How Green America is Promoting Green Public and Corporate Policy

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Summer is underway and Green America’s work is in high gear! Thanks to our members' generous support, every day our programs are advancing the policies and systems needed for safe food, clean energy, responsible finance, and fair labor on which the health of people and the planet depends.

Whether we are taking our message to the streets, to legislators, to consumers and investors, or to corporations, we focus on the economic strategies that can really make a difference for the well-being of communities and the environment. We are pleased to share these policy highlights with you, addressing recent initiatives to change public policies and corporate polices for the better for all of us.

Principles of the Green New Deal

The principles of the Green New Deal reflect many of the green economy recommendations that Green America has been advancing since our inception. We were pleased to join a coalitional letter with more than fifty other investor signatories sent to the full Congress on April 11, 2019, affirming support for the Green New Deal’s focus on the urgent need for action on climate.

Prior to that we partnered with the American Sustainable Business Council to engage our business members in supporting the direction outlined in the Green New Deal. The policy framework offers an historic opportunity to combine the strengths of businesses and government to solve crucial problems and put us on a path toward a sustainable economy. You can read the letter here.

In addition, we have also worked with the Sunrise Movement -- a youth-led movement addressing climate change and job creation -- to advance the goals of the Green New Deal. On May 2, 2019 members of Sunrise and the University of Maryland Community Learning Garden hosted a town hall meeting to jump-start a local coalition that supports a Green New Deal. Green America’s executive co-director Todd Larsen spoke on how to make the Green New Deal reforms a reality and what is at stake.

Safe Food

Green America and six of our allies delivered petitions to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on June 26th, urging it to ban glyphosate. Glyphosate is the main ingredient in Monsanto/Bayer’s Roundup weed killer. The petitions were delivered as part of the EPA’s public comment period on whether to extend glyphosate’s registration and thus allow its continued use for years to come.

Glyphosate has been implicated in causing lymphoma, shorter pregnancies, pollinator decline, and other negative impacts on the environment. A number of lawsuits have also been brought against Monsanto related to cancers following exposure to glyphosate. Nearly 150,000 people signed the coalitional petition. Please read our press release for additional information.

If you live in the Denver area: Come hear Green America’s Food Programs Director, Jillian Semaan, speak on a panel at the Slow Food Nations international food festival in downtown Denver’s Larimer Square, July 19-21. Jillian will speak at the “Food on the 2020 Ballot” session on Sunday, July 21 from 10-11am in the Food for Change tent. This panel is free and open to the public.

Climate & Clean Energy

As part of our Hang up on Fossil Fuels campaign, we updated our “Clean Energy is Calling” report in late April. We received media hits (examples from Clean Technica and CSO Magazine) and generated engagement on social media. The report shows the commitments made from T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon in the past year and offers updated data by company from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). Unfortunately, Sprint is now in last place of the four, due to missing its 2017 10% clean energy goal and failing to provide a new goal or updated data to CDP. This year we will focus on tracking purchasing contracts from each company to prove that they are moving towards meeting their commitments.

On May 13, 2019 our executive co-director Todd Larsen took part in an all-day energy conference in Indianapolis called ELECTRIC AMERICA: Will the Grid Evolve or Be Replaced?, sponsored by the Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy. Todd spoke about the rapid growth in corporate purchases of clean energy nationwide and discussed Green America’s work in moving the telecom sector to increase its clean energy purchases. AT&T made the largest corporate purchase of clean energy in the US last year, and TMobile is highlighting how large-scale corporate purchases of clean energy save companies money in the long run. These companies are helping pave the way for ever-increasing corporate purchases, which are already on par with utility scale clean energy purchasing in the US.

Also related to climate impacts, our Skip the Slip campaign urges stores to offer digital receipts in order to reduce waste, save trees, and eliminate toxins from thermal paper receipts. The campaign has even inspired legislation in California. The California “Skip the Slip” Bill, AB 161, has now made it through two committee votes, appropriations, and the California Assembly floor vote. It now moves onto the state Senate and then, hopefully, to the Governor. Skip the Slip has become Green America’s greatest media success as interest in the impact of our campaign and the California legislation has built since the beginning of the year.

We mobilized our Green Business Network members and our consumer members in CA in support of the bill to help protect the health of workers, consumers, and the environment.

Skipping the Slip would:

  • Protect workers and customers from toxic receipts coated with BPA and BPS;
  • Save the billions of gallons of water used to produce paper receipts;
  • Save the millions of trees needed to produce paper receipts;
  • Save the 302 million tons of waste generated by producing and disposing of receipts.

Version 2.0 of our Skip the Slip report, released June 25, 2019, includes an expanded list of retailers for our scorecard, updates from those companies, and policy updates on the California bill.

As you’ll read, only three retailers – Best Buy, Apple and Ben & Jerry’s – get top marks for how they deal with electronic and paper receipts.

Fair Labor

Green America has launched our new campaign Carter’s: Remove Toxic Textiles! The campaign targets the largest retailer of baby and children’s clothes in the country. We’re asking them to adopt a strong chemical management policy that will protect workers, the environment, and consumers – specifically, the smallest members of our society. Despite what the chemical industry says in their pushback against the campaign, we do not want children to run around naked (Osh Kosh B’Gosh: “Green America’ Wants Your Kids to Go Naked”); we do, however, want Carter’s to follow in the steps of green businesses and leaders who have already adopted strong chemical management policies.

The textile industry uses over 8,000 chemicals and contributes to 20 percent of industrial global warming. Rivers are actually dyed unnatural colors thanks to run offs; workers and their communities are at high risk of contracting fatal diseases; and residual chemicals in clothing can affect our health as well. Learn more about the new campaign here, and if you haven’t taken the action yet you can do so here.

Responsible Finance

In follow-up to the findings of the 2019 Banking on Climate Change Report, we emailed all of our e-activist members to urge them to contact JPMorgan Chase – the world’s worst/biggest funder of fossil fuels. In the last three years, the bank’s fossil fuel financing totaled over $195 billion – nearly 30 percent higher than the next largest bank funder!

And even more astoundingly, the bank has provided $67 billion in financing for fossil fuel expansion in the three years following the Paris Agreement. That is 68% higher than then next largest bank funder.

See how these Big Banks are leading the way in financing fossil fuel and use these flyers to educate others: JPMorgan ChaseWells FargoBank of AmericaCiti.

Remember – you don’t need to use a “fossil bank” – you can Get A Better Bank!

Center for Sustainability Solutions: Regenerative Supply Working Group

In June we conducted a working group meeting in Iowa City with farmers, companies, researchers, and other experts on soil health and its ability to sequester carbon. Topics covered included recent research on:

  • Accelerating soil health: When you get soil healthy enough, it rapidly delivers improved carbon sequestration, water quality, biodiversity, yield and farmer economics;
  • The impacts of exposure to Round up (glyphosate);
  • How to financially support farmers for transitioning to regenerative agriculture;
  • The prevalence of the top ten agricultural chemicals in food;
  • Consumer interest in healthy food and knowledge of regenerative agriculture;

Working group members will build on the knowledge and connections made in Iowa to advance our goals for healthy food, safe agriculture, and carbon sequestration by the soil to actually reverse the climate crisis.

In closing, thank you once again for following and participating in our green economy work. Every action our members take and every dollar of support we receive brings us closer to realizing our goals. We appreciate your partnership!

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