March 17, 2009
Ceres Climate Change Coalition Adds Three New Members
by Robert Kropp
The Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) lauds Jackson of EPA for emissions
reporting proposal and adds Gap, eBay, and Symantec to its membership.
In November 2008, Ceres, a national network of
investors, environmental organizations, and other public interest groups working with companies and
investors to address sustainability challenges such as global climate change, formed a new business
coalition that calls for early passage of climate and energy legislation in the US.
Named Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP),
the coalition had as its original members Levi Strauss, Nike, Starbucks, Sun Microsystems and
Timberland, leading US consumer products companies that pledged to join with Ceres in working with
US policymakers to achieve climate and energy policies that encourage energy efficiency, renewable
energy, and green jobs.
Arguing that a rapid transition to a low-carbon economy will
create new jobs and stimulate economic growth while stabilizing climate change, BICEP established
eight principles to help develop meaningful energy and climate change regulation that places a cost
on carbon emissions, creates incentives for true clean energy innovation, and ensures public
The principles recommended by BICEP include a significant reduction in
greenhouse gas emissions, the establishment of a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions,
the establishment of aggressive energy efficiency policies, and the promotion of transportation
policies for a clean energy economy.
Also among the principles are increased investment in
technology and the elimination of subsidies for fossil fuel industries, public investment in new
jobs, a renewable portfolio policy, and limits on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.
The formation of BICEP turned out to be timely indeed, as two months later Barack Obama
took office and immediately began to implement the environmental philosophy on which he campaigned.
President Obama's economic stimulus package contains substantial tax and spending provisions for
the renewable energy industry, and recently the EPA under Administrator Lisa Jackson has proposed
the first comprehensive national system for mandatory reporting of carbon dioxide and other
greenhouse gas emissions produced by major sources in the United States.
Regarding the EPA
proposal, Mindy Lubber, President of Ceres and Director of the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), a group of 77
institutional investors managing approximately $7 trillion in assets, said, “This rule is an
important step forward in helping companies and investors reduce their financial risks from climate
change. The Securities and Exchange Commission should coordinate with the EPA to make sure that
company-wide information on climate risks and opportunities is quantified and disclosed in SEC
On the heels of the EPA proposal, Ceres announced that three new companies have
joined the BICEP coalition. Gap, eBay, and Symantec, the new members, were announced at a policy
discussion held in Washington DC at which the keynote speaker was Ms. Jackson of the EPA.
At the forum, Jackson said, "Not long ago, the thought of a powerful industry group coming
forward to fight to strengthen climate and energy policy was something environmentalists could only
Now, Jackson continued, "We have a president, Barack Obama, who believes we
do not need to choose between a green economy and a green environment. Leadership from the business
community is essential to our success in protecting human health and the environment. BICEP is
pioneering change, and proving every day that the environmentally sound thing to do is also the
economically sound thing to do."
In her remarks, Lubber of Ceres praised the visionary
qualities of the consumer products companies that have joined BICEP. The founding members of BICEP
have begun to address climate change in their corporate operations in a variety of ways.
The goal of Levi Strauss is to achieve carbon neutrality by reducing the amount of energy it
uses and moving to 100% renewable energy to meet its remaining needs. After focusing on its own
operations, the company will then expand its efforts into its supplier base.
majority of Nike's climate change impact derives from the operations of more than 700 contract
factories manufacturing its products, the company is working with its contract factories to help
improve energy efficiency and embed green building principles.
Sun Microsystems also works
with its manufacturing partners to establish environmental standards and management systems in
their factories. The computer company strives to design products that provide more computing power
while using less energy and fewer materials, and are easy to disassemble at the end of their useful
Noting that addressing climate change will help companies reduce operating costs and
mitigate future economic instability due to extreme weather conditions and agricultural loss, the
goal of Starbucks is to reduce its environmental footprint through energy and water conservation,
recycling, and green construction.
The goal of Timberland is to become carbon neutral,
with a reduction over 2006 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2010. Timberland also calls
for the verification of greenhouse gas emissions inventories with a third party to provide accurate
and transparent information.
Representatives from BICEP's new members spoke at the forum.
Tiffany Jones, director of public policy and government relations at Symantec, said, "It's critical
for a coalition such as BICEP to help influence US legislation."
The greenhouse gas
emissions targets called for by BICEP would achieve a reduction in greenhouse of 80% below 1990
levels by 2050, and at least 25% reduction below 1990 levels by 2020. These numbers are in line
with those proposed by the Obama administration, which also calls for a reduction of 80% below 1990
levels by 2050.
The United States Climate
Action Partnership (USCAP), another business partnership, also calls for a 25% reduction in
emissions by 2020, but uses 2005 as a baseline rather than 1990. According to a repor
t by the EPA, US greenhouse gas emissions increased by 17.1% between 1990 and 2006. Unlike the
consumer products companies of BICEP, many of the members of USCAP are from such high-emitting
industry sectors as energy and automobiles.
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