They employ about 3.5 million workers and produced about $3.5 trillion in revenue last year, they include 21 Fortune 100 companies, and all 6,000 of them support energy and climate legislation. We’re talking about the number of U.S. businesses that have joined coalitions and initiatives in support of federal legislation to improve energy efficiency and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The estimate of 6,000 was put together by a group called American Businesses for Clean Energy, which culled membership lists from seven organizations including We Can Lead, which kicked off a major initiative this spring to lobby Congress for more green jobs. John Deere, Target, Boeing, Gap, General Electric, and IBM are just a few of the economic powerhouses supporting federal action, and they’ve got plenty of company overseas, too.
Global Business and Climate Action
U.S. businesses are following a global trend toward corporate sustainability that is neatly captured in a new survey by Ernst & Young that measures business response to climate change. They surveyed 300 global corporate executives in 16 countries, from companies with $1 billion or more in annual revenue. About 70% expected to make significant investments in cost cutting and/or revenue generating measures relating to climate change. Significantly, consumer interest in sustainability was a strong driver for the decision, with 89% of the executives reporting that “evolving customer demands” were “significant drivers for action and innovation,” particularly in certain sectors such as automotive and consumer products. Many executives reported that carbon reduction plans with their supply chains were already in action or were under discussion.
Federal Legislation and Sustainable Businesses
The Ernst and Young survey also bears out the American Business for Clean Energy findings, in terms of support for climate legislation. An overwhelming 94% of the executives reported that national policies were important or very important factors in their climate change strategies. They also indicated strong support for international policies. Another significant result of the Ernst and Young survey was the growing importance that companies are placing on corporate transparency, with 64% including greenhouse gas data as part of their annual report, most of which also use an independent third party to verify their data.
So, Who is Against Federal Climate Legislation?
Considering the twin fiascoes of the Massey Energy coal mine disaster and the BP oil catastrophe, it’s a fair bet that more U.S. companies will be distancing themselves from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its obstructionist stance on climate change, and instead voicing their support for meaningful federal legislation that increases energy efficiency, cuts greenhouse gasses, and finally calls a halt to the lunacy of pursuing fossil fuels at the expense of everything else.
Image: The Earth by woodleywonderworks on flickr.com.
Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.