Share your ideas on the creation of a green community economic development commission

BOB Business and Social Enterprise Developer, Brian Smith,  has been asked to participate in the City of Vancouver’s Greenest City Working Group on the Green Economy.   The Group is being convened by the Vancouver Economic Development Commission (VEDC).

At the first meeting of the group, there were six identified priority areas for which the group agreed to establish sub-committees.  Each sub-committee’s first objective was to prepare a short document on the priority area for the next meeting on July 14th. This draft document is to outline the main opportunity in the specific area, along with 3-5 actions that could lead to green job growth. The Working Group will then research these recommendations and incorporate them into a draft implementation plan for the Greenest City initiative, which will be open for further comment by the entire External Advisory Committee.

The sub-committee that Brian has proposed and is interested in helping to steer concerns Community Economic Development.  This applies directly to the inner-city and people who have barriers to employment, but has positive implications in other neighbourhoods too.

In Brian’s words:

…CED is applicable across the City and, in turn, could benefit a variety of neighbourhoods, small businesses, social enterprises, co-ops and people. Given the City’s apparent commitment to the Greenest City initiative, I feel there is a good opportunity to advance some CED in Vancouver.  BUT, I need your help! So, please reply to BOB with your respective interest and time availability in helping to shape a CED strategy that can be included in the Greenest City Implementation Plan.

Cheers,

Brian

Please read Brian’s overview of the CED Sub-committee below:

Community Economic Development (CED) for the Greenest City

CED is a holistic approach to economic development involving the mobilization of resources from various economic and non-economic sectors in the community with the intention of building local capacity and local solutions.  It is particularly relevant to the world’s greenest city as it uses local resources, which generally are lower in carbon intensity, to find local and more sustainable solutions to local problems.  Integrating CED into the green economy strategies for Vancouver’s Greenest City ambitions compliments the more traditional macro-economic development strategies by integrating localized approaches with broader global outreach strategies. The benefits of a CED approach include:  local employment, local investment, increased local capacity and commitment, local spending in the local economy, and appropriate sustainable solutions to local challenges.

Goal: Foster green business development and associated job creation for Vancouver’s marginalized inner-city residents

Action 1: Apply a CED Lens to all programs and policies of the City, where each department, program, grant, expenditure from parks and social development to legal services and planning would eventually be able to articulate the social, economic and environmental impact of their work/business/purchasing.

Action 1a: Establish a City of Vancouver funded Community Economic Development Commission that would:

  • work internally applying the CED Lens and externally facilitating CED on the ground;
  • develop and implement procurement policy that directly benefits co-operatives, social enterprises and small businesses that are committed to hiring people with barriers to employment; and,
  • educate community (NGOs, workers, and businesses) about realistic opportunities for green job and green business development

Action 1b: Institutionalize – as part of any development permit process, require  a Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) as a necessary component of all new developments (for local jobs, procurement, and/or training).

Action 2: Establish a green zone (may need an incentive attached) in the DTES for piloting green enterprise development projects.

Action 2a: Develop employment agreements with incentives for medium to large size green businesses to hire people with barriers to employment.

Action 2b: Establish and administer a green CED fund to facilitate green employment or business development projects in the inner-city;

Action 2c: By way of an immediate pilot project, establish, through the allocation of City-owned land, an Urban Farm Network that trains and hires people with barriers to employment

Action 3: Develop and direct education and training in green collar vocations to people with barriers to employment.

Please comment below or contact Brian directly at brian.smith@bobics.org to share your thoughts and ideas.