Projects & Partners

Industry Re-Imagined: Moving to a Regenerative Society

Industry Re-Imagined: Moving to a Regenerative Society

Niagara Share is co-convening learning sessions with global and regional leaders on the regenerative economy. Our focus is on healthy communities, accessible, empowering jobs, infrastructure that values nature, and energy, production and mobility systems that are inclusive, affordable and sustainable. We welcome your thoughts on our session with Vincent Stanley of Patagonia, Fred Keller of Cascade Engineering and John Fullerton of the Capital Institute at the WNY Sustainable Business Roundtable’s annual expo. Coverage of the event outlines the importance for these types of dialogues and collaborate efforts.  This all builds on a conversation we started with Bill Ford on his vision for mobility, Jerry Jacobs on the future of hospitality and Mark Tercek on natural capitalism at the UB RENEW distinguished speakers symposium.  The symposium shows why places like Buffalo and Detroit are well positioned to lead in this space.  We look forward to broadening the learning circle and expanding investments in innovation aligned with the regenerative economy. 

Why: The World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Risk assessment noted that for the first time in their decade of reporting that environmental concerns ranked above weapons of mass destruction, with climate change leading the way, and environmental degradation right behind it. Addressing these challenges can create new opportunities for more sustainable economic growth and development. Under the right conditions, research led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation partnered with McKinsey & Company estimates that the circular economy could be a critical driver for industrial innovation, job creation, and economic growth, with savings in materials alone likely to exceed $1 trillion by 2025. 

Read Remaking the Industrial Economy from McKinsey Quarterly

Redefining how we measure success in the marketplace

Redefining how we measure success in the marketplace

Alexandra McPherson, Principal for Niagara Share is managing the Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN) for Clean Production Action. IEHN is a growing collaborative partnership of investment managers, representing over $60B in managed assets, that work to impact corporate policy and innovation towards safer chemical and pesticide use. In the marketplace, we drive a “race to the top” to manufacture products to the highest quality and meet product standards that comply with the most stringent global regulations for human health and the environment. For its members, IEHN facilitates corporate research and engagement, coordinates strategic partnerships and advances state of the art tools like the Chemical Footprint Project (CFP). We work across investors in the US, Canada and Europe.

Why: With good reason, capitalism is often generalized and characterized as the demise of our culture, our environment, and our communities. Niagara Share’s view is that the ingenuity embedded in capitalism, when channeled towards addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges, like climate change can be a powerful force for change. Elon Musk's work to address climate change through the development of mobility and energy companies like Tesla and Solar City has already created 35,000 manufacturing jobs in the United States.  Their new solar panel production facility in Buffalo is estimated to create 1,500 jobs. 

Building a sustainable local food economy

Building a sustainable local food economy

With 10,000 members and a community-driven approach to development of a more locally robust, sustainable food economy, the Lexington Co-op’s efforts to open a second store in Buffalo represent one of the most dynamic and direct impact investing opportunities in Buffalo. The co-op supports 120 regional farms, has transitioned 60% of its total produce to organic, and offers viable employment options for refugees and other vulnerable communities – all of which made this decades-old organization an ideal opportunity for Niagara Share’s first impact investment in Buffalo Niagara.

Why: A viable, diversified, accessible, and community-oriented food economy is an essential tenant of a more regenerative framework for this region. The Lexington Co-op not only serves its members and its broader customer base, it also represents a signature case study for the business and community benefits of the cooperative structure – one that could be replicated throughout the community. Niagara Share will showcase the Lexington Co-op as a model for development and investment that can be replicated in other spheres of our economy.

Investing in our Renewable Energy Economy

Investing in our Renewable Energy Economy

Niagara Share is working in partnership with the University at Buffalo's Department of Materials Design and Innovation (MDI) and Clean Production Action (CPA) on the Collaboratory for a Regenerative Economy (CoRE). This is an integrated research, education and civic entrepreneurship initiative that links materials design with manufacturing technologies in coordination with the needs of industry and front-line communities. Our aim is to advance, in an accelerated manner, science-based solutions that enhance  social and ecological capital. to invest in a material science program that leads to safer more sustainable manufacturing for clean energy technology.  We will invest in new leadership models for material innovation and civic entrepreneurship. This includes a blue print for our factories of the future whereby the health of ecologies, frontline communities and local economies is built into the operational footprint of the factory.

Why: We need new leadership models to address the societal implications of climate change. This includes new infrastructure for safer, cleaner locally sourced energy systems.  Our ability to move to a regenerative circular economy is tied to a decarbonized energy network. Buffalo Niagara is well positioned to transition to a regionally sourced renewable energy economy that provides green jobs and clean energy. Niagara Share partners with solar companies to improve our carbon and chemical footprints. We believe in the mission and focus of Panasonic Ecosolutions/Tesla, Montante Solar, Solar Liberty and others---these are the types of companies we want to see succeed in the marketplace and in our industrial communities. 

Sustainable Resilient Farming

Sustainable Resilient Farming

Pioneering a new type of regenerative landscape and farm plan that leverages entrepreneurship, stewardship and self-sufficiency for a multi-generational family farm that sits on a major Niagara tributary to the Great Lakes watershed.

Read the Site Assessment and Master Plan