Sustainable Communities Network Quarterly Meeting Minutes – June 2014

  1. 1.     Guest:  Steve Dunn, UW-Oshkosh joined us to discuss his experience and perspectives of how businesses view and incorporate sustainability.  Much was shared and discussed. Here are some highlights:
  • Early on, businesses mostly focused on complying with the law and did things for compliance, not the environment
  • Their goal was/is to stay in business  and if reduction of waste, saving energy, saving $ could help them do that, then they would invest.
  • Steve described business school and what business majors learn – primarily traditional economics, supply/demand, economic bottom line, 2 year mindset, driven by cash flow and quarterly earnings.  They are NOT taught environmental concerns, systems thinking or long-term thinking;
  • businesses are compartmentalized, information sharing is narrow
  • Businesses may respond to being part of a ‘sustainable community’ as it provides a  quality of life for their workers and CEOs; it gives them something to help market their location/business to new employees
  • Food and where it comes from and  how its produced is a huge upcoming opportunity that businesses will be paying attention to.
  1. 2.     Tree Canopy project updates:  The Village of Hortonville is working on diversification of species planted, C. Oshkosh may want to work with DNR on the canopy piece, but are still exploring this; and the C. Neenah is also still considering it.
  1. 3.     Kathy Thunes provided a quick Plastic bag recycling updates (WRAP effort) – lists of stores have been compiled by community and she is working with Chris Miller to make contact and distribute materials to willing stores.  They have already reached out to responsible units (RUs) in Outagamie and Winnebago County.
  1. 4.     Municipal Ordinance Review/comparison updates – the chicken ordinance review is complete; Elizabeth, Roger and Kathy will work on the next topic for review – trees/weed ordinances
  1. 5.     Kathy mentioned other sustainability related projects that ECRPC is working on, including  a Neighborhood Assessment Tool for the City of Oshkosh, Carbon footprint analysis for the City of Neenah and Sustainable Business Overlay for the Town of Neenah.

Next meeting, 3pm on September 4th.  Location TBD


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