This article provides a way for you to meet community green certification requirements through self-empowerment by learning about valuable information. Information you can use to make a real difference. After all information is power. Right?
Much has been written about the "green" movement as it relates to environmental sustainability. Community involvement is a component of environmental sustainability that each of us should include in our Environmental Management System plan (please reference my other article, "Being Green and Environmental Sustainability"). Environmental sustainability involves a personal or business ownership emphasis that contributes to reducing our carbon footprint on the earth. As we continue the good work of contributing to our carbon footprint reduction and "green" certification, how can we contribute to the carbon footprint reduction of properties that are already contaminated...properties that we don't own in our communities? Many of us see these properties everyday in our neighborhoods or when we travel within our communities. Further, many of us may know someone as a friend, family member, business acquaintance or a company representative that owns or may know someone that owns one of these contaminated properties. So, what information can we pass on to our contacts that will influence and motivate them to cleanup their property? First, here is some background information.
Economics drive contaminated property cleanup. It is that simple. Owners are motivated to cleanup a contaminated property because it makes good business sense. Because of the environmental liability, owners are not able to refinance the property and potential buyers or developers are not able to obtain institutional financing either. Stakeholders are restricted by the environmental risk. Additionally, they are trapped by fear of regulatory exposure, legal exposure and the costs associated with environmental investigation and cleanup. So, there it sits. Until now...
An easy way to have a personal impact on the cleanup of community contaminated properties toward green certification is: We can pass information to the owner about insurance and regulatory instrument solutions. Believe it or not, owners of these environmentally impacted sites are not aware of regulatory and insurance solutions that pay for investigation, cleanup and legal costs. So, take the bull by its horns and raise the consciousness of contaminated property owners about economic solutions that will appeal to their monetary interests. Communicate to your contacts that the use of insurance and regulatory statutes to fund the site cleanup will allow them to access the market value of their environmentally frozen real estate asset.
In other words, money is available to clean the site up and by cleaning up the site the owner will be able to monetize their asset. The owner isn't spending their money to cleanup their property, they increase their wealth by eliminating the environmental liability and by the way, they will engage in a noble environmental cause. And, you will have contributed to community cleanup as well.
Key information to pass on to people we know that have contaminated property is: Outside funding sources will pay for investigation, remediation and legal services. Historical insurance policy funding and potentially liable party (historical owners in title) cost recovery funding is available to every contaminated property owner. The size of the commercial property, the chemicals-of-concern and the responsible party for the chemical release does not impede instituting these economic solutions. Incorporation of these sound business principles will provide financial motivation to manage their environmental liability.
Now you know how to use valuable information in an effort to have a personal and positive environmental impact in our communities while meeting community involvement green practices. Of course the devil is in the details regarding the specific approach for cleaning up a contaminated property. You have enough information to be dangerous, a righteous dangerousness if you will, but nonetheless information that is self-empowering, information that will make a difference.
Do you know someone or someone of someone? Are you ready to communicate an economic solution to that someone that owns an environmentally impaired property? If you answered yes to each question, what are you waiting for? Get busy being environmentally powerful! And, then check the box that asks about community involvement during your green certification efforts.