March 17, 2009
Ceres Climate Change Coalition Adds Three New Members
by Robert Kropp
The Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) lauds Jackson of EPA for emissions
reporting proposal and adds Gap, eBay, and Symantec to its membership.
In November 2008, Ceres, a national network of
investors, environmental organizations, and other public interest groups working with companies and
investors to address sustainability challenges such as global climate change, formed a new business
coalition that calls for early passage of climate and energy legislation in the US.
Named Business for Innovative
Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), the coalition had as its original members Levi Strauss,
Nike, Starbucks, Sun Microsystems and Timberland, leading US consumer products companies that
pledged to join with Ceres in working with US policymakers to achieve climate and energy policies
that encourage energy efficiency, renewable energy, and green jobs.
Arguing that a rapid
transition to a low-carbon economy will create new jobs and stimulate economic growth while
stabilizing climate change, BICEP established eight principles to help develop meaningful energy
and climate change regulation that places a cost on carbon emissions, creates incentives for true
clean energy innovation, and ensures public investment.
The principles recommended by
BICEP include a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the establishment of a
cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions, the establishment of aggressive energy
efficiency policies, and the promotion of transportation policies for a clean energy economy.
Also among the principles are increased investment in technology and the elimination of
subsidies for fossil fuel industries, public investment in new jobs, a renewable portfolio policy,
and limits on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.
The formation of BICEP turned
out to be timely indeed, as two months later Barack Obama took office and immediately began to
implement the environmental philosophy on which he campaigned. President Obama's economic stimulus
package contains substantial tax and spending provisions for the renewable energy industry, and
recently the EPA under Administrator Lisa Jackson has proposed the first comprehensive national
system for mandatory reporting of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions produced by
major sources in the United States.
Regarding the EPA proposal, Mindy Lubber, President of
Ceres and Director of the Investor Network on
Climate Risk (INCR), a group of 77 institutional investors managing approximately $7 trillion
in assets, said, “This rule is an important step forward in helping companies and investors reduce
their financial risks from climate change. The Securities and Exchange Commission should coordinate
with the EPA to make sure that company-wide information on climate risks and opportunities is
quantified and disclosed in SEC filings.”
On the heels of the EPA proposal, Ceres
announced that three new companies have joined the BICEP coalition. Gap, eBay, and Symantec, the
new members, were announced at a policy discussion held in Washington DC at which the keynote
speaker was Ms. Jackson of the EPA.
At the forum, Jackson said, "Not long ago, the thought
of a powerful industry group coming forward to fight to strengthen climate and energy policy was
something environmentalists could only dream about."
Now, Jackson continued, "We have a
president, Barack Obama, who believes we do not need to choose between a green economy and a green
environment. Leadership from the business community is essential to our success in protecting human
health and the environment. BICEP is pioneering change, and proving every day that the
environmentally sound thing to do is also the economically sound thing to do."
remarks, Lubber of Ceres praised the visionary qualities of the consumer products companies that
have joined BICEP. The founding members of BICEP have begun to address climate change in their
corporate operations in a variety of ways.
The goal of Levi Strauss is to achieve carbon
neutrality by reducing the amount of energy it uses and moving to 100% renewable energy to meet its
remaining needs. After focusing on its own operations, the company will then expand its efforts
into its supplier base.
Because the majority of Nike's climate change impact derives from
the operations of more than 700 contract factories manufacturing its products, the company is
working with its contract factories to help improve energy efficiency and embed green building
Sun Microsystems also works with its manufacturing partners to establish
environmental standards and management systems in their factories. The computer company strives to
design products that provide more computing power while using less energy and fewer materials, and
are easy to disassemble at the end of their useful life.
Noting that addressing climate
change will help companies reduce operating costs and mitigate future economic instability due to
extreme weather conditions and agricultural loss, the goal of Starbucks is to reduce its
environmental footprint through energy and water conservation, recycling, and green construction.
The goal of Timberland is to become carbon neutral, with a reduction over 2006 levels of
greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2010. Timberland also calls for the verification of greenhouse
gas emissions inventories with a third party to provide accurate and transparent information.
Representatives from BICEP's new members spoke at the forum. Tiffany Jones, director of public
policy and government relations at Symantec, said, "It's critical for a coalition such as BICEP to
help influence US legislation."
The greenhouse gas emissions targets called for by BICEP
would achieve a reduction in greenhouse of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, and at least 25%
reduction below 1990 levels by 2020. These numbers are in line with those proposed by the Obama
administration, which also calls for a reduction of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
The United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP),
another business partnership, also calls for a 25% reduction in emissions by 2020, but uses 2005 as
a baseline rather than 1990. According to a repor
t by the EPA, US greenhouse gas emissions increased by 17.1% between 1990 and 2006. Unlike the
consumer products companies of BICEP, many of the members of USCAP are from such high-emitting
industry sectors as energy and automobiles.