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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Senior executives from IKEA, JLL, Mars Inc., Sprint and VF Corp. have urged members of the U.S. Congressional Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change for stronger policy action to reduce CO2 emissions and support clean energy choices.

The five business leaders were joined by executives from Aspen Skiing, Ben & Jerry's, Burton Snowboards, CA Tech, Calvert Investment, eBay, Eileen Fisher, Nike, Starbucks, Symantec, Unilever, and the Outdoor Industry Association, which represents more than 4,000 manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.

The group wants Congress to pass a tax extenders package that would renew expired tax credits for clean energy and energy efficiency for two years. They also urged passage of the Master Limited Partnership (MLP) Parity Act, which calls for extending the popular MLP finance mechanism to renewable energy, to level the playing field with fossil fuel sources.

More than 750 companies have now signed the Climate Declaration, a corporate call-to-action that urges America's federal and state policymakers to seize the economic opportunity of addressing climate change. The latest signatories include the San Diego Port Authority, Sprint and SunPower.

VF Corp"The hundreds of companies signed on to the Climate Declaration see the financial upside of tackling climate change today, both for their own bottom lines and the overall economy," said Anne Kelly, director of policy at sustainability advocate Ceres. The organisation directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk, a network of over 100 institutional investors with collective assets of more than $12 trillion.

"The U.S. has spent more than $136 billion on disaster relief in the past three years alone, and the storms and other natural events causing this damage have been connected to climate change," declared Letitia Webster, director of global sustainability for VF Corporation (right), a North Carolina-based lifestyle apparel giant that owns iconic American brands such as The North Face, Timberland, Vans and Wrangler. "It's critical that more of our nation's financial resources are spent working to address the root cause of this problem to prevent, or at least slow down, the exact impacts that our outdated carbon infrastructure is creating."

Commenting on the Congressional meeting Rep. Henry Waxman, co-chair of the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change said: "These major businesses have shown tremendous leadership in calling for strong policy action to cut carbon pollution. I believe that with the active engagement of businesses like these we can protect our environment, create new jobs and strengthen our economy."

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