5,000 wind turbines, mostly through community guilds or co-operatives, and 17,000 people are employed in the wind energy sector. Since this sheet was written, Denmark?s wind capacity has risen to 2500 MW, generating 15% of the nation?s electricity.

Ecotrust - Willapa Bay - A non-profit organization committed to realizing ecologically sustainable economic development in the coastal temperate rainforest region of North West America. It operates in four locations, including Willapa Bay, in Washington State. www.ecotrust.org

Fair Trade Coffee - TransFair USA is the certification agency for Fair Trade coffee and tea in the US. It works to expand the number of importers, roasters and retailers of fair trade certified products, in order to guarantee a more secure and ecologically sustainable livelihood for farming communities in developing nations.

Gaviotas - A self-sufficient ecological village that has been built out of nothing in an impoverished area of Colombia as a conscious demonstration of social idealism, local economic development and ecological sustainability. www.friendsofgaviotas.org

Green Star, Anchorage - A non-profit organization in Anchorage, Alaska, which works with businesses and other organizations to make them more environmentally friendly. www.greenstarinc.org

Greenstone - A non-profit community development corporation, funded by the Canadian federal government, which works to strengthen and diversify the economy of a rural region of northwest Manitoba which is dominated by a single industry economy.

Land And Water Fund Colorado - Since 1997, the Land and Water Fund of the Rockies has spearheaded a grassroots marketing campaign for renewable energy in Colorado which has resulted in a five to ten-fold expansion of the local utility?s plans for wind-generated energy.

Link-Up, King County, Seattle - An initiative by King County’s Solid Waste Division which helps Puget Sound area manufacturers incorporate more recycled materials into their products. www.dnr.metrokc.gov/linkup

Mid-Island Cooperative, Nanaimo, Vancouver Island - A 22,000-strong consumer cooperative, with its main activities in the retail food and gasoline sectors. www.midislandcoop.com

New Dawn Enterprises, Canada - The oldest community development corporation in Canada, based in the Cape Breton area of Nova Scotia, which seeks to identify community needs, and then establishes ventures that speak to those needs. It employs around 175 people, and delivers services to 600 Cape Bretoners daily, in a region where the unofficial unemployment rate is 45%.

Oakland/Berkeley Recycling Market Development Zone - Gives support and assistance to manufacturing and processing companies which create value-added production from re-used and recycled materials, encouraging them to locate within the Zone, and assists existing companies to expand. It is the most successful of 40 such zones in California.

Philips Eco-Enterprise Center, Minneapolis, USA - A large eco-industrial facility that was built as an alternative to a garbage transfer station, after extensive community protest and involvement

Revelstoke Community Futures Development Corporation - A broadly-based, non-profit community economic development organization which operates in the small rural Canadian city of Revelstoke (population 8,800), assisting individuals with employment, training and business development, and engaging in a wide variety of community projects.

San Francisco's Residential Energy Conservation Ordinance (RECO) - Since 1982, San Francisco has used a very progressive approach to upgrade the energy efficiency of the city?s buildings, producing an overall 15% increase in efficiency, while stimulating the city?s economy.

Shorebank USA
ShoreBank Corporation is America’s first and leading community development and environmental banking corporation.

Shorecap International (microcredit)
ShoreCap International invests capital in local financial institutions that provide loans to micro and small businesses in developing and transitional economies.

Socially Responsible Banking Fund - The Socially Responsible Banking Fund of the Vermont National Bank/Chittenden Bank enables ordinary depositors to lend their money to small businesses, farms, schools and affordable housing initiatives which make a positive contribution to their communities.

Stockyards, Computer Ownership for Neighbors - A project developed by the Stockyard Area Development Association in Cleveland, Ohio, to bring personal computer ownership to some 1,000 households in an impoverished blue collar neighborhood whose economic culture is stuck in the technologies of the 1950s.

Thousand Oaks Environmental Business Cluster - A nonprofit alliance created to assist environmental start-ups by providing inexpensive space, furnishings and management services in a collaborative setting, based in the town of Thousand Oaks, just west of Los Angeles.

VanCity Savings Credit Union - VanCity Savings is Canada’s largest credit union, committed to a triple bottom line that includes social and environmental responsibility.

Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility - Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility is a non-profit association of businesses in Vermont whose owners share a dual commitment to business success and to social and environmental responsibility.

Womens World Banking - A network of affiliate organizations in 40 countries, centered in New York, which works to train, assist, and lend credit to low-income women entrepreneurs all around the world

WomenVenture - One of Minnesota's leading non-profit agencies that helps women find jobs, plan careers and start and grow businesses, with an emphasis on low-income communities.