the recovery package.
In terms of private capital, I recommend that businesses look into local funding organizations committed to the community – known as Community Development Financial Institution (or CDFIs). These lending institutions have historically been engaged in business development and are now focusing on investing in green.
I also refer readers to angel investors. Many angel investors have been involved in the green economy for a while and are interested in providing their business acumen, financial support and environmental expertise to business owners. To identify angel investors, look for local groups or check out Angelcapitalassociation.org for more information.
How can a business owner work within urban communities, and how will those communities benefit from green initiatives?
A majority of the work in the recovery package is geared at cities, so there are tremendous opportunities for both businesses and vulnerable communities to realize the potential of an inclusive green economy.
Greening the ghettos is the first place to start. A shift to a green economy can improve the health and well-being of low-income people, who suffer disproportionately from cancer, asthma, and other respiratory ailments in our current pollution-based economy. Such a shift can also create and expand entrepreneurial, wealth-building opportunities for American workers who need new avenues of economic advance.
Businesses should work closely with community organizations to create employment opportunities for at-risk youth and engage recent participants of local green-collar job training programs.
It is important to know that almost anything can be “greened,” so regardless of the business you are in, there are environmentally sound practices that can be integrated into your daily work.
What are some things businesses can do to go green and still look out for their bottom lines?
Currently, buildings account for 40% of our nation’s energy use and carbon emissions – more than transportation. By applying cost-effective, energy-efficiency measures – from adding insulation to replacing inefficient boilers – businesses can significantly lower their utility bills while reducing their carbon footprint.
Businesses can start greening their offices today by using recycled paper, installing energy efficient lighting, recycling printer cartridges, and using low- or non-toxic cleaners around the workplace.