Industry Featured Articles
Tuesday, January 09 2018
By Amanda Taylor, Senior Consultant and Director of Research, McCallum Sweeney Consulting
Corporate sustainability strategies have become common at companies large and small, establishing initiatives and targets for economic, environmental, and social performance of the company. Sustainability is about taking a long-term view when making corporate investments, which can be difficult in a competitive economic environment that rewards short-term gains. To meet sustainability targets, sustainability-driven companies take a systems approach, meaning all material inputs and outputs are elements in an ecosystem that are continually put back into service. Companies with sustainability strategies are driven not only by economic gains, but environmental and social principles. Sustainability-driven manufacturers will place importance on the selection of production locations that will align with and support their corporate performance targets. Companies will invest in locations where the community is a willing partner towards achieving sustainability targets. Communities that are prepared to be a partner are best poised to benefit from the sustainability movement.
Sustainability, as with all social movements, has gone through natural stages of maturation, from initial conception derived from grassroots activism, to the identification of a shared vision, and then formalization through public awareness and acceptance. The sustainability movement’s roots began with the environmental movement of the 1960s and 70s, when passage of substantial regulations such as the Clean Air Act, Solid Waste Disposal Act, Clean Water Act, and creation of the Environmental Protection Agency solidified public sentiment toward protecting human health and the environment. Sustainable development was formalized in 1987 when the Brundtland Commission Report defined it as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Thursday, January 12 2017
By Courtni Wisenbaker-Scheel
We can all agree that the face of environmental protection and green development has changed dramatically over the past decade. What once used to be a small faction of the population is now a booming voice that is crying for change, and many across the political aisle have recognized the importance of action. From innovation strategies to technological advancements to incentive-based government programs, going green is now a talking point in almost every home and office across the country.
In fact, it is in these markets that some of the best strides are happening. Energy efficient appliances, solar photovoltaics, and eco-friendly construction materials are now common phrases to be heard at dinner tables and conference tables alike. Demand for green development is at an all time high, with many in the industry feeling like it has nowhere to go but up, even if the road gets a bit rockier in the coming year.
Wednesday, January 13 2016
By Don Schjeldahl, Principal, DSG Advisors
Every generation or so since the dawn of the industrial age, game-changing ideas and technologies have transformed both the way corporations operate and society itself. Introduction of the electric grid, rail networks, public sanitation and education are among the innovations that reshaped America in the early years of the 20th century. Then, as now, with each innovation, corporate location decisions were altered, at least by adept organizations, to reflect a new reality.
The business world is on the verge of adopting another corporate best practice – green development, a concept that lean and malleable corporate operations do better in communities that manage themselves to region-wide and site-specific considerations in mind. And like previous advances, green development is beginning to dictate best locations for corporate investment. This article offers corporate executives an outline of green development factors to consider in future investment decisions.
Wednesday, May 20 2015
By JoAnn Crary, Chair, International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and President, Saginaw Future Inc.
The movement towards a green economy has been transforming the economic development profession and the businesses and communities they support. Energy related issues are usually among the top site-selection factors for any relocation project, and increasingly real estate developers and investors are drawn to places with a green infrastructure and culture for relocations and expansions. Results from a 2011 IEDC survey of state economic development leaders demonstrated that the relationship between renewable energy and economic development was robust and would continue to grow. And today, more communities across the U.S. are tapping into energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities.
However, despite the ostensible benefits of developing a renewable energy scheme – from enhancing the energy efficiency of manufacturing facilities and commercial buildings, to driving business competitiveness, to creating jobs, to improving grid reliability, and saving consumers money on energy bills - it does not come without challenges. Lack of investment capital and financing was cited as a top concern for economic development professionals for renewable energy policies in the above mentioned survey, and remains so today. With some cities, counties, and states now enacting mandatory reporting of energy consumption - notably in California and the City of Seattle - more expectations will be placed on builders nationwide.