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Washington Business Climate Declaration FAQs

What is the Washington Business Climate Declaration?

The Washington Business Climate Declaration (www.climatedeclaration.us/wa) was developed by several Washington companies seeking to illustrate the state business community’s strong support for taking action to address climate change at the state and regional level and to mobilize strong business support to advance Washington’s economic and energy security.

Starting with support from over 80 companies, we developed the Washington Business Climate Declaration as a rolling call to action, urging the public, policymakers and other business leaders to seize the opportunity to advance the Washington’s economic and energy security by tackling climate change.

The Washington Business Climate Declaration:

  • Demonstrates the business case for taking action.
  • Highlights Washington corporate leadership on climate change.
  • Underscores investments needed in energy productivity, clean energy and transportation and other initiatives to ensure we build a stronger, more resilient economy.

Why Washington?

Businesses in Washington understand the opportunity we have to build on the state’s competitive advantages and leadership in clean technologies, like renewable energy and energy efficiency. Now is our time to act. In Washington we’ve got what it takes to build a safe, prosperous state and we’re not willing to sit still as the risks and costs of inaction on climate continue to mount. We can and must do better.

What about other states?

Washington, Oregon, California and British Columbia – collectively representing the world’s fifth largest economy – are engaged in a regional effort to advance economy-wide policies to unleash regional innovation in energy and production that will address global warming and help assure our long term competitiveness.

What is Northwest Business for Climate Action?

Northwest Business for Climate Action is a business initiative supporting action on climate change. With the Washington Business Climate Declaration, we’re building on a national effort led by Ceres and supported by more than 1,000 companies.

What is your companies’ interest in signing a Climate Declaration?

We all have an interest in helping educate Washingtonians about the need for action on climate change and finding agreement about the best path forward.

Our customers, employees and business partners recognize what a special place Washington is, and they value working with a company that will fight to protect and improve it. While our companies look for ways to improve our own carbon footprint, we also look to decision-makers for broad policy action that can build a better future for Washington.

Why now?

Inaction on climate will be very, very expensive. Too often the question that is asked is about the cost of regulation, rather than the cost of inaction. There are real social and economic costs to the state of Washington for not dealing with climate change.

Mitigating risk is an essential part of business decision-making. The economy faces significant risks from climate change. Businesses and government need to work together to account for and minimize this risk.

We are already behind. Washington is already facing the impacts of a changing climate. Ocean acidification threatens our shellfish industry. Warmer water temperatures threaten our salmon and the communities that depend on them. Decreased water supplies threaten Eastern Washington’s agriculture-based economy. The 2014 wildfire season in Washington was the most destructive and costly on record.

Former U.S Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson was in Washington this summer with more evidence that the U.S. faces significant economic risks from climate change in a report called Risky Business. According to the Risky Business report, by the end of the century, Washington could well have more days above 95°F each year than there are currently in Texas. Washington will likely experience more wildfires, reduced snowpack, loss of hydropower and continued increases in ocean acidification.

What is the economic opportunity?

Clean energy jobs have grown over two times faster than total jobs in the economy over the last decade. They are more stable, pay a living wage, and can’t be outsourced. The clean energy economy is here in Washington and it’s ready to grow. Washington has already invested $8.1 billion in new renewables, created over 3,800 jobs, and installed more than 2,970 megawatts of clean energy production.

Our state is well positioned to build on its leadership in the clean economy. We’re manufacturing innovative, energy-saving windows in Everett. We’re building better batteries in Snohomish and Spokane County. We’re putting construction workers back to work on efficiency projects in Bremerton.  We’re solarizing the state through Washington companies. All this work creates jobs that stay here in urban and rural communities. We’re powering our vehicles with new, homegrown fuel alternatives in Washington and building up a local supply chain that employs workers from Yakima to the Olympic Peninsula.

Can Washington really solve climate change?

Climate change is an international challenge with local implications.  The challenge requires regions ready and willing to step up and lead the way. Washington is ready. We can help lead the way right now by strengthening our clean economy, building more resilient communities and sending a strong signal to the rest of the nation.  Investments in renewable energy, clean technologies, and energy efficiency make business sense, reduce pollution, protect our communities and maintain our unique quality of life.

What is the national Climate Declaration and how does that relate to this?

In 2013, Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy, a project of Ceres, organized the national Climate Declaration. (www.climatedeclaration.us) This effort has the support of more than 800 companies nationally and is growing every day. If your company signs the Washington Business Climate Declaration, it will also be listed as a signatory to the national Climate Declaration since the Washington declaration is a superset of the national one. This effort is an opportunity to highlight regional leadership and convey specific support in Washington for climate action from the business community.

What about the Oregon Business Climate Declaration?

Oregon has played an instrumental role in the Northwest Business for Climate Action, signing on over 200 businesses to the Oregon Business Climate Declaration since its launch in July 2014. Many of Oregon’s top businesses have signed the Declaration, including Nike, Moda Health, the Portland Trailblazers, and many others. The full list of signatories can be found here. (www.climatedeclaration.us/oregon) Strong leadership in Oregon, combined with ongoing efforts in Washington, promotes a thriving economy in the Pacific Northwest, spurring economic development and job creation while curbing carbon pollution. It also acknowledges the unique opportunity in this region to close ranks with California and British Columbia to form a substantial regional bloc with similar, strong climate policy which will increase the pressure for national action from the US and Canadian governments.

Who can sign the Washington Business Climate Declaration?

Any company that is based or has a significant presence in Washington is invited to sign, regardless of size.  Larger companies or those with significant presence in the state may have their logos listed.

Individual business leaders are also invited to sign on and receive further information.

What is required in order to sign the Washington Business Climate Declaration?

The only requirement for signing the Declaration is agreement with the statement.   There is no cost associated with signing. Once you have decided to add your company name, there are no further requirements.

My company has already signed the national Climate Declaration. Why support climate action at the state and regional level?

Almost everyone engaged in these issues agrees that global or federal action is the ideal outcome, but progress is agonizingly slow at these levels.  Many businesses supporting strong state and regional policy leadership cite some or all of the following reasons:

  • Invest where the action is, and where progress is possible. Businesses focus on getting concrete, measurable results for their investments of time, political capital and money. For a wide variety of reasons, neither Congress nor international processes are fruitful venues in the near term for significant climate or energy policy. State and regional leadership can often be the best way to break the deadlock at the federal level.  There are countless examples of this dynamic, including the recent federal adoption of automobile fuel efficiency standards that were first adopted by the West Coast states.

  • A seat at the table. Companies in Washington will have the opportunity to shape the program to reduce climate pollution in the most efficient and effective ways that reflect our values and economies. Those businesses that work with government leaders to support climate policy will have the best opportunities to shape that policy. Experience suggests that state and regional models will be incorporated into federal proposals when progress is made at the national level.

  • Early mover advantage. Businesses recognize the importance of identifying and seizing opportunities created by being early participants in market opportunities. Recent studies have confirmed the significant economic opportunities going to companies in California and other jurisdictions that have implemented innovation in the energy sector. Washington can generate new economic opportunities.

  • Addressing concerns from key stakeholders. Corporations are acting on climate change because key stakeholders – including employees, customers, investors, and non-profit partners – are expecting action as a concrete expression of a business’ values. This is especially true in the Northwest states, where public support for climate action is very high and growing. 

Who is the intended audience?

The goal is to reach policymakers at the state level, the Washington federal delegation, the media and the general public.

Where will the Washington Business Climate Declaration appear?

In addition to the Washington Declaration website (www.climatedeclaration.us/wa) and press releases, we will seek opportunities to highlight the Washington Business Climate Declaration in as many venues as possible.

What are the opportunities for further engagement?

In addition to adding your company name and/or logo to the Declaration, there are opportunities for (1) spreading the message through social media, (2) telling your own clean energy or climate change story, (3) recruiting other businesses to join with you, (4) engaging with state and/or federal policy makers and (5) engaging the media, such as writing an op-ed. See how other Climate Declaration companies are advocating for climate and clean energy policies.

Contact Information:

For more details about further engagement on climate action in Washington, contact Brenna Davis at Virginia Mason Medical Center at Brenna.Davis@virginiamason.org.

Learn more: www.climatedeclaration.us/wa

Learn More

Learn more about signing onto the Washington Climate Declaration. Visit our FAQ.

Download the Washington Business Climate Declaration with the full list of Company Signatories

Read more about the Washington Business Climate Declaration

Read the press announcement

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