330 Companies Call for Climate-Friendly Path Forward from COVID-19

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High altitude view of the Earth in space. Elements of this image furnished by NASA.

More than 120 natural products companies joined a call for a climate-inclusive path forward from COVID-19, according to a press release. Ceres’ Lawmaker Education and Advocacy Day (LEAD on Climate 2020) included more than 330 businesses in total—more than four times the number that participated in last year’s event—coming from every sector of the economy, making it the largest ever virtual call to action from the business community.

The companies included KeHE, Numi Tea, Clif Bar, INFRA, UNFI, Amy’s Kitchen, Gaia Herbs, Grove Collaborative, Ben & Jerry’s, and Dr. Bronner’s, among others.

These companies collectively stated that the COVID-19 crisis has been a wake-up call for the looming threat of climate change—the impacts of climate change on human health and the economy could be even greater than those of the pandemic.

“With the numerous challenges created by this pandemic, we call on Congress to help us not just bounce back, but to leap forward. Now is the time to act on climate and sustainability and do the hard work to build a beautiful future for our children and grandchildren,” said Kristen Morelli, Co-Founder of Perfect Supplements, a participating company.

Natural products companies participated in bipartisan online meetings with federal lawmakers, urging them to ensure that future economic recovery plans both revive our economy and reduce the emissions that cause climate change. Suggestions included smart investment in infrastructure, energy-efficient buildings, and transportation; incentives that transition the U.S. to clean energy; and other solutions that reduce vulnerability to the enormous risk of climate change. Participating companies pointed out that these investments could create millions of well-paying jobs that would generate billions in economic growth while improving quality of life for all Americans.

The press release notes that 97% of scientists agree that climate change is happening and is human caused; two-thirds of Americans are worried about climate change. The release adds that extreme weather events, disruption to the food system, and climate change-related health issues could cost up to a tenth of the U.S. economy by 2100 if left unchecked.

“No one in the world was really ready when the pandemic suddenly came upon us. Everyone in the world is now doing its best to cope. We must not allow climate adversity to come upon us similarly. That is why the initiatives taken and LEAD 2020 are important,” said Rohan Grover, Director of Nature Bio Foods.

“In Sonoma County, every fall is a harsh reminder of the impact of climate change. As soon as we start to figure out how to navigate the COVID situation, we will be faced with fire season. It is critical that we use this crisis to harness opportunities to change the way business operates. We need investments in clean energy and a sustainable economy,” said Marcus Benedetti, CEO of Clover Sonoma.

“We have the opportunity for a reset on how we rebuild our businesses–we should reset for the long-term health of our planet and all those who inhabit it. These last few months have reminded me poignantly of our shared humanity, and the importance of using business for far more than profit, but for our common good. This is why Grove is joining LEAD on Climate,” said Stuart Landesberg, Co-founder & CEO Grove Collaborative.

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18 of the participating companies come from OSC2, a community of sustanibility-focused natural products industry CEOs and business leaders, according to a second press release. These companies stressed:

  • The continued importance of investment in regenerative business models and resilient and equitable supply chains
  • The need to keep Americans healthy at work and at home while creating equitable, durable, clean energy jobs
  • The need for longer-term sustainable solutions to strengthen the economy, such as a goal of reaching a net-zero emissions economy by 2050 or sooner, as well as other policy mechanisms, like a price on carbon

Lara Dickinson, Executive Director and Co-Founder of OSC2, said in the release: “By joining our voices as one, we are able to harness the true power, passion, and commitment of our industry to ensure that the next round of post-COVID crisis economic stimulus packages focus on generating clean energy solutions, infrastructure, and jobs. This is an opportunity to build our country back better, with better ways of doing business, ensuring supply chain stability, and protecting the planet and its people. OSC2’s mission is to address the toughest sustainability problems facing our industry and our planet and we have a long track record of making change—from Dr. Bronner’s commitment to renewable energy and Numi’s plastic reduction initiatives to AlterEco’s efforts to alleviate deforestation.”

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