Growing Green Business
One of the most important lessons of the past quarter-century is that environmental protection and economic growth go hand in hand. Indeed, efforts to restore and protect the environment have spawned tremendous new economic opportunity for Americans, with the promise of continued growth in the years ahead.
Today the environmental industry which includes companies involved in cleanup, recycling, and renewable energy employs nearly 1.4 million Americans and generates annual revenues of more than $185 billion. Exports of environmental goods and services reached $20 billion last year and continue to rise. In both employment and revenue, the environmental sector surpasses many other well-known industries, including aerospace, petroleum refining, and steel.
The Clinton-Gore Administration has launched many successful initiatives to help grow green businesses in the United States and to promote the export of U.S. technology and expertise overseas.
Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles
In 1993, President Clinton and Vice President Gore, joined by the chief executives of the Big Three automakers, launched an innovative research partnership to develop the next generation of cars and light-duty trucks.
Federal laboratories are collaborating with Daimler-Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, and with the goal of developing cars with up to triple the fuel efficiency of today's midsize models with no sacrifice in safety, affordability or performance. Achieving this goal will enhance America's competitiveness, strengthen its energy security by reducing reliance on imported oil, and achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
In a major milestone, the three automakers recently unveiled concept cars with hybrid technologies that achieve the 80-mile-per-gallon goal. Last month, the automakers also announced plans to begin marketing higher-efficiency vehicles that incorporate PNGV technology in the next three to four years.
Promoting Organic Agriculture
In recent years, organic farming has grown from a handful of experimental garden plots to a $6 billion-a-year industry. Today more than 12,000 American farmers, most of them small-scale producers, practice organic agriculture.
To support this growing industry and strengthen consumer confidence, the Administration recently proposed a uniform national standard for labeling organic food. The proposal, slated for final action later this year, details the practices and substances that can be used to produce crops and livestock labeled as "organic"; prohibits the use of genetic engineering, sewage sludge, and irradiation in the production of organic food; and prohibits antibiotics in organic livestock production.
A uniform national standard will ensure that consumers across the country can go into any store and have full confidence that any food product labeled "organic" meets a strict, consistent standard no matter where it was made. It also will make it easier for organic growers to market their products overseas.
Supporting Green Technologies
In 1995, Vice President Gore launched a National Environmental Technology Strategy to strengthen partnerships with the environmental business community and to expand the federal government's role in spurring innovation and growth in the industry. Key priorities include reducing regulatory and market barriers to innovation; creating better ways to verify the environmental performance of new technologies; and ensuring adequate investment capital to bring promising technologies to market.
Among the initiatives launched by the Administration are the Interagency Environmental Technology Office, a one-stop-shop that connects about 400 businesses a year with federal programs and works with state environmental business councils; and a five-year, $37 million Environmental Technology Verification program to help provide third-party verification of the performance of environmental technologies.
Building Environmental Exports
U.S. exports of environmental goods and services have more than doubled since 1993, thanks in part to programs launched by the Administration, including:
The Greening of Small Business
Much of the growth in the environmental industry has occurred among small- and medium-sized firms. Programs at the Small Business Administration that support smaller environmental firms, and help other small businesses improve their environmental performance, include:
Meeting the Recycling Challenge
America's recycling rate is the highest in the world. Thanks to increased recycling, the U.S. will generate less net waste this year than it did in 1992, and about the same as it did in 1980, when there were almost 50 million fewer people. The Administration's Jobs Through Recycling program has helped 3,200 recycling businesses and entrepreneurs create 8,500 jobs and new recycling technologies.
To achieve even greater gains, Vice President Gore launched the National Recycling Challenge in 1998, calling on government, the business community, universities, and others to commit to increased recycling. The dozens of major commitments made so far include:
CEQ Earth Day 2000 Report
History of Earth Day
Preserving America's Natural Treasures
Clean Air, Safe Water, Healthy Communities
Meeting the Challenge of Global Warming
Chapter 4 - Protecting Our Precious Wildlife
Building Sustainable Communities
Safeguarding Our Oceans and Coasts
Protecting the Global Environment
Growing Green Business
Greening the Government
Enforcing Our Nation's Environmental Laws
The Challenges Ahead
Ten Communities: Profiles in Environmental Progress
Environmental Actions by President Clinton and Vice President Gore
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