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• A mismatch between the scale of existing assistanceprograms and the companies wanting toapply and the complexity of most applicationprocesses; and• Resistance by mature businesses in understandingthat their business strategies need to adjust tochanging market conditions and respond with newproducts, materials and processes.Based on surveys and interviews with firms, NYIRN andITAC developed recommendations to address thesechallenges and help firms make the transition to succeedin the green marketplace. Many of the recommendationsrely on models that have addressed other typesof issues, or that already exist at the City or State level,and could be expanded or improved. The recommendationsrequire actions at three different levels:• Individual firm assistance, both financial andtechnical expertise, provided on a one-on-one basisthat will spur new product innovation, competitiveadvantages and improved quality thereby creatingand retaining quality jobs for New Yorkers;• Sector-based initiatives that will strengthen theentire supply chain servicing the constructionindustry with manufactured goods; and• Citywide policies that are needed to provide thebasic infrastructure to support sustainable manufacturingin New York City. Without these systematicchanges, the City will not realize the fullpotential benefits of the green building movement,regardless of efforts by individual firms.The primary recommendations of the report are:• Executing a comprehensive marketing campaign toincrease awareness about the wide spectrum ofproducts manufactured within the five boroughs ofNew York City;• Providing strategic planning, entrepreneurialdevelopment and financial assistance all aimed athelping firms realize the triple bottom line ofsustainability: sustained financial growth whileenhancing the local community and minimizingenvironmental impacts.• Facilitating innovation and new product developmentby improving firms’ access to existing andnew State Research and Development resourcesand enabling firms to undertake such activities ontheir own;• Creating new and improving existing governmentfinance programs to help companies purchase newequipment that will enable new product lines; and• Implementing City and State policies that strengthenthe manufacturing sector and provide firms witha healthy business climate in which they can grow.This report will help policymakers understand that ifthe City is in fact committed to making the “Big Apple”a “Green Apple,” a healthy manufacturing sectoris at the core. While many of the Fortune 500firms have already embraced the concepts of sustainabilityand developed plans to incorporate theconcepts into their business activities, the path tosustainability is not as clear for the smaller, specialtymanufacturers that help make New York City’s economydiverse. If implemented, the recommended activitiesdescribed in this report will help New YorkCity’s manufacturing sector penetrate the greenmarketplace and bring a greater amount of economicbenefit to the City of New York.ii
IntroductionNew York City is on the road to sustainability! Thischange is illustrated by an increase in green buildingconstruction in both the public and private sectors, thepassing of a number of laws mandating the procurementof environmentally-friendly goods and servicesand significant investments by the private and nonprofitsector in advancing environmental stewardship.Critical to this effort is strengthening the City’s manufacturingsector by transforming it into a network ofsustainable companies that produce environmentallyfriendlyproducts, and securing its place in the greenmarket. As green building construction grows in theCity, new markets open for local manufacturers and forproducts that minimize environmental impacts. Now isthe time for New York manufacturers to meet this demand.However, for many New York firms this requiresa change—for some a minor change, for others a fundamentalshift in their business design. For all firmsthough, it requires an acknowledgement that greenbuilding construction is not a passing fad but a fundamentalchange in the way New York designs, renovatesand constructs its skyline.In June 2005, the New York Industrial Retention Network(NYIRN) and the Industrial & Technology AssistanceCorporation (ITAC) released Building Green: NewBusiness Opportunities for NYC Manufacturers, 1 whichdocumented the emerging markets created by the risein green, or high-performance, construction in NewYork City. That study concluded that there is a substantialdemand for green building products but that cost,quality and other traditional competitive criteria stillapply, and overtime, the environmental attributes maybecome essential. The study also found that manufacturershave a significant public relations problem: buyersdo not perceive that there are locally manufacturedproducts that could meet their demands, and consequentlydo not seek them out for bids.This report, Manufacturing Green: Producing a SustainableNYC, follows up on that initial study by exploringthe major challenges local firms currently face and thetypes of programs that will allow them to take full advantageof green building opportunities. These initiativescover a wide range of issues, from sales and marketingto technical and financial assistance and require implementationat the company, sector and regional levels.There are currently over 1,700 New York City firmsmanufacturing a building-related product, employing27,500 people and paying over $1 billion in wages. 2These firms comprise almost 25% of the City’s entiremanufacturing sector. Presently, dozens of these firmsproduce products that have one or more positive environmentalattributes. They are capitalizing on theseemerging opportunities and many are achieving positiveresults. For example, there is a manufacturer ofcountertops made from recycled glass in Brooklyn aswell as a producer of cork floor tiles in the Bronx. Thesenew companies with high design products are gettingsubstantial media attention and their sales are growing.New York City is also home to several furniture makersconstructing high-end designs from sustainably harvestedmaterials as well as lighting companies manufacturingenergy-efficient systems. These established firmsare also enjoying success in the green marketplace.A variety of obstacles, however, impede other localfirms from producing more environmentally-friendlyproducts. Their challenges range from a lack of marketingresources to technical issues to difficulty overcomingthe institutionalized culture of contractors andinstallers who prefer tried and true products and methods.However, the desire to overcome these obstaclesis growing, as customers are demanding green products.For firms to address these challenges, outsidesupport is required and with the right combination ofassistance programs, New York City could become acenter of green manufacturing. Several companies arealready charting the way and the remaining 1,700firms, with some assistance as outlined in this study,can soon follow.While the focus of this report is on the manufacturingsector’s role in greening New York, a clear, comprehensivevision needs to be set for the entire City in orderfor New York to become a model of urbansustainability. The City must make investments in its recyclinginfrastructure so more companies can harvestlocally recycled materials for use in their industrial processes.City commitments to renewable and clean ener-1) The report is available at www.madeinnyc.org.2) Firm and employee data: NYS Department of Labor, 2005; Wage data: NYS Department of Labor 2004.