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US Corporate Voices Critical to Saving the Clean Power Plan

Image Credit: Efe Kurnaz

Despite the withdrawal of the US government from the Paris Agreement, many US businesses remain unwavering in their commitment to act on climate change. 2017 was a solid year for corporate climate leadership: 1,700 businesses signed the We Are Still In declaration and nearly half of Fortune 500 companies now have climate and clean energy goals. However, forward-thinking businesses are being faced with yet another challenge — the elimination of the Clean Power Plan (CPP). If repealed, the US will no longer have a national plan to reduce emissions from one of its largest sources: electric power generation.

Businesses, both large and small, have a critical role to play in determining the fate of the plan. By law, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to take public comments into account when withdrawing a rule, in addition to justifying its reasoning for departing from past decisions. By filing public comments in support of the CPP, businesses can speak up for action on climate change, access to clean energy, accelerating low-carbon innovation, as well as job growth in the United States. According to a report released by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) earlier this year, the renewables sector is expanding at an unprecedented rate and creating jobs 12 times faster than the rest of the economy

Investors, consumers and employees alike are increasingly scrutinizing companies’ engagement in social and environmental issues. Showing support for the CPP through the public comment process offers a way for businesses to demonstrate that they are indeed walking the talk rather than paying lip service to stakeholders. Both VF Corporation and Ceres have already taken strong public stances on the issue.

“It’s essential to remind the world that the partnership of good policymaking includes a broad swath — not a narrow swath — of the business community. Businesses have both a cost stake and a sustainability stake in electricity, and have a lot to contribute to the ongoing evolution of the power sector,” said Joe Goffman, Executive Direct of the Harvard Law School Environmental Law Program.

The deadline to submit comments via the regulations.gov page for “The EPA Proposed Rule: Repeal of Carbon Pollution Emissions Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units” is 11:59pm ET on January 16,2018. The EDF has created a CPP guide complete with resources and a suggested outline for company comments in support of the CPP.

“Supporting the Clean Power Plan should be a no-brainer for all companies, large and small. It’s not just about showing that they walk the sustainability talk, it’s also just common-sense good business to reduce risk and increase efficiency,” said Tom Murray, head of the EDF+Business program.

“The market is already demanding a low-carbon economy, as clean energy prices drop even further and global coal demand continues to decline. What business wants to bet against the market?”


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