Two down, one to go?
Of the three major legislative initiatives advanced by the Obama administration, health care reform has become law, and the U.S. Senate finally passed its version of financial regulatory reform last week. Social investors and shareowner activists will be relieved to learn that an effort by Senator Tom Carper of Delaware to remove important corporate governance provisions from the Senate bill failed.
The bill passed by the Senate includes authorizing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to grant shareowners proxy access to nominate directors. It also requires that directors win majority votes in uncontested elections, and allows for nonbinding votes by shareowners on executive compensation.
With two legislative victories over the party of "Hell, no," only meaningful legislation addressing climate change remains to be accomplished. Because meaningful climate change legislation will have to direct a significant retooling of the U.S. economy away from its dependence on fossil fuels, extravagantly funded interest groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have devoted millions of dollars to opposing its passage.
However, as it has been made clear by several high-profile defections from the Chamber over its oppositional stance on climate change legislation, the business community itself has increasingly lined up to be counted as supporters of such legislation.
Last week, American Businesses for Clean Energy (ABCE) published an analysis (PDF) of business support for climate change legislation. By tallying business membership in seven coalitions and initiatives, ABCE found that 6,000 companies support energy and climate legislation.
ABCE describes itself as "an initiative to demonstrate large and small business support for Congressional enactment of clean energy and climate legislation that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions." The organizations whose business membership was analyzed by ABCE include We Can Lead, Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, the Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC), and the Clean Energy Group's Clean Air Policy Initiative (CAPI).
In its analysis, ABCE found that the 6,000 business supporters of climate change legislation employ an estimated 3.5 million workers, represent more than $2.6 trillion in market capitalization, and totaled $3.5 trillion in estimated revenue in 2009.
Twenty-one Fortune 100 companies and 49 Fortune 500 companies are represented in ABCE's tally, including Target, Bank of America, Boeing, Gap, General Electric, Ford, IBM, Starbucks, United Technologies, and John Deere.
Christopher Van Atten of ABCE said, "This unprecedented outpouring of business support for real leadership from the White House and U.S. Senate on clean energy and climate should be a wake-up call for elected officials in Washington."
"What unites all of these businesses is a shared agreement on the wisdom of comprehensive clean energy legislation that will create jobs, unleash innovation and make our nation more secure, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions," Van Atten said.
This article originally appeared at SocialFunds.com and is reprinted with permission.
CC licensed by Flickr user Caveman 92223 — On the 2010 US Tour.
U.S. Corporate Support for Climate Laws Tops 6,000 Firms
Two down, one to go?
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