In their Climate Positive Development Program (CPDP), they are helping the development community strive for the highest goal of sustainable development -- new developments which do more good than bad, at least as measured by one metric. Their hope to create a "climate positive" greenhouse gas metric and to provide "technical support, business and financial analysis and partnership facilitation." Locations for these projects include Melbourne and Sydney, Australia; Palhoca, Brazil; Toronto and Victoria, Canada; Ahmedabad and Jaipur, India; Panama City, Panama; Pretoria and Johannesburg, South Africa; Seoul, South Korea; Stockholm, Sweden; London, UK; and San Francisco and Destiny Florida in the US.
And the point is? Well, for one, setting the bar high is critical. A goal aiming for a 110% reduction in carbon (i.e., the project actually sequesters more carbon than it produces) is much more likely to result in, say, a 70% reduction in emissions vs. another goal, for example, targeting a 25% reduction. It makes me think of perspective shared during a charrette years ago by Greg Franta, a green building pioneer and former leader at the Rocky Mountain Institute: "Don't ask whether the goal should be [for example, LEED Platinum]? Instead ask how to get there." Accordingly, CPDP helps the development community to frame its carbon reduction goals properly. That said, the lessons learned from these projects shouldn't be told from a "rose-colored glasses" perspective. We need to know about the good and the bad, the easy wins and harder challenges, the gaps between stated goals and mainstream acceptance of the final product or price, etc. While it's highly probably that these projects won't reach their lofty and worthy goal, let's learn what we can and not shoot the good (great?) in favor of the perfect.