In this report, Manufacturing Green: Producing A Sustainable NYC, NYIRN and ITAC assess the New York City manufacturing sector's capacity to meet the growing demand for green building products and highlight the challenges many companies face in attempting to capture this market opportunity. The challenges fall into five major areas:
- Difficulty generating awareness by architects, specifiers, contractors and other potential consumers regarding the availability of products manufactured in New York City;
- The structure of the manufacturing sector which tends to be composed of small businesses which lack the capacity to engage in substantial marketing efforts and to access major decision-makers;
- Lack of resources needed to tap into City, State and Federal programs designed to assist them with financing, R&D and other types of assistance;
- A mismatch between the scale of existing assistance programs and the companies wanting to apply and the complexity of most application processes; and
- Resistance by mature businesses in understanding that their business strategies need to adjust to changing market conditions and respond with new products, materials and processes.
Based on surveys and interviews with firms, NYIRN and ITAC developed recommendations to address these challenges and help firms make the transition to succeed in the green marketplace. Many of the recommendations rely on models that have addressed other types of issues, or that already exist at the City or State level, and could be expanded or improved. The recommendations require actions at three different level:
- Individual firm assistance, both financial and technical expertise, provided on a one-on-one basis that will spur new product innovation, competitive advantages and improved quality thereby creating and retaining quality jobs for New Yorkers;
- Sector-based initiatives that will strengthen the entire supply chain servicing the construction industry with manufactured goods; and
- Citywide policies that are needed to provide the basic infrastructure to support sustainable manufacturing in New York City. Without these systematic changes, the City will not realize the full potential benefits of the green building movement, regardless of efforts by individual firms. The primary recommendations of the report are:
- Executing a comprehensive marketing campaign to increase awareness about the wide spectrum of products manufactured within the five boroughs of New York City;
- Providing strategic planning, entrepreneurial development and financial assistance all aimed at helping firms realize the triple bottom line of sustainability: sustained financial growth while enhancing the local community and minimizing environmental impacts.
- Facilitating innovation and new product development by improving firms' access to existing and new State Research and Development resources and enabling firms to undertake such activities on their own;
- Creating new and improving existing government finance programs to help companies purchase new equipment that will enable new product lines; and
- Implementing City and State policies that strengthen the manufacturing sector and provide firms with a healthy business climate in which they can grow.