Chamber of Commerce Woes Continue

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is trying hard to spin the loss of companies from their organization. (Photo: Dawn Ellner [CC BY 2.0]/Flickr)

On Monday, MNN Earth Matters Blogger Shea Gunther posted about PNM resigning its membership from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce due to the organization’s stance on climate change. This came on the heels of PG&E;’s very public exodus from the organization earlier in the month. The chamber’s woes have continued as Exelon won’t be renewing its membership and Nike resigned from the chamber’s board of directors.

Here is the letter that Nike published on its website regarding its decision to relinquish its position on the board:

Nike believes U.S. businesses must advocate for aggressive climate change legislation and that the United States needs to move rapidly into a sustainable economy to remain competitive and ensure continued economic growth.
As we've stated, we fundamentally disagree with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on the issue of climate change and their recent action challenging the EPA is inconsistent with our view that climate change is an issue in need of urgent action.
We believe businesses and their representative associations need to take an active role to invest in sustainable business practices and innovative solutions.
It is important that U.S. companies be represented by a strong and effective chamber that reflects the interests of all its members on multiple issues. We believe that on the issue of climate change the chamber has not represented the diversity of perspective held by the board of directors.
Therefore, we have decided to resign our board of director's position. We will continue our membership to advocate for climate change legislation inside the committee structure and believe that we can better influence policy by being part of the conversation. Moving forward we will continue to evaluate our membership.

Not only are high-profile companies leaving the organization due to the chamber’s view on climate change, other companies are making public statements contradicting the organization’s stance, including General Electric.

“We’re a member of the chamber because a lot of our customers are there, a lot of our competitors, so we get a good perspective on issues of national import,” says GE spokesman Peter O’Toole. “The chamber does not speak for us on climate legislation, but we are still a member.” Source: Politico

A quick visit to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce website shows that the organization is trying to mitigate the damage being caused by these companies leaving the chamber. The website has a section of their homepage dedicated to climate change including the quote, “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce continues to support strong federal legislation and a binding international agreement to reduce carbon emissions and address climate change.”

The uproar came after the U.S. Chamber of Commerce threatened the EPA with a lawsuit ultimately challenging the science behind the climate change claims.