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By Greg LeRoy
Posted on: July 7, 2014
States and cities spend about $70 billion per year on economic development subsidies. This race to the bottom or economic war among the states is unfair to small business: entrepreneurs get shortchanged on incentives and get stuck with higher taxes and poorer public services. The good news is that responsible business groups in some states are pushing back and making a difference. Good Jobs First, the non-profit resource center in the middle of this debate, urges businesses such as those that comprise the American Sustainable Business Council to join this fight. Just how unfair are these... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: July 3, 2014
The ranks of climate deniers grow thinner by the day. On Monday, prominent Republican Henry Paulson, a George W. Bush administration treasury secretary, broke ranks with deniers in a prominent op-ed in the New York Times. On Tuesday, a new group of business and civic leaders, led by former N.Y. mayor Michael Bloomberg and Paulson, condemned the decades-long delay in addressing climate change and called for prompt and bold action. The general public agrees: More than two-thirds of Americans support tough new carbon emissions rules, according to a recent Wall Street Journal poll. More than half... read more
By Althea Erickson
Posted on: June 30, 2014
The maker economy is on the rise. Already, there are over one million Etsy sellers worldwide, who together sold more than $1.35 billion in goods in 2013. This is not a charming little trend. It’s a movement. And it matters. The maker economy has the potential to transform lives, communities, and the economy. Thanks to the Internet and platforms like Etsy, makers can bring their unique products to market for very little money, earning income and gaining the satisfaction that comes from building something themselves, be it a handcrafted table or a successful small business. Though these... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: June 27, 2014
Since 1828, the Cove Point lighthouse on Chesapeake Bay has guided mariners safely through darkness, storms and fog. Now its light illuminates a stormy debate over America’s energy future. In recent years, U.S production of natural gas has surged as its cost has fallen. This boom parallels the growth of from fracking – hydraulic fracturing – a process that uses a pressurized stew of chemicals and water to shatter rock and release the natural gas locked inside. Fracked gas appeals to some for two reasons: When burned, it releases less carbon, per unit of energy produced, than coal does. And... read more
By Richard Eidlin Ann Pratt
Posted on: June 23, 2014
As state legislatures across the country wrap up their deliberative sessions it’s a good time to review what they accomplished on behalf of working families and small businesses. From Minnesota to Hawaii, states considered and passed minimum wage increases. States also looked at providing seniors with a more secure retirement and low-income workers with the safety of earned leave for illness or family care. These policies represent our vision for the economy, one that is pro-worker and pro-business and make our workplaces healthier, drive more customers to local businesses, secure a future of... read more
By James Billman
Posted on: June 22, 2014
Climate Action Liaison Coalition (CALC); a Boston-based coalition of small businesses taking action on climate change, recently launched the Businesses Acting on Rising Seas Boston (BARSBoston) campaign in collaboration with the City of Boston’s Greenovate Team. This is next phase of the BARS program which ASBC pioneered in partnership with the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce. BARSBoston works to engage Massachusetts’ coastal businesses and municipalities to inform them about the environmental and economic consequences of climate change and rising sea levels articulated in... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: June 18, 2014
This week, Amazon continued its long-running, high-stakes public spat with Hachette Book Group, in an attempt to force the publisher to accept stiff terms that sweeten Amazon’s bottom line. Amazon has been squeezing Hachette, refusing to take advance orders on its most popular books, imposing lengthy shipping delays and reducing discounts. Now, Amazon is imposing similar tactics on Warner Home Video, producer of "The Lego Movie," likely this summer’s hottest video release. This is not the way capitalism is supposed to work. Companies that want to stay in business don’t usually hike prices,... read more
By Julie Fox Gorte
Posted on: June 14, 2014
An externality is something that costs nothing on the part of the person or enterprise that creates it, but imposes a cost or conveys a benefit to others. The world is full of them. My children create them by Skyping with their friends at elevated decibel levels all night. Externalities come in all sizes too. Fortunately for my neighbors, the Skype externality stays within the walls of my house. Companies that emit tons of greenhouse gases (GHG) create externalities that are bounded only by the size of the planet. They get so big, in fact, they aren’t externalities any more. A company that... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: June 11, 2014
On Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a major new program to tackle climate change. The program is the biggest step ever taken by the United States; it will go a long way to dispel criticism from other nations that we don’t do our share. But the action – bold as it is compared to prior U.S. policy – now needs to be taken forward via international diplomacy. We must get other countries to implement major reductions as well. The EPA’s program attacks the carbon emissions produced by the power plants that create electricity. Power plants here emit 39 percent of total U.S.... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: June 6, 2014
Any discussion of sustainability turns sooner or later to the question of the business case. Whether the focus is on environmental sustainability (like renewable energy), or intellectual sustainability (like improving education) or financial sustainability (like reining in “too big to fail” banks) we want to understand the business case. Do investments in sustainability pay off in real dollar terms? Or are they investments we make for moral reasons or marketing reasons, but without a clear and convincing financial payoff? Business cases involving sustainability evolve over time. As projects... read more