Last week, 150 corporate heads came up to the Hill to lobby for cap and trade legislation to pass this year. One of the business leaders was Jeffrey Hollender of Seventh Generation, who told ThinkProgress that climate action is good for business and that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the country's leading business group, is wrong for their opposition to the energy and climate legislation now being debated in Congress.Says Hollender:
I think the U.S. Chamber of Commerce doesn't act in in the best interest of business. They represent what was historically best for business. They represent exactly what's the polar opposite of the future of business. The chamber is a voice of the energy industry, of the coal industry. As you've seen in the last couple of days, Nike gives up its position on the board, Apple resigns -- businesses will increasingly abandon the chamber because they are just so wrong on this issue. Not that they're not wrong on most issues, but they're more wrong on this issue than they usually are.
Hollender continued, say that membership in the Chamber is a "reputational risk":
These companies, like Nike and Apple, are taking a leadership position with their own energy efficiency initiatives. They don't want to see a playing field where companies who abuse and pollute get benefits, and companies that are more efficient don't. So, part of it is making sure the playing field is leveled. But I also think it's undeniably important that the consumers of these companies would be embarrassed if they knew that Nike was sitting on the board of the chamber. I mean, I think it's a reputational risk to be associated with the chamber, given their behavior.
The nation's largest business group is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to hold public hearings on the science of climate change. The U.S. Chamber filed a 21-page petition with EPA, asking it to approve hearings so the nation can have a "credible weighing" of the scientific documentation that global warming endangers human health.
Bill Kovacs, the chamber's vice president for environment, said that the hearings would be a modern day "Scopes Monkey Trial," the 1925 trial that put evolution on trial. In recent weeks, Nike, Apple, Pacific, Gas and Electric and others have taken action against the Chamber.