Assess all green business/economy ideas by eco-equity indicators
At the Pecha Kucha night sponsored by the City of Vancouver to launch this website, Kevin Millsip described the importance of striving for an eco-equitable future: one in which our cities are not only green but just in its ways of providing for people of all incomes, races, and education levels. Let's build a dimension of equity into the green economy we want — healthy, sustainable *and* inclusive.
Eco equity is addressed through focus on generating job creation opportunities for full spectrum of workers, from high skilled to those with barriers to employment. This is an idea that is included in the Draft Greenest City Action Plan
This is really critical in the shift from traditional waste management to Zero Waste. Many public and private sector jobs are tied in to traditional waste services. CUPE represents lots of these workers, who collect our garbage at the curb. Other unions represent workers in the private garbage industry. These traditional waste services are not going to solve our waste problem because they start at the end of the pipe. Instead, a green economy will include lots of enterprises earlier in the "pipe" (e.g. repair, refurbish, etc) that will ultimately create more interesting jobs than driving a truck down the alley. The challenge is how do we manage a *just transition* from oudated industries to green industries. Social planning has a role -- esp for making sure that the marginalized are not marginalized from the discussion. But I think we need to engage the other sectors: unions, business associations, to make sure that this goes mainstream too.
CoV's Social Planning seems like a good start. Council adopted a definition of social sustainability in 2005: http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20050524/documents/p1.pdf
Equity is included as a guiding principle in that definition:
"Equity – when individuals have access to sufficient resources to participate fully in their
community and have opportunities for personal development and advancement and there is a fair distribution of resources among communities to facilitate full participation and collaboration. Inequities can be minimized by recognizing that individuals and groups require differing levels of support in order to flourish, and that some individuals and groups are capable of contributing more than others to address disparities and promote fairness of distribution. Lower levels of disparity in societies result in longer life expectancies, less homicides and crime, stronger patterns of civic engagement and more robust economic vitality."
Interesting thought Karen, who do you think would be responsible for this type of a program?
OK, to elaborate a little bit: stated another way, this idea is to put things in place that ensure that both the benefits and the burdens of an initiative are not distributed in a discriminatory manner.
What might this look like? Let's say we decide to shift to a new technology as a better and greener way of doing something, and we know that it will result in layoffs for the previous, obsolete technology. If the people working have knowledge, can be re-trained to do a similar job and can contribute their knowledge to to implementation of the new thing, let's make that happen, instead of creating new hardships to pursue an idea of a clean, green slate.