Nearly 400 Companies Urge the U.S. Senate to Unleash the Build Back Better Act's Historic Investments in Climate, Clean Jobs, Savings and Environmental Justice

Nearly 400 Companies Urge the U.S. Senate to Unleash the Build Back Better Act's Historic Investments in Climate, Clean Jobs, Savings and Environmental Justice

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Thursday, December 16, 2021 - 7:00am

CAMPAIGN: Policy

CONTENT: Press Release

As the U.S. Senate prepares to debate the Build Back Better Act, nearly 400 companies of all sizes and industries from across the country are urging lawmakers to pass its ambitious climate, clean energy, and environmental justice measures.

In a letter sent to members of Congress this week, 437 companies, investors, trade groups, and employers — including 397 businesses — called for the “swift enactment” of the historic climate investments in the Build Back Better Act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in November and is undergoing final negotiations in the Senate. The letter underscores the business community’s robust support for a final version of the package that puts the U.S. in the strongest possible position to address the threat of the climate crisis to the economy and financial markets, lower utility costs with reliable and affordable clean power, 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 states. “Congress must act now to seize this global leadership opportunity and confront the climate crisis.”

Signatories of the letter, which was organized by the sustainability nonprofit Ceres and several partner organizations, include Adobe, Autodesk, Boston Common Asset Management, CommonSpirit Health, eBay, Danone North America, DSM North America, Impossible Foods, IKEA, Logitech, the New York City Comptroller, Novozymes North America, Unilever, and many small and medium businesses, including ski industry associations from California, Michigan, New Hampshire, and West Virginia, among others.

“Autodesk believes that together we can design and make a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable future. With the right commitment & technology, we know net-zero buildings, reduced embodied carbon, improved water efficiency, and reduced waste are possible. Our products are designed to help professionals across industries make more sustainable products and communities, and we are also committed to running a carbon-neutral organization,” said Amy Bunszel, EVP Architecture, Engineering & Construction Design Solutions at Autodesk. “But private sector action alone will not solve this challenge, or fully unleash the opportunities for businesses to compete and thrive in the low-carbon economy. With so much at stake, the time to act is now. We urge the Senate to approve the climate investments in the Build Back Better Act, including greening construction materials, water resiliency and energy efficiency. We also support the clean energy tax credits that will steer the nation to a sustainable, affordable, and reliable power sector by 2035.”

“Climate pollution is a serious risk to public health, causing disastrous storms, deadly heat waves, and worsening air quality that disproportionately impacts vulnerable and underserved populations. At its core, climate change is a health equity issue," said Rachelle Wenger, system vice president for public policy and advocacy engagement at CommonSpirit Health, one of the nation's largest nonprofit health systems. "As an industry leader, CommonSpirit Health has committed to net-zero emissions by 2040 and supports federal policies to complement and encourage private sector action. The Senate must take advantage of this once-in-a-generation opportunity and pass the Build Back Better package so we can build healthier communities.”

“The climate components of the Build Back Better package are both fiscally responsible and critically needed to ensure a stable climate for businesses and communities, help companies save money with affordable clean energy, and strengthen U.S. competitiveness by building upon the important measures in the infrastructure package that passed Congress this fall,” said Hugh Welsh, president and general counsel, DSM North America. “DSM North America has been asking Congress for this level of federal climate ambition for years, because we know that climate and clean energy action are good for business. The time is now for the Senate to pass the Build Back Better package for our economy, our climate, and our future.”

“This is our once-in-a-generation opportunity to truly lead, enacting the type of policy that will protect the planet for future generations, ensuring the long-term success of American businesses and re-establishing American innovation and leadership throughout the world,” added Chris Steinkamp, head of advocacy, Snowsports Industries America.

Companies and investors also strongly supported the bipartisan infrastructure package that was signed into law by President Joe Biden last month and featured considerable investments in clean power and transportation. The letter was originally written and sent to Congress in support of both packages before either were finalized, and it has since gained hundreds of new signatories as the Senate moves to consider the Build Back Better Act. In the letter, the companies and investors commended the infrastructure bill as a “good step” toward meeting the nation’s climate goals. That package included funding for electric grid upgrades, public transit, climate resiliency, and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

However, the signatories 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. The package passed by the House includes more than $550 billion for climate programs, including historic investments in clean power, clean transportation, clean industry, clean agriculture, conservation, environmental justice, as well as new policies to reduce pollution, all of which are critical to meeting the nation’s climate and economic goals. These include rebates and refundable tax credits to help consumers, businesses, and investors benefit from affordable clean energy.

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.—all of which disrupt business operations, supply chains, and the health and safety of communities across the country.

“The Build Back Better package is a smart and fiscally responsible investment in climate and clean energy, and will help build the economy the U.S. and its companies need to thrive in the coming months, years, and decades,” said Zach Friedman, director of federal policy, Ceres. “Not only will it save billions by tackling the threat of the climate crisis, it will also deliver good, new jobs in industries in every state and reduce energy costs by building reliable, affordable clean infrastructure across the country. This is a win-win-win for U.S. businesses, and that’s why so many of them are speaking out and urging the Senate to pass the Build Back Better package as soon as possible.”

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 in October 17 large companies including Carrier, Johnson Controls, Mars, Nestle, and PepsiCo sent a separate letter advocating for the package’s climate investments and policies, which the companies see as vital to U.S. technological innovation and competitiveness, business growth, and job creation.

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:

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.

Media Contact: Helen Booth-Tobin, booth-tobin@ceres.org, 617-247-0700 ext. 214

CATEGORY: Environment