Growing the Green Economy Blog

What Do Green Businesses Need?
September 30, 2009, 5:51 pm
Filed under: Greening Existing Businesses, Indianapolis

Delta Institute also worked with Indianapolis consultant Anna Jetmore-Vargas of Keramida and New Day Group to conduct research into the needs and wants of green businesses in the Indianapolis area.  In summer 2009, Jetmore-Vargas conducted phone interviews with a selection of 11 local businesses representing a range of sizes and types.  Her findings provided a snapshot of business concerns and needs relative to the green economy.  
Key barriers included:

  • Lack of capital
  • Need for behavior modification
  • Recycling barriers
  • Lack of incentives
  • Lack of options
  • Long payback period
  • Uncertainty/Lack of Information

The research also identified the need for specific kinds of information and education, sales and marketing support, suppliers and facilities, and access to incentives and financing. Read the whole presentation. Anna_DeltaPresentation091509 .


Roadmap to the Green Economy for Indianapolis

IN MapOn September 15, The Delta Institute and Sustainindy presented “Tapping into the Emerging Green Economy,” a one-day workshop to promote brownfield redevelopment and lay the groundwork for a Green Economic Development Action Plan for Indianapolis. More than 30 representatives from area businesses, nonprofit support groups, government agencies and service providers attended the session.
The session kicked off with the unveiling of a report developed by Delta Institute under a grant from the USEPA. In addition to defining the green economy and highlighting national green business and job trends, the presentation assessed Indy’s economic assets and competitive advantages, sources of business and political support and other resources. Six significant opportunities were discussed:
1. R & D for Electric Vehicles – A combination of strong academic research and technical capabilities combined with federal goals for hybrid vehicles and stimulus funding for retooling the auto industry is making Indianapolis a strong regional competitor in this area.
2. Manufacturing of Renewable Energy Components – Wind energy has been among the first renewable energy industries to emerge in the Midwest and there are over 250 tons of steel in an average wind turbine. Through informal research, Delta was able to identify more than 1,300 firms in Indiana that may have the potential to manufacture Renewable Energy components.
3. Green Building Products and Services – Green Building has been on a strong upswing throughout the Midwest. As the number of Indianapolis’ green buildings (LEED certified or otherwise) grows, so do jobs in sustainable construction, technical assistance, professional services, green building products and dealers and wholesalers.
4. Waste Reduction, Recycling and Pollution Prevention – Although new energy-related industries are growing rapidly, businesses that help meet other sustainability goals through conservation and pollution mitigation may represent the biggest area of growth…some estimates suggest that these could account for roughly 65% of all clean jobs.
5. Agriculture and Horticulture – Despite harsh winters and short growing seasons, there is an increase in urban and other agricultural enterprises. Many provide transitional job training in landscaping and farming, nutrition and environmental practices.
6. Greening Existing Businesses — Many new jobs are developing to support the greening of the existing business base, which will be critical to maintain the competitiveness of existing businesses in the global economy. Read the full report here:
FINAL IndyGreenEconomyV3091409nonotes
More Information and Resources: A number of agencies and groups at the state and city levels offer helpful information, resources and tools for green economic development and brownfield reuse. Here are some who participated in the workshop and the information they can offer:

Tapping into the Emerging Green Economy

On September 15,  more than 40 people participated in a full-day workshop at which Delta Institute presented it’s Green Economy Roadmap for Indianapolis.  Attendees — share your comments and thoughts about this presentation and/or remarks by other speakers.  If you didn’t attend, review the presentation and let us know what you think. IndyGreenEconomyV3091409nonotes

Defining “The Green Economy”

StreetSign-still-shorterJPEGMany local chambers of commerce and business support groups are exploring how they can tap into the emerging green economy and create new networks to support sustainable businesses. The tricky part is in figuring out where in the economy to focus limited time and resources.

Over a dozen national reports have been released since last fall estimating the potential job creation that could result from increased investment in green industries. The range of industries and the number of jobs varies, but almost all estimates include renewable energy, alternative transportation fuel, green building, energy efficiency retrofits, and waste reduction as the cornerstones of the emerging green economy. Most major recent green jobs reports can be found on Green for All’s website here.

So what steps can a local economic development organization take to nurture growth in these key emerging industries? One common approach is to ask a local economic research partner (a regional planning agency or a business program at a community college) to generate a list of existing businesses that may already be part of these industries.

Finding lists of businesses with the potential to manufacture renewable energy equipment is fairly easy thanks to a series of state reports generated by the Renewable Energy Policy Project (REPP), a Washington D.C. based research organization. REPP is working with the Blue-Green Alliance (the United Steel Workers and Sierra Club) to create and publicize reports estimating job creation linked to major new investment in renewable energy. More information on how to create a list of businesses with potential to be equipment suppliers is covered in a separate article below.

Creating a list of businesses that might already be involved in producing green goods and services is a good start any local green economic development strategy. Business data sources are typically a couple of years old, so you might want to do some supplemental internet research.. The next step is more difficult: contacting businesses on the list to understand the nature of their business and assess their business assistance needs. Are they start-up businesses that need help with marketing and access to financing? Are they established businesses looking for green suppliers? Do they need help understanding the impact of a potential new federal cap and trade system on their businesses?

Common business survey software can be used to create a database to keep track of existing businesses and business needs. Delta has also developed a list of custom questions to help capture additional information relating to green businesses.