Climate change is the defining issue of our time. We, as a people, are faced with an unprecedented environmental challenge and must identify strategies to reduce energy use and carbon emissions. This challenge also presents an economic opportunity as we pivot away from fossil fuels.

VCRD launched the Vermont Climate Economy Initiative in 2015 with the premise that confronting climate change through innovative economic development can be a competitive strategy, one that will build national reputation, create jobs, and attract youth and entrepreneurism. We hosted a 2015 Summit to launch the initiative, founded the VT Climate Change Economy Council to develop a practical action plan, gathered input at three public forums, and hosted a second Summit to set a campaign for action. In 2017, we convened the Climate Economy Action Team to advance and implement key objectives of the action plan, and launched the Climate Economy Model Communities Program to help communities build and implement plans that model state-of-the-art rural development in an age of climate change. In 2017, we also hosted the cc:econ Catalysts of the Climate Economy National Innovation Summit, which brought together more than 500 entrepreneurs, business leaders, investors, and innovators from across the country interested in growing the climate economy. In 2022, we redesigned the Model Communities Program with the goal of providing direct s/summits/ccecon-climate-economy-summit-2017ervice to more communities annually and renamed it the Climate Economy Resilient Communities Program.

Goals of the Climate Economy Initiative

  • Identify opportunities created by climate change to strengthen Vermont’s economy through strategies that advance key business clusters and economic sectors.
  • Build an increased sense of unity in Vermont around policies to confront and mitigate the impact of climate change and to advance economic opportunities and solutions that respond to climate change.
  • Build a public information campaign to celebrate innovation and Vermont’s green business leadership while building Vermont’s brand as an economic/environmental problem solver.
  • Use Vermont’s brand around climate change solutions to retain and attract youth and creative entrepreneurs throughout the state.

Climate Economy Innovator Stories

With Vermont’s aggressive state energy plan, higher education expertise, innovative utilities, and strong business leadership, we have a powerful story to tell, one that can celebrate and reinforce current efforts while growing a new generation of creative businesses that want to be at the center of this economic movement, and also want a high quality of life. The Vermont brand, and all of the state stands for, gives us an edge, if we will seize it.

Check out our Climate Innovator Stories to see how Vermont entrepreneurs are finding practical ways to reduce carbon emissions, mitigate climate risk, and stimulate green economic development.