'There Is No Time to Waste': Dozens of Companies, Investors Urge Congress to Act Now on Climate
October 27, 2021 /3BL Media/ - More than 160 investors and companies of all sizes are urging U.S. lawmakers to approve critical climate investments and policies in two major legislative packages pending in U.S. Congress, adding to a chorus of business support for urgently needed clean energy and transportation initiatives as negotiations continue on Capitol Hill.
In a letter sent to members of Congress today, the companies and investors called for the “swift enactment” of the ambitious climate policies in the Build Back Better budget reconciliation package, as well as the bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate earlier this year.
Key lawmakers are still debating the details of the Build Back Better reconciliation bill, while major companies and investors insist the final version must feature the strongest possible provisions to put the U.S. on good footing to address the threat of the climate crisis to the economy and financial markets, and capitalize on the economic opportunities of the clean energy transition.
“Other countries are shifting their policies and economies in this direction, and the U.S. cannot afford to miss this chance to unlock its private sector innovation to command the markets of today and tomorrow,” the letter said. “Congress must act now to seize this global leadership opportunity and confront the climate crisis.”
The letter was signed by 163 companies spanning several industries. Signatories include Adobe, Boston Common Asset Management, eBay, Danone North America, Impossible Foods, IKEA, Logitech, the New York City Comptroller, Novozymes North America, Unilever, and many small businesses.
“At IKEA U.S., we believe that businesses, governments and the public alike must work together to address the existential threat of climate change and create a better future for all. That is why we urge Congress to include robust funding for strong climate measures as it considers the Build Back Better Act. We at IKEA understand that this will require sacrifices to make a positive difference, and we are committed to continuing to do our part to mitigate climate change,” said Javier Quiñones, IKEA U.S. President.
“Logitech is all in when it comes to the global goal of achieving a just and equitable transition to a 1.5-degree future. We are doing everything we can as a company to help achieve that goal, most recently committing to beat the Paris Target of net zero by twenty years. But we know that our actions alone are not enough. Now is the time for the United States to take bold action on the climate crisis, and we are calling on Congress to pass the climate investments outlined in the budget reconciliation and infrastructure packages,” said Samantha Harnett, General Counsel, Logitech.
“At Unilever, we know it will take collective action from businesses, investors, and governments alike to protect the world economy from worsening climate risks. We strongly urge Congress to support and fund climate provisions in the Build Back Better Act, knowing that business stands with them, and that their leadership will create the foundations for a better future. The time to act on climate change is now,” said Fabian Garcia, President, Unilever North America.
In the letter, the companies and investors commended the infrastructure bill as a “good step” toward meeting the nation’s climate goals. It includes funding for electric grid upgrades, public transit, climate resiliency, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure
However, they stressed that the larger investments in the Build Back Better reconciliation package are required to achieve President Biden’s plan to slash climate pollution by at least 50% by 2030 and deliver 100% clean power by 2035. These measures include power sector investments, expanded tax credits for clean energy and transportation, policies that make polluters pay, new grant programs, or other measures designed to meet the nation’s climate goals.
"Danone North America has prioritized both climate action and advocacy for improved government policies because we believe a clean and resilient future will provide both a stable business environment and exciting new opportunities for jobs, innovation, and economic development," said Christopher Adamo, vice president of government affairs, Danone North America. "At this critical moment, we urge Congress to ensure the Build Back Better Act includes cost-effective investments that will help us prevent the worst effects of the climate crisis and deliver the benefits of a clean-energy economy to businesses, communities, and the planet."
"At New Belgium, we opened our carbon neutral playbook to all businesses because we know this crisis is no time for placing self-interest above the greater good. In fact, self-interest and social interest are one and the same on climate, as investments today are the only way to avoid exponentially higher future costs,” said Steve Fechheimer, CEO of New Belgium Brewing. “We need strong policies to complement private sector action and deliver a sustainable economy at the necessary pace. We urge Congress to approve the bold climate investments in Build Back Better, to seize the chance to pass the most meaningful climate legislation in U.S. history, and to lead on behalf of the greater good.”
The letter also emphasized that the costs of these programs would be minor compared to the already escalating costs of addressing climate-related disasters, including devastating floods, deadly heat waves, powerful storms, and massive wildfires that worsen air quality across the U.S.
“Companies and investors think in the long-term, and they know that the action Congress takes in the next few weeks will have both immediate benefits and effects that last decades,” said Anne Kelly, vice president of government relations at the sustainability nonprofit Ceres, which organized the letter. “We understand that in a narrowly divided Congress, there are going to be tough negotiations and trade-offs. But the U.S. cannot afford to miss this opportunity to secure our future. Congress must heed the call of the business community and finalize these two packages, with ambitious climate policies and investments to achieve our national goals.”
Many companies and investors have already taken a public stance in support of the Build Back Better reconciliation package. They have released individual statements to champion its climate investments and policies, and last week 17 large companies including Carrier and PepsiCo sent a separate letter advocating for the package’s climate investments and policies.
This business support for the Build Back Better reconciliation package follows a year of significant climate and clean energy advocacy from companies and investors. These efforts include:
- The more than 400 companies that pushed the Biden Administration in the spring to establish the 50% emissions reduction goal.
- The more than 300 companies that called on Congress to include bold climate policy in infrastructure negotiations as part of the 2021 LEAD on Climate advocacy day.
- The more than 100 companies that signaled support for a federal Clean Electricity Standard.
- The leaders of three organizations representing powerful investors, who urged Congress to prioritize climate action in the budget reconciliation process.
- And the hundreds of companies and investors that are calling for governments across the world to take collective action at COP26 to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times, which scientists say is required to prevent the worst impacts of the climate crisis.
The letter also comes as the Biden administration prepares to travel to COP26 in Glasgow, where world leaders will meet to bolster government action to address the global crisis.
Ceres is a nonprofit organization working with the most influential capital market leaders to solve the world’s greatest sustainability challenges. Through our powerful networks and global collaborations of investors, companies and nonprofits, we drive action and inspire equitable market-based and policy solutions throughout the economy to build a just and sustainable future. For more information, visit ceres.org and follow @CeresNews.