|Sustainability Plan / Economy and Economic Development / Introduction|
A sustainable economy is a fundamental requirement for a sustainable San Francisco. A sustainable economy will provide a good quality of life for all San Francisco residents without undermining the biological and physical processes of the environment upon which people depend. Its four main characteristics are:
|The transition to an ecologically sustainable economy
from a linear to a circular flow of resources. A linear flow transforms raw materials into
products and pollution whose ultimate destination is a landfill, the air or the water.
In a circular flow, resources are continually used, broken down, and recombined --
waste is eliminated as discards become the resources of reuse or of other production
processes. A sustainable economy follows the principles of industrial ecology: the complete interaction of production, services, resource and energy
use through the complete recycling of by-products, elimination of waste, and reduction
of use of toxins or products harmful to local ecosystems and communities.
Creating the foundation for sustainable economic prosperity involves identifying the needs of an ecologically sustainable economy and seizing the market opportunities involved in meeting them. The City’s challenge will be to create the goods and services (processes, tools, machines, management, and labor) needed by enterprises and households so that production and consumption ultimately have no adverse effect on the environment. This change in the way San Franciscans do business will foster the transformation of existing industries and spawn entirely new industries, products and services.
The transition to an environmentally sustainable economy must include
the integration of community values and purposes with those of commerce and the environment.
Crucial to this integration will be City government’s leadership role in both the
public and private sectors of the economy.