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Sustainable Economic Development Strategies generate substantial economic and employment growth and sustainable business and community development by demonstrating that innovation, efficiency, and conservation in the use and reuse of all natural and human resources is the best way to increase jobs, incomes, productivity, and competitiveness.  In addition, Sustainable Economic Development Strategies are the most cost-effective method of promoting renewable energy and clean technologies, protecting the environment, and preventing harmful impacts from climate change.

“A penny saved is a penny earned.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Less is the new more.” – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” – Albert Einstein



Dr. Marc A. Weiss, Chairman and CEO, and James Hurd Nixon, President, Global Urban Development

People around the world are embracing Green Capitalism because it is now possible to create a higher standard of living for every person and community by shifting from resource-wasting to resource-saving industrialism. In the 21st Century, people, place, and organizations will literally "get  richer by becoming greener" -- earning and saving more money by conserving and reusing resources more efficiently.

Global Urban Development (GUD) is designing and implementing Sustainable Economic Development Strategies to help enable Green Capitalism to succeed worldwide. This model adapts sustainable business concepts from experts including Paul Hawken, Amory and Hunter Lovins, Ray Anderson, Hazel Henderson, Peter Senge, Karl-Henrik Robert, Thomas Friedman, William McDonough, Daniel Esty, Elliott Hoffman, Aron Cramer, and the McKinsey Global Institute, as applied in various ways by companies such as GE, IBM, Toyota, Interface, IKEA, DuPont, Disney, Wal-Mart, Google, Nike, Stonyfield Farm, Seventh Generation, Siemens, Cisco, Philips, Applied Materials, and Johnson Controls.  Sustainable Economic Development Strategies apply these concepts to sub-national economies, including states, provinces, regions, districts, counties, cities, towns, villages, and neighborhoods.

Sustainable Economic Development Strategies generate substantial economic and employment growth and sustainable business and community development by demonstrating that innovation, efficiency, and conservation in the use and reuse of all natural and human resources is the best way to increase jobs, incomes, productivity, and competitiveness.  In addition, Sustainable Economic Development Strategies are the most cost-effective method of promoting renewable energy and clean technologies, protecting the environment, and preventing harmful impacts from climate change. A Sustainable Economic Development Strategy has four key elements, which GUD refers to as the Four Greens:

Green Savings—cutting costs for businesses, families, communities, and governments by efficiently using renewable resources and by reducing and reusing waste.

Green Opportunities—growing jobs and incomes through business development and expanding markets for resource efficiency, sustainability, and clean technologies.

Green Talent—investing in fundamental assets such as education, research, technological innovation, and modern entrepreneurial and workforce skills, because people are now the world’s most vital green economic resource.

Green Places—establishing sustainable transportation and infrastructure, and protecting and enhancing the natural and built environment, to create more attractive, livable, healthy, vibrant, prosperous, productive, and resource-efficient areas and communities.

Fortunately, there are success stories in which business sustainability principles have guided economic development.  People in the State of California saved $56 billion on energy costs between 1973 and 2006, primarily from policies requiring higher energy efficiency standards for new buildings, new electrical appliances, and new motor vehicles, combined with financial incentives for utility companies, businesses, and households to conserve energy and use renewable resources.  Consumers reinvested much of this savings in the state's economy, generating 1.5 million new full-time jobs with a total annual payroll of $45 billion.

Similarly, people in metropolitan Portland (Oregon/Washington) save more than $2 billion annually due to land-use and transportation changes over the past three decades.  By modestly increasing population and building densities and developing light-rail transit, together with mixed-use communities built to promote walking and bicycling, Portlanders have substantially reduced vehicle miles traveled and carbon dioxide emissions, while jobs, incomes, and investments have grown significantly since 1980.

Throughout the world, from Singapore to Stockholm, urban regions have improved their economies by becoming more sustainable. Some of these places are profiled in the World Bank’s “Eco2 Cities” report.  Curitiba, Brazil is a leading example of a city with a successful four-decade economic development strategy based on growing businesses, jobs, and incomes by improving urban quality of life through innovative land-use and transportation planning and related environmental and social initiatives.  One of Curitiba’s innovations, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), has become a model for sustainable transportation and land-use planning in many cities and regions worldwide.

During June 7-8, 2011 in Curitiba, the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas held an international conference, sponsored by the Brazil and U.S. Governments, on “Planning for Sustainable Economic Development Across the Americas.”  GUD worked with the American Planning Association, the City of Curitiba, and the U.S. State Department to organize this historic meeting exploring the potential benefits of state/provincial, regional, and local Sustainable Economic Development Strategies from Argentina to Canada.

GUD has worked with places including San Antonio, San Jose/Silicon Valley, Southwest Florida, Metropolitan Portland, Metropolitan Denver, and the State of Delaware, using our four-part framework for Sustainable Economic Development Strategies to save money, create jobs, raise incomes, grow businesses, and improve the environment. Recently GUD completed a Sustainable Economic Development Strategy, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, for Sarasota County, Florida to become a “Center for Innovation in Energy and Sustainability.”

In March 2011, Global Urban Development published Sustainable Economic Development Strategies, describing in detail the key elements of the various strategies, and explaining how to design and implement such approaches most effectively.  This document can be downloaded from our website at

Click here to download a PDF of The Global Future of Green Capitalism.



James Hurd Nixon, President, and Dr. Marc A. Weiss, Chairman and CEO, Global Urban Development

March 2011


Below is an excerpt from the publication:

PART ONE:  UNDERSTANDING Sustainable Economic Development strategies

I.  Sustainability 3.0

Global Urban Development formulated a framework for Sustainable Economic Development Strategies to assist communities, cities, counties, regions, states, provinces, and nations (places) to accelerate progress toward a sustainable economy.

Sustainable Development combines two seemingly disparate ideas into a powerful new concept, connecting the environment/climate crisis with the opportunity for large-scale economic prosperity—asserting that the imperative to address the environment/climate crisis offers the greatest economic opportunity of the 21st Century.

From the GUD perspective, there are three basic forms of Sustainability:

§   Sustainability 1.0—Environmental Protection.

§   Sustainability 2.0—Climate Action.

§   Sustainability 3.0—Sustainable Economic Development.

(See Appendix B for a brief discussion of the three basic forms of sustainability.)

Global Urban Development works with places to accomplish Sustainability 3.0—Sustainable Economic Development—by joining with them to design and implement Sustainable Economic Development Strategies.

Sustainable Economic Development Strategies generate substantial economic and employment growth and sustainable business and community development by demonstrating that innovation, efficiency, and conservation in the use and reuse of all natural and human resources is the best way to increase jobs, incomes, productivity, and competitiveness.

In addition, Sustainable Economic Development Strategies are the most cost-effective method of promoting renewable energy and clean technologies, protecting the environment, and preventing harmful impacts from climate change.

By implementing Sustainable Economic Development Strategies based on technological innovation and resource efficiency, places can grow their economies, improve their standards of living, and expand businesses, jobs, and incomes.

II.  Creating a Sustainable Economic Development Strategy

The transition to a carbon-constrained world will drive profound changes in every business, non-governmental organization, and household as well as every city, county, region, state, and nation.  The question is whether the transition will be dominated by a potentially chaotic response to emergencies or a more orderly process of careful design, implementation, and evaluation.

The premise behind the creation of a Sustainable Economic Development Strategy is that a more orderly response to this inevitable transformation can be proactively organized and managed, and that this will lead to significant and widespread economic benefits.

Each place is unique.  A Sustainable Economic Development Strategy cannot be mechanically imposed.  Rather it must grow out of the special conditions and the dynamic trajectory of each place.  Sustainable Economic Development Strategies are guided by a local/regional Leadership Structure and a Consultation Team collaborating in partnership through a series of five distinct phases of work.

Leadership Structure:  Typically, the leadership structure for a Sustainable Economic Development Strategy includes three elements:

1.     A Leadership Group, which is usually a pre-existing local/regional organization that has committed to lead the effort.

2.     A Decision-Making Council, made up of the key leaders from a variety of different organizations, who are guiding the creation and implementation of the Sustainable Economic Development Strategy.

3.     A broader Stakeholder Advisory Group, composed of the full range of public, private, and civic stakeholders supporting the Sustainable Economic Development Strategy, who are advising the process.

Consultation Team:  Global Urban Development organizes Sustainable Economic Development Consultation Teams to assist in the Sustainable Economic Development Strategy formation and implementation process.  Sustainable Economic Development Consultation Teams are headed by one or more generalists with extensive professional experience in Sustainable Economic Development.

The generalists are responsible for maintaining the client relationships and coordinating the Consultation Teams.  Specialists are added to the Teams, as needed, to address the specific dimensions of the Sustainable Economic Development Strategy that are custom-designed for each particular place and situation.

With Sustainable Economic Development Strategy consultations outside of the U.S., Consultation Teams include both global and local Sustainable Economic Development experts.

Phases of Work:  There are five phases of work involved in the development and implementation of a Sustainable Economic Development Strategy:

1.     An Initial Consultation to establish the goals and objectives and the work plan for the process.

2.     A Strategic Assessment and Opportunity Analysis of the area-wide economy, to identify its current direction, its strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities and challenges for Sustainable Economic Development.

3.     Design of a Sustainable Economic Development Strategy that builds on the momentum that already exists, establishes a specific focus, and weaves together a set of Initiatives and Actions to create a clear, coherent, easily understood, dynamic strategy, with a strong business model.

4.     Formulation of an Implementation Plan—including a system for monitoring progress—that addresses who is responsible for each Initiative and Action, the timeline and milestones, the costs, the sources of potential revenues, and the processes for mid-course corrections.

5.     Initiation and, subsequently, full implementation of the Sustainable Economic Development Strategy and Implementation Plan.


III.  The 4 Core Objectives of Sustainable Economic Development

Global Urban Development has evolved the Sustainable Economic Development Strategic Framework to provide a comprehensive methodology for assisting in the design and implementation of Sustainable Economic Development Strategies focused on four core objectives:

§   Green Savings—encouraging businesses, households, and governments to cut costs by using clean, efficient, renewable resources and by reducing and reusing waste.

§   Green Opportunities—growing Cleantech and Green businesses, jobs, and incomes and expanding the markets for resource efficiency and sustainability.

§   Green Talent—investing in fundamental assets such as education, research, technological innovation, and modern entrepreneurial and workforce skills, because people are now the world's most vital green economic resource.

§   Green Places—promoting Eco-Smart Development that is based on sustainable transportation and infrastructure, and protects and enhances the natural and built environment to create more attractive, livable, healthy, vibrant, prosperous, productive, and resource-efficient areas and communities.

Green Savings addresses the demand side of markets for green products and services, while Green Opportunities deals with the supply side of green markets.  Green Talent focuses on the human resources dimension of green markets, and Green Places focuses on the geographic dimension of green markets (both of them relate to the demand side and to the supply side).

IV.  Key Elements of a Sustainable Economic Development Strategy

Within the context of its four core objectives, the Sustainable Economic Development Strategic Framework utilizes a set of Key Elements to:

§   Assess the sustainability assets, liabilities, opportunities, and challenges of places.

§   Design Sustainable Economic Development Strategies, composed of Initiatives and Actions, that build on the assets, address the liabilities, take advantage of the opportunities, respond to the challenges, monitor ongoing performance, and measure results/outcomes.

The Key Elements of the Sustainable Economic Development Strategic Framework have been generated by systematically applying innovative sustainability perspectives to widely accepted economic development best practices. (See Appendix C for a discussion of Sustainable Economic Development.)

Green Savings (The Demand Side of Green Markets)

Green Businesses, Public Agencies, and Non-Governmental Organizations:  the environmental and financial performance of existing business firms (whether or not they produce an environmental product or service), government agencies, and non-governmental organizations and the potentialities for implementing significant increases in energy conservation, resource efficiency, waste reduction, and financial return.

Green Building Retrofits:  the financial/energy/resource efficiency of existing buildings and building user behavior, and the possibilities for large-scale building retrofits.

Large-Scale Behavior Change:  the level of adoption of Green Savings by households and the opportunities for undertaking large scale citizen mobilizations to encourage households to reduce environmental impacts and adopt green buying practices.

Green Opportunities (The Supply Side of Green Markets)

Cleantech Cluster:  the status and the potentiality for growth of the businesses included in the Cleantech business cluster that provide a range of environmental products, services, and processes intended to offer superior performance at lower costs, while reducing negative ecological impacts, and improving the wise and responsible use of natural resources.  (See Appendix D for a discussion of the Cleantech Cluster and the global venture investment Cleantech businesses are receiving.)

Cleantech Technology Transfer:  the current situation and the opportunities for strengthening of university and institutional research and development (R&D) leading to technology transfer and intellectual property (IP) commercialization that can be utilized by Cleantech companies to produce new Cleantech products and services.

Green and Cleantech Business Support:  the economic and social infrastructure that is in place and the opportunities for improvement in relation to business incubation, acceleration, retention, and attraction—creating an optimal place for Cleantech and green businesses to locate, expand, and grow over the long term.

Triple Bottom Line Investment:  existing and potential investment vehicles—both debt and equity—pursuing financial, social, and environmental returns through investment in Cleantech and green businesses and sustainable real estate developments.

Green Talent (The Human Resources Dimension of Green Markets)

Green Workforce:  established systems and new opportunities for green employment development—including education, training, placement with career pathways, and other forms of assistance—to attract and retain a high quality green workforce that provides the employees, entrepreneurs, and management needed by Cleantech and green businesses, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations.

Green Community Engagement:  existing and potential programs for the engagement of the talent and creativity of the residents of a place in understanding sustainability, in participating in the process of building a sustainable/green economy, and in making green purchasing decisions.

Green Places (The Geographic Dimension of Green Markets)

Eco-Smart Real Estate Development:  the construction—both infill and Greenfield—of mixed-use, walkable, energy efficient, transit-oriented real estate developments featuring Cleantech and green businesses and the opportunities for new sustainable real estate development projects.

Green Physical Infrastructure:  the financial/energy/resource/information efficiency of water, energy, transportation, waste management, and broadband infrastructure as well as the potentialities for significant increases in overall efficiency and financial performance of the physical infrastructure.

Green Branding and Marketing:  existing and potential branding and marketing of a place as an emerging sustainable economy, seeking to promote the growth of Cleantech and green businesses and sustainable real estate developments, as well as to attract these types of businesses and real estate developments.

Sustainable Community Development:  existence of Cleantech and green businesses and sustainable real estate developments led and participated in by minorities, women, and underserved communities and opportunities to connect these businesses and developments with the appropriate financial and business acceleration services; as well as the empowerment of low- and moderate-income employees and residents to save money through resource efficiency.  



GREEN TRANSITION SCOREBOARD® now totaling more than $2 trillion in private sector investments since 2007 in green companies and technologies globally  

St. Augustine, FL, February 17, 2011 — Ethical Markets Media (USA and Brazil) released their February 2011 GREEN TRANSITION SCOREBOARD® tracking private investments since 2007 in green companies and technologies globally, now totaling more than $2 trillion. 

The Green Transition Scoreboard® (GTS) represents time-based, global research of non-government investments and commitments for all facets of green markets. This update of the GTS totals  $2,005,048,785,088 from 2007 to the end of 2010, significant because many studies indicate that investing $1 trillion annually until 2020 will accelerate the Green Transition worldwide.  This updated 2010 finding puts global investors and countries on track to reach the $10 trillion in investments goal by 2020. 

Hazel Henderson, D.Sc.Hon., FRSA, former US government technology advisor and president of Ethical Markets Media said, “this new total is remarkable in spite of economic uncertainty.  It indicates that the global transition away from the 300-year fossil-fueled Industrial Era is accelerating toward the cleaner, greener, information-rich economies of the 21st century.” 

Timothy Nash, M.Sc., Senior Advisor to Ethical Markets Media, adds, “This over $2 trillion total does not include nuclear, ‘clean’ coal or CCS, nor biofuels from food or agricultural sources, which we consider unsustainable.” 

Rosalinda Sanquiche, Ethical Markets Media’s Executive Director and editor of the Green Transition Scoreboard® report, points out, “this startling amount does not include thousands of deals under $100 million, which we hope to include in future reports.  We have added and will continue to track our exclusive Corporate R&D sub-report and invite companies to alert us to any investments we may have missed.” 

The full report is available here, or at 


(Published in Revista Semana and, Bogota, Colombia, November 2010)

  El futuro global del capitalismo verde

 Por Dr. Marc A. Weiss* 

El capitalismo verde genera crecimiento económico y laboral sustancial, negocios sostenibles y desarrollo de comunidades demostrando que la innovación, eficiencia y conservación en el uso y re-uso de todos los recursos humanos y naturales es la mejor forma de incrementar empleos, ingreso, productividad y competitividad. Adicionalmente, el capitalismo verde es el mejor método, en términos de costo-eficiencia, para promover energías renovables y tecnologías limpias, protegiendo el medio ambiente y previniendo los impactos nocivos del calentamiento global.

A través del capitalismo verde ahora podemos incluso crear un nivel de vida más alto para cada persona y comunidad alrededor del mundo, pasando del desarrollo basado en el desperdicio de recursos industriales a la industrialización basada en el ahorro de recursos. En el siglo XXI, las personas, lugares y organizaciones literalmente “se harán ricas volviéndose más verdes”, ganando más dinero usando pocos recursos y reutilizando más.

Actualmente, el Global Urban Development (GUD) está diseñando e implementando estrategias de desarrollo económico sostenible para hacer posible el éxito mundial del Capitalismo Verde. Este modelo adapta conceptos de sostenibilidad de expertos en negocios, entre los quienes se encuentran Paul Hawken, Amory y Hunter Lovins, Ray Anderson, Peter Senge, Karl-Henrik Robert, William McDonough, Daniel Esty, Aron Cramer, y el McKinsey Global Institute, de la forma como han sido utilizados en diversas formas por compañías como GE, IBM, Toyota, Interface, IKEA, DuPont, Wal-Mart, Google, Nike, Seventh Generation y Apple.

Este modelo tiene tres elementos claves:

1.    Ahorros Verdes – Recortar costos usando recursos renovables y reduciendo y reutilizando los desperdicios.
2.    Oportunidades Verdes – Crecimiento de negocios y empleos expandiendo mercados e incrementando ingresos.
3.    Talento Verde – Inversión en activos fundamentales, incluyendo tecnología, infraestructura y, más importante, emprendimiento moderno y las habilidades de la fuerza de trabajo, porque las personas son ahora el recurso económico más vital.

Afortunadamente, existen historias exitosas en las cuales los principios de negocios sostenibles han guiado el desarrollo económico. Los habitantes del Estado de California han ahorrado $56 billones en costos de energía entre 1973 y 2006, nuevas aplicaciones eléctricas y nuevos motores de vehículos, combinados con incentivos financieros para sociedades de servicios públicos, negocios y hogares, para conservación de energía y uso de recursos renovables. Los consumidores invirtieron gran parte de sus ahorros en la economía del Estado, generando 1.5 millones de nuevos trabajos de tiempo completo con una nómina total anual de US $45 billones.

De manera similar, personas en el área metropolitana de Portland (Oregon/Washington) ahorraron más de US $ 2 billones anuales debido al uso de la tierra y cambios en los medios de transporte durante las tres décadas pasadas. Incrementando la población modestamente, construyendo densidades y desarrollando el tráfico de trenes ligeros, junto con comunidades de usos mezclados creadas para promover el transporte peatonal y el uso de bicicletas, los habitantes de Portland han reducido sustancialmente las millas viajadas en vehículos y la emisión de dióxido de carbono, mientras que los empleos, ingresos e inversiones han crecido significativamente desde 1980.

Alrededor del mundo, desde Singapur a Estocolmo, regiones urbanas han mejorado sus economías volviéndose más sostenibles. Algunos de estos lugares están reseñados en el estudio reciente del Banco Mundial “Eco2Cities”. Curitiba, Brasil, es un ejemplo líder de una ciudad con una estrategia de desarrollo sostenible de cuatro décadas basada en crecimiento de negocios, trabajos e ingresos incrementando la calidad de vida urbana a través del uso innovador de la tierra y el planeamiento de transporte, junto con iniciativas ambientales y sociales relacionadas. Una de las innovaciones de Curitiva, el Transporte Rápido de Buses, se convirtió en modelo a mayor escala para el sistema de transporte público de Bogotá Transmilenio.

GUD está trabajando en San Antonio, Silicon Valley, Southwest Florida, el área metropolitana de Portland y de Denver y el Estado de Delaware, usando nuestros tres pilares para Estrategias Sostenibles de Desarrollo Económico para ahorrar el dinero de la gente, crear trabajos, incrementar ingresos, crecer negocios y mejorar medio ambiente. Actualmente, GUD está creando una estrategia de desarrollo económica, financiada por el Departamento de Energía de Estados Unidos, para permitir que el condado de Sarasota, Florida se convierta en un “Centro para la Innovación en Energía y Sostenibilidad”.

En Julio de 2010 el Global Urban Development publicó “Climate Prosperity: A Framework for Sustainable Economic Development Strategies” (Prosperidad Climática: Un Marco para Estrategias de Desarrollo Sostenible), describiendo en detalle los elementos claves de varias estrategias y explicando cómo diseñar e implementar esas aproximaciones de forma más eficiente. Este documento de 35 páginas puede ser descargado en nuestra página en Internet

* El Dr. Marc A. Weiss es Presidente de la Junta Directiva y CEO de Global Urban Development (GUD), una organización de política internacional con oficinas en Barcelona, Beijing, Curitiba, Hong Kong, Istanbul, London, Praga, San Francisco, Singapore, Sydney y Washington, DC. También es Presidente de la Junta Directiva de Climate Prosperity Alliance, Editor Ejecutivo de Global Urban Development Magazine, y Presidente de la Junta Directiva de Climate Prosperity Strategies LLC. Adicionalmente, es miembro del Comité Directivo de la Alianza para el Desarrollo Sostenible de Naciones Unidas  y miembro de los Comités Directivos de Naciones Unidas para la Campaña Mundial del Hábitat Urbano y del programa para Mejores Prácticas y Políticas. Previamente fue Académico de Políticas Públicas y Editor de Global Outlook en el Woodrow Wilson International Center, Coordinador del Plan Estratégico de Desarrollo Económico de Washington, DC, Asistente Especial del Secretario de los EE.UU. para el Departamento de Vivienda y Desarrollo Urbano en la Administración Clinton,  Director del Centro de Investigación para el Desarrollo de Inmobiliario y Profesor Asociado de Desarrollo Urbano, Planificación y Conservación de la Universidad de Columbia y Director Adjunto de la Comisión de California para la Innovación Industrial.  Es autor y co-autor de numerosos libros, artículos e informes, incluyendo el libro ampliamente aclamado sobre desarrollo y la planificación urbana The Rise of the Community Builders, y del best-seller internacional, Real Estate Development Principles and Process, publicado por el Urban Land Institute. Ha sido consultor de desarrollo económico sostenible en diferentes ciudades y regiones en EE.UU. y en países como Sudáfrica, China, Brasil, España, Suecia, República Checa, y las Islas Vírgenes.

Tiene un M.C.P. y un doctorado en Planeación Urbana y Regional de la Universidad de California, Berkeley, y una licenciatura con honores en Ciencias Políticas de la Universidad de Stanford, asimismo estudió en el London School of Economics. 


   O Futuro global do capitalismo verde

 Dr. Marc A. Weiss, presidente e CEO da Global Urban Development, e presidente da Climate Prosperity Alliance

 (Publicado na revista Semana, Bogotá, Colômbia, novembro 2010) 

O Capitalismo Verde produz crescimento substancial da economia e de empregos, negócios sustentáveis e desenvolvimento comunitário demonstrando que a inovação, a eficiência e a conservação no uso e reuso de todos os recursos naturais e humanos são o melhor caminho para aumentar os empregos, ganhos, produtividade e competitividade. Além disso, o Capitalismo Verde é o método mais eficiente em custo-benefício que promove energia renovável e tecnologias verdes, protegendo o meio ambiente, e prevenindo os impactos nocivos do aquecimento global.

Por meio do Capitalismo Verde podemos agora criar um padrão ainda mais alto de vida para as pessoas e comunidades de todo o mundo, passando do desenvolvimento industrial que desperdiça recursos para o industrialismo que poupa recursos. No século XXI, pessoas, lugares e organizações irão, literalmente, “enriquecer tornando-se mais verdes”, ganhando mais dinheiro usando menos recursos e reutilizando mais.

A Global Urban Development (GUD) atualmente está criando e implementando Estratégias de Desenvolvimento Econômico Sustentável que possibilitem que o Capitalismo Verde obtenha sucesso mundialmente. Este modelo adapta conceitos sustentáveis de especialistas em negócios incluindo Paul Hawken, Amory e Hunter Lovins, Ray Anderson, Peter Senge, Karl-Henrik Robert, William McDonough, Daniel Esty, Aron Cramer e o McKinsey Global Institute, como aplicados de diversas maneiras em empresas como GE, IBM, Toyota, Interface, IKEA, DuPont, Wal-Mart, Google, Nike, Seventh Generation e Apple.

Este modelo possui três elementos-chave:

  • Economias Verdes - cortar custos pela utilização de recursos renováveis e reduzindo e reutilizando resíduos;
  • Oportunidades Verdes - negócios e empregos crescentes por meio da expansão de mercados e aumento das rendas;
  • Talento Verde - investimento em ativos fundamentais incluindo tecnologia, infraestrutura e, o mais importante, modernas habilidades empresariais e da força de trabalho, pois agora as pessoas são o recurso econômico mais vital do mundo.

Há fundamentalmente três histórias de sucesso pelas quais os princípios de negócios sustentáveis têm guiado o desenvolvimento econômico. As pessoas do estado da Califórnia (EUA) economizaram 56 bilhões de dólares em custos energéticos entre 1973 e 2006, basicamente por meio de políticas que exigem padrões de eficiência energéticos mais altos para novas edificações, novas aparelhagens eletrônicas e novos veículos automotores, combinados com incentivos financeiros para companhias de utilidade pública, empresas e residências para economizar energia e utilizar recursos renováveis. Os consumidores reinvestiram grande parte deste dinheiro na economia do estado, gerando 1.5 milhões de novos empregos integrais com uma folha de pagamento anual total de 45 bilhões de dólares.

De forma similar, pessoas na Portland metropolitana (Oregon/Washington) economizaram mais de 2 bilhões de dólares anualmente devido a mudanças no uso do solo e no sistema de transporte nas últimas três décadas. Aumentando modestamente a densidade populacional e das edificações e desenvolvendo sistema de transporte leve sobre trilhos, junto com comunidades de uso misto construídas para promover a locomoção a pé e de bicicleta, os moradores de Portland reduziram substancialmente as distâncias percorridas com veículos e as emissões de dióxido de carbono, enquanto os empregos, renda e investimentos cresceram de forma significativa desde 1980.

Por todo o mundo, de Singapura a Estocolmo, regiões urbanas vêm melhorando suas economias tornando-se mais verdes. Algumas dessas cidades são listadas no recente relatório “Eco2 Cities” do Banco Mundial. Curitiba, Brasil é um exemplo líder de cidade com uma estratégia de desenvolvimento econômico de quatro décadas baseada no aumento de negócios, empregos e renda pela melhora da qualidade de vida por meio do uso inovador do solo e planejamento dos transportes e iniciativas ambientais e sociais relacionadas. Uma das inovações de Curitiba, o Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), tornou-se parte do grande sistema de transporte público de Bogotá, o TransMilenio.

A GUD está trabalhando com locais como San Antonio, Vale do Silício, região sudoeste da Flórida, Portland Metropolitana, Denver Metropolitana e o estado de Delaware, usando a nossa Estratégia de Desenvolvimento Urbano Sustentável de três partes visando economizar o dinheiro das pessoas, criar empregos, aumentar renda, criar mais negócios e melhorar o meio ambiente. Atualmente a GUD está criando uma estratégia de desenvolvimento econômico, financiada pelo Departamento de Energia dos Estados Unidos, que possibilite o Condado de Sarasota, Florida se tornar o “Centro de Inovação em Energia e Sustentabilidade”.

Em julho de 2010, a Global Urban Development publicou “Climate Prosperity: A Framework for Sustainable Economic Development Strategies” (Prosperidade do Clima: Um Retrato para as Estratégias de Desenvolvimento Econômico Sustentável”), descrevendo em detalhes os elementos chave de várias estratégias, e explicando como criar e implementar essas abordagens mais efetivamente. Este documento de 35 páginas está disponível no nosso website (





Dr. Hazel Henderson, President, Ethical Markets Media, and Vice Chair, Climate Prosperity Alliance


March 2010


Icelanders, on March 6, 2010, rejected by 90% the referendum on paying $5.3 billion (45% of national output in 2009) of odious debt incurred by their privatized bank Icesave.  This opens the way for a plan proposed by Dutch businessman/philanthropist Gijs Graafland's Planck Foundation.  This ingenious, well-researched Energy for Debt plan invites private and public investors to develop Iceland's boundless geothermal energy and send its electricity to Britain and the Netherlands via a high-voltage DC transmission line. 


Dr. Graafland, an IT entrepreneur, energy and financial expert, points out that Iceland, situated between two of Earth's tectonic plates, has unlimited geothermal energy from the planet's core near the surface – rather than miles deeper as elsewhere.  "Iceland can become the Saudi Arabia of the North in geothermal energy", says Graafland.  Few technical barriers exist to developing Iceland's geothermal resources, and many similar high-voltage transmission lines are already operating in Europe, China, Brazil, Japan, and many more are under construction.  The main suppliers are ABB and Siemens, and more are due to come on line this year and in 2011 through 2013.  The newer lines carry renewable energy: wind in Europe, new lines for solar in the USA.  Such super-grids are planned by the DESERTEC-DII consortium of 12 European companies, including ABB, ABENGOA Solar, Munich Re and Deutsche Bank, to construct solar electricity facilities in North African countries and transmission lines under the Mediterranean to meet some 15% of EU consumption.  Another group of ten European companies, including Areva, Siemens, Hochtief and Prysinian, announced on March 7 their plan to invest £30.5 billion for a super-grid across the North Sea for distributing wind-powered electricity.


The most innovative factor in the Planck Foundation geothermal Energy for Debt plan is that it would repay investors in assured supplies of electricity rather than in volatile or inflating currencies.  This new KWH (kilowatt hour) currency will be sounder than any government issued fiat currency.  Indeed, we now witness central banks bailing out their bloated, corrupt financial sectors, with zero interest funds, purchasing toxic assets and, lately, by "quantitative easing" – a polite term for printing money.


Icelanders rejected the unfairness of bailing out private banks and foolish British and Dutch savers tempted by unrealistically high interest rates.  The punitive repayment deal offered by their governments would have forced Iceland's 350,000 citizens to each pay $135 per month for the next 8 years.  The collapse brought on by Iceland's foolish private banks has caused a deep recession and 9% unemployment.  With the Planck Foundation's Energy for Debt program, Iceland could not only restore its economy, but repay the British and Dutch in full, possibly over a shorter timeframe and in the new inflation-proof electricity "currency" that would be better and more useful than gold.


As I researched this innovative plan and corresponded with Gijs Graafland and John Laporte, I was amazed at how many high-level government and business officials are interested.  They include British members of Parliament from Conservative, Labor and Liberal-Democrat parties and the House of Lords; central bankers from several EU and other major countries; business leaders in the USA and China; philanthropists, investors and members of the Club of Rome who fostered the DESERTEC-DII solar energy consortium.


Now that the defeated referendum has given a clear signal, it seems likely that Iceland's President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson and Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir, both of whom are familiar with the Energy for Debt plan, might be ready to endorse it.  This would set the stage for companies such as ABB, Siemens and other big players to adopt the feasibility studies already performed.  Such a plan could also provide a significant source of clean, renewable electricity for all EU countries and reduce their dependence on coal, oil and gas. 


Thus, EU governments can provide the guarantees that would enable pension funds to invest, since such long-term investments are ideal for their beneficiaries.  Pension funds of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, representing some $17 trillion of assets, has committed to increasing their "green" investments and supports a strong post-Kyoto climate agreement.  The Climate Bonds Initiative has designed many kinds of bonds for renewable energy and water projects.


Major financial media are also aware of the Energy for Debt plan but are waiting for the various players to coalesce and get the go-ahead from Iceland's leaders.  This plan may well trigger a new "energy rush" since many energy investors are interested in green, renewable energy investments, but are leery of speculators and corrupt financial markets. 


There are very few "plays" left within the old money circuits as the search for new profits and "asset classes" extends to buying up oil and commodities and the Earth's renewable resources: forests and land in Africa.   We see how even sovereign bonds of many countries are now attacked by speculators who also account for most of the $3 trillion of currencies traded every day.  Over-leveraged hedge funds, dark pools, flash trading, naked short-selling, credit default swaps and derivatives are still un-regulated and leave most investors appalled.  Many investors are bypassing Wall Street and other "too big" banks and financial firms – moving their money to local banks, non-profit credit unions and money-free electronic trading platforms. 


The influential US market newsletter Energy and Capital March 5th headline "Why Energy is the Only Real Currency" advised investors of all the hazards in unreformed, still-unregulated markets.  The right engineering companies, pension funds and other green institutional investors such as the UN Principles of Responsible Investing's member funds totaling $19 trillion can take lead positions in the Energy for Debt investment.  Together with British and Dutch government guarantees and a go-ahead from Iceland's leaders, the Planck Energy for Debt plan can provide a creative model and a beacon for the UN's Global Green New Deal.  Iceland and Europe can now look forward to a clean, homegrown energy future. 


© IPS March 9, 2010   used with permission of InterPress Service



 Dr. Marc A. Weiss, Chairman and CEO, Global Urban Development, and Chair, Climate Prosperity Alliance 

December 2009

Global Urban Development and the Climate Prosperity Alliance propose to help organize and serve as among the hosts of "salons" that will meet for several hours every two or three months in cities around the world.  These gatherings will be open to media and arts professionals, and others who want to participate. The purpose will be to engage in wide-ranging conversation about how to more effectively create and promote a new paradigm of advanced technological environmental sustainability, something that has never existed since the modern industrial revolution began more than three centuries ago. 

Through the media and the arts, we aim to identify new ways to create and present images of a future society of "Climate Prosperity" that is in relative harmony and balance with the cycles of nature based on conserving and reusing all natural resources (not only fossil fuels, but water, land, materials, etc.), rather than overusing and wasting them. In other words, under Climate Prosperity, people, places, and organizations worldwide actually get richer (or stay rich) by becoming greener, and earn more money by using fewer resources and reusing more.  Everyone will be better off economically and environmentally, with greater prosperity, improved health, enhanced quality of life, and much more stable peace (because people won't be killing each other over increasingly scarce resources).

There are three ways that media/arts professionals can enlighten and entertain the general public about this new paradigm of sustainable industrial development, and "Be the Change" as Mahatma Gandhi famously said:

1) Create futuristic stories and scenarios, especially with visual elements, which portray people throughout the developed and developing world, living in advanced technological sustainability.  Regardless of what drama or comedy, science fiction, documentary non-fiction, or video game content is in the foreground, the background will be digital and other images of modern sustainability.  For example, there will still be Times Square in the future, but it will be based on LED lighting powered by renewable energy, and there will still be people driving cars to work and play, but they will be driving plug-in electric vehicles powered by renewable energy. All businesses and jobs will be "green" in the sense that their revenues are shaped by technological innovation and resource efficiency based on Green Savings, Green Opportunities, and Green Talent.

2) Present interesting and compelling images of current sustainability efforts, such as the amazing story chronicled in Ray Anderson's recently published book, Confessions of a Radical Industrialist, about how a corporate CEO of a petroleum-based industrial carpeting manufacturer and installer that was a wasteful polluter, decided to become a sustainable company and succeeded over 15 years in becoming far more environmentally friendly both in terms of the production processes and the products, and along the way substantially expanding market share, revenues, and profits. Ray Anderson's Interface Corporation definitely got richer by becoming greener and earned more money by using fewer resources and reusing more.

3) Identify, document, and share experiences about the most resource efficient, conserving, and recycling ways to produce media and arts events and products.  Media and arts professionals and businesses should also be getting richer by becoming greener, and demonstrating that innovation, efficiency, and conservation in the use and reuse of all natural and human resources is the best way to increase jobs, incomes, productivity, and competitiveness.  In the Climate Prosperity/Sustainable Development/Green Economy paradigm, both the production process and the media/arts/educational content are at peace and in harmony with Mother Nature. Sustainability will be the guiding principle in theory and practice to the mutual betterment of everyone and everywhere.


For Immediate Release:



Washington, DC – December 4, 2009Ethical Markets Media (USA and Brazil) and the Climate Prosperity Alliance today launched their Global Climate Prosperity Scoreboard® which tracks private investment in companies growing the green economy globally.  This new, never before reported number, showing $1,248,740,645,993.00 (nearly $1.25 trillion) in total investment since 2007, indicates how investors and entrepreneurs are leading governments in promoting sustainable growth.  The scoreboard totals investments in solar, wind, geothermal, ocean/hydro, energy efficiency and storage, and agriculture.  We purposefully omitted nuclear, "clean coal," carbon capture and sequestration, and biofuels.  We indicate which investments have been publically announced and committed by major companies for 2010 and beyond.

Dr. Marc A. Weiss, Chairman and CEO of Global Urban Development and Chair of the Climate Prosperity Alliance, said, "This nearly $1.25 trillion of investments are not only from North America and Europe, but also from China, India, Brazil and other developing countries.  They indicate that the private sector currently is ahead of governments in understanding that during the 21st century, people, places, and organizations can only get richer by becoming greener and only earn more money by using fewer resources and reusing more. Private capital investment is now leading globally in promoting technological innovation and resource efficiency that will accelerate environmentally and socially sustainable industrial growth and economic development throughout the world."

Dr. Hazel Henderson, futurist, author of Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy (Chelsea Green, 2006) and president of Ethical Markets Media, serves as vice-chair of the Climate Prosperity Alliance together with vice-chairs C.S. Kiang (China), Rodrigo Loures (Brazil), Lawrence Bloom (UK) and James Nixon (USA).  Dr. Henderson said, "Ethical Markets Media's mission is reforming markets and growing the green economy globally.  Our Global Climate Prosperity Scoreboard® will be updated regularly to show progress toward the ecologically sustainable economies that are vital to our common future.  Societies are transitioning from the 300-year old, polluting, fossil-fueled Industrial Era to the advanced technologies of the information-rich Solar Age."

The Climate Prosperity Alliance, a volunteer, global network of financiers, businesses, economic development authorities, scientists and NGOs is based on earth systems science, showing the widespread evidence of destruction caused by the now-obsolete technologies of the combustion-based Industrial Revolution and its extraction and exploitation of the Earth's capital: oil, coal, gas, minerals, forests, water, land and biodiversity.  Human societies are now gradually re-industrializing our economies using the Earth's income – the renewable energies of sun, wind, ocean/hydro, geothermal and non-agricultural biomass – based on human capital: new knowledge of planetary processes and ecosystems, designing our economies with Nature.

The Climate Prosperity Alliance uses the Climate Solutions 2 computer model of Australia's Climate Risk Pty., showing how $1 trillion invested every year for the next 10 years can assure the global transition to sustainable prosperity and job growth.  This $10 trillion is less than the bailouts of failed banks in the USA and Europe and less than 10% of the world's pension and institutional funds of $120 trillion.  Institutional fund managers can shift 10% of their assets away from hedge funds, risky derivatives and commodity speculation to real investments in a greener global economy, thereby assuring their beneficiaries a healthier future.

"While we encourage progress toward directly investing in growing the green economy, we urge government officials meeting in Copenhagen December 7-14, 2009, to follow the lead of these private investors that have already committed $1.248 trillion.  We applaud our pension fund colleagues of the UN Principles of Responsible Investing who have joined in pledges to allocate more of their members' $19 trillion of assets into similar green companies.  Now, governments must go beyond arguing over targets, caps and carbon-trading – and follow the lead of China and the USA in their comprehensive plan for cooperation on clean energy and climate change.  Such a general agreement in Copenhagen can promote and underwrite more direct investments and growth of the green economy," said Dr. Henderson.

The new Global Climate Prosperity Scoreboard® is researched and compiled by the Ethical Markets Media expert team: Timothy Nash, M.Sc., principal, Strategic Sustainable Investments, Toronto; Rachel Tubman, M.Sc., senior researcher/futurist; assisted by The Cleantech Group and members of the Ethical Markets Sustainability Research Group.  As these investments increase, the scoreboard will track totals, providing investors and governments with tangible evidence of the growing green economy.




Dr. Tariq Banuri, Director, Division of Sustainable Development, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and Dr. Marc A. Weiss, Chairman and CEO, Global Urban Development, and Chair, Climate Prosperity Alliance

March 2009

    The Global Climate Prosperity Agreement -- “The One Trillion Dollar Deal” -- can become the worldwide game-changer that will demonstrate the positive path forward for human civilization in the 21st century, namely the peaceful transition from the current globally unsustainable economy to an advanced technology-driven and environmentally sustainable industrialized society. Key private sector executives are organizing this completely voluntary, market-oriented, public-private investment and development strategy whereby corporations, financial institutions, insurance companies, pension funds, equity investment funds, and others will commit to invest one trillion dollars in developing countries over the next decade to build a new and modern infrastructure based entirely on renewable energy and clean technologies, including plug-in electric vehicles and “smart” and “super” electric grids. These investments and related projects will be supplemented and enhanced by additional funds, tax incentives, and regulatory policy support from governments, along with funds that will come from international donor agencies, official development assistance, and private philanthropy. The United Nations and World Bank, including various UN agencies and regional development banks, can play a key role in enabling these investments to succeed.

     The Global Climate Prosperity Agreement will help achieve the Millennium Development Goals in developing countries, by raising living standards and promoting sustainable economic and employment growth and sustainable business and community development through innovation, efficiency, and conservation in the use and reuse of all natural and human resources.  It will benefit developing and developed nations alike, generating a dynamic upward cycle of sustainable economic prosperity, job creation, and income growth worldwide, while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions, through increased production and distribution of renewable energy and clean technologies that optimize overall resource efficiency.  Under Climate Prosperity, economic livelihoods and well-being, quality of life, public health and safety, and peace and security, will improve for billions of people in every place throughout the world.  It will revive the global economy from its current market recession, stimulate massive long-term employment and income growth, and protect the economy and environment from resource supply shortages, catastrophic climate change, and other major threats and challenges.



Q:  Is this philanthropy?

A: No.  All of the one trillion dollars worth of investments will be based on typical market rates of return for the type of risk category according to your financial institution’s underwriting criteria and fiduciary responsibility.

Q: What type of investments will we be making?

A: Investments will be in infrastructure based on renewable energy and clean technologies, with physical asset value and dedicated, predictable revenue streams with which to repay both debt and equity investments, but primarily debt instruments such as normal capital market bond financing to build and operate basic infrastructure.  Investments also will be in renewable energy and clean technology businesses located and operating in developing countries, including venture capital, shares of stock, and other equity investments, in addition to debt financing.

Q: Will we be contributing money into some type of managed fund?

A: No.  Your institution will directly make all of the investments.  You will control the decision-making process as to whether or not to make any particular investment, choosing from a broad and diverse range of types of investments by country and region, by technology, by governance, by rate of return, by risk, by growth potential, and many other key decision factors.

Q: Will there be any kind of credit enhancement, loan guarantees, or public subsidies?

A: We expect that for each investment opportunity there will be public intervention by national governments, international agencies such as the UN and World Bank, and international donors ranging from official development assistance from developed country governments to private foundations, to ensure the safety and soundness of these investments both as to definite returns to the investors and as to the effectiveness of the infrastructure and technologies in promoting Climate Prosperity.

Q: If I make a commitment, is it legally binding?

A: No.  Your commitment is a statement of intent.  You are stating that your financial institution, in its strategic portfolio investment planning for the decade 2010 to 2020, intends to make a certain dollar amount of investments in renewable energy and clean technologies in developing countries, provided that each and every investment meets all of your institution’s underwriting criteria as to safety and soundness.  You will not be required to make any investments that do not fully satisfy all such criteria, meaning that by the end of 2020, you might not fulfill your original commitment in terms of the total dollar amounts invested, or alternatively, you might also exceed your original commitment and invest more money than you initially intended.

Q: How do you define developing countries?

A:  We use the United Nations definition of developing countries, all of which will be eligible for investments under the Global Climate Prosperity Agreement.  In addition, $200 billion of the total one trillion dollar deal will be targeted to the Least Developed Countries, as defined by the UN.

Q: How do you define renewable energy?

A: The Global Climate Prosperity Agreement follows the definition of renewable energy according to the official Statutes of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) signed by 136 countries worldwide. Eligible investments include solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, tidal, wave, biomass, biofuels, and energy efficiency.

Q: How are clean technology investments defined?

A: The specifics will change over time as new technologies emerge and can be scaled up, but the bottom line is that clean technologies are defined as being environmentally sustainable in terms of the overall ecological footprint based on how the resource inputs are obtained, the production process in the use of the materials, the deployment and environmental impacts of the technologies, and the ability to completely recycle all of the component resources in harmony with the cycles of nature such that essentially there is no waste. 

Q: Why do you take this approach?

A: We agree with the business sustainability movement’s argument that Resource Efficiency and Energy Productivity, as defined for example by McKinsey and other management consultants, is the only way for companies or communities to survive and thrive. As we say, in the 21st century people, places, and organizations can only get richer by becoming greener, and can only earn more money by using fewer resources and reusing more. 

Q: What is the main purpose of the Global Climate Prosperity Agreement?

A: The overall purpose of Climate Prosperity is to enable people, places, and organizations worldwide to achieve and maintain a high standard of living based on innovation, efficiency, and conservation in the use and reuse of all natural and human resources, thereby moving the global economy by 2020 from its current system of resource-wasting industrialism to a new economically and environmentally sustainable resource-saving industrialism.  Climate Prosperity is about the wise and efficient use and reuse of all resources in relative harmony and balance with nature.  This includes, of course, reducing the use of fossil fuels such as oil, gas, and coal, and drastically reducing emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, as well as removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through natural and sustainable processes.  However, it also involves water, land, air, trees, plants, animals, and every other resource, especially people.



Marc A. Weiss

(This article was published in the May/June 2009 issue of Tikkun Magazine.) 

     During the 1840s, two young German scholars, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, applied George Hegel’s dialectical philosophy of history to economics and politics. They envisioned modern history in three distinct phases:

 Phase 1    Economy: agricultural feudalism and urban mercantilism
Governance: monarchy or dictatorship

 Phase 2    Economy: industrial capitalism
Governance: monarchy or dictatorship, with limited experiments in democracy

 Phase 3    Economy: industrial socialism/communism
Governance: proletarian dictatorship

      While Marx and Engels later strongly supported European Social Democratic political parties and movements, they never modified their basic historical framework. They could not envision in 1848 how democratic capitalism would provide unprecedented human freedom, civil rights, and economic opportunities for millions of people worldwide by 2009. Once people taste the fruits of liberty, they never want to return to living with tyranny. 

    This one simple explanation, more than any other factor, accounts for the dramatic decline of communist and socialist ideologies during the past three decades, as I discovered while working in Prague after the Velvet Revolution. 

    It later turned out, as we now know, that there is a big problem with contemporary capitalism, namely the massive and inefficient utilization of a wide variety of natural resources both for industrial production and for human consumption. 

    Resource depletion and environmental challenges were generally ignored until the second half of the twentieth century. Only a few earlier commentators such as the poet William Blake raised concerns about industrialization (Blake called nineteenth-century British textile factories “dark Satanic mills”). It took until the 1960s for rapidly accelerating physical damage, diminishing supplies, and rising costs to finally place the issue of sustainability on the global policy agenda. Climate change is really just the tip of the iceberg in that all natural resources—land, water, and materials—are becoming increasingly scarce, expensive, and dangerous to continue using so excessively and wastefully. 

     Fortunately it is not too late to create an even higher standard of living for every person and community throughout the world, by shifting from resource-wasting capitalism to resource-saving capitalism. In the twenty-first century, the only way to get richer is by becoming greener, and the only way to earn more money is by using fewer resources and reusing more. In other words, the global economy can significantly enhance prosperity and quality of life for people everywhere by treating Mother Nature as our good friend and one of our most precious assets, rather than as our enemy to be exploited and conquered. 

     The main challenge is for each of us to acknowledge the ancient wisdom of two essential values: 1) new is not always better than old; and 2) more is not always better than less.

     Global Urban Development is coordinating Climate Prosperity, whose core belief is that “innovation, efficiency, and conservation in the use and reuse of all natural and human resources is the best way to increase jobs, incomes, productivity, and competitiveness.” The project’s main purpose is to creatively use business sustainability concepts taken from Paul Hawken, Amory and Hunter Lovins, Ray Anderson, Peter Senge, Karl-Henrik Robert, William McDonough, Daniel Esty, and the McKinsey Global Institute, as applied in various ways by companies such as GE, IBM, Toyota, Interface, IKEA, DuPont, Wal-Mart, Google, Nike, Seventh Generation, and Apple.

      This model has three key elements:

 1)    Green Savings—cutting costs by using renewable resources and by reducing and reusing waste;

 2)    Green Opportunities—growing businesses and jobs by expanding markets and increasing incomes;

 3)    Green Talent—investing in fundamental assets including technology, infrastructure, and most importantly, modern entrepreneurial and workforce skills, because people are now the world’s most vital economic resource. 

      Through state, regional, and local Climate Prosperity Strategies, places like Silicon Valley, San Antonio, Southwest Florida, Metropolitan Portland, Metropolitan Denver, and the State of Delaware are now using the three-part business sustainability model to promote economic development that saves money, creates jobs, raises incomes, and keeps us all safe from environmental harm. This summer the International Economic Development Council will publish the Climate Prosperity Handbook, describing the various strategies and explaining how to develop and implement such approaches most effectively. 

    Currently there is talk of a Global Climate Prosperity Agreement, with developed countries committing to invest one trillion dollars in developing countries over the next decade to build renewable energy and clean technologies, enabling living standards to rise and poverty to be eliminated through sustainable innovation and resource efficiency. These investments will generate substantial economic and employment growth for every nation throughout the world. 

    The bottom line is that Marx and Engels were wrong, because the real three-phase historical dialectic is as follows:

 Phase 1    Pre-industrial sustainability

 Phase 2    Resource-wasting industrialization

 Phase 3    Innovative, efficient, sustainable, inclusive, democratic, resource-saving industrialism.

       Now that we can envision a healthier, more peaceful, and prosperous future in harmony with Mother Nature, let’s all thank her for showing us the one and only path that can definitely ensure our grandchildren will thrive.

 (Dr. Marc A. Weiss is Chairman and CEO of Global Urban Development and Chair of the Climate Prosperity Alliance. He served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Clinton administration, and was a Professor of Urban Development and Planning at Columbia University.) 



Marc A. Weiss

  (This newspaper column is nationally syndicated by Citiwire, and was published on October 20, 2008.)

 Climate protection and economic growth are not enemies.  Core strategies to create a vibrant economy – innovation, efficiency, strategic investment, and finding better ways to use and reuse resources – are exactly the same steps we need to cope with global climate change now.  These actions will increase jobs, incomes, productivity, and competitiveness, and they’re green.

 There are commentators who advocate postponing investments in renewable energy and clean technologies, suggesting this will somehow delay economic recovery.  They’re dead wrong.  In the 21st century, the only way for people and places to get richer is by thinking and acting for sustainability, specifically aiming to become “greener.”

 How do we get this message out to the cities and regions of America?  How do we encourage them to switch their economic growth, community development, infrastructure, education and workforce, land-use, transportation, housing, and environmental policies to look courageously forward?

 Climate Prosperity was launched in 2007. It is coordinated by Global Urban Development and Collaborative Economics, with financial support from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Environmental Defense Fund.  We’ve been joined by a highly diverse public-private partnership of pro-business groups such as the International Economic Development Council, American Chamber of Commerce Executives, Urban Land Institute, Council on Competitiveness, International Downtown Association, and American Council on Renewable Energy.

   We hope to get millions of people involved in learning the new 21st century economic paradigm.   Technology companies, including Google and Applied Materials, helped launch the Silicon Valley Climate Prosperity Strategy in partnership with elected officials such as San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed. 

  Among other cities, counties, and metropolitan regions working with us on Climate Prosperity Strategies are San Antonio, Southwest Florida, Denver, Portland, King County/Seattle, St. Louis, Cleveland, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, and Montgomery County (Maryland).  States working with us on Climate Prosperity Strategies include Delaware, Florida, Maryland, and California.  In July 2009 the International Economic Development Council will publish the Climate Prosperity Handbook.

   The economics driving a shift to new approaches seem compelling.  Oil prices have hit huge peaks in the past year as global demand grows exponentially (hindered only temporarily by the current recession).   The United States consumes one-quarter of the world’s oil and yet possesses just three percent of the world’s reserves.  The only way to stop the bleeding and staunch the flow of over one-half trillion dollars annually to foreign oil producers is by consuming less petroleum.    

   Fossil fuels are not the only commodities becoming increasingly expensive.  Steel prices, for example, have skyrocketed by nearly 170 percent since 2002.  As economic development and population growth accelerate in Asia and throughout the world, serious conflicts are growing as people and places fight over scarce water, land, and many other vital resources.   Even the states of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida are battling over fresh water sources due to a severe drought.  America, with five percent of the world’s population, consumes 25 percent of the world’s resources.

   The idea of moving from “resource-wasting capitalism” to “resource-saving capitalism” is not new.  Business development experts such as Paul Hawken, Amory and Hunter Lovins, Ray Anderson, William McDonough, and Peter Senge have long advocated this approach.  The business sustainability model works in three mutually reinforcing ways:  1) Green Savings — cutting resource costs; 2) Green Opportunities — enabling businesses and jobs to grow and thrive; 3) Green Talent — developing globally competitive entrepreneurial and workforce skills, and attracting and retaining talented people.

    Numerous corporations, including DuPont, General Electric, IBM, Nike, and Interface, are practicing innovation, efficiency, and conservation to enhance their productivity and competitiveness.  DuPont responded to “peak oil” by switching from petrochemicals to life science bio-products, substantially improving their profitability through saving $3 billion and expanding revenues by producing goods that are better for the environment.

   Fortunately, we have some success stories in which these business sustainability principles have guided economic development in place-based, area-wide economies.  According to the California Green Innovation Index, Californians saved $56 billion on electricity expenses over the past three decades through improved energy efficiency, primarily from state and local government policies requiring higher standards for buildings and electrical appliances and providing financial incentives for utility companies, businesses, and households to conserve energy and use renewable sources.  Private consumers reinvested much of this savings in the state's economy, directly contributing to higher economic growth and greater prosperity by generating 1.5 million full-time jobs with total annual income of $45 billion.

   Similarly, people in metropolitan Portland, Oregon save more than $2 billion annually due to the land-use and transportation changes that have occurred during the past three decades.  By modestly increasing population and building densities and developing light-rail transit together with mixed-use communities encouraging walking and bicycling, Portlanders have reduced greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle miles traveled while jobs, incomes, and investments have boomed.  California and Portland both got richer by becoming greener.

   So we know how to build more prosperous, green, climate-protecting regions.  Now is the time to get serious and spread the message to communities, cities, regions, and states.