The Green Infrastructure and Sustainable Landscapes Market
Cities and our urbanized areas of Pennsylvania are facing a multitude of environmental and infrastructure problems, from crumbling roads to inadequate sewage treatment to the health and safety of their citizens. As we look for solutions to this multitude of problems, one approach stands out among others: the use of green infrastructure systems.
We often don’t think of green infrastructure – the use of trees and plants – when we think of traditional infrastructure development such as roads, bridges, schools and hospitals and other public works. Rather than address urban environmental concerns as an afterthought to traditional infrastructure repair and replacement, we should build the environmental solution into projects from the beginning through the use of green infrastructure components. In many cases, the return on investment (ROI) of green infrastructure will be greater than traditional "bricks and mortar” solutions.
Moreover, green industry jobs are a good job-creating investment, providing a range of opportunities, from semi-skilled to managerial, with a well-defined career path for professional growth. The green industry is a $150 billion economic sector that is projected to grow over the long term.
The current economic slowdown has created challenges. But from these challenges have sprung new opportunities and new markets for the products and services the green industry provides. The green industry is at the center of a new movement that recognizes the benefits of "green infrastructure.” Being successful in this new market, though, will require new business strategies and new business relationships.
Consider this: During 2009, Pennsylvania provided $130 million to green infrastructure projects, including tree plantings, rain gardens, bioswales and green roofs to improve stormwater management and improve water quality. Pennsylvania has committed to plant 1 million trees in the next five years. New York City has committed to plant another 1 million. EPA is now requiring that 20% of federal funds once used to build water treatment facilities be spent on improving water quality at the source through green infrastructure.
Is Your Company Ready?
How will your marketing and sales process change to be successful in market where the customer is primarily state and local governments? What are the private sector opportunities in the green infrastructure movement? How will government regulation drive the private sector to invest more in green infrastructure? How can you company present a credible "green” face to customers who now expect you to walk the talk?
PLANET’s recent Crystal Ball Report calls the sustainable landscapes/green infrastructure movement "perhaps the biggest distinct business opportunity of the 21st century…” for the green industry.
Is your company ready?
The video below shows how one PLNA member is taking advantage of this move to sustainable landscapes.