In the Toolkit --

Introduction

  • Guide to the Toolkit
  • Share Your Comments
  • I. Choosing a Role for Your League

    II. Grassroots Action Priorities

  • Clean Air Defense
  • Energy Efficient Buildings
  • Renewable Energy
  • III. Basics of Climate Change

    IV. Engaging Individuals

  • Communicating About Climate Change
  • Preparing for a Meeting on Climate Change
  • Engaging Groups in Your Community
  • V. Promoting Public Policy

  • Community Action Models
  • Organizing For Community Action
  • Tips for Building Grassroots Support
  • League Action on Climate Change
  • International Action
  • VI. Resources

    ENGAGING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY

    Making a Connection

    As always, it helps to begin by reviewing your own network and contacts. Members of civic organizations usually include a good cross section of the business community. Local business service clubs -- Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, Zonta -- many of which hold regular weekly (or monthly) meetings, often with outside speakers, can provide a particularly important venue for making contacts. Do any members of your League belong to these groups?

    Another good place to start is to identify "green" businesses in your area -- for example, those selling energy-saving or environmentally-friendly products. Perhaps a local business has recently renovated its building to improve its energy efficiency. Or there may be a business that purchases carbon offsets to compensate for its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Businesses that have already begun to fight climate change through their own actions should be good allies.

    Check out the advertisers in special "green" issues of local magazines and newspapers. Save articles about "green" enterprises and about business-sponsored "green" projects in your community.

    Businesses are beginning to put American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) money to work, and some might be interested in sharing their success stories. To identify these businesses, go to Recovery.gov, enter your zip code, and find the recipients of ARRA grants in your community. Look for projects aimed at improving energy and water efficiency. Saving energy and water reduces GHG emissions -- and produces financial savings, too.

    Understanding Your Audience

    In some communities, there are deep divisions within the business sector regarding climate change and appropriate actions to address it. At the national level this is evidenced by the public disagreements between the United States Chamber of Commerce and some of its members who have resigned in protest over the Chamber's (negative) approach to climate and energy legislation.

    Putting a price on carbon, which most scientists and economists believe is essential and urgently needed, is viewed differently by different business stakeholders. The United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a group of corporations and environmental organizations, calls for "strong national legislation to require significant reductions of GHG emissions."

    Some members have dropped out of USCAP over concerns about anticipated impacts of the 2009 House-approved cap-and-trade bill, but pressure remains to provide some certainty about emissions limits so corporations can do long-range planning. And as USCAP notes, "U.S. action on energy and climate legislation in 2010 will preserve and create American jobs, secure our energy future, and generate new investment in the global clean energy economy."

    Another national business coalition working for meaningful climate legislation is Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP). Its members are primarily consumer companies that are not major sources of GHG emissions, but they believe that climate change will affect all sectors of the economy and that a rapid transition to a low-carbon economy will "create new jobs and stimulate economic growth while stabilizing our planet's fragile climate."

    Although there are strong differences of opinion about climate change, many businesses, large and small, are looking for opportunities in a new clean-energy economy. There is also general agreement on the importance of energy independence as a means to enhance national security and create more American jobs. And since all businesses are concerned about making a profit, the cost savings that can be realized through increased energy efficiency is appealing to all.

    Getting Your Audience's Attention

    Companies are being required by various regulatory bodies to address climate change impacts, risks, and opportunities. Some are also taking voluntary steps to track and reduce their GHG emissions as well as taking advantage of new marketing opportunities. And many are alert to the changing climate's impact on their business and operations.

    Here are some sample programs for this audience:

    A variety of slide presentations that might be of interest to your business audience can be previewed and downloaded from slideshare.net, a business media site for sharing presentations, documents, and pdfs.

    A Climate for Change: What is Happening to Our World and What We Can Do About It is a presentation by Katherine Hayhoe to Republicans for Environmental Protection members via a conference call on March 9, 2010. You can download a pdf of the presentation or listen to an MP3 recording of the conference call. This is a very useful overview for any audience.

    Making Change Easier

    Companies taking early action on climate strategies and policies may position themselves for success in the changing economy.

    Last updated: 1/8/2012