The private sector will play a pivotal role in the transition to a sustainable world. The Bullitt Foundation will combine the agility of small philanthropic grants and the convening value of its reputation to accelerate this process in the Pacific Northwest. It will promote collaborative problem solving among businesses, non-governmental organizations, governments, and academia.
The Pacific Northwest has produced world leaders in technology, transportation, energy, food services, and consumer goods. Globally recognized companies such as Microsoft, Amazon.com, Costco, Boeing, Starbucks, Paccar, Micron, REI, and Nike also have helped to brand the region for its creativity and livability.
Clean technology now promises to make the region the next locus for industrial innovation in such fields as smart and renewable energy, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. Companies will conceive and manufacture products with an unprecedented array of environmental benefits. Obviously, some may also pose unprecedented environmental hazards. It is important that new products be scrutinized with an eye to the precautionary principle to ensure that unexpected problems don’t cause whole industries to die stillborn.
The Foundation sees a need for a new way of doing business that reforms those traditional practices that undermine sustainability. Prices should reflect all costs. Corporate decision-making can and should consider a view beyond the next quarterly report. Corporate goals should reflect the interests of consumers, employees, neighbors, and the environment—as well as those of shareholders. Optimizing for multiple bottom lines will produce a healthier, more successful, more sustainable company.
Much of this is new territory for the Bullitt Foundation, and there are few, if any, models in the philanthropic sector for what we are trying to achieve. But, the Foundation has been in this position before and is willing to lead while learning to work in new ways.
- Secure adoption and implementation of far-sighted regional energy and climate policies.
- Attain dramatic reductions in industrial energy use through conservation and efficiency.
- Accelerate and maximize the installation of renewable energy technologies.
- Instill an ethic of zero waste practices that result in “reduce, reuse, recycle and compost” for all materials.
- Eliminate to the degree possible the production and use of toxic materials and biologically active pollutants, and seek to contain and safely recycle any essential toxics.
- Advance the field of “green chemistry” to demonstrate credible and viable alternatives to substances that harm human health and the environment.
- Promote innovative systems, fuels, and infrastructure for commercial transportation systems.