On April 25, 2019, HillStaffer, LLC and BeeKeeper Group hosted a Leader’s Lunch discussion about Sustainability and the Green New Deal (GND). This proposal, which features disruptive changes to our economy and social contract, with a heavy push for new taxes and regulations on industries and consumers, is reinvigorating stakeholder discussions and actions.
Two dozen industry leaders joined in this intimate and robust conversation. Panelists included sustainability and industry experts: Dr. Keith Belton, Director of the Manufacturing Policy Initiative at Indiana University; Rosemary O’Brien, VP of Public Affairs of CF Industries; and Dr. Terry Yosie, Senior Advisor at HillStaffer and former president & CEO of the World Environment Center. Peter Molinaro, Senior Advisor to HillStaffer and former VP, Government Relations at Dow Chemical, moderated the discussion. Here are some of the top takeaways.
The Green New Deal is spawning discussion at the federal, state and local levels.
While the GND is a leftward goal post, it will help more centrist ideas to emerge. Policy makers are beginning to return to serious climate deliberations for the first time since the Waxman-Markey bill.
Government isn’t the only actor in the discussion. The private sector is doing many innovative things to reduce its carbon footprint. Voluntary market-based activities will drive company behaviors.
Investors, shareholder groups and supply chain partners are also stakeholders. These groups are increasing pressure to address true business risks associated with climate change and will impact business decisions as much as or more than the public sector.
The time to educate Congress as well as state and local officials is now. Industry needs to engage policy makers in order to close the existing knowledge gap between the voluntary innovations and impacts of private industry and policy makers’ awareness of such activities and practices.
Climate change policy (or other social policy initiatives under the GND banner) must be bipartisan and global to be sustainable in the long-term. Unilateral U.S. action to sunset fossil fuels will merely “export” emissions to other countries. The long-standing challenges to political action remain coordinated global action that balance near term economic impacts on business with long-term benefits of action.
The cost of compliance must be broadly shared.
With the steady emergence of visible negative effects of climate change and a public outcry for action, the public also must be willing to help absorb the cost, both direct and indirect, for any meaningful climate policy to succeed.
Technology will play a vital role in solutions to offset carbon footprint.
The U.S. needs to be a leader not a follower on technology development. While renewable energy has become more cost effective, large scale greenhouse gas reductions still depend, in significant measure, on technology innovations that have not yet been brought to market.
These insights have been compiled by a group of HillStaffer leaders with significant experience in the chemicals, energy, and manufacturing industries.
Leaders Lunch events bring together industry groups to discuss different approaches to important policy topics while allowing for high-level professional networking. If you have an interest in suggesting a topic for or attending a future Leaders Lunch event, please contact us at info@HillStaffer.com.