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California's Green Economy is a Work in Progress, CCI adds a 2010 Update

Green business practices, policies and markets make up the "green economy" for regions, states and our nation. The recipe varies by region - look into Los Angeles, East Bay, San Diego and Inland Empire differences and green economy strategies with this extensive research report.

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When you've been researching and writing about green business for more than 10 years, you can get overwhelmed by the rate of change, growth and chatter. I have. The recent research report "Innovating the Green Economy in California Regions" by the Center for Community Innovation at UC-Berkeley gave me a splash of cold, refreshing wake-up medicine. Folks, we have some work to do... green isn't as big as it appears. But it is as important for job growth into our mutually assured future.

Did you know...

California Green Business Checkup

Within California, green employment is concentrated in large metropolitan areas, with the top five regions garnering 70% of green jobs.

Across each of the researched five measures of green innovation the Center for Community Innovation finds that green innovation makes up a relatively small share of overall innovation taking place in California.

  • patents
  • venture capital investments
  • SBIR and STTR grants,
  • startups
  • gazelles

Green businesses, and particularly innovative businesses, are largely oriented to serve local markets. Local market orientation is also an important factor in innovation of green products and services.

Although networks were not significant in the models of innovation, green businesses report making greater use of several types of local networks compared to other firms, including local nonprofits, local government, and similar businesses in the local area.

In particular, across all green firms, contact frequency with universities and research labs is relatively low for both innovative and non-innovative green firms, suggesting that green product innovation is more likely to derive from frequent interaction with local and regional-based actors (non-profits, businesses, trade associations, chamber of commerce and local governments) than from frequent interaction with universities and/or research institutions. However, interactions with local universities and research organizations are of much greater importance to energy research firms.

Local and Global Marketplaces

Smaller firms are characterized by a focus on the local market, and many choose a location close to the executive’s residence, while larger firms are more focused on the labor market and on access to financial capital in making a location choice.

Green firms show more interest in using outside training, particularly certificate programs, than did other types of firms, another opportunity for economic development strategies. The survey results also highlighted potential new policy directions for encouraging the growth of green businesses.

Because of the local nature of many firms, there was wide agreement among respondents that standardization of policies across localities could ease the growth of the industry.

The Center for Community Innovation

The Center for Community Innovation (CCI) nurtures effective solutions that expand economic opportunity, diversify housing options, and strengthen connection to place. The work of the center focuses on four topic areas:
  • Revitalizing neighborhoods
  • Developing economic resilience
  • Designing and programming for the public realm
  • Producing and preserving affordable housing.
SOURCE: Download the report and helpful appendices at CCI's publications website.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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