The Guide to Green: A win-win approach for Environmental Quality & Economic Vitality in Commerce
Written by Brinton Williams, Edited by Cassie Gardener
Through a unique collaboration, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, the Commerce Industrial Council, the City of Commerce and the Liberty Hill Foundation recently convened for the first of many workshops to help Commerce businesses save money by going green. The “Guide to Green Business Benefits Workshop,” held at the Rosewood Park Community Center on Thursday May 30th, 2013, marked an important first step in the organizers’ goals to reduce the impact of industrial pollution on community health, and revitalize businesses with green economic development opportunities.
The 90-minute program featured six different agencies at the Federal, State, Regional, and Local government level, who provided beneficial information on many of the different financial and technical assistance programs available to businesses in the City of Commerce that are looking to improve their business and operate more safely. This information is compiled in the new City of Commerce Guide to Green, co-published by Liberty Hill and East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, which was handed out and reviewed at the event and can be found online here.
The new City of Commerce Guide to Green is effective in helping businesses both save money and improve the environment around them. City Council member, Ivan Altamirano put it best when he said, “the Guide to Green has the potential of increasing cash-flow for property owners and the contractors they employ, providing rich tax incentives to businesses and enhancing the environmental quality of our community.”[i] This business-friendly approach to tackling the environmental health and justice challenges facing the City of Commerce promises to be a model for other cities nationwide to follow. It allows for the City to offer business incentives that can help small- and medium-sized businesses “revitalize their operations”[ii] and “transition from outmoded and inefficient equipment and production methods to more sustainable and non-polluting business operations.”[iii]
As part of East Yard Communities’ Green Zone Policy Campaign, the Guide to Green directory and corresponding workshop illustrate how a voluntary business retrofit and Green Banner Program could ensure the protection of both business interests and the health of community members, as the city becomes more environmentally friendly and sustainable. As the guide itself says, “this transition to “green” can support small- and medium-size businesses as they revitalize their operations and move towards a sustainable future.”[iv] This sustainable future is what will “ensure economic vitality and protect public health”[v] for all City of Commerce citizens and businesses, for years to come.