BOSTON -- Five leading U.S. corporations joined with Ceres today to announce the launch of a new business coalition calling for strong U.S. climate and energy legislation in early 2009 to spur the clean energy economy and reduce global warming pollution. The group's key principles include stimulating renewable energy, promoting energy efficiency and green jobs, requiring 100 percent auction of carbon allowances, and limiting new coal-fired power plants to those that capture and store carbon emissions.
The founding members of Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) are Levi Strauss & Co., Nike, Starbucks, Sun Microsystems and The Timberland Company.
BICEP members believe that climate change impacts will ripple across all sectors of the economy and that various new business perspectives are needed to provide a full spectrum of viewpoints for solving the climate and energy challenges facing America.
"These companies have a clear message for next year's Congress: move quickly on climate change to kick-start a transition to a prosperous clean energy economy fueled by green jobs," said Mindy S. Lubber, president of Ceres, which helped organize BICEP.
"Climate change is a threat to any business that relies on an agricultural product like we do with coffee," said Ben Packard, Starbucks vice president, global responsibility. "Starbucks believes that addressing climate change will help companies like ours reduce operating costs and mitigate future economic instability due to extreme weather conditions and agricultural loss."
"Nike understands the value of investing in innovative solutions to address the challenges of sustainability, so we are proud to be part of a coalition of companies that believes legislative action on climate change and clean energy is not only urgent but imperative to creating positive, long-term change," added Sarah Severn, Director of Horizons, corporate responsibility at Nike.
The coalition's goal is to work directly with key allies in the business community and members of Congress to pass meaningful energy and climate change legislation consistent with the following eight core principles:
* Set greenhouse gas reduction targets to at least 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
* Establish an economy-wide GHG cap-and-trade system that auctions 100 percent of carbon pollution allowances, promotes energy efficiency and accelerates clean energy technologies.
* Establish aggressive energy efficiency policies to achieve at least a doubling of our historic rate of energy efficiency improvement.
* Encourage transportation for a clean energy economy by promoting fuel-efficient vehicles, plug-in electric hybrids, low-carbon fuels, and transit-oriented development.
* Increase investment in energy efficiency, renewables and carbon capture and storage technologies while eliminating subsidies for fossil-fuel industries.
* Stimulate job growth through investment in climate-based solutions, especially "green-collar" jobs in low-income communities and others vulnerable to climate change's economic impact.
* Adopt a national renewable portfolio standard requiring 20 percent of electricity to be generated from renewable energy sources by 2020, and 30 percent by 2030.
* Limit construction of new coal-fired power plants to those that capture and store carbon emissions, create incentives for carbon capture technology on new and existing plants, and phase out existing coal-based power plants that do not capture and store carbon by 2030.
"Large-scale climate change would have economic, social and environmental consequences for our business and the communities in which we operate," said Hilary Krane, senior vice president of corporate affairs at Levi Strauss & Co. "We can voluntarily change our own behavior in the hopes of mitigating impacts and are doing so, but we also believe that U.S. government leadership is essential if we are to create an environment in which every U.S. company recognizes the role it must play in addressing climate change and the responsibilities associated with doing business in a carbon-constrained world."
"At Sun we are committed to delivering innovative, energy efficient products that meet our customers needs without sacrificing the planet," said David Douglas, chief sustainability officer at Sun Microsystems. "However, in order to make the aggressive changes needed to address our global climate challenges, energy efficiency will not be enough. Because of this, we are excited to band together with the founding members of BICEP in support of aggressive climate change and clean energy legislation that can help counter the impact of climate change while spurring U.S. job growth."
"As an outdoor company, we are passionate about the environment and committed to protecting it," said Betsy Blaisdell, Timberland's manager of environmental stewardship. "We believe BICEP's principles offer the most effective approach to the climate crisis - leveraging the collective strengths and resources of business to call on the federal government to help enact change."
For more details on BICEP and the BICEP principles, visit http://www.ceres.org/BICEP.
Ceres is a leading coalition of investors, environmental groups and other public interest groups working with companies to address sustainability challenges such as global climate change. For more information, visit http://www.ceres.org/