The Watauga County Green Business Plan, developed under the leadership of Rob Holton and the Watauga County Economic Development Commission, was rolled out yesterday at a "lunch 'n' learn." It's an ambitious and wholly worthy effort to get county businesses onto a sustainable trajectory, and we'll be rooting for it to succeed.
The plan has its own (so far, under-developed) website, but we had difficulty downloading the Green Business Plan "program document" (pdf). We were able to read through the requirements for Green Business certification and were impressed by both the breadth of the "green" commitment and the teeth that have been worked into the plan for verification and enforcement.
The bottomline that is driving this movement is that "green businesses" attract an increasingly educated and discerning clientele that do not want to spend their money with businesses which are not recycling, nor auditing their own energy use, nor practicing environmental stewardship. In other words, there's money to be made in going green, though there may also be some up-front costs in getting started in the right direction. Who knows ... maybe this is the first local step toward eliminating entirely our most ubiquitous roadside litter -- Styrofoam fast-food containers and plastic grocery bags.
The Green Business Plan is certainly the right direction for Watauga County and, we think, makes us fairly unique among western counties in the state ... if not statewide.