4 Reasons Business Leaders Should Support the Paris Climate Accord
Entrepreneurs see problems as opportunities. Avoiding a climate catastrophe is the biggest business opportunity in the world.
Whether you live an environmentally-conscious green lifestyle or just like green in your pocket, there are myriad of reasons why business leaders must act swiftly in support of the Paris Climate Accord.
Recently, the U.S. Conference of Mayors became the latest political group to pledge support for the Accord independent of the federal government. American big businesses have also come out in full force. Apple, Google, HP, JP Morgan and many other large companies took out full page ads in the New York times and Wall Street Journal urging the president to reconsider withdrawal from the Accord for business reasons that included strengthening competitiveness, creating job growth and reducing risks that come with an unstable and erratic climate.
The business community has an unrivaled ability to affect change when it bands together to wield the power of the purse. Just ask Bill O’Reilly, the FOX News cash cow who was terminated when advertising dollars dried up amidst multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
We cannot afford to let our multinational corporations fight this fight alone. Businesses of all sizes must lend support in whatever form they can. In our case, we just launched the first service that delivers ads based on weather conditions in real time. Though we know it is just a drop in the proverbial bucket, we are offering this service – a critical piece of our Q3 business plan -- for free through the end of summer as our way of showing support.
For a variety of macro and micro reasons, American business leaders must understand that any short-term losses will pale in comparison to the long-term implications of inaction. Here are four reasons business leaders should support the Paris Climate Accord:
1. To remain the economic superpower instead of falling behind China and India.
The PWC report: The World in 2050 projects that China and India will overtake the United States as world’s economic superpower sooner than later. If that happens, it will be a devastating blow to our economy.
While the Trump administration is boasting about adding 6,600 coal jobs in May -- a disputed number, incidentally -- it is abundantly clear that bringing back a relatively few coal jobs is not going to stave off India and China in the long run. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy’s January report showed solar has more than twice as many U.S. jobs than coal -- 374,000 versus 160,000. If we want to remain the world’s economic superpower, we must continue to innovate and lead the global economy.
2. To sell your products from Pittsburgh to Paris.
Although Trump said he was elected to represent the people of Pittsburgh and not Paris, it is ironic because the rise of ecommerce, digital and social media has allowed companies to overcome geographic limitations that previous generations could not. The U.S. Census Bureau noted that 408,000 companies in the United States traded goods internationally in 2015. The majority are small and medium-sized enterprises with fewer than 500 employees. By cooperating with other nations, it will ensure our ability to make products in Pittsburgh and sell them in Paris.
3. To create business plans for 2050, not 1950.
Following Trump's speech, Tesla CEO Elon Musk resigned from the president's business advisory council. "Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world," he tweeted.
The low-carbon economy championed by the Paris Agreement represents the fastest growing energy sector for job growth. That is why more than 280 institutional investors are pushing to honor the agreement. To experience long-term growth, companies must be forward-thinking and focus on planning for 2050 and not 1950.
4. To save America's brand and help your own.
Our country's brand reputation is taking a big hit on the world stage. Withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord aligns us with only two United Nations countries -- Syria and Nicaragua. Companies that act will receive positive publicity which helps boost profits.
"For consumer-facing companies in particular, it's not popular to oppose the Paris agreement," Bill McKibben, a Middlebury College professor and globally famous climate activist, said correctly on CBS.
The bottom line is that whatever your position is on climate change, there are too many critical business reasons to not be on the right side of history on this issue. American companies of all shapes and sizes must band together for the environmental and financial health of our country and planet.