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The Dollars and Sense of Green Business - AARP Skip to content

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The Dollars and Sense of Green Business


Partners for Livable Communities (PLC) published this report in conjunction with their Economics of Sustainability agenda, which is designed to help demonstrate the Return on Investment (ROI) for sustainability and livability planning. Making the fiscal case is paramount for planners seeking to implement changes locally. Planners must increasingly tell the whole “green” story, including both the sustainability benefits and the economic value to their locality.

Key Points

The paper is a product of an event hosted by PLC in collaboration with American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE). The event brought together “leaders from eight chambers of commerce throughout the country to Washington, D.C. to present innovative green programs that are both protecting the environment and improving bottom lines for local companies” (page 5). The paper highlights specific green initiatives that provided economic impact and was embraced by respective local communities.

Other paper highlights include:

  1. The case studies include wind generation (North Myrtle Beach), a study linking environmental sustainability and job creation (St. Louis), LEED certification impact (Waco), a clean tech center (Syracuse), clean energy initiatives (Chattanooga), tax credits (Des Moines), transitioning businesses to embrace “green” reputations (Chapel Hill-Carrboro), a macro “B-Green” local initiative with millions of dollars in projected savings (Bridgeport), LED-streetlight program (Washington D.C.), and other initiatives in cities across the nation. Planners can use these case studies as examples and/or ideas for what to do and where they have previously been successfully implemented.
  2. The case studies demonstrate relationships between business and sustainability, as well as projected savings and community enthusiasm. The planner will want to first target similar initiatives to those listed and then utilize the resource to get an overarching perspective of the types of savings that have been generated. The relationship between planning in sustainability and business support can then be further investigated.

How to Use

Planners can use this resource to discover successful initiatives and explore potential connections for developing local business support. Though the papers allude to large ROIs, they do not explicitly demonstrate where or how that ROI was generated. However, using the case studies to determine whom to contact to obtain that information can be beneficial to the local planner or government leader.

View full report: The Dollars and Sense of Green Business (PDF – 2.6 MB)

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