PSU lands grant for sustainable economic development tool
By Christina Williams, Sustainable Business Oregon
Sustainable Business Oregon
Janet Hammer, PSU
Portland State University landed a $495,000 grant this week from the U.S. Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration to fund development of a new tool to measure triple bottom line impact of economic development projects.
PSU professor Janet Hammer will lead the grant-funded team to develop the tool, which is related to research she's been working on for the past three years as part of the Initiative on Triple Bottom Line Development within the university's College of Urban and Public Affairs.
She pursued her work in response to a request from an investor looking for help in measuring the potential triple bottom line impact of investments. The three tenets of the triple bottom line are: economic benefit, environmental benefit and social benefit. While economic and environmental impacts are relatively easy to measure, the social aspect of the bottom line is more difficult.
"You can't really measure it until you know what it is," Hammer said.
Her work began with a series of focus groups to discover what different industries viewed as social benefit. That resulted in a briefing paper and a draft framework for measurement.
Earlier this year the EDA put out a request for a research partner to develop a tool that would develop metrics and measurements for triple bottom line impact of development projects. PSU applied and won the grant.
Hammer will lead a team that will include expertise from The Reinvestment Fund, Policy Map, and the University of Arizona's Responsible Property Investing Center.
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