With President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, suddenly decades of environmental policy is on the chopping block.
Now is time for activism in support of efforts to control climate change and encourage sustainability. While a number of big companies such as PepsiCo and Walmart are making strides toward being more sustainable, not enough pressure is being placed on our legislative bodies to push for meaningful greener policies (and subsequently sway the administration’s current tack).
Although we face immense challenges at the national level, Barbara Grady discussed in a recent article for GreenBiz how California is leading the way against climate change. In fact, the work in California is driving business — not driving it away.
"Emissions are down, jobs are up, the state economy is strong," California State Senator Fran Pavley said.
What is happening in California is a clear example that business and green efforts are not enemies but can work well together.
Recently companies such as PepsiCo, Walmart, UPS, Amazon and the nonprofit membership group Business for Social Responsibility drafted a new Sustainable Fuel Buyers' Principles. The effort, an outgrowth of BSR's ongoing "Future of Fuels" initiative, is focused on bringing fleet owners together to help grow the market for low-carbon or electric industrial vehicles.
While these are all potentially strong moves toward sustainability, it is time that these businesses also embrace their power and make our representatives in Washington hear from them about the importance of making sustainable changes.
Our country needs smart policies that will help shape the rules of engagement and create the regulatory certainty businesses need. This isn’t a radical notion. At Davos in 2015, some of the world’s biggest businesses called for better and more aggressive government policy to tackle the biggest global challenges, including climate change.
Also the rise of brand activism shows that companies can and must act to effect positive social change.
However, there’s a difference between activism and political advocacy, and we need more brands that are willing to take on the latter, not only lobbying for their industry’s financial interest, but for our shared global interests.
Now is not a time to be silent, now is a time to take a stand. The world is watching.