One year ago, SEED’s for De Pere, (Social, Ecological, Economic Development for De Pere) became part of the De Pere Area Chamber family. My environmentalist heart and my business head are both very excited to have SEED’s part of the family and I am quite excited about what this initiative can and will accomplish.
I’ve long believed chambers are not only uniquely placed to be an incubator for birthing large concepts and ideas, but also that we have a responsibility to do so. Think about it, chambers of commerce are the one place where everything intersects in a community. Businesses (all types and sectors since we aren’t a trade group so no specific industry affiliation), individuals, governments, non-profit organizations, faith-based groups and education all are part of the chamber. Chambers can be the middle ground where all points of view come together and answer the big questions because everyone needed to achieve Big Hairy Audacious Goals are part of the conversation.
In my mind, sustainability from programs like this one should have five “arms” of activity bases that work on parallel, complementary tracks:
The basic premise of “sustainable development” is it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. SEED’s Vision is An Ecologically Sustainable De Pere and the Mission is to Generate Ecological integrity, Economic prosperity,and Social equity for De Pere. Further, SEED’s is:
- A local citizen organization
- A part of a growing worldwide concern
- Creating understanding
- Educating our neighbors
- Encouraging participation
- Promoting a better community
- A 501(c)3 charitable organization as part of the De Pere Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Inc.
They seek to take a “Systems Approach” – We will facilitate a systems approach to create contacts, relationships, and links between different assets and people across all sectors to create a holistic approach to sustainable development.
The group has come up with a comprehensive powerpoint presenting their concepts. You can download it from here (WARNING: it is a VERY large file – 7mb, click then get coffee).
Interestingly, in the American Chamber of Commerce Executives newsletter this month, is a link to a report called: Enterprise at Home for Progress at Large: The Economics of Sustainability – Chambers of Commerce as the New Civic Players in Environmental Sustainability which is a report on several chambers around the country being key players and leaders in sustainability.
While national debates rage over which production methods will lead to a stronger, more
sustainable environment, and while research and development teams struggle to produce
the next revolutionary technology, it is on the local level that incredible progress is being
made in advancing sustainability measures beyond rhetoric. City governments and grassroots activists are often the most obvious players, but there is a powerful—and perhaps unexpected—player in the green arena that is leading the charge in cutting emissions and conserving energy while boosting regional economies: the business community.
Chambers of commerce throughout the country are instituting green business recognition
programs, working to attract clean industries, creating green jobs, and providing resources to local businesses to implement more sustainable practices. These activities are not wild expansions of their mission, but are essential to fulfilling it. Businesses that emit little emissions and consume fewer resources are the stronger, leaner and more agile businesses of America’s future and as the organizations that work to support economic development and improve local quality of life, many chambers of commerce have dedicated themselves to aiding in the success of green businesses. The ingenuity and forward thinking exemplified by the chambers highlighted here are the first bold steps toward a more sustainable and robust American economy.
Big Hairy Audacious Goals are scary, intimidating and exhilarating. They are also the first step in achieving anything worth achieving.
If you are interested in being part of the conversation for our area, contact either SEEDS@deperechamber.org or Volunteers@deperechamber.org and we’ll include you!