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Bringing Green Jobs Home: Spotlighting Latino Innovation

Latino businesses have developed strategies to bring green jobs home

Submitted by: Maria Olga Pinochet

Posted: Apr 13, 2012 – 09:48 AM EST

Tags: jobs, green jobs, sustainability, economy


By Maria Olga Pinochet

Metrics like the Green Transition Scoreboard® record the increase in private investments in clean-tech enterprises with the most recent figures reflecting a $3.3 trillion influx of funds.

What does such a number mean to jobseekers?

When it comes to green jobs, this means good news. While other sectors continue to lay off workers, companies in the green market economy are continuing to produce green jobs – while supporting, training and investing in their employees.

In its efforts to highlight and define quality green jobs, the SJF Institute awarded its 2011 Green Job Awards to seven companies that together employ 2,540 people and whose aggregate revenues exceed $150 million. The honorees were judged on their contribution to environmental quality, the quality of their jobs and benefits, the diversity of their employment opportunities, and their level of community engagement.

green jobs“These seven exemplary companies show you can have true sustainability while creating real, quality jobs at all levels,” said Bonny Moellenbrock, SJF Institute's Executive Director. "By acknowledging the tremendous work these companies are doing, we hope to both support their efforts and inspire other businesses to follow their lead."

One of the winners was Better World Books (BWB), an online book resale company that also supports literacy efforts worldwide. John Ujda, VP of Marketing, makes the point that BWB places a priority on effective internal communications with their 349 employees. Another way BWB exemplifies their commitment to employees, as well as to other key stakeholders, is by holding a B Corporation status, which requires rigorous adherence to employment best practices.

Three Green Trends for Latino Employment

An emerging trend in green job growth is the creation of green jobs by the U.S. Hispanic population – with those jobs documented at a 24 percent growth rate by the U.S. Census Bureau. This impact is significant since Latinos represent, at 75 percent, the fastest growing labor force in the U.S

According to Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, author of Latinnovating: Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them, dozens of Latino change agents are busy creating green jobs. In her interviews, has uncovered three distinct business environments that foster green in the Latino community:

1. Established business owners create additional revenue streams when they expand with green innovation: One example is Luis Rojas of Evergreen Energy Solutions, LLC, a construction management company. He added solar development projects to the service he offered schools and has provided, so far, renewable energy to six of the 963 school districts in his state. 

2. Business leaders create green jobs when they change wasteful industry practices: To demonstrate that adopting sustainable processes to better utilize scarce resources can be successful, people like Dennis Salazar of Salazar Packaging, Inc., have started businesses in the same industry in which they previously worked. His success proves how profit can be synonymous with green.

3. Enterprising business people see the need and opportunity to develop green processes and products: Latinos in these situations can uncover opportunities and switch gears to address the needs they see surfacing. Take for example, Carmen Rad of CR&A Custom Inc., who when negatively affected by textile manufacturing global trends, innovated a whole new business and was first to market with a line of fully recyclable and biodegradable large-format printing products.

Graciela Tiscareño-Sato observes that all three of these green economy trends will continue as more Latino-owned businesses are established. Expect to hear more about Latino created green jobs, especially since the last U.S. Census Bureau notes that Hispanic-owned business creation, at 18 percent, is more than double the national average.

Read Hazel Henderson’s take on the ethics of job reation in Jobs: Let's Get Real! to learn more about how the Green Transition can and does create the type of quality jobs that Americans want.

About Maria Olga Pinochet

Maria Olga Pinochet is President and Founder at Kore Access, Incorporated, a marketing consulting and communications firm dedicated to sustainability leadership. Maria is currently advisor to several local civic and NFP groups and has worked for Ethical Markets Media as a Senior Advisor Global Strategy since 2010, helping market the Green Transition Scoreboard® with Hazel Henderson.

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by CSRwire contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of CSRwire.

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