Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI): A Tool for Economic Recovery and Growth in Pennsylvania
Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia
The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (SBN) is a nonprofit that brings together a network of businesses to advance a triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) economy in the Greater Philadelphia Area. Fourth Economy first engaged with SBN in 2010 as they worked with the Philadelphia Water Department to assess how a $1.6B investment in green stormwater infrastructure could create local employment opportunities. Then in 2020 they asked us to return to help analyze the economic impact of the resulting actions both in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania. We worked directly with a steering committee of Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) businesses to examine the size and scale of Pennsylvania's green stormwater infrastructure industry over the last ten years.
SBN wanted to measure the size, scale, and economic impact of the Green Stormwater Infrastructure workforce across Pennsylvania. Beyond the growing workforce, SBN wanted to evaluate stormwater management needs and opportunities in urban and rural areas throughout the state, and provide policy recommendations to further strengthen and grow GSI infrastructure investment.
The Sustainable Business Network report examines 10 years of industry growth within the Green Stormwater Industry. We engaged with GSI businesses and policy makers to assess the current and historic trends in GSI investments. We also performed desktop research to assess how GSI is impacting other communities throughout the country.
Our report demonstrated that through additional investment in GSI, Pennsylvania could reap billions of dollars of economic activity that supports small businesses and create family-sustaining jobs while providing access to well-maintained public spaces, healthy rivers and streams, manage agricultural runoff, and reinforce climate resilience. We also demonstrated that GSI sector growth has outpaced overall employment growth in Pennsylvania.