In this next article in the Earth Week series, Micaela Shapiro-Shellaby of the Coalition for Economic Justice discusses their work building a movement to drive corporations to address the triple bottom line: planet, people, and profit, and pushing legislative changes that make public dollars equal public good.
Last year, the Coalition for Economic Justice (CEJ) joined the Western New York Environmental Alliance (WNYEA) to be a part of the growing collaboration of organizations that are dedicated to a more environmentally, as well as economically, just and sustainable Western New York.
CEJ is active at the board level of the WNYEA and works closely with environmental organizations through the Environmental Justice and Urban Regeneration Working Groups and the Advocacy Process Group. As an organization that recognizes the power of working in coalition with other like-minded individuals and institutions, CEJ has been excited by the work of the WNYEA and looks forwarding to partnering with environmental advocacy organizations committed to building a better future for us all.
Central to CEJ’s work is the commitment to ensuring public dollars are invested in ways that embrace the triple bottom line: planet, people, and profit. Far too often, economic development agencies and corporations place profits over people and the environment, which is unsustainable and unjust.
CEJ co-anchors a broad-based statewide alliance of government watchdogs, labor unions, community, religious, environmental organizations, and concerned small business owners called the Getting Our Money’s Worth Coalition. The Getting Our Money’s Worth Coalition focuses on ensuring that our economic development programs, like Industrial Development Agencies (IDAs), create good jobs, curb sprawl, invest in green businesses that value environmental sustainability, and are transparent and accountable.Through the Getting Our Money’s Worth Coalition and our local campaign to implement a community-based economic framework for the Canal Side Development project, CEJ is pushing legislative changes that make public dollars equal a public good, and support and highlight development models that guarantee environmental primacy, give local communities directly impacted by development a voice in decision-making, and create good jobs that strengthen our communities.
With corporations and economic development agencies failing to create the good, environmentally sustainable jobs our communities need, it is critical that we repurpose subsidies in a way that builds a better future for all of us. Reining in corporate subsidy programs, like Industrial Development Agencies (IDA), will provide state and local governments with more resources to proactively invest in our communities and put people back to work now.
We can start by encouraging our elected representatives in Albany to rein in IDA subsidies to create new pools of money to fund bold solutions to our sagging economy and environmental degradation, pass the Solar Industry Development and Jobs Act to create 22,000 new local jobs in the high-paying solar industry, hold public utilities accountable and expand weatherization and energy-efficiency job creation programs targeting low-income communities.
The Coalition for Economic Justice is a coalition of faith, labor, community, and academic allies working to ensure corporate and government accountability, workers rights, and sustainable communities. The Coalition for Economic Justice (CEJ) has been an active and vibrant member of the Western New York community for more than 25 years.