© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Ohio U.S. Senator J.D. Vance Picked To Be Trump's Running Mate

'Green economy' guide provides Northeast Ohio businesses with a roadmap on the coming transition

Stock image of solar panels and wind turbines against a city skyline.
The Practical Guide to the Green Economy, published by the Fund for Our Economic Future, highlights the region's unique opportunity to take advantage of a climate-friendly economy, that Northeast Ohio could otherwise miss out on.

The Fund for Our Economic Future published a new guide Monday to support Northeast Ohio businesses and stakeholders through a transition to the green economy.

The green economy, as defined in the Practical Guide to the Green Economy, includes federal, state and local investments in renewable energy, along with changing consumer behavior that favors climate-friendly products and packaging, The Fund for Our Economic Future President Bethia Burke said.

"Market forces today are different than market forces were five or even two years ago, where companies are changing their sourcing, they're changing their, public facing objectives and they're changing their behavior," Burke said. "That means when we think about economic growth in the long term, we need to be understanding this change and responding differently in order to capture that growth."

Northeast Ohio is expected to be more climate-resilient than other parts of the country due to the region's relatively moderate climate and access to Lake Erie.

These factors give the region a competitive edge in the green economy, Burke said, but if we don't take advantage of that, we could miss out.

"These are all positives. They are also not distinctly unique to Northeast Ohio. There are other places that can claim those things as well," she said. "So, we're starting from a strong place, and we need to elevate that strength, with the services that we offer to businesses, with the connections we have to people [and] to the economy, and with these infrastructure investments that can make us, competitive for the future that we're seeing develop right now."

The guide highlights three strategies that businesses and other stakeholders can consider implementing to assist in the transition to the green economy: greening job hubs, future-proofing businesses and maximizing community benefits.

Greening job hubs includes a combination of factors like design of buildings, condensing job sites to limit industrial sprawl and attracting cleaner, greener businesses to the community, Burke said.

Future-proofing businesses highlights companies that may have climate-friendly goals, such as a goal to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and matching them with partners, funding and other resources that support them it their mission.

"As business objectives change, ... that requires, for example, suppliers of those businesses to change in response to those goals," Burke said. "So if a large scale company changes its objective and sets a net zero objective, it's going to look at its supply chain and look at who it's sourcing from, and want that sourcing to also have minimized the carbon footprint of the supply chain."

Maximizing community benefits is all about reducing household expenses for the community, Burke said.

"Weatherizing, renewable energy, things that reduce cost to households is a body of work that's in front of us, where there's available resource, but it also has to be pulled down effectively."

The guide also highlights numerous examples of each strategy outlined in three tiers from fundamental, or most likely to be accomplished given current conditions and resources available, to cutting edge and globally distinctive. Recommendations in those categories may need some additional exploration to see how viable they are before implementation, Burke said.

Zaria Johnson is a reporter/producer at Ideastream Public Media covering the environment.