From Bill Weihl, Executive Director and Founder of ClimateVoice
With mere days to go to a Congressional vote on historic climate legislation (dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022), it is absolutely crucial that a powerful voice be heard: the corporate community. How do we get the corporate sector to get off the sidelines on climate policy and speak out for this bill, which would invest $369 billion in clean energy, and propel a 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030? ClimateVoice has launched a new campaign to get 21 top pro-climate companies to speak out – and we urge everyone to tweet these companies and share this campaign.
As significant as this legislation is, it’s just the first step toward addressing the climate crisis. Going forward, what can companies do, specifically, to use their powerful influence for climate? Here’s an initial checklist:
- Lobby for clean energy, pro-climate legislation wherever they operate. The federal policy defeat was a setback in a much larger struggle, and we need to redouble our efforts, with business muscle fully engaged. States and localities are weighing big pro-climate policies like electrification, mass transit investments, and much more. There will be important federal regulatory battles too – and companies need to be out front.
- Leave their anti-climate trade associations. Time’s up for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, both of which ferociously attacked the Build Back Better Act. Companies who say they’re green must walk the walk by finding the exit door from this trade association relationship. There were reports earlier this year that the Business Roundtable is under pressure from Tech firms to shift to a more pro-climate stance. But if they don’t, it’s time for CEOs to leave that group too.
- Keep up a drumbeat of public statements about climate policy. It may take years to address climate change at scale, and companies need to use their bully pulpit – CEO blogs and op-eds, press announcements, social media, speeches, and television interviews – to keep up the pressure for public policy to address this existential crisis facing their customers and employees.
We’re going to keep pushing until we address the climate crisis and turn it around for the sake of our future generations – and we need business fully in this fight in order to win it.
Bill Weihl is the Executive Director and Founder of ClimateVoice 1. Prior to that he served as Facebook’s Director of Sustainability and Google’s Green Energy Czar. He established Power Purchase Agreements as a model for emissions reductions and was instrumental in founding REBA (Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance - now the Clean Energy Buyers Alliance). Bill started his career in computer science on the faculty at MIT.