Climate Change is an Opportunity for Business Retention and Expansion in Economic Development
In economic development work “Business Retention and Expansion” or “BRE” is very important work. Simply put, it is the work of assuring local businesses have all the resources they need to continue to expand and grow in place. We don’t want them to leave!
Ultimately in BRE we want the company or business to prosper, grow and create jobs and capital investment in the community. This has a multiplying effect in our economy.
With climate change, the practice of BRE changes. In BRE work we are always looking for signals that a local company might be undergoing stress or a change in its industry which might force it to relocate, close or downsize significantly. Our job as economic developers is to prevent that, change it,or at least minimize the impact.
Climate change adds another layer of complexity to the mix. Imagine entire industries potentially disappearing due to climate change (not to mention us). Businesses must reduce their share of carbon into the environment. They may also have to adapt their processes and procedures or event their physical environment to adapt to climate change. As an economic developer it is our job to find out what these mitigation or adaptation measures might be and assist.
That’s the very basic responsibility of the BRE program within climate change dynamics. However there is another dimension to the impact on climate change for economic development and their BRE programs: Opportunity.
What are the opportunities that are presented in the face of climate change for your local economy and businesses in it? As an example, the entire auto industry is changing from internal combustion engine propelled vehicles to electric. What pivot will their suppliers need to make? Are some of them in your community and are you ready to provide assistance under the banner of BRE?
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