BALLE Joins White House Call For New Economy
Social Venture Network (SVN) member Sandy Wiggins says local, independent business supports sustainable communities
Wednesday June 27, 2012 -- Camille Jensen
Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) board chair member Sandy Wiggins was one of 125 sustainable business leaders attending an unprecedented White House summit calling for the creation of a just and sustainable economy.
The Business Summit For a Sustainable Economy was organized by the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC ) and took place June 12. It was attended by 29 Administration officials, more than any other event like it in the past.
Wiggins, whose organization advocates and supports the development of local living economies, presented on the link between independent businesses and sustainable communities.
The Social Venture Network (SVN) member says not only are independent businesses largely responsible for placemaking, creating vibrant urban cores and farmers markets, they often produce local goods, from energy to food, which results in drastically lower carbon emissions.
Wiggins says policymakers were engaged with the ideas.
“I was impressed with many of the federal policy makers that attended, both with their level of understanding and excitement with sustainable communities,” he tells Sustainable Solutions.
As part of his panel presentation, Wiggins offered three key ways the federal government can support the creation of more local, thriving economies. The first is to create policies that shift business from “too big to fail,” to “too big to exist.”
Wiggins says this could be achieved by resurrecting anti-monopoly polices that once existed in the United States, as well as dismantling subsidies that support monopolies and big business.
There is a direct relationship between planning and sustainable communities, and Wiggins, who is the former chair of the U.S. Green Building Council, encouraged government to create transportation plans that include light rail and transit systems to support a thriving urban core.
Wiggins also advocated for the government to find ways to get community capital back into action.
“The crowd-funding legislation is a step in the right direction but we need many more mechanisms like that that allow people to invest directly into their communities,” says Wiggins, adding intimate investment creates resilience from outside economic shocks.
While Wiggins says it’s important to educate and inform policymakers, he says real change will happen at the grassroots level as the sustainable business community pioneers models that work.
That’s what BALLE is doing by cultivating leadership and sharing success stories of robust local movements across the U.S. from Bellingham, Wash. to cities like Philadelphia , Detroit and Chicago.
“As more and more successful models of how sustainable communities can work in North America emerge, the policy makers will get behind it,” he says.
A number of SVN staff and members attended the White House summit speaking on panels ranging from sustainable economic growth to sustainable communities.
White House Welcomes Call for New Economy
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