Business View Magazine | June 2019

259 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE JUNE 2019 SUSTA INABLE JERSEY and doing planning that impacts the rest of the community, including all the residents and businesses in the community. “School’s don’t do that, but schools teach kids, so there’s a lot in the school program that deals with curriculum,” Solomon says. “Teaching the next generation is really inspiring. It’s amazing to see, once you get students engaged, what they can do. And it’s really humbling, also, to see how much they actually know about what’s going on and how hard they’re pushing, because they realize it’s their future at stake.” Solomon attributes much of their success to a transparent collaborative process used to determine what those actions and standards will be and where the resources will come from to support the municipalities. There are 20 different issue-oriented task forces, including energy, waste, land use, transportation, and water. They convene academics and experts from the private sector, state agencies, non-profit community groups, the municipalities, and schools. “Working together we identify what the key issues are and what the solutions are,” Solomon states. “We do research to identify those solutions, to codify them into specific standards, and then, if the processing certification standards committee ultimately approves all this, it gets into the program. Because it has all those key stakeholders agreeing, together, about what it is that we could and should do at the local level, that’s where we get the resources for grants and technical assistance and all the other hand holding. In a lot of ways it starts to look almost like a government, but it’s an informal government, without the red tape, focused on sustainability.”