The Bold New Economy – a Resilient Cities Panel

Mayor Pam Goldsmith-Jones chaired a session on the Bold New Economy.  Mark Holland (HB Lanarc) and Tom Osdoba (Director, Centre for Sustainable Business Practices, Lundquist Business College, University of Oregon) were the proponents of an approach to what they called “the new normal”.   It was a session full of ideas and info.  Here are some highlights:

What a Sustainable Regional Economy is not:

  • Absolutely self-sufficient
  • Protectionist
  • Command and control
  • Neo-medieval

Strategic approach needed to increase:

  • Capacity and competition
  • Exports
  • Business Ecological Networks  (Business ecology networks are essentially what has been known for a longer time as industrial ecology, or eco-industrial networks.   Essentially it is a network of various relationships between businesses through which they work together to increase economic performance and reduce environmental impact.   Actions can be many from shared infrastructure to shared expertise, to byproduct synergies (turning one company’s wastes into a resource for another), to transportation partnerships (eg: so trucks are full going both in and out), etc…
  • Local multipliers
  • Ethical standards
  • Quality of life
  • Resilience

…while decreasing our ecological footprint.

I was very interested in their take on the various of roles:  local government, business, industry groups and academia.

Role of local government: strategy, coordination, regulation, socio-cultural needs, influence, monitoring.

Role of Business: business best practice, corporate citizenship, business ecology network building, customer/government education, regional co-opetition (collaboration/competition combo).

Role of Industry Groups: monitoring/reporting, negotiation, business ecology network coordination, sustainable research and education.

Role of Academia: future thinking and re-framing, innovation and advocacy, research and ingenuity, co-op education, public education, new skills.

Chris Corps with Fidelis, a highly skilled accountant with great expertise in addressing the actual enhanced asset value of green buildings (just one of his areas of expertise) responded to Mark and Tom.  He pointed us to the Stern Review, the UK Report on the Economics of Climate Change (http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/sternreview_index.htm) and also identified 3 critical gaps:  the Dialogue Gap – value and sustainability;  the Regulatory Gap – taxes, rules, regs; and the Policy Gap.

I also responded in this session with some ideas around the importance of regional citizens;  the role of education, creativity, imagination and re-thinking the relationship between education and work; the role that research is playing and should be playing; and, the notion of the Pacific Coast Collaborative and its potential to be part of our economic health.

All-in-all tons of stimulation around this critical topic.

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