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Green Report

Center for Green Research & Evaluation

Metrics and Resources to Understand and Grow a Sustainable Economy in Northeast North Carolina.

This report brings together metrics of economic, social, and environmental concerns to (1) raise awareness, (2) identify opportunities to stimulate green economic development, (3) serve as a resource for our partners, (4) and track the growth of the sustainable, green economy in the region. The Center for Green Research and Evaluation has identified seven sectors that show special promise based upon the existing assets and challenges for the 21 county, northeast North Carolina region:

  1. Energy Production (i.e. solar, wind, geo-thermal, methane capture, bio-fuels)
  2. Energy Efficiency (i.e. insulation, smart switching, windows, HVAC, operational systems analysis)
  3. Stormwater Management via Low Impact Design (i.e. design, plant nursery, landscaping)
  4. Recycling Industries and Green Manufacturing (i.e. collection, re-use, green manufacturing potential)
  5. Sustainable Agriculture / Biotechnology (i.e. organic / chemical free production, value-added processing, greenhouse production)
  6. Heritage / Eco-Tourism (i.e. unique ecological systems, regional and cultural history, arts)
  7. Green Education, Resources, and Training (i.e. including the medical health of the region)

The region's assets include the diverse skills and special qualities of the people, existing business and industry, and the unique natural and historical resources found in the 21 counties. The metrics in this report both informed the identification of these seven sectors, and, going forward, will allow us to monitor their growth in the region.

Sustainable Development and the Triple Bottom Line

Sustainable development is contrasted with a focus on "development" that only considers short-term economic concerns. The classic statement of focusing solely on the "bottom line" reflects this economics-only concentration. Various groups have argued the focus should expand beyond the economics-only concentration to what is sometimes referred to as the "triple bottom line" that incorporates environmental and social concerns.  For example, the Conservation Fund describes the triple bottom line as Economic Gains (jobs created; small businesses started or expanded; environmentally responsible industries engaged; poverty reduced or alleviated), Social Improvements (people of color or low-wealth engaged; educational systems improved; racism dismantled; power shared), and Environmental Stewardship (land/water resources protected; working lands locally-owned; water quality improved; native plants and herbs propagated).

How do we Measure a Sustainable, Green Economy?

Traditionally, economic development, community development, and conservation groups have largely worked independently and relied on data that only considered their one focus. If the triple bottom line is a three-legged stool, the data reported has focused on one leg of the stool at a time. In order to promote and track the development of a sustainable, green economy in the 21 county region, we have to have a resource that tracks the data across all areas of the triple bottom line. The Green Report is intended to be that resource.

The Green Report

The metrics are drawn from existing state and national databases with measures available at the county level, including databases from the North Carolina Department of Commerce, U.S. Census, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The data gathered will be updated annually, and the report will evolve to meet the needs of the region and to incorporate measures collected by the Center itself. The Center for Green Research and Evaluation will summarize the data in Annual Reports, and generate "white papers" and other reports throughout the year as appropriate. The Green Report is meant to be a living document that changes as the sustainable, green economy in the region changes.

The Green Report