The report credits green planning—a comprehensive and integrated management approach to environmental sustainability—for strengthening the economies of the European Union and other nations. A California green plan, the report suggests, would help the state by consolidating functions, leveraging technologies, and creating clear authority and accountability.
The report comes as California begins to implement the pioneering Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32).
“A comprehensive, large-scale, and committed approach to solving environmental, health, and economic issues is the way to make progress,” said Sarah Diefendorf, executive director of the Environmental Finance Center for Environmental Protection Agency Region 9, an advisor on the report.
"The foundation commissioned the report because we want to offer practical and proven ideas to policymakers, businesses, and environmental grant makers to solve the environmental crisis," said Annette Gellert, co-chair of the Fred Gellert Family Foundation, which funded the report. "Other nations have successfully used green planning for more than twenty years. We believe that if California were to learn from and adopt these principles, it would become a model for the U.S. and other nations," she added.
The report states that, like many companies, California has gone through mergers and acquisitions, leadership changes, rightsizing, unprecedented growth and budget constraints. As a result, California’s government has evolved into "silos." This lack of integration limits the effectiveness of the state’s environmental leadership efforts.
● Four state entities address reducing solid waste in landfills, inhibiting the state’s ability to create a comprehensive waste management program.
● Pollution prevention is split among three separate programs. There is a lack of emphasis on pollution prevention due to single-issue programs. For example, recycling for bottles and cans is housed at the Department of Conservation while recycling for oil, tires, and e-waste resides at the Waste Management Board.
● Two agencies—the Revolving Fund at the California State Water Resources Control Board and the Drinking Water Fund at the Department of Health Sciences—operating separately, seek federal water funding, resulting in federal funding below the national average, despite California’s size.
● California's permitting and licensing processes continue to be a major area of frustration due to complexities, inconsistencies, and long lead times. For example, to open a gas station requires registration, permits, and licenses from nine state departments. A person wanting to open a beauty salon must register or obtain permits and licenses from eight different state entities.
● California does not have a comprehensive regulatory framework for the regulation of chemicals in consumer products and packaging. As a result, interest groups and policy makers have been attempting to take these safety issues one by one.
When determining the way ahead for the state, business should be part of the solution, said John Stayton, executive director of Dominican’s MBA in Sustainable Enterprise (the GreenMBA).
“Businesses bring an understanding of their unique circumstances and familiarity with their stakeholders, and must be at the green planning table from the get-go,” said Stayton.
“California’s reputation as a magnet for human resources and ingenuity must be preserved,” said Stayton. “With a proactive approach to green planning, California will become an even more desirable place to live and work, thus attracting the most talented work force.”
Lauralee Barbaria, and Nancy Roberts, both students in Dominican’s GreenMBA program, co-authored the report.
Dominican's Master of Business Administration in Sustainable Enterprise (GreenMBA) is a graduate business program focused on corporate social responsibility, environmental sustainability, and social justice in a corporate and business context.
The Environmental Finance Center, based at Dominican University, is supported in part by the EPA, and coordinates the development of Green Business Programs for California, Hawaii, Arizona, and Nevada.
The Fred Gellert Family Foundation, established in 1958 by Fred Gellert, a prominent San Francisco Bay area developer, homebuilder and philanthropist, funds innovative programs that encourage a sustainable quality of life for present and future generations.
View and download the report: http://www.wellnetwork.org/reports.html