San Fernando Valley Business Journal Prints AB32 Column by AGS
AGS Co-Founder Michael Gottlieb wrote “California Bill Adds to Valley Business’ Bottom Line,” which appears in the June 11, 2012 edition of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. The piece advocates on behalf of AB 32 and the stimulative effects it will have on the regional and state economy. The full text is below.
AB 32 Adds to California Business’ Bottom Line
Double bottom line investment, the concept that businesses can improve fiscal performance while making a positive social impact, is embraced by many of today’s leading companies.
Now the idea of “doing well while doing good” has expanded to triple, quadruple and even quintuple bottom line investing to reflect the positive social, environmental, economic and ethical impacts that companies can make on the San Fernando Valley while improving financial performance.
California’s clean energy and climate law – AB 32 – will be a catalyst for the region’s companies to add to their bottom lines by providing a cleaner, healthier environment for the workforce, ensuring long-term energy and water security, attracting new public and private investment, stimulating business growth and creating jobs among other benefits.
The San Fernando Valley is seeing how forward-looking green policies create jobs. According to a 2012 report commissioned by Los Angeles Valley College, the Valley’s green employers are more likely to be hiring than your typical San Fernando Valley business. The report found that our region’s green employers expect to increase employment by 7 percent in the next year, which is more than five times higher than the overall increase in regional employment forecasted by Economic Modeling Specialists Inc.
The Valley’s green economy is still developing, however, as the report found that the demand for green products and services remains mixed and the region’s green employers face slow economic growth and uncertain funding for public incentives.
California also has seen how efficiency policies unleash investment, attract capital and create jobs. Between 2006 and June 2010, California clean-technology companies accounted for the most venture capital investment of any state and the Golden State tops a long list of clean energy metrics, from most employees in green-collar jobs, to the most solar power.
Our state’s forward-looking policies stoked this growth. AB 32 and the rest of California’s emerging suite of green standards will help San Fernando Valley businesses capture an even larger share of the rapidly emerging global clean energy market. Combined global investment in renewable energy alone – solar, wind and biofuels – grew by 31 percent in 2011 to hit a record $246 billion from $188 billion in 2010, according to Clean Edge, Inc.
I’ve had a front-row seat for this transformation. As a long-time business journalist, I saw sustainability emerge in the marketplace, survive the recent economic tumult and develop into a practical business sector. This development inspired the creation of my company, Advanced Green Solutions, to provide low-cost services that reduce the environmental impact of the built environment – buildings account for nearly 40 percent of all energy use, nearly 40 percent of carbon emissions and more than 10 percent of all water use in the U.S., according to the EPA. We are proud to do good things for the environment, to help people live healthier and to save clients’ money, but those are the consequences of doing good business, which has contributed to our company’s rapid growth.
California is doing this on a grand scale, by creating a comprehensive, statewide framework for using fewer resources and reducing pollution that will resonate throughout the economy. And as the AB 32 Scoping Plan points out, improving building efficiency and increasing clean power generation will make a serious dent in California’s emissions and in the expenses building owners and occupants face.
Top-down public policies implemented in conjunction with rising bottom-up market demand for environmentally responsible products and services are reshaping the marketplace. Just look at the effort the construction trades are putting toward educating workers on green building technologies for an example of how green policies are stimulating vital areas of our economy.
Change doesn’t come easy, however. For small business owners like me, it can be tough to plan beyond the next employee pay period, much less the next year. Many prefer to stick to what they know because it is easier. That’s especially true for businesses built on outdated technologies with increasingly uncertain futures. That preference for the status quo helps drive opposition to AB 32. But businesses cannot afford to avoid change. Yes, it is a challenge to adapt to new environmental requirements and yes, there are obstacles to putting this historic, transformative law into practice. The alternative – failing to adapt to the changing global economy and growing demand for sustainable alternatives – is guaranteed to undermine your business’ most important bottom line and that, ultimately, is unsustainable.
Michael Gottlieb is co-founder and managing partner of Advanced Green Solutions in Van Nuys and he is an active member of the San Fernando Valley Green Team,which hosted the 2nd Annual Valley Green Building Conference & Expo this month. An award-winning journalist, Gottlieb writes on real estate and sustainability for Zurich’s Risks Revealedand CB Richard Ellis’ Speaking of Green.