Posted in: news

28th March 2017

B Team Leaders: Transition to Clean Energy is Pro-Growth and Pro-Jobs

The business case for a switch to clean, renewable energy is unambiguous and conclusive. We fully support the need to deliver economic opportunities and prosperity for all Americans. This is why we support the Clean Power Plan and other efforts to accelerate the transition to a clean energy system, and encourage the United States government to stay the course.

The crux of the matter is simple: the private sector is already moving from an economy powered principally by fossil fuels to one driven by clean energy. If responsibly managed, this shift will drive economic growth, spur innovation and investment, and create millions of jobs for workers in the United States and around the world. It is an unstoppable, irresistible and irreversible process.

Market forces are already driving this transition, in the form of falling demand for fossil fuels, cheap natural gas and increasingly affordable renewable energy. Just as importantly, we must all work together to ensure that workers from traditional energy industries, and their communities, are not left behind. A truly just transition in which everyone thrives is good for the private sector, good for consumers and good for the long-term well-being of our planet and society.

For workers, the data is compelling. Renewable energy is one of the leading engines for job creation in the United States. According to the Department of Energy’s U.S. Energy and Employment Report, the clean energy economy supported more than 3 million U.S. jobs in 2016, as renewables became the largest source of new electric capacity for the first time in the United States. The solar and wind industries alone are creating jobs 12 times faster than the rest of the U.S. economy.

As of last year, the advanced clean energy industry in the United States generated $200 billion in revenue, which is “nearly double beer sales, equal to domestic pharmaceutical manufacturing, and approaching wholesale consumer electronics.”

At least 1,000 U.S. companies and investors have signed an open letter backing a low carbon USA. That’s because for companies, the benefits of the transition to a clean energy economy are irresistible - and they believe that failure to build a low-carbon economy jeopardizes America's economic prosperity.

General Motors, which has committed to using 100% renewable energy by 2050, reports savings of US$5 million annually from using renewable energy, a number it anticipates will grow as its use of wind, solar and similar clean energy sources increases. Similarly, Wal Mart has installed energy-saving auxiliary power units (APUs) on all trucks that make overnight trips. The company estimates that this one change should eliminate approximately 100,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions, reduce diesel fuel consumption by 10 million gallons, and save the company an estimated $25 million per year.

We urge business leaders from around the world to join us and make it clear to all political leaders - including those in the United States - that the transition to a clean energy economy is happening, one way or another. Taking action against the consequences of climate change is good for the economy, good for consumers, good for workers and improves security. We can do it faster, together.

B Team Leader Statements:

"The threat posed by climate change is real - and responding to this threat is consistent with a pro-business agenda. The business imperative for shifting to clean, renewable energy solutions is clear. Moving quickly in this direction, in an economically sustainable manner, is both pro-growth and pro-jobs. It will help to ensure the continued flow of new technologies and finance that are fundamental to strengthening the competitive position of our companies."

- Andrew Liveris, Chairman & CEO, The Dow Chemical Group

"Climate change is one of the biggest global challenges facing society - one that is fundamentally altering the way we do business. Business as usual is a path to an uninsurable world. We ceased financing coal-based business models to reduce both economic risks as well as the risk posed by unchecked climate change. We can and must work to mitigate the mounting hazards facing our communities and companies. And smart, well-managed companies will clearly see the enormous, long-term growth opportunities possible if we transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy."

- Oliver Bäte, CEO, Allianz Group

"As the United States Government abdicates its responsibility to lead in the effort to combat climate change, it endangers the enormous economic opportunity open to American companies to create a clean energy economy. It’s time for our corporate leaders, both C-suite executives and members of the Boards of Directors, whether their companies are energy producers or consumers, to step up and lead the way by refusing to accept an endless continuation of the carbon-intense status quo. Companies that aggressively act to seize this opportunity will succeed in creating shareholder value, while those that fail to respond to a carbon constrained world or just go through the motions, acting without conviction, will fade into obscurity shunned by their stakeholders."

- David Crane, Senior Operating Executive, Pegasus Capital Advisors

"Net-zero emissions, economic growth and more equitable markets are not mutually exclusive. We are already investing in a new economy powered by clean, renewable energy. It’s the most promising engine of job creation and prosperity I can imagine and one that is crucial for the planet, too."

- Richard Branson, Co-Founder and Co-Chair, The B Team and Founder, Virgin Group

"In a world where many are struggling to find decent jobs, there is hope in climate action; clean energy employs more people globally than oil, coal and gas combined. And investing in clean technology will cause this to grow exponentially. Our demand is to respect workers in fossil fuels with a just transition to the green and decent jobs that are being created daily. The only future that ensures decent work for all is a zero carbon future."

- Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation Secretary

"What is going on is a battle for the minds and hearts of people on the future they want. The only prosperous, safe future, with jobs for people, is the sustainable one that states like California, Washington and Vermont and cities like Boston, Chicago, Salt Lake City are striving for."

- Mary Robinson, President, Mary Robinson Foundation, Climate Justice

"We are in a time in which we can't delay action. It is the time of opportunities, for today's and future generations, framed in a new paradigm of sustainable development."

- Yolanda Kakabadse, President, World Wildlife Fund International

"We all need to understand that economy and environment go hand in hand. Climate change is a very important aspect, of a much more complex problem. If we do not take care of our greatest natural assets, that provide us the basic conditions to sustain life on Earth, we will condemn future generations. Now is the moment for us to show our creativity in business, to move towards more sustainable models. We can’t wait any longer. Clean and renewable energy is no longer a choice, but a necessity and an opportunity."

- Guilherme Leal, Co-Founder, Natura

"Achieving a zero emissions economy is a significant business opportunity. As the New Climate Economy has shown, the global market for low-carbon goods and services is worth more than $5.5 trillion and is growing at 3% per year. Businesses are already taking actions that will create more jobs, reduce risk to their supply chain, cut costs and – according to the Carbon Disclosure Project - drive 18% higher returns on investment."

- Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever

"Fighting climate change is about safeguarding the future of our planet for our children. It is at the heart of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. You cannot end poverty, reduce food scarcity or resolve the refugee crisis without addressing climate change. You can't maintain people's health without addressing climate change. These are all symptoms of a common problem, and they demand urgent, systemic solutions. This is why it’s so important for governments not only to meet their commitments, but to ramp up their ambition. And for business to continue to push toward a clean energy economy."

- Keith Tuffley, CEO & Managing Partner, The B Team