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June 24, 2013

Hundreds of Small Businesses Sign Climate Declaration
    by Robert Kropp

During the recent Small Business Week in Washington DC, the American Sustainable Business Council and Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy announce that 364 small businesses from 47 states have joined the call for lawmakers to act on climate change. -- Last month, Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), an advocacy coalition of businesses directed by Ceres, announced that more than 100 US-based ski resorts, mindful of the devastation that climate change would wreak upon the winter sports industry, have signed the Climate Declaration.

Signatories to the Declaration, which was launched in April, advocate for a coordinated effort to combat climate change.

If the number of signatories to a statement calling for such an effort can be read as a barometer of the growing urgency of the issue, then the announcement of additional signatories at last week's Small Business Week in Washington DC suggests that frustration with the inaction of lawmakers is increasing. According to BICEP and the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), 364 American small businesses from 47 states and the District of Columbia have signed the Declaration.

Small businesses contribute approximately $11.7 billion to the national economy and employ approximately 60 million people. They are vulnerable to climate related extreme weather events such as last year's Hurricane Sandy, after which the US Small Business Administration approved more than 34,000 disaster loan applications totaling of $2.2 billion in aid.

“Small business owners are flexible and adaptable to changing economic conditions, but not to disastrous weather and climate. Our livelihoods could be easily wiped away by a storm like Sandy,” said Susan Labandibar, President of Tech Networks, a Boston-based IT services firm. “We signed the Declaration and are here in Washington to remind members of Congress that responding to this problem—rather than wishing it away—is the course of action that will lead to a better economic outlook for American businesses.”

“Most small businesses do not benefit from either the sources or the disastrous effects of climate change. On the contrary, they see tackling climate change as key to the future prosperity of their companies and communities,” Richard Eidlin, Director of Public Policy for ASBC, added. “It is time for Washington to address the climate challenge by making investments in clean and efficient energy systems that will create jobs, reduce carbon emissions and drive the future of the American economy.”

Ceres also announced that in addition to hundreds of companies, 22 institutional investors representing approximately $240 billion in assets under management have signed the Declaration as well. The investor initiative was led by the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) and the Oregon State Treasurer’s office. Jack Ehnes of CalSTRS said, “As the global economy moves toward a low-carbon future, governments that act aggressively to enact strong, long-term climate and energy policies will reap the biggest rewards. US policy leaders need to step up on this issue and embrace climate change policies as an economic opportunity.”

Anne Kelly of BICEP said, ““Without the participation of the financial community, we won’t get low-carbon solutions to the scale needed to address climate change, nor will the U.S. capture the full economic benefits of building a global clean energy economy,”

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