The company behind the redevelopment of the former Landree Mine in Greene County is looking to help other businesses offset their environmental impact. Kirk Taylor, president of Fishers-based Land Betterment Corp., says the company launched Land Betterment Exchange to tap into a new movement of large-scale land conservation among businesses. He says the goal is to not just help companies restore land such as former coal mines or industrial sites, but to also generate job creation in the process.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Taylor said the business model for LBX both social and environmental benefits.
“If we’re restoring 1,000 acres, 950 of those acres may be great for timber – restoring from a tree standpoint. The other 50 acres are flat, disturbed land already; why don’t we look at adaptive reuse for that already affected land? (We can) clean up the environmental issue, but have a site toward job creation (and) tax revenue generation alongside the environmental site.”
Taylor says Land Betterment can leverage its existing relationships both on the corporate side and the environmental side to connect businesses with the resources they need to begin their restoration efforts.
“Right now, it’s a disaggregated market. If you’re a large box retailer and you want to buy some sort of land credit, you have to go out and source that on your own,” said Taylor. “By taking our experience both on the public market side as well as the land side, we can make the process much more seamless and provide a more efficient marketplace for both the properties that need to be restored as well as the companies who need access to that land.”
One of the main reasons, according to Taylor, that more companies are undertaking such environmental restoration efforts is they are seeking LEED certification for their new facilities. He says one of the criteria for receiving the certification is keeping natural habitats natural within the building’s footprint.
“Now for us here in Indiana, that’s normally doable. However, if you’re a property developer in Manhattan or other high-density, urban areas, you cannot afford to keep half of your site’s square footage unusable; there’s no marsh space in downtown Manhattan. So, (developers) are paying us to restore waterways in Appalachia and Indiana for them to take credit on their LEED certification process in higher-density areas.”
Taylor says the short-term goal for LBX is to bring more awareness to its services among corporations seeking to offset their land consumption and land owners looking for restoration or conservation.
Taylor says the business model for LBX brings a social benefit to the sites that are restored in addition to the environmental benefit.