This blog post has been updated to reflect the growing number of companies that back the Clean Power Plan.
Who’s for carbon emission rules? For starters, some of America’s largest companies and most innovative industry leaders, who are moving aggressively to wean themselves off fossil fuel-fired power through energy efficiency and conservation.
So far, 223 corporations have come out in favor of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants, including some well-known brands such as IKEA, Mars Inc., Nestlé and VF Corp.
It’s not hard to understand why.
Regulatory certainty and a growing market for increasingly competitive renewable energy will help these companies manage risk, meet changing customer expectations and achieve corporate sustainability goals.
Added bonus: They earn recognition for being on the cutting edge of the clean energy economy.
“Just what we need”
The California headquarters of The North Face is 100 percent powered by solar and wind, and it feeds excess electricity into the grid. Other buildings owned by the outdoor products company have similar ambitions.
“EPA’s plan will help spur additional investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency and that’s just what we need,” says James Rogers, North Face’s sustainability manager.
JLL, a commercial real estate giant that has made energy-efficiency a key part of its portfolio, agrees. Since 2007, the company has helped clients reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 12 million metric tons and energy costs by $2.5 billion.
“I’d like to think that more efficiently managing our electricity and power facilities is truly a ‘no brainer,’” writes JLL’s chairman of energy and sustainability services, Dan Probst, who has also spoken publicly in favor of the EPA’s plan. “It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and our impact on the planet, reduce costs for both power companies and consumers, and help drive the economy.”
And in September, IKEA’s chief executive and group president, Peter Agnefjäll, and Steve Howard, the home furnishing company’s chief sustainability officer, marched with 400,000 others in the People’s Climate March in New York City to call for stronger policies on global warming.
“We need strong policy leadership in order for us and others to accelerate innovation,” Agnefjäll noted.
Climate change bad for business
But business leaders at the forefront of the clean energy movement are also driven by concern that unabated climate change will hurt the long-term viability of their businesses.
For example, Starbucks’ sustainability manager Jim Hanna has been warning for several years that soil changes and increased threats from pest infestations are altering the way coffee can be grown. Global warming already poses “a direct business threat to our company,” he has said.
And today, the private sector is becoming increasingly concerned that water scarcity may hamper business growth in coming years.
Resources for businesses
Here at Environmental Defense Fund, we believe that the Clean Power Plan is an opportunity for any business that wants to get ahead of the game.
Building on our long track record of partnerships with the private sector, we’ll be working with businesses to help them make their voices heard as the Clean Power Plan takes shape – and to prepare them for a new reality.
Interested in learning more? We’re hosting a webinar on November 19 to get the conversation started and look forward to the collaboration.