Green Economy

Overview

Boosting the green economy is a part of Clearwater Greenprint, the city's sustainability plan

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Why It's Important to Boost a Green Economy

“Greenwashing” is a new phenomenon in which a product or business is advertised as being better for the environment than it really is. As a result, it can be confusing when trying to choose the best item to purchase or business to support. Many people want to support a business that is doing something good for the world, but these businesses can be difficult to identify. Many businesses would consider more sustainable products and practices if they were provided with direction and shown that “going green” is a good financial decision.

A green economy fosters businesses that help protect, restore, and enhance our natural environment. By supporting green businesses, Clearwater’s economy can thrive and prosper while achieving community goals of generating less waste and pollution, saving energy, restoring green spaces, growing food locally, and conserving water. Green businesses could include companies that develop renewable energy or alternative fuels, grow organic produce locally, make products from recycled materials, implement resource conservation practices, or choose to avoid single-use plastics. Traditional companies that modify their practices to be more resource-efficient, such as builders who learn to use energy-efficient, environmentally sustainable materials and construction practices, could also meet the definition of green business.

Green Economy Strategies Overview

Green Business Database

  • Develop a database of green businesses and the number and types of green jobs within the city.
  • Establish criteria for classifying green businesses and jobs, allowing for flexibility as new developments in green industry and business practices arise.

Best Practices Sharing

  • A. Recognize businesses that have received LEED, FGBC, Florida Green Lodging Program, and Ocean Friendly certifications on the city website.

Green Job Development

  • Become a member of Florida Local Environmental Resource Agencies (FLERA).
  • Connect unemployed and underemployed people to local green job opportunities.

Green Guide

  • Partner with tourism-based businesses and other local tourism agencies to create a green guide that promotes local businesses that commit to green practices.
  • Increase participation in green business designation programs by the hospitality industry (e.g., the Florida Green Lodging Program).

Regional Partnerships

  • Continue to partner with local and regional organizations and focus on devising new strategies to attract green businesses to the area.
  • Leverage economic development centers to spur local economic development in the green business sector.

Municipal Green Revolving Fund

  • Develop a municipal GRF to fund sustainable projects and uphold cost-effective services.

Green Purchasing Policy

  • Develop a “Green Purchasing Policy” to encourage the purchase of environmentally preferable products that mitigate the city’s environmental impact.
  • Create procedures to help departments make the most sustainable purchases possible.

Strategy 1: Green Business Database

  • Develop a database of green businesses and the number and types of green jobs within the city.
  • Establish criteria for classifying green businesses and jobs, allowing for flexibility as new developments in green industry and business practices arise.

The city will develop a database of all green businesses including the number and types of green jobs in Clearwater. The city will need to establish criteria for classifying green businesses and jobs, allowing for flexibility as new developments in green industry and business practices arise. This data can be collected through surveys, online business searches, and phone interviews with the development community and industry organizations. Clearwater can use the business tax receipt application and renewal process to facilitate data collection.

Strategy 2: Best Practices Sharing

  • Recognize businesses that have received LEED, FGBC, Florida Green Lodging Program, and Ocean Friendly certifications on the city website.

The city Sustainability & Resilience website will recognize businesses that have received green certifications from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC), the Florida Green Lodging Program, and Ocean Allies certified Ocean Friendly. The city will also develop a system to recognize and profile other businesses that are taking steps to become more sustainable and resource efficient without pursuing certifications. The profiles will highlight best practices and the environmental, economic, and social benefits of different companies’ efforts.

Strategy 3: Green Job Development

  • Become a member of Florida Local Environmental Resource Agencies (FLERA).
  • Connect unemployed and underemployed people to local green job opportunities.
  • Partner with existing institutions and organizations like St. Petersburg College and CareerSource Pinellas to offer workforce training programs in green job skills.

In conjunction with generating green jobs locally, the city will also work to connect people who may be unemployed or underemployed to these new opportunities. The city will partner with existing institutions and organizations, like St. Petersburg College and CareerSource Pinellas, to offer workforce training programs in green job skills, such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste reduction, food production, and green building. The program will be implemented in tandem with programs and initiatives that are available in Clearwater to ensure that training results in job placement.

Strategy 4: Green Guide

  • Partner with tourism-based businesses and other local tourism agencies to create a green guide that promotes local businesses that commit to green practices.
  • Increase participation in green business designation programs by the hospitality industry (e.g., the Florida Green Lodging Program). 

Many businesses in Clearwater rely on tourism, including local hotels, restaurants, real estate rentals, tour operators, and visitor travel outlets. People now want to spend money at businesses that align with their personal values. As a result, the city will partner with these tourism-based businesses and other local tourism agencies to create a green guide that promotes local businesses that have made a commitment to green practices. This partnership can also create participation in green business designation programs for the hospitality industry, such as the Florida Green Lodging Program, and for other types of businesses that qualify under programs such as Pinellas County’s Green Business Partnership. The city may choose to create its own designation criteria or registration program in implementing this strategy.

Strategy 5: Regional Partnerships

  • Continue to partner with local and regional organizations and focus on devising new strategies to attract green businesses to the area.
  • Leverage economic development centers to spur local economic development in the green business sector.

Economic development centers can be leveraged to spur local economic development in the green business sector.  Collaborations are being developed at many levels in the Tampa Bay region, from local municipalities, including the city, up to regional levels like the Tampa Bay Partnership which encompasses eight counties.

In 2015, Clearwater Business SPARK was formed to provide a variety of services to developing businesses, including educational resources, mentoring programs, and networking opportunities. The city’s Economic Development department also directs businesses and entrepreneurs to additional facilities and programs, such as the Tampa Bay Innovation Center (TBIN). TBIN is committed to cultivating entrepreneurs and developing technology startups. Other regional organizations include the Tampa Bay Entrepreneur Center, Tampa Bay Wave, USF Connect, and Pasco SmartStart.

The city will also become a member of Florida Local Environmental Resource Agencies (FLERA), an organization formed in the 1960s that aims to enhance communication, education, and advocacy for Florida local environmental protection efforts. The city will continue to partner with local and regional organizations and will focus on devising new strategies to specifically attract green businesses to the area.

Strategy 6: Municipal Green Revolving Fund

  • Develop a municipal GRF to fund sustainable projects and uphold cost-effective services.

A Green Revolving Fund (GRF) is an internal funding pool that is reserved for financing energy efficiency improvements, renewable energy projects, and other sustainability projects that produce a cost savings. A portion of those savings are then used to replenish the fund and enable an organization to reinvest in future sustainable projects that produce similar savings. Thus, a revolving source of capital is generated to facilitate more green projects and financial savings. The city will develop a municipal GRF to fund sustainable projects and uphold cost-effective services. The Better Buildings Solution Center, a program of the U.S. Department of Energy, offers a number of tools and example programs that the city can use to form its own GRF.

Strategy 7: Green Purchasing Policy

  • Develop a “Green Purchasing Policy” to encourage the purchase of environmentally preferable products that mitigate the city’s environmental impact.
  • Create procedures to help departments make the most sustainable purchases possible.

In order to ensure that the city is purchasing goods and services that best align with the city’s environmental values and sustainability goals, the city will develop a Green Purchasing Policy to encourage the purchasing of environmentally preferable products that improves the city’s overall impact on the environment.

Preferred products or services are those that have the most positive effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose. When considering a product, the entire life cycle of that product should be assessed.

In addition to this policy, the city will create procedures to help departments make the most sustainable purchases.

Learn More About Green Economy

Business Case for Sustainability

Impact of Personal Values on Purchasing Patterns