“Our current political climate requires businesses to step up and work for the changes we know are necessary. We know that by working together, the Climate Collaborative can be a strong, cooperative voice for much-needed change. It’s up to us.” -George Siemon, CEO at Organic Valley
Policy is an essential lever for reversing climate change. Although corporate cooperation is critical to our ability to make progress on climate change, we also need strong public policies in place to ensure the progress necessary to stay below the critical limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius warming that scientists and the international community agree will trigger dire consequences for the planet.
“Business leaders now believe that only with greater government intervention - at global, national and local levels - can sustainability move from sporadic, incremental advances to a collective and transformative impact.” - CEO Study on Sustainability, UN Global Compact and Accenture, 2013
Why do we need climate policy? The global nature of climate change – a true “tragedy of the commons” – makes it too easy for the efforts of climate-forward corporations to be rendered moot by the actions of others that fail to act in a similarly climate-friendly manner. Only with government policies and enforcement can we hope to enact the kinds of sweeping changes needed to make a difference and to level the playing field for businesses.
What is expected of companies that commit to responsible engagement in climate policy?
This commitment is in no way a political statement, nor does it mean your company must support any particular political party’s agenda or candidates. That is your choice alone. A commitment to responsible engagement in climate policy means that your company commits to supporting legislation to:
- Promote energy efficiency and renewable energy;
- Increase investment in a clean energy economy;
- Support climate change adaptation; and
- Put a price on carbon emissions.
These are the building blocks of advancing meaningful progress on climate change. However, if you’d like to take your commitment one step further, your company can go above and beyond by ensuring that this commitment occurs at every level of your organization.
For example, although your company’s CEO might add her name to an industry sign-on letter to the EPA Administrator expressing support for increased fuel efficiency standards, your company may also be a member of a trade association that is actively lobbying against those same standards, rendering your company’s leadership on climate less effective. Taking the time to identify and rectify these types of inconsistencies throughout your organization can significantly deepen your company’s commitment.
Companies committing to responsible engagement in climate policy will be expected to complete a short annual questionnaire updating the Climate Collaborative on progress made toward the commitment.
Watch this short video to learn more about how Happy Family engaged in climate policy.
How can the Climate Collaborative help?
Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for your company to make this commitment and adhere to the best practices. To that end, we are partnering with BICEP (Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy) an advocacy coalition of businesses committed to working with policy makers to pass meaningful energy and climate legislation that will enable a rapid transition to a low-carbon, 21st century economy creating new jobs and stimulating economic growth while stabilizing our planet’s fragile climate. BICEP is a project of Ceres, a nonprofit network of investors, companies and public interest groups to accelerate and expand the adoption of sustainable business practices and solutions to build a healthy global economy.
BICEP and occasionally some of our other partners like the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), will do the heavy lifting by identifying initiatives and opportunities for companies to engage in climate policy including industry sign-on letters, comments on rule-making, Hill visits and other ways companies can support climate legislation at the federal, state and local levels.
Your company can then pick and choose which activities and policies you’d like to support and follow your own internal process to determine at what level your company will be engaged.
Our Policy Resources page highlights tools and resources from our partners to help organizations interested in engaging in climate policy. This includes industry sign-on letters, comments on rule-making, Hill visits and other ways companies can support climate legislation at the federal, state and local levels.
Working Group: Businesses for a Climate-Smart Recovery
We are working to empower companies in our network to engage with your members of Congress to advocate for a climate-smart COVID recovery. Through this network, we'll be working to activate companies to independently and collectively advocate by:
- Training interested companies on best practices in climate policy advocacy, so you feel ready to go out and engage with lawmakers;
- Providing companies with resources, tools, and an activated network to streamline their advocacy and make it easier and more accessible
- Connecting companies to advocacy opportunities at the state and federal level through a broad network of partners
Interested in joining? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!
For those needing more tailored support, Sustainable Food Trade Association is available to help!
We are indebted to We Mean Business - a coalition of organizations working with thousands of the world’s most influential businesses and investors for their assistance in developing the content for these engagement areas.