Sun, Nike, Starbucks and More Meet for Climate Action


Photo via evanosherow

For all the mud (deservingly) thrown at Starbucks lately, and the very ungreen stunts Nike has pulled in years past (letting go...letting go...), they and three other companies have hiked up their pants and marched themselves into a business coalition that calls for the US to get cracking on climate and energy legislation.

The five companies, including Sun Microsystems, Levi Strauss, and Timberland, all formed a group called Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (humorously acronymed BICEP) that highlights renewable energy, promoting energy efficiency and green jobs, requiring 100% auction of carbon allowances, and limiting new coal-fired power plants to those utilizing carbon capture and storage.

Fairly great news, right? Eeh, we're a little half hearted about it.

"These companies have a clear message for next year's Congress: move quickly on climate change to kick-start a transition to a prosperous clean energy economy fueled by green jobs," said Mindy S. Lubber, president of Ceres, which helped organize BICEP.

It is probably going to be difficult, thankfully, to avoid utilizing a strong green jobs sector. That is the direction in which we're already quickly headed, and with President Elect Obama's clearly voiced intent to work on climate change once in office, they'll have all ears leaning their way. Nice of them to step up when it's getting easy. Ahh, but we still have to reward them for stepping up at all, even if it is motivated by self-preservation:

"Climate change is a threat to any business that relies on an agricultural product like we do with coffee," said Ben Packard, Starbucks vice president, global responsibility. "Starbucks believes that addressing climate change will help companies like ours reduce operating costs and mitigate future economic instability due to extreme weather conditions and agricultural loss."

Eight principles will be targeted:
Set greenhouse gas reduction targets to at least 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

Establish an economy-wide GHG cap-and-trade system that auctions 100 percent of carbon pollution allowances, promotes energy efficiency and accelerates clean energy technologies.

Establish aggressive energy efficiency policies to achieve at least a doubling of our historic rate of energy efficiency improvement.

Encourage transportation for a clean energy economy by promoting fuel-efficient vehicles, plug-in electric hybrids, low-carbon fuels, and transit-oriented development.

Increase investment in energy efficiency, renewables and carbon capture and storage technologies while eliminating subsidies for fossil-fuel industries.

Stimulate job growth through investment in climate-based solutions, especially "green-collar" jobs in low-income communities and others vulnerable to climate change's economic impact.

Adopt a national renewable portfolio standard requiring 20 percent of electricity to be generated from renewable energy sources by 2020, and 30 percent by 2030.

Limit construction of new coal-fired power plants to those that capture and store carbon emissions, create incentives for carbon capture technology on new and existing plants, and phase out existing coal-based power plants that do not capture and store carbon by 2030.

It will be fun to follow BICEP as it works with congressional leaders to make changes that are already in the works.

It will be even more interesting to see if these companies start implementing creative ways to "Be the Change" - for instance, all of them utilizing Sun Microsystem's OpenEco.org and then figuring out innovative ways to reduce their own massive footprints. (Notice water conservation isn't listed among the goals...)

But at least with groups like this heading into the fray, congress will be that much less likely to slack off on these important goals.

Via Press Release

More on Green Initiatives by Businesses:
Offsets Are Big Business: Climate Care Acquired By JPMorgan
Climate Resolve At The Business Roundtable
How To Speed Up Action On Climate Change - An Industry Point Of View
Climate Change Adaptation: Businesses Already On Point; Is Government Capable Of Long-Range Planning And Budgeting?

Tags: Carbon Footprint | Environmental Footprint | Renewable Energy