GLOBE-Net, November 28, 2008
Five leading U.S. corporations – Nike, Starbucks, Levi Strauss, Sun Microsystems, and Timberland – have teamed up with the Ceres investor coalition to lobby the U.S. Congress for stronger climate and energy legislation.
These founding members of Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy, BICEP, are urging for government action to ensure future climate change issues do not impact the currently struggling economy further.
“These companies have a clear message for next year’s Congress: move quickly on climate change to kick-start a transition to a prosperous clean energy economy fueled by green jobs,” says Mindy S. Lubber, president of Ceres.
The global corporations that make up BICEP say that without aggressive government involvement, the move towards a green economy will be arduous and the effects on companies will be devastating.
“Large-scale climate change would have economic, social and environmental consequences for our business and the communities in which we operate,” says Hilary Krane, senior vice president of corporate affairs at Levi Strauss & Co. “We can voluntarily change our own behavior in the hopes of mitigating impacts and are doing so, but we also believe that U.S. government leadership is essential if we are to create an environment in which every U.S. company recognizes the role it must play in addressing climate change and the responsibilities associated with doing business in a carbon-constrained world.”
The coalition members agree that voluntary company efforts to reduce their environmental impact will not be enough to reap the overall benefits and security of a green economy.
“Climate change is a threat to any business that relies on an agricultural product like we do with coffee,” said Ben Packard, Starbucks vice president, global responsibility. “Starbucks believes that addressing climate change will help companies like ours reduce operating costs and mitigate future economic instability due to extreme weather conditions and agricultural loss.”
BICEP’s work will focus on working with members of the business community and with Congress to pass meaningful energy and climate change legislation consistent with the following eight core principles:
1. Set greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets to at least 25% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
2. Establish an economy-wide cap-and-trade system that auctions 100% of carbon pollution allowances, promotes energy efficiency and accelerates clean energy technologies.
3. Establish aggressive energy efficiency policies to achieve at least a doubling of the rate of energy efficiency improvement.
4. Encourage transportation for a clean energy economy by promoting fuel-efficient vehicles, plug-in electric hybrids, low-carbon fuels, and transit-oriented development.
5. Increase investment in energy efficiency, renewables, and carbon capture and storage technologies while eliminating subsidies for fossil-fuel industries.
6. Stimulate job growth through investment in climate-based solutions, especially “green-collar” jobs in low-income communities and others vulnerable to climate change’s economic impact.
7. Adopt a national renewables portfolio standard requiring 20% of electricity to be generated from renewable energy sources by 2020, and 30% by 2030.
8. Limit construction of new coal-fired power plants to those that capture and store carbon emissions, create incentives for carbon capture technology on new and existing plants, and phase out existing coal-based power plants that do not capture and store carbon by 2030.
The members of BICEP are not the only ones flexing their muscle on Capitol Hill. In September, Google and General Electric announced a joint effort to lobby Washington on policies that support alternative energy technologies.
Ceres is a coalition of investors, environmental groups and other public interest groups working with companies to address sustainability challenges such as global climate change.
BICEP members believe that climate change impacts will ripple across all sectors of the economy and that new business perspectives are needed to provide a full spectrum of viewpoints for solving the climate and energy challenges facing the United States.