The Washington, DC region has the largest environmental services human capital pool in the country, with more than 14,000 environmental workers composed of environmental scientist, engineers, conservationists, and wildlife biologists, according to a report soon to be released by the Greater Washington Board of Trade, Elizabeth Striano, a consultant and writer on sustainability and environmental issues, and founder of A Green Footprint LLC, reports.
The Board of Trade released the initial findings of the report, Green as a Competitive Advantage: Advancing a Regional Leadership Agenda for the Environment, Oct. 30 at its annual Potomac Conference, at which top officials from government, business, nonprofit, and academia for the first time ever discussed plans to ensure the region continues to grow as national leader on environmental sustainability and to take advantage of green business opportunities.
“Greater Washington has many of the critical elements needed to succeed as a center for green business,” according to the report, which looked at five similar metropolitan regions based on a set of environmental measures. It also found that the area outpaces other metropolitan areas in green building with 35 LEED certified buildings and an additional 487 registered for future certification.
The report also identified areas needing improvement including recycling and resources use. About 39% of the region’s waste is currently diverted from landfills. Other areas needing improvement include commuting and traffic congestion and air and water quality. Much of the day’s discussions focused on how regional leaders could work together to address these environmental issues.