Take Action For Change
The American Sustainable Business Council Action Fund, which is affiliated with ASBC but is legally and financially separate, invites you to join in advocating for legislation, administrative action, and initiatives that make possible a more vibrant, just and sustainable economy.
Benefit corporations (also known as B Corps) are a different kind of corporation. While most companies focus on putting profits first - in some cases, even being required by law to focus on profits - B Corps are required to create benefits for society as well as shareholders. This can include volunteering in the community or other sustainable development.
Public investments are essential to the success of our society, the strength of our economy, and our quality of life. From highways to communications systems, from guaranteeing student loans and mortgages to reducing unfair credit card fees, from keeping our food safe to keeping our water supply clean, we all rely on government-funded systems in our daily lives. We take these things for granted so much that they have become "invisible" to most of us. But they are a critical guarantee for our quality of life in America.
Campaign finance law is under threat yet again. The Supreme Court will hear a case, McCutcheon v. FEC, dealing with aggregate contribution limits, one of the last campaign finance limitations still standing. If the Supreme Court overrules those limits, it will open up another opportunity for wealthy individuals to flood the political system with money, further eroding public confidence and leaving small businesses out in the cold. Sign our business petition and urge the Supreme Court to let these limits stand.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v.FEC decision allowed corporations to spend unlimited money to support or oppose candidates for political office, overturning campaign finance laws in place for decades. Since then, millions in unrestricted secret spending has flowed into campaigns, distorting our democracy and threatening good government.
As executives, owners, investors, and businesses, we must ask ourselves: Are our goals furthered by this greater freedom to spend our companies’ money to influence campaigns? Is this ability to influence politicians and elections helpful—or does it set us back in our efforts to operate our businesses responsibly and promote a vibrant, equitable, and sustainable economy? If you believe that campaign finance reform is needed in NYS, please join us in by signing on below.
Transparency in campaign finance is a key element to ensure the electoral system works fairly without undue influence from major corporations. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is considering a rule to force public companies to disclose their political spending to their shareholders. This simple rule would bring accountability to previously unaccounted for political spending.
Businesses represented by the American Sustainable Business Council value clean, affordable energy that is not vulnerable to foreign policy-induced supply disruptions. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for gas and oil has been touted as a way to achieve this independence, a way to reduce the use of coal, and as a boon to cash-strapped rural counties. However, ASBC and our business supporters have concerns about the environmental, economic, and public health impacts of the full lifecycle of this fossil fuel extraction practice, its association with climate change, and its rapid widespread...
With concerns growing over the impacts of the sequester budget cuts, we believe Congress should put an end to these taxpayer-paid subsidies to an industry that is enjoying record profits. Across-the-board sequester cuts will reduce air pollution monitoring, scale back Superfund cleanups and reduce funding clean water and drinking water projects. Closing tax loopholes and subsidies to the oil industry would have positive impact on the federal budget by generating revenue for smart investment in our economy and help businesses and the environment.
The recent development of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, often referred to as “fracking” or “unconventional” shale gas drilling, has raised serious concerns about its impacts on the environment, public health, and local and regional economies. The practice involves injecting millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals deep into the earth at extremely high pressure to fracture rock formations and release trapped deposits of natural gas and/or oil.
ASBC's Action Fund is working with local businesses in thirteen states to organize meetings with their Senators and Congressional Representatives during the August recess to lobby on climate and energy issues. As a follow up to our June 20th Capitol Hill lobby day, the meetings hope to bring renewed attention in Congress to energy issues including Shaheen-Portman and Clean Energy Victory Bonds.
Those of us who have been fortunate enough to experience the American coastline understand that places along the coast are some of America’s greatest treasures. Unfortunately, we are on a path that threatens our coast due to rising seas as a result of climate change. We must take action now to save our treasured coastal places and small business tourism economies for our children, grandchildren and for many generations to come.
The Obama Administration recently proposed a new rule for hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) including those in the national forest system as well as federal lands nearby many treasured national parks. The comment period for this rule closed in late August.
New York State is at a crossroads: will the Cuomo administration open New York’s landscape to unconventional gas drilling or will it lead the way with clean, renewable energy and greater efficiencies to power the state’s future?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced new proposed standards for carbon pollution from new, not yet built power plants. These standards are an important step to cutting our carbon emissions, mitigating the worst effects of climate change, and transitioning to a clean energy economy that will create jobs. We need business leaders to speak out in support of these standards.
Reliable, long-term financing has been one of the greatest obstacles to moving the nation toward a clean energy future. Clean Energy Victory Bonds can be a big part of the solution. The Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2012 works to create an investment vehicle that allows Americans to invest in one of the fastest growing sectors in the global economy, as well as a means to collectively provide a secure and sustainable energy future, create jobs, and regain our competitive advantage in clean energy technology.
The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S.1392), also known as the Shaheen-Portman Bill, is a bipartisan energy efficiency bill that would save money and energy for consumers, businesses and the federal government. It would create an estimated 159,000 jobs by 2030, while helping to tackle the United States’ rising greenhouse gas emissions.
Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) are state mandates which require utilities to produce a certain amount of energy from renewable sources of energy, such as wind, solar and biofuel, within a specific time frame. The standards vary from state to state - for example, North Carolina mandates 12.5% clean energy production by 2021 while Colorado calls for 30% by 2020.
President Obama last year delayed the final decision the Keystone XL Pipeline. Since then, the President promised in his second inaugural address that the United States would “respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” One day later, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman approved a revised route for the pipeline, removing a major hurdle to its construction.
In 2012, the EPA revised its rules on new source performance standards (NSPS) of greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in stricter regulations on future power plants. Unfortunately, these rules do not address existing power plants, which tend to be heavy greenhouse gas producers. ASBC believes that protecting the environment has always been and should remain a bipartisan effort. The nation needs to invest in clean energy technologies that will create jobs, lead to economies of scale, and lead to cleaner air.
Given the challenges small businesses and entrepreneurs face in raising capital to help them grow and compete, the crowdfunding concept is a viable solution. Crowdfunding, especially in the context of community-based financing of local projects, has the potential when done correctly to be a very useful tool in opening up access to capital for business. Crowdfunding, simply put, is raising investment funding in small increments from a large number of people often through Internet marketing.
Vote yes on 522 Washington State initiative. In 1990 Washington and California ran similar environmental initiatives dubbing the states “Big Green” and “Little Green.” Both were defeated at that time, however, Washington is now moving forward with the national movement for labeling food and beverages containing genetically modified organisms. Today, studies have shown that over 90% of Americans are concerned about what is in their food, but there is still no federal mandate requiring the labeling of GMO’s in America. GMO’s are “genetically modified...
The Farm Bill represents billions of dollars in government expenditures that set the farm, food, and rural policy goals and priorities for the United States. After the 2012 Farm Bill failed Congress began working on the 2013 Farm Bill with hopes of a resolution. The Senate passed their version of the bill on June 20, 2013. The House was unable to come to a consensus and has decided to vote on an agriculture-only bill dropping food stamps and nutrition programs from the bill which will be voted on before the August recess.
Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, appear in over 70 percent of all food consumed in the U.S. Currently, there is no federal mandate requiring that GMOs be labeled, even though 90 percent of Americans say they support labeling.
Employee ownership is key to building a more sustainable economy. Giving employees more of a stake in their company’s success encourages more productivity and better financial results. Employee Stock Ownership Plans are one way to achieve that.
One component of a good workplace is a plan ensuring workers can recuperate from illnesses at home, rather than having them come to work when they are not at their most productive. There is a strong business case for paid sick days - they help improve productivity, reduce health care costs, maintain consumer confidence, and avoid costly employee turnover.
Family Leave Insurance allows employees who need to take time off to care for a family member, or following the birth of a child, to continue to earn some compensation during that time off. Despite concerns about imposing additional costs on businesses, this kind of insurance is beneficial because it makes employees more productive and less likely to move to another company, saving money on employee turnover.
One of the biggest challenges to the sluggish economic recovery is that real wages have not increased despite many businesses showing record profits. Consumer spending is at the heart of our economy and with little to no wage growth, overall economic growth will suffer and the recovery will not be durable. The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013 addresses the largest problem business leaders see with today’s economy: weak demand.
ASBC and its partner, the Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC) is launching a strategic state-by-state campaign to support the implementation of Section 2706 of the Affordable Care Act in 2013. Section 2706 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is titled “Nondiscrimination in Health Care.” It requires that insurers include and reimburse licensed health care providers in health insurance plans.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act tackles many of the serious problems small business owners face, including escalating health care costs, lack of access to affordable coverage, and limited choice among health plans. We support the full implementation of the plan, which benefits both small businesses and the economy as a whole. We applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to affirm the constitutionality of the Act and call on all states to move ahead with its implementation.
The Internet, broadband, and telephony provide the means for a far-reaching social and environmental change by laying the foundation for a new future of work. The number one contributor to carbon and environmental emissions in the U.S. is squarely rooted in how we work. By encouraging telecommuting and working from home, we can save energy and money while cutting greenhouse gases that cause climate change.
Government regulations have been ridiculed as “job killers.” However, small-business owners know that regulations play an essential role in leveling the playing field by offering protection from big business. Regulations are the rules by which all businesses must play for orderly and fair competition in the market place.
Leading companies from electronics manufacturers to health care providers are highly motivated to identify and use safer alternatives to toxic chemicals. Recent polling by ASBC confirms that today's business leaders are concerned about the health and business impacts that could arise if the products they use or sell contain toxic chemicals, as well as the toxic chemical exposures that may occur as a result of their supply chains.
The New York State legislature is presently considering the Child Safe Products Act. This bill creates a framework for identifying and removing toxic chemicals from children’s products (a segment of the market that’s both broad and clearly defined). Please sign on below and pass along to other business leaders.
We have a historic opportunity to transform the chemical industry, create jobs and build a new economic powerhouse by putting in place essential policies to create the right market-based incentives to propel green chemistry in the United States. Without action, the U.S. could lose this nascent but fast moving economic engine overseas, along with the hundreds of thousands of projected new jobs, and $190 Billion of the $1 trillion renewable chemical market production.
The current cosmetics industry is outdated and dangerous. The industry is not properly regulated and is including harmful ingredients linked to long term health problems for employees and consumers as well as great harm to the environment. The Safe Cosmetics Act will ensure that personal care products are free of ingredients linked to cancer, reproductive or developmental issues and that those ingredients are fully disclosed on product labels and company websites.
With economic growth still sluggish, additional government stimulus projects unlikely, and our trade deficit remaining stubbornly high, one of the best ways we can spur growth and create jobs is by focusing on procuring American-made products. Not only is this an idea with strong bipartisan support, it is also one of the best job creation strategies available right now.
Social enterprises are businesses whose primary purpose is the common good. They use the methods and disciplines of business and the power of the marketplace to advance their social, environmental and human justice agendas.
There is no justification for tax avoidance and evasion through offshore tax havens. Everyone needs to pay his or her fair share to keep America moving forward. Tax dodging deprives our nation of revenue needed to maintain and modernize the infrastructure and services underpinning a strong economy. An estimated $100 billion or more in tax revenue is lost every year. Our economic progress is undermined when companies are rewarded for financial manipulation rather than innovation and productive investment.
Unlike brick and mortar businesses, online retailers have the unfair advantage of selling items on the Internet without collecting sales taxes while the “Main Street” businesses are obligated to collect and remit them. This imbalance hits locally owned businesses particularly hard and, as a result, adversely impacts local economies. Small businesses lose out on revenue and state governments lose out on the money needed to pay for necessary services, such as infrastructure funding.
Corporate tax reform is coming—you can help determine whether it makes things better or worse. Join the campaign for corporate tax reform that closes loopholes, levels the playing field between big business and small, increases transparency and assures adequate revenue for the infrastructure and services underpinning our economy.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an international trade agreement now being negotiated, would grant leading multinational corporations new powers to challenge government policies that promote sustainability. Of greatest concern, the pact would allow corporations to sue governments in an international tribunal, and force the reversal of sound regulations. To date, negotiations have been conducted in secret, and Congress is planning to invoke “Fast Track” to push the legislation through without debate. Congress's constitutional responsibility to review treaties must not...