Traditional Approaches to economic development policies have been developed from the perspective of what was necessary to attract and keep businesses in local communities.
- Transportation systems
- Sound educational systems to provide a workforce pool.
- Quality of life issues
- Financial incentives
- Public infrastructure and municipal services
- Reduce energy consumption
- Limit supply and distribution-chains
- Control extraction and use of natural resources
- Minimize waste
- Create a unified workforce development system
- Create industry-recognized standards for green-collar jobs
- Finance small-scale building retrofits
- Rethink the goals of business recruitment.
- Link environmental goals to publicly-financed incentive packages
- Use public policies to create and strengthen markets for green goods and services
- Build public/private partnerships to achieve sustainability goals
- Maximize the number of local green businesses
- Create a Green Economic Development Plan document
- Lead by example
- Create demand for green products through public and procurement policies
- Develop a green-collar workforce
- Build capacity to “green” existing business processes
- Strengthen locally owned business
- Implement “Buy Local” campaigns
- Promote greening location decisions
Traditionally, local governments did not develop economic development policies that directly addressed environmental concerns, and in fact, many considered environmental protection inimical to economic growth. Economic development policies have traditionally paid attention to the “bottom line,” with a focus on increasing tax revenue and job creation. The primary emphasis was on recruiting big companies, which were believed to be strong economic drivers, and economic incentives heavily reflected this bias.
One feature of the global economy is the ever-increasing size, complexity, and international character of supply chains, i.e. the system by which companies source, assemble, and distribute products. For example, a company that manufactures 12,000 parts to source them from 6,000 suppliers who in turn have 4,000 partners all over the world. Between 1995 and 2007, the number of transnational companies more than doubled.
- Poor environmental regulatory controls in some countries;
- Long transportation routes resulting in increased product carbon footprint;
- Reduced transparency about environmental controls and impacts as the supply chain expands making it difficult for consumers to know the true environmental impact of products; and
- Businesses with looser ties and reduced accountability to local communities.