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New Roadmap to Sustain SC to accelerate development in South Carolina

Jason Thomas //October 30, 2023//

New Roadmap to Sustain SC to accelerate development in South Carolina

Jason Thomas //October 30, 2023//

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Sustain SC founder and CEO Ethel Bunch unveiled the Roadmap to Sustain SC at the orgianzation's recent annual symposium. (Photo/Provided)

Sustain SC has launched the Roadmap to Sustain SC, which identifies seven key accelerators that will move South Carolina forward as a sustainable state ensuring economic prosperity and protection of the state’s quality of life.

The plan was unveiled during Sustain SC’s recent second annual Sustainability Symposium in Columbia, according to a Sustain SC news release.

“This is a big moment for our organization, which has dedicated an entire year to developing the Roadmap to Sustain SC,” said Ethel Bunch, founder and CEO of Sustain SC, in the release. “This was a passion project and enhances Sustain SC’s mission of connecting the sustainability goals of business in South Carolina with local solutions for the benefit of our economy, environment, and people. We are proud to serve as a model for other states who work toward similar goals.” 

The Roadmap undertaking began after South Carolina ranked 37th out of 50 states in a 2021 U.S. Sustainable Development Report released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the release stated. As a result, Sustain SC partnered with Ernst and Young (EY) to assess how South Carolina could improve its low position on the list and be competitive with neighboring states. Through comprehensive research and analysis, researchers mapped out a plan for future sustainable development reflective of the unique commerce and conservation needs of the state, The Roadmap to Sustain SC.

The Roadmap initiatives include the following, the release stated:

  • Partnerships for Economic Prosperity and Quality of Life: Sustain SC will advance a future of strong cross-sector collaboration among commerce and conservation partners to attract new, sustainable industries, enhance the existing industry in South Carolina, and protect our quality of life.
  • The Three-Legged Stool – Affordable, Reliable, and Sustainable Energy: Through multi-stakeholder engagement with the private and public sector and conservation NGOs, Sustain SC supports cross-sector energy engagement to retain and attract industry in our state.
  • STEM2030 Workforce Accelerator: Sustain SC is modernizing the STEM initiative to ensure all learners have the knowledge and skills to promote sustainable development, enhance scientific research, upgrade technology capabilities, and encourage sustainable innovation throughout every workforce sector. 
  • Capitalizing on the Sustainable Revolution: In an effort to establish South Carolina as the center point of sustainable economic development, Sustain SC is forging alliances between industry and conservation organizations to transition from traditional 20th-century economic practices to 21st-century industries that provide well-paying jobs and implement innovative, sustainable methods in production, supply chain management, and distribution. Between 2022 and 2023, companies announced more than $9.7 billion in EV investments across South Carolina.
  • The Circular Economy – South Carolina’s New Economic Opportunity: Reducing, reusing, repairing, and repurposing materials for production and consumption in South Carolina not only lowers emissions and protects our natural resources, it creates innovative solutions, reduces costs, increases profits, and saves consumers money. Industries in SC are engaged in the circular economy, re-envisioning our waste as an economic engine for our future.
  • A Resilient State: Sustain SC Land and Water Action Platform: After five consecutive years of flooding and storms, South Carolina’s Office of Resilience (SCOR) has created a plan to protect our state’s natural resources and buffer our communities from increased threats through nature-based solutions. Sustain SC is collaborating with SCOR, as well as businesses and organizations in the industry and conservation sectors to leverage state dollars with private and federal dollar investments to protect South Carolina's most critical natural resources.
  •  Meeting Goals at the Local Level: Approximately 80% of industries in South Carolina are actively assessing and tracking their sustainability efforts. Sustain SC is collaborating with both industry and conservation partners to establish standardized metrics and approaches for measuring sustainability at the state level.

“South Carolina recognizes the growing importance modern businesses place upon achieving sustainability goals, and S.C. Commerce is dedicated to working alongside industry partners, like Sustain SC, to provide the support necessary to make those achievements a reality,” said Harry M. Lightsey III, secretary of the South Carolina Department of Commerce, said in the release. “The Roadmap to Sustain SC will help set apart South Carolina’s commitment to our business community.” 

For the South Carolina Office of Resilience, which established a formal partnership with Sustain SC this year, the Roadmap to Sustain SC will support SCOR on a number of initiatives.

“Resiliency and nature-based solutions are the key to moving South Carolina forward,” said Ben Duncan, executive director of the South Carolina Office of Resilience. “These focus areas will help our organization develop strategies to minimize the impact of disasters on the communities and citizens of South Carolina.”