Companies stand up for this carbon fee

by Oct 25, 2018

Shelton Insight

64% of Americans believe companies should provide ongoing support for issues that align with the types of products or services they offer (Brands and Stands 2018).

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Sustainability Win of the Week

It’s election season once again. But what’s at stake this year seems different. In the past few weeks we’ve heard the warnings of the United Nations’ International Panel on Climate Change: keep global warming under 1.5C or prepare for potentially catastrophic consequences. We’ve also seen the retreat of EPA and other government agencies from taking a stand against global warming – such as the disbanding of EPA’s scientific review panel on air pollution a few days ago.

Now, more than ever, the future is in our hands quite literally: companies and individuals are stepping in to help out in areas where the government has stepped out.

A recent article from Sustainable Brands (“REI, Microsoft Rallying Companies to Support Washington’s Proposed Carbon Fee”) sums up the political situation thusly: in light of political gridlock on the one hand and dire climate warnings on the other, companies are intervening and doing what many customers/citizens already want. Over 100+ companies headquartered in Washington state, including Microsoft and REI, are supporting a bill that “would enact a carbon emissions fee of $15 per metric ton of carbon, starting in 2020, with this fee increasing by $2 annually until the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals are met.” Revenue, in turn, would support communities adversely affected by rising energy costs, and would also go toward clean energy investment and various environmental programs.

REI, which supports the bill, sees this as “a real opportunity to walk the walk when it comes to sustainability.” And they’re right. Consumers are used to companies “talking the talk” – but what will make a brand truly stand out is “walking the walk” as these companies are doing here.

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News of the Week

BMW Group, Northvolt, Umicore to develop closed-loop system for EV batteries – Sustainable Brands

Batteries are key to clean mobility and clean energy – and so they must be more environmentally sustainable themselves. These companies have joined forces to address the entire value chain for EV batteries, from sustainably sourced raw materials to redesigned battery elements to recovering used materials.

Walmart, SunPower announce 23-megawatt solar agreement – CSRwire

Great news on the corporate leadership front … and news that should light a fire (figuratively) under utilities that aren’t working with their key accounts on renewable energy projects. Walmart’s newest move toward its goal of 50% renewables by 2025 will take place in Illinois, where new solar projects will “represent a 25% increase in Illinois’ current solar capacity.” Utilities, count the number of times this press release mentions how Walmart’s PPA with SunPower will protect them from rising utility rates.

Microplastics are turning up everywhere, even in human excrement – NPR

And now for sobering news. A pilot medical study presented this week found proof of human ingestion of microplastics in eight different countries on three different continents. The impact of microplastics in our food and water is still a big unknown – and one more reason for more and more companies to take a lead on the issues of plastic waste and the circular economy.

Do consumers really care whether brands take a stand?

Yes, they do. But your brand can’t choose just any stand and expect them to love you for it. Learn how social purpose can create connection with consumers.

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About the Author

Suzanne Shelton

Where Suzanne sees opportunity, you can bet results will follow. Drawing on her extensive knowledge of both the advertising world and the energy and environment arena, Suzanne provides unparalleled strategic insights to our clients and to audiences around North America. Suzanne is a guest columnist in multiple publications and websites, such as GreenBiz, and she speaks at around 20 conferences a year, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and Green Build.

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