This holiday season, we asked some of St. Pete’s best and brightest citizens to share one catalyzing idea for making St. Pete a better place to live. We asked not for lists of problems, but for meaty, actionable and impactful solutions, no matter how big or how small. Here’s the response from Jared Meyers, chairman, Salt Palm Development, and founder, Florida for Good.
In order to become an even better place to live than it already is, St. Pete needs its businesses to operate in a way that helps the city achieve its goals – and my thought is that these goals should align with the worldwide goals set out in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. St. Pete is more advanced and aligned than other U.S. cities, but it has yet to unleash the potential power of its businesses and citizens. It needs full and credible alignment, which can happen through a mix of policies, incentives and regulations. When a business succeeds, St. Pete must also succeed and not have a situation where the community gets stuck with the externalities of business– for example, if a business’s activities could cause red tide or sea level rise, and yet not contribute to the associated costs.
A trusted framework is needed for this alignment and the best frameworks that exist are those from nonprofit B Lab, in their Business Impact Assessment and the Sustainable Development Goals (“SDG”) Action Manager. The SDG Action Manager is a brand new tool created in partnership with the UN Global Compact and it is free, easy to use and confidential.
Undertaking these efforts will result in the city retaining its uniqueness, while also enhancing its way of life through reduced inequality, alleviating poverty, restoring a healthier environment, building stronger communities and creating more high quality jobs with dignity and purpose. I truly think that St. Pete can be the guiding light for Florida and our nation, inspiring other communities to undertake efforts to improve a shared prosperity for all residents and local environments.
Currently, the city relies on the STAR Communities Certification for “evaluating local sustainability, encompassing economic, environmental and social performance measures.” This organizes seven thematic goal areas being Natural Systems, Health & Safety, Education, Arts & Community, Economy & Jobs, Equity & Empowerment, Built Environment, and Climate and Energy. At this time, St. Pete is a 3 STAR community and it desires to be a 5 STAR. If business does its part to contribute to the betterment of the community, I feel St. Pete will get there.