Nearly one month has passed since the Boston summit that was attended by as many as 21 business engagement programs across the country. Such national association is unprecedented in terms of growth for green businesses. It’s now possible to analyze what initiatives have been taken since and their impact.
One of the main benefits of the Boston summit is that now more than 50 various independent green engagement programs are on a single platform. Boston has initiated a program by the name of Challenge for Sustainability Program that envisages reducing gas emissions in the city by at least 25% by the year 2020. This initiative is being backed by “A Better City”, which is a nonprofit organization in Boston, also responsible for hosting the summit.
As of now, more than 100 organizations have joined the Challenge program. The stats are favorable as well. Since last year, there has been a saving of 19 million KWs and an energy consumption decrease of five percent. Boston has been able to reduce electricity use by 7%.
Another idea is to incorporate historical venues with holiday events for promoting green practices. Venues like the Hampshire House will not only serve as great places for events, but their historical background will also promote the idea of conservation and sustainability.
Incentives are being provided for protection of historical places, which is also a green practice. Places like the one mentioned above can serve as ideal targets for green businesses since a lot of bourgeoisie class that’s willing to invest comes there. The Department of Energy’s “Better Buildings Challenge” is one such incentive for businesses.
Following in the footsteps of Boston, other organizations are also targeting recognition of green businesses. The prominent ones include the Environmental Defense Fund and the California Green Business Challenge. The idea is to promote programs that have energy benchmarking and run on best green practices. Online resources and toolkits are also being made available so that such ventures can get much needed public recognition.
One of the important off shoots of the summit is that a better overview of green programs is available on one platform. This means better funding and effective utility partnerships among various organizations.
The data collected by A Better City shows that there are more than 2,000 businesses that are working in various participating programs. Among them, 25% operate on annual budgets of less than $100,000. It’s also interesting to note that despite state incentives, only 14% are getting any state or federal funding. The major source of funding is utilities which accounts for 41% of the program.
Good news is that following in the footsteps of Boston, Seattle would be starting its own Green Business Challenge to target sustainability indicators. The aim of the program would focus on four targets: competition, recognition, certification and business improvement district.
A task force has been active since the summit for overseeing matters. The task force includes members from A Better City, ICLEI-USA and other related organizations. Meetings are being held twice per month and would continue till September to see the progress of the mission, structure and activities of green organizations. Based upon the success of this summit, the next one is slated to be held in May 2014 with the venue undecided till now.