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Companies Call for a Green Recovery

As Congress considers how to respond to the joint health and economic crises caused by the coronavirus pandemic, major corporations and small companies from all over America have come together in support of a smart recovery — imploring Congress to “build back better.” Over 330 businesses including Adobe, Capital One, CommonSpirit Health, Dow, Unilever, Eileen Fisher, General Mills, Mars, Inc., Microsoft, Nike, Salesforce and Visa are calling on a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers to incorporate resilient, long-term climate solutions into the economic recovery plans. With a combined worth of over $2.4 trillion, market valuation of nearly $11.5 trillion, and more than 3 million collective U.S. employees, this group of companies means business when it comes to building a sustainable recovery.

On May 13, the economic development nonprofit focused on sustainability Ceres brought together these 330 plus businesses, including over a dozen Fortune 500 firms along with trade associations, and small and medium businesses from all 50 states, to call on Congress to include long-term climate solutions in their economic recovery plan, including a price on carbon. This group, which featured CEOs from food and beverage company Clif Bar, nutrition, health and materials company DSM, outerwear company Burton, building material company LaFarge Holcim, Indigo Ag and New Belgium Brewery, asserts that investment in resilient infrastructure will put millions of Americans back to work in durable, clean energy jobs. They are urging Congress to build out longer-term solutions to build a more resilient economy, supporting sustainable practices that would allow us to reach the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner. 

A recent study’s findings provides evidence to support what these 330 businesses are asking. UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy’s 2035 Report shows that with the right policies in place, the U.S. can deliver 90 percent clean, carbon-free electricity nationwide by 2035, while increasing energy sector jobs by over half a million each year, and injecting $1.7 trillion of investment into the economy, at no additional cost to consumers. Not only that, but as the government incorporates climate science into recovery policies, businesses will be able to spend less to achieve their climate goals. For instance, cutting emissions to zero would require a company to convert its entire vehicle fleet from combustion to electric engines. If public money is infused into changing infrastructure and vehicle subsidies, this will make it more achievable for individual businesses. These companies are already committed to cutting emissions. Implementation of climate-centric policy will not only make it more affordable, but also streamline implementation of these necessary changes at a time when any benefit could be life-saving to business, and the economy. 

Henry McLoughlin, director of strategy at Capricorn Investment Group, says: “As investors in the clean energy transition, we have a duty to help create the millions of jobs that will be required to make our global economy more resilient and our planet sustainable for current and future generations. The catastrophic job losses of the past weeks, and the historic crash in the oil and gas markets, add an even greater sense of urgency to the creation of green economy jobs, from the solar and wind industries to electric vehicle and battery manufacturing.”

As we consider how America will come back from COVID-19, businesses are accepting the opportunity to rebuild a stronger economy while addressing sustainability, in particular with the millions of jobs possible in a green recovery.  

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