While the U.S. Congress struggles to create a meaningful response to climate change and
over-reliance on fossil fuels, over the past decade many state and local governments have
been implementing a range of strategies under the policy rubric of "sustainability".
While only a few governments have created sustainability plans or made sustainability a
component of their comprehensive plans, many have adopted various types of green
programs and/or policies (Saha and Patterson 2008).
One of the priorities for local sustainability planning is to stimulate the transition to a
"greener" economy. Chapple (2008) equates the "green economy" with a "clean energy"
economy, comprised of "products, processes and services that reduce environmental
impact or improve natural resource use." In her view the green economy consists of four
sectors: renewable energy (i.e. solar, wind, etc.); green building and energy efficiency
technology; energy-efficient infrastructure and transportation; and waste-to-energy and
recycling. Chapple lists various roles for government in the transition to the green
economy, stimulating both consumption and production of green products and services.
This paper examines one area for generating a greener local economy - the creation /
expansion of green industrial activity. We begin by reviewing the literature on the
various types of green industrial strategies being developed. We then analyze a range of
local government green industrial development programs for how well they address
sustainable development principles and how such values could be better addressed within
each program type.