The Larger Stage
We believe that for our company to be an authentic force for positive change, we must seek that change both within and on the larger world stage. 2009 marked a move toward greater policy engagement for us at Seventh Generation, particularly on climate change and toxics. Despite significant effort meeting with legislators and building awareness, key legislation on these issues is still unresolved and our work continues. Learn how you can help.
Chris Miller, Corporate Consciousness Team Member:
on The Challenge of Climate Change
“Each generation of Americans has faced a profound challenge. From the Great Depression to the Greatest Generation that beat back the rise of fascism, Americans have continually risen to overcome great obsacles. Now it is our turn, and climate change is our challenge. We will be judged by succeeding generations on whether we addressed this issue head on, or instead condemned future generations to inhabit a planet that bears little resemblance to the one we now enjoy.”
Driven by a sense of urgency, we joined a group of like-minded businesses called BICEP (Business for Innovate Climate Energy Policy), to lobby for strong science-based legislation to tackle climate change. This group of consumer-facing companies such as Nike, Starbucks, Levi’s, Gap, and eBay, is bringing a credible and influential voice to the debate. Many of these companies have long supply chains that reach all over the world and may be greatly hampered by climate change. They have been successful in drawing attention to the business case for legislation that ensures a sustainable economy. Core to BICEP’s arguments is that bold climate change policies that place a cost on carbon emissions, create incentives for clean energy innovation, and ensure public investment in emerging technologies will provide a competitive economy. BICEP has adopted a set of progressive principles for climate change policy that include an economy-wide cap-and-trade system, aggressive investment in a clean economy, and assistance for developing countries.
With both historic opportunity for climate change legislation at home and the UN’s International Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen at the end of the year, 2009 was a busy one for the BICEP companies. They met with members of Congress and Obama administration officials, engaged their consumers, and placed this ad in the Wall Street Journal.
Our lobbying through BICEP is one facet of our commitment to address climate change at Seventh Generation. We have taken steps to reduce the impact of our products across their life cycle, with major improvements in packaging and transportation in 2009. We have made investments in our employees, supporting their personal efforts to reduce their carbon footprint at home while our LEED office helps reduce their energy use at work. Even our goal to purchase sustainable palm oil helps mitigate the widespread deforestation in Southeast Asia that contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. But responsible companies cannot just look inward, and we feel compelled to stand with our BICEP brethren to advocate for the change our planet and our world economy so desperately needs.
Dave Rapaport, Corporate Consciousness Director:
on The Fight for Toxics Reform
“The level of our daily exposure to harmful substances through legally sold products is shocking. There are about 80,000 chemicals, and the EPA has required testing on just 200 of these and restricted only 5. These chemicals are found in our bodies and in our breast milk and are implicated in a wide range of disorders and diseases. We’re passing ever greater levels of exposure on to future generations. I want to see a law that requires immediate action against the worst actors — persistent and bioaccumulative toxins, such as lead, mercury, and PCBs — which are long lasting and build up in the food chain.
I’ve worked for almost 30 years on issues relating to toxic exposure. In my early 20s, I traveled across the country literally plugging the pipes of polluters discharging to our waterways. I passionately believe that this is one of the most on-point changes we can make in the world. The chance of our seeing successful legislation any time soon is slim, but we’re in it to win it. We’re not going to stop.”
Crawl to Action on Toxics Reform
Can the image of babies crawling to Washington to demand change make a difference? Can babies who can’t yet stand take a stand for toxics reform? We hope so. We joined the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition to demand reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. With support from pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene and environmentalist Erin Brockovich, we’re inviting people to create a baby who can join the virtual crawl on Washington to “rattle” lawmakers into fixing this broken law.