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Sustainable Economics

Sustainable Economics

All economic activity, and all programs designed to stimulate economic growth and job creation, should take into account the ”triple bottom line,” which includes people and the planet as well as profit. Sustainable development considers all aspects of the triple bottom line in determining which projects and programs to pursue. ASBC encourages the development and use of economic approaches, investments, regulations, and research that accurately assess the total costs of projects, including social, economic, and environmental externalities.

Programs that favor economic diversity at the local level are better than so-called “business attraction” strategies that aim to attract a large employer to locate in the area. Locally-based growth leads to economies that are more resilient and likely to yield more jobs for the investment made. Driving economic growth by recruiting big-box stores is usually suboptimal; for example. Business attraction often yields jobs with lower benefits and wages. It leaves the community vulnerable to the newly-recruited corporation imposing externalities (pollution, etc.), and to sudden, widespread unemployment if the corporation decides to pull up stakes. In contrast, a more resilient and sustainable local economy can be built by protecting and revitalizing Main Street business districts, fostering the local food movement, and encouraging diverse economies with a variety of industries.