US Chamber, Business Roundtable don’t represent American businesses, say leaders

WASHINGTON – With Congress set to resume debate over the Build Back Better Act and other climate policies in the infrastructure and reconciliation bills, CEOs and top executives from Patagonia, Pirelli Tires, Volt Energy, SH Hotels and Resorts, and Tofurky reiterated the growing call from businesses across the country for Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act during a national press conference with E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) and ASBC (American Sustainable Business Council). A recording of the briefing is available here.

The briefing with business leaders follows letters to Congress from more than 1,000 business executives across the country and across every sector of the economy last week urging lawmakers to pass the Build Back Better Act and related legislation to address the growing economic and environmental costs of climate change.

The following are statements from business executives across the country on the need for Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act:

Jamie Athos, president and CEO of Tofurky in Oregon said:

“Climate change is impacting business operations — from food processing to distribution to agriculture. And it’s only going to get worse if Congress doesn’t pass the Build Back Better Act and other bold climate policies.”

Corinne Hanson, corporate director of sustainability at SH Hotels & Resorts:

“Like almost every other sector of the economy, the hospitality industry is impacted by climate change in myriad ways. Businesses like ours are doing what we can to address climate change and sustainability, but businesses can only do so much. We need our lawmakers to pass bold and big climate legislation, and do it now. The world can’t wait any longer.”

Gilbert Campbell, founder and CEO of Volt Energy Utility, a minority-owned and operated clean energy company headquartered in Washington, D.C.:

“Right now, we have the chance of a lifetime to expand clean energy and the jobs, savings and other economic benefits that come with it to every part of America – including to communities of color and businesses run by people of color. Climate change is showing us every day we can’t wait any longer. We need Congress to pass this legislation – and pass it now.”

Rob Erlichman, founder and CEO of Sunlight Energy in California said:
“Recent wildfires and extreme weather have made it all the more important that Congress go big on the Build Back Better Act. To aid in resilience for such extreme climate, we need incentives for clean energy and battery storage. We need the [Clean Electricity Performance Program]. And we need workforce training to prepare workers for millions of new jobs that cannot be outsourced.”

Suzanne Hunt, president of Hunt Green LLC in New York said.
“The Build Back Better plan — including the elements that will ensure that all corporations pay fair tax rates – is long overdue. To change the curve on climate emissions, we need significant federal investment in climate solutions for the public good.”

Ian Hill, co-founder of SeQuential Biofuels in Oregon said:
“Now is the moment for Congress to take bold, transformative action on climate. The window of opportunity is rapidly closing, but the right investments now promise to not only turn the tide on climate but to catalyze the growth of cleantech companies and the jobs they bring across the country. It’s past time for America to reinvest in America!”

AJ Patton, CEO and founder of 548 Capital in Illinois said:
“The transition to clean energy is happening globally. The question before Congress right now is – will U.S. businesses be prepared for the transition or will we be left behind? Will we train up a workforce to participate or miss out on millions of new jobs? And will we ensure that all communities benefit from the jobs, cost savings and other benefits of a cleaner more resilient economy?

“The Build Back Better agenda is about investing in workforce training, financing and deployment of clean energy for a more competitive, more equitable and more resilient US Economy and there is no time to wait.”

Eric Berman, board member at E8 in Washington said:
“There’s no better investment Congress can make than in clean energy and climate solutions. The climate provisions of the Build Back Better agenda would help ensure the U.S. remains a global leader in the 21st century economy while creating millions of additional good jobs in the fast-growing clean energy sector.”

Also on Monday, E2 announced a major advertising campaign emphasizing the widespread business support for federal climate action and pushing back on the attempts by the petroleum industry, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other lobby groups to derail the reconciliation bill and its investments in clean energy and other climate investments.

In addition to E2, a wide range of other business organizations representing huge sectors of the economy have urged Congress to advance bold climate action, including (see links for statements): ASBC, Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) , Clean Energy for America (CE4A) , Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN), Ceres, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) and others.

 “Business leaders across America now know that climate risk is business risk,” said Bob Keefe, executive director of E2. “They also know that climate action creates economic benefits. Most of all, they know Congress needs to act and act now. Three’s no more time to wait.”

For more details, see Bob Keefe’s blog here.

For E2’s letter to Congress signed by more than 400 business leaders, investors and other professionals, see here.

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Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Our members have founded or funded more than 2,500 companies, created more than 600,000 jobs, and manage more than $100 billion in venture and private equity capital. For more information, see www.e2.org or follow us on Twitter at @e2org.

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