BOSTON, MA -- In an unprecedented show of business support for tackling climate change, 365 companies and investors sent letters today to more than two-dozen governors across the United States voicing their support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan for existing power plants and encouraging the state’s “timely finalization” of state implementation plans to meet the new standards.
The letter, organized by sustainability advocacy groupCeres, comes just days before the expected finalization of the rule aimed at reducing U.S. power plant carbon pollution by 30 percent by 2030.
“Our support is firmly grounded in economic reality,” wrote the businesses, including industry giants such as General Mills, Mars Inc., Nestle, Staples, Unilever and VF Corporation. “Clean energy solutions are cost effective and innovative ways to drive investment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Increasingly, businesses rely on renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions to cut costs and improve corporation performance.”
The 365 businesses and investors – from small local companies to Fortune 500 leaders, with headquarters and operations in all 50 states – is the largest-ever group of business voices to support the Clean Power Plan, the biggest carbon reducing measure in the country’s history, according to Ceres. Letters were sent to 29 governors.
“More than ever, businesses and investors are waking up to the threat of climate change and the urgency for low-carbon solutions that make strong economic sense,” said Ceres president Mindy Lubber. “The Clean Power Plan speaks to these growing business concerns by providing certainty and flexibility in building their own clean energy strategies.”
The EPA Clean Power Plan is the nation’s first comprehensive effort to reduce carbon pollution from existing electric power plants – the single largest source of global warming pollution in the country. The plan sets unique emissions reduction targets for each state to achieve by 2030 and gives states flexibility in how to best achieve their goals, such as through deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The letters follow a trend in which a growing number of businesses are increasingly relying on renewable energy and energy efficiency to cut their costs and reduce their reliance on high polluting, price volatile fossil fuels. A 2014 study by Ceres, Calvert Investments and the World Wildlife Fund found that 60 percent of Fortune 100 companies have set their own clean energy targets and have saved more than $1 billion in energy costs by doing so.
“Having access to clean energy choices, whether efficiency or renewable energy, helps us manage our energy related costs while also reducing our environmental impact,” said Letitia Webster, senior director of global sustainability at VF Corporation, a North Carolina-based apparel company whose brands include The North Face, Timberland and Reef. “The Clean Power Plan will enable us to continue to invest in clean energy solutions and further advance our greenhouse gas reduction goals.” VF Corporation employs about 50,000 employees.
“Staples is actively committed to minimizing our environmental footprint and helping our customers do the same. It’s simply smart business,” said Mark Buckley, vice president of environmental affairs at Staples. “Implementation of the Clean Power Plan will enable us to further meet our energy goals by providing more predictable energy supply options.'
“Climate change poses serious risks to financial markets and the U.S. economy,” said Stu Dalheim, vice president of shareholder advocacy at Calvert Investments, which manages more than $13.5 billion. “At Calvert, we believe solutions to climate change offer real opportunities to U.S. investors and companies. That’s why we strongly support the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. It’s common-sense, flexible and pragmatic approach will provide investors with the certainty needed to put their capital to work to continue the transition to a low-carbon economy.”
“By providing investors with more stable incentives, the President’s Clean Power Plan represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to curtail greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate a just transition away from fossil fuels and toward a clean energy economy,” saidNYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, trustee for the City’s $160 billion pension system.