Hundreds of small firms demand climate action

Last month, more than 100 U.S.-based ski resorts, mindful of the devastation that climate change would wreak upon the winter sports industry, signed the Climate Declaration, according to Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), an advocacy coalition of businesses directed by Ceres.

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

Frustration with the inaction of lawmakers is increasing, if the number of signatories can be read as a barometer of the growing urgency of the issue. There are now 364 American small businesses from 47 states and the District of Columbia which have signed the declaration, BICEP and the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) announced last week during Small Business Week in Washington D.C.

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 U.S. Small Business Administration approved more than 34,000 disaster loan applications totaling $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," said Richard Eidlin, director of public policy for ASBC. "On the contrary, they see tackling climate change as key to the future prosperity of their companies and communities. 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."

This article originally appeared at SocialFunds.com.

Smokestack image by AdStock RF via Shutterstock.