Update: The Chamber takes another blow as Nike gives up spot on board of directors “to protest the business lobby’s opposition to climate change legislation.” – Story from Politico
In one of the starkest signs that businesses understand the necessity of going green, Excelon Energy (profile in our company index) has become the latest company to pull out of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce due to differences in climate change policy. The Chamber has taken a somewhat negative stance on environmental issues, and against cap-and-trade legislation specifically, that do not sit well with all of its members. The official line from Excelon, through Judith Rader, an Exelon spokeswoman, is that the company would not renew its membership due to the chamber’s “opposition to climate legislation.” Pacific Gas & Electric and PNM Resources already announced their intention to withdraw their memberships last week. Johnson & Johnson has also raised issues with the Chamber on this matter, requesting in a letter that the Chamber’s statements on climate change “reflect the full range of views, especially those of chamber members advocating for Congressional action.” The legislative battle over a climate change bill has become divisive even outside of Congress. Many businesses have concluded that whether they want the legislation or not, it is inevitable that a bill be passed sometime in the near future. They are taking steps to influence and get ready for the change by forming coalitions like USCAP.
For an organization that proclaims “the spirit of enterprise” on its official seal, one has to wonder about the validity of that spirit. We’re on the verge of a new energy paradigm. This change will redefine businesses and open unparalleled growth opportunities for innovative companies. Though there will be some short term drawbacks in terms of tighter regulation, lost profit, and stifling of international competitiveness, the efficiency gains and cost reductions in the long run will be enormous. Businesses are seeing the economic and PR benefits of going green. They are realizing the savings that will help the bottom line over time. The chamber must realize these things, too, or else risk further attrition as it alienates more of the companies it is supposed to represent.
- 2nd Green Revolution