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CEOs of Major Companies Call on U.S. Congress to Set a National Price on Carbon

CEOs and other representatives of more than 75 U.S. businesses and trade associations, with combined market valuations of nearly $2.5 trillion, call for federal climate action including carbon pricing

Media Contacts:
Ben Rubin, brubin@climatenexus.org, 646-559-8263
Helen Booth-Tobin, booth-tobin@ceres.org, 612-245-9504

Washington D.C. May 22 — Today, more than 75 businesses including eBay, Exelon, Gap, Levi’s, Nike, Mars Incorporated, Microsoft, PepsiCo, Tesla and others will meet with a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers to call on Congress to pass meaningful climate legislation, including a price on carbon. Collectively, today’s Lawmaker Education & Advocacy Day (LEAD) on Carbon Pricing is the largest business gathering on the Hill to advocate for climate legislation in over a decade.

The participating businesses include 21 Fortune 500 companies as well as trade associations, medium and small businesses from all 50 states, collectively representing combined annual revenues of more than $2.5 trillion, a combined market valuation of nearly $2.5 trillion, and more than 1 million U.S. employees. The businesses calling for a meaningful national carbon price span across the American economy, including retail giants, manufacturers, oil majors, healthcare services, food and beverage companies, outdoors industries, technology companies, and energy providers. A full list of business participants can be found here.

Representatives from these businesses are meeting one-on-one with lawmakers and congressional staff from both sides of the aisle in the House and the Senate to educate them on the economic impacts of climate change and the need for comprehensive and effective national climate policies. Hosted by Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), these representatives will make the business case for a strong and effective federal carbon price and share the private sector’s vision for comprehensive solutions to tackle climate change.

Of the more than 75 companies, eight have sent their Chief Executive Officers, including nutrition, health, and materials company DSM, Seventh Generation, Rossignol Skis and food company Nature’s Path, to signify their high level of concern for the risks that climate change pose to their operations and the American economy.

This increased private sector engagement with Congress comes at a time when the impacts and consequences of a warming world are becoming more clear, with recent scientific reports detailing the effects of climate change in the U.S. and across the globe. In addition, a growing number of bipartisan lawmakers are offering their own carbon pricing proposals. In the last three years, Democrats and Republicans collaborated to introduce several different carbon pricing bills in both the Senate and the House, including the Market Choice Act and the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.

Leadership quotes from over 30 participating investors and companies in the food and beverage, materials and goods, technology, outdoors and sporting goods industries can be found below.

Food and Beverage Companies

Christopher Miller, Advocacy Manager at Ben & Jerry’s:

“At Ben & Jerry’s, we are committed to doing our part to reduce our carbon footprint within our operations and supply chain, but we can’t solve the problem on our own. We understand the transition to a low-carbon economy requires strong leadership from businesses and our political leaders in Washington, D.C—and we know that carbon pricing is a powerful tool that to help us keep climate change in check.”

Chris Adamo, Vice President, Federal Industry and Affairs at Danone:

“Climate change requires urgent, collective action, including the establishment of a reliable carbon pricing system. We are meeting the challenge head-on by innovating our business practices, forging new partnerships across the food and beverage industry, and supporting policy solutions that protect and preserve our precious natural resources. We have 31 years to fulfill our 2050 goal to be zero net carbon positive, and as the largest Certified B Corporation in the world it is also our responsibility to create solutions that drive long-term change.”

Elizabeth Drake, Regenerative Development Manager for Fetzer Vineyards:

“At our winery, we’ve pursued practices for decades that minimize our climate impact from energy consumption, waste and more. Looking to the future, we recognize the need for policies that support bold action on climate, which is why we’re putting our voice behind a price on carbon.”

Brad Figel, Vice President of Public Affairs at Mars, Inc:

“Scalable, lasting solutions to climate change require government leadership. Mars is pleased to be joining with other companies to show our support for a carbon pricing system aligned with climate science.”

Arran Stephens, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Nature’s Path Organic Foods:

“At Nature’s Path, we see the impact of climate change to business. From droughts in North Dakota impacting our oats supply to severe weather in California impacting our ability to source organic raisins, rice and almonds domestically. It’s time for business and government to work together to implement policies to bring positive change to our planet, and I believe it begins with a national price on carbon. We have two major manufacturing facilities in the United States and call British Columbia, Canada home where a carbon tax has been successfully introduced in 2008. This tax encourages companies to adapt and make meaningful changes to energy use. As a result, BC’s real GDP grew 2.3 percent in 2018—among the highest in Canada and above the country’s national average of 2.1 percent. And for almost two years, BC has experienced the lowest unemployment rate in Canada. I am proud to that as a result, B.C. reached its first greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of six percent below 2007 levels by 2012, as set out in the Province’s Climate Action Plan. The future of our businesses of our economy and our families depend on us working together to take bold action.”

Molly Fogarty, Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs at Nestle:

“At Nestlé, we understand that climate change is one of the biggest risks to the future of our business, and we are already feeling its impacts up and down our supply chain. We remain committed to using clean energy, but the nation’s current systems and infrastructure do not support our ambition to strive for zero environmental impact in our operations by 2030. That is why we stand with more than 75 companies, including members of the Sustainable Food Policy Alliance, to urge Congress to pass meaningful climate legislation, including a price on carbon.”

Steve Fechheimer, CEO of New Belgium Brewing:

“At New Belgium Brewing, we are striving to to achieve carbon neutral operations by 2050 and are investing in clean energy solutions to make that happen. Many of our peers in the craft beer industry are taking similar actions because they know it makes business sense. However, these commitments and actions are only one piece of the puzzle in our collective ability to tackle climate change. We need leadership and collaboration across all sectors and from Capitol Hill, in order to pass legislation that will allow us to reduce emissions and grow the economy at the same time.”

Roberta Barbieri, Vice President, Global Water and Environmental Solutions at PepsiCo:

“At PepsiCo, we believe that implementing solutions to address climate change is important to the future of our company, customers, consumers and communities. That is why we set a goal to reduce absolute GHG emissions across our value chain by at least 20 percent by 2030. We have made reducing GHG emissions a priority because it is good for the economy, the environment and our bottom line. As a growing number of companies join us in these efforts, a price on carbon is an essential part of realizing a clean energy future and a thriving American economy.”

Lisa Drake, Director of Sustainability Innovation at Stonyfield:

“At Stonyfield, we’re committed to reducing emissions in our operations and supply chain, including enabling farmers to store carbon in the soil.  But alone it’s not enough, which is why we are joining our peers in the business community to call for a national price on carbon. “

Sustainable Food Policy Alliance:

“Sustainable Food Policy Alliance (SFPA) member companies believe that food has the potential to be a driving force for environmental progress. SFPA strongly supports policies including establishing a carbon pricing system; deploying clean energy; investing in infrastructure; promoting equity; and ensuring consistent regulation to reduce emissions. It is critical that the U.S. government adopt strong policies that support food and agriculture as we implement solutions to this global challenge.”

Technology Companies

Lynelle Cameron, CEO, Autodesk Foundation and VP, Sustainability, Autodesk:

Autodesk believes in taking bold action on climate change and we are urging Congress to do the same by setting a price on carbon. Setting a price on carbon will incentivize businesses to reduce carbon emissions and accelerate a low-carbon future. At Autodesk, we have continued to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions through implementation of our own internal price on carbon. Now is the time for Congress to level the playing field and help U.S. businesses tackle the urgent challenge of climate change with a price on carbon.

Renée Morin, Responsible Business Lead, eBay:

“eBay is committed to improving our environmental footprint while supporting a more inclusive, sustainable, and circular economy. That is why we are actively working toward our goal to use 100 percent renewable energy in our electricity supply by 2025 at our data centers and our offices—and also why eBay supports policy action to help us tackle climate change.“

Michelle Patron, Director of Sustainability Policy at Microsoft:

“Microsoft believes it’s time for a serious national discussion on carbon pricing that can translate into policy action. The science is clear – climate change is a massive global challenge and we have limited time to make the kind of progress needed. Microsoft has taken steps to make and meet a series of commitments to reduce the company’s carbon footprint, including imposing an internal carbon tax across our business and a goal to reduce our operational carbon emissions by 75 percent by 2030. But no matter how much any one company does, federal policy is needed to drive large-scale change.”

Patrick Flynn, Vice President of Sustainability at Salesforce:

“We need bold action now if we are to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change and build a better future for generations to come. A well-designed price on carbon is the most direct and cost­ effective way to reduce carbon emissions. It is a critical component of a comprehensive policy portfolio designed to reduce carbon emissions on a scale that the planet will notice.”  

Jaime Barclay, Director of Corporate Responsibility at Symantec:

A sharp focus on environmental performance not only supports our business objectives – it also contributes to the urgent action needed to combat global climate change and other environmental challenges. Symantec is playing its part in transitioning to a low-carbon and more sustainable future by zapping greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent, launching an  employee-focused environmental campaign, and supporting a nationwide price on carbon.

Real Estate and Hospitality Companies

Tedd Saunders, CSO of The Saunders Hotel Group:

“The Saunders Hotel Group is committed to offering warm, genuine service that doesn’t overheat our planet. For almost three decades, our comprehensive health and sustainability initiatives have provided significant benefits for our guests, our team members and our company. Businesses, as the driving force in our society, must voice their support for sound policies which protect our companies’ ability to create jobs and prosper. We are honored to stand today with our forward-thinking peers in the mainstream business community to call for a national price on carbon pollution.”

Materials and Goods Companies

Hugh Welsh, General Counsel and President of DSM North America:

“DSM North America has long recognized that pricing carbon and strengthening the economy are not mutually exclusive. That is why we adopted our own internal price on carbon to help us do our part to tackle climate change. However, we can’t do it alone. We also need Congress to pass comprehensive climate legislation that includes a strong price on carbon—which we understand to be the best way to help businesses both reduce our carbon footprint and spur continued economic growth.”

Joey Bergstein, CEO of Seventh Generation:

“There is no greater threat to future generations than the climate crisis and the health of our planet. The short term and long term benefits of reducing greenhouse gas pollution through carbon pricing far outweigh the costs. We must act now on this opportunity before it’s too late.”

Michael Kobori, Vice President of Sustainability, Levi Strauss & Co.

“LS&Co. is redoubling our carbon reduction efforts through industry-leading targets for our own operations and our supply chain. At the same time, we know that we can do more, faster and cheaper, with government leadership that puts a price on carbon and helps us to invest in renewable energy.”

Zaurie Zimmerman, CEO of The Lion Company:

“Tackling climate change is the greatest challenge and the greatest opportunity of our time. A well-designed price on carbon is essential to incentivize the innovation and investment necessary to drive the transition to a low-carbon economy. We must act now to keep the U.S. competitive in the global economy.”

Investment Groups

Henry McLoughlin, Director, Corporate Development, Capricorn Investment Group:

“We’re excited to join a group of leading investors and businesses to make the case for a rapid transition to a low carbon economy. Many of the high-paying jobs of the next decade will come from the green economy: solar panel installers, wind turbine technicians, engineers and entrepreneurs developing new technologies. Immediate climate action from policy makers will allow the U.S. to lead the way with new business models and innovation.”

Jeffrey Eckel, President & CEO of Hannon Armstrong:

“We need to unleash the power of markets to turn the tide in the battle against climate change. It’s no secret that the most credible, scalable and efficient solution is eliminating all energy subsidies — including the mother of all subsidies — unpriced carbon. For over a century the fossil fuel industry has socialized the enormous pollution costs of its business while privatizing all the profits. No credible economist has ever thought this was an example of a properly functioning free market system. I urge lawmakers to come together to put a price on carbon and then dividend the resulting tax receipts to U.S. citizens.”

Tim Smith, Director of ESG shareowner engagement at Walden Asset Management:

“Investors are increasingly aware of the dangers of climate change and its impact on companies and our portfolios. We have seen a flood of papers and statements in the last six months from BlackRock to the Bank of England and our Fed calling for urgent action. Companies and investors working together have a central role in implementing climate solutions. A price on carbon would create the market signals needed to drive clean energy investments, grow the job market and strengthen the American economy. It is a critical tool in U.S. efforts to address climate change.”

Outdoors and Sporting Goods Companies

Matthew Hamilton, Sustainability Director at Aspen Skiing Company:

“Climate change poses a direct threat to the outdoor recreation industry, both in our home state of Colorado and across the country. That is why Aspen Skiing Company is committed to delivering on our goal of reducing our carbon emissions 25 percent by 2020. A well-designed price on carbon is another critical tool in U.S. efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change while protecting the economy and the longevity of our industry.”

Donna Carpenter, Co-owner and CEO at Burton:

“At Burton, our success as a business is directly tied to protecting natural resources from the mountains to the oceans for future generations to enjoy. Climate change is already impacting our communities and the outdoor places where we love to play. That’s why we support a strong, national price on carbon as part of the overall solution to climate change. A price on carbon is one of the best ways we have to incentivize the necessary transition to a cleaner and more renewable future.”

Melanie Mills, President and CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA:

“Colorado’s ski industry is the crown jewel of Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy with an annual $5 billion economic impact that supports nearly 50,000 jobs in our state’s mountain communities. Climate change is an urgent threat to Colorado’s winter recreation economy, but we can’t tackle the threat alone. We need Congress to put forward a policy response that addresses the severity of the challenge including initiatives that will reduce carbon emissions, incentivize renewable energy development and improve our resiliency in the future.”

Kelly Pawlak, National Ski Areas Association President:

“Carbon pricing is a critical piece in the larger puzzle of solving climate change. A meaningful price on carbon would go a long way in tackling climate change and protecting a thriving snowsports industry here in the U.S. NSAA wholeheartedly supports bipartisan and market-based measures that will incentivize the changes needed to swiftly and significantly reduce carbon emissions.”

Jay Badgley, COO of Phunkshun Wear:

“As a company committed to sustainable domestic manufacturing, we make products that help our customers experience winter, not the cold. Phunkshun Wear’s products are made from recycled plastic bottles, and we work hard to reduce our impact to preserve winters and the environment for future generations. While we do our part, we also need Congress to take action when it comes to climate change and that must include a meaningful price on carbon.”

Francois Goulet, CEO of Rossignol:

“The ski industry is on the front lines of climate change, and our business is starting to feel the impacts of increasingly unpredictable seasons. As an industry that contributes $72 billion to the US economy, and as a leading brand within this industry, Rossignol is committed to leveraging our influence to address climate change head-on.”

Jessyca Keeler, Executive Director of Ski New Hampshire:

“Travel and tourism is New Hampshire’s second largest industry, and the industry’s performance is inextricably tied to the weather and climate. While New Hampshire’s ski areas have been leaders in adopting sustainable operations practices over the last decade, more must be done to ensure a healthy environment for our businesses to grow and thrive.  We encourage Congress to enact legislation that will help significantly lower carbon emissions in ways that will generate economic growth and innovation.”

Nick Sargent, President of Snowsports Industries America:

As the trade association for the $72 billion snow sports industry, it is our responsibility to take action against climate change. Snowsports Industries America (SIA) is committed to using our influence and mobilizing our members to drive smart, and urgent climate policy.“

About LEAD

The Lawmaker Education & Advocacy Day (LEAD) on Carbon Pricing is a gathering of American and multinational businesses and trade associations in Washington, D.C. to call on U.S. Congressional lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to pass meaningful climate legislation, including a price on carbon.