Business leaders often say, “If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.” We are constantly focused on our bottom line and how to grow our businesses for the future. Successful business owners examine new trends and are constantly trying to figure out how to keep products and services on the cutting edge of industry. Forbes recently released their Top 10 Business Trends That Will Drive Success in 2016 that covered everything from greater customer connections through social media to greater investment in customer service. Yet one of the greatest opportunities for business lies in embracing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Clean Power Plan.
This plan is designed to take real action on climate change by reducing carbon pollution from power plants and strengthening the fast-growing clean energy sector. But why is this good for business?
For business, investing in clean, renewable power is a no-brainer. Clean energy solutions are cost effective and provide businesses with innovative ways to drive investment and manage energy-related costs, all while reducing carbon pollution and minimizing environmentally harmful toxins. A recent study revealed that 60 percent of Fortune 100 companies have already set their own clean energy targets, saving them more than $1 billion a year in the process. If there’s one-thing business owners understand, it’s money. That kind of savings allows us to invest in the growth of our business, create jobs and be better community partners.
For minority-owned businesses the issue of clean energy hits even closer to home. From increased asthma attacks to heart attacks and even premature deaths, minority populations have long carried the brunt of the harmful consequences of climate change. By 2030, the Clean Power Plan will provide up to $54 billion in climate and health benefits per year, including the prevention of 3,600 premature deaths, 1,700 heart attacks, 90,000 asthma attacks, and 300,000 missed work and school days. Protecting the lives of our present and future workforce matters and makes good economic sense.
While the benefits for businesses and the African American community are vast, there are still a number of opponents to the Clean Power Plan. In February of this year, polluters and their allies sued to block the Clean Power Plan in federal court. In their legal briefs, they made a number of unsubstantiated claims of harm, claiming that the new standards would cause economic calamity. Time and time again, industry groups have tried to convince the public that safeguarding our heath from dangerous pollution will have an economic cost. But this is simply not true. We never have to choose between a healthy environment and a healthy economy.
On April 1, 2016 a number of business leaders, including my organization, the US Black Chambers. Inc. joined a broad coalition of Americans in filing statements with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit defending the Clean Power Plan, which cited the tremendous health and economic benefits the standards will produce. This is the business community at its best—working together to make our country not only an economic leader, but an environmental leader as well. We know that when our country leads, no other country can compete with us.
Smart business leaders know what is at stake. The fight for clean energy is more than just the Clean Power Plan—it’s a movement, and now is the time to take action. Adopting the Clean Power Plan makes good common sense and good business sense. Climate change is real and the greening of our economy will help us continue to experience job growth. The market is already trending towards greater investment in clean energy and reducing carbon pollution. Those who fail to change their business models and adapt to this growing trend run the risk of being left behind. Our consumers want 21st century solutions, not antiquated ideas and dirty energy sources that threaten to leave American business a day late and billions of dollars short.