Over 350 SMEs have called on US policymakers to capture the economic benefits of addressing climate change
The declaration was made on Thursday during Small Business Week in Washington and was signed by SMEs from a range of industries across the entire country.
They were also supported by 150 large companies, including Unilever and IKEA, and 100 ski resorts.
Considering that small businesses contribute approximately $11.7 billion to the US economy and employ 60 million Americans, their voice is not one to be dismissed lightly.
The declaration identified a number of opportunities in addressing climate change, such as monetary savings from more energy efficient vehicles and buildings, and the export potential of new technologies.
However, the greatest economic benefit, said the SMEs, would be in avoiding widespread devastation and supply chain disruption caused by increasingly frequent extreme weather events.
Following Hurricane Sandy, for example, the US Small Business Administration approved more than 34,000 disaster loan applications – a total of $2.2 billion in aid.
As the owner of one IT company said: “Our livelihoods could be easily wiped away by a storm like Sandy”.
The SMEs’ call-to-action coincides with a spate of recent activity by President Obama indicating that he intends to make climate change mitigation a central part of his legacy.
On Wednesday he pledged that America would do more to reduce its “dangerous carbon emissions”, with analysts expecting him to announce new rules on coal-fired power plants and new energy efficiency standards in the coming weeks.
Last week the President and his Chinese counterpart announced plans to phase out CFCs, a move which some commentators have described as “the most important yet” in the fight against climate change.
Even without a deadline for when this is to be achieved, such cooperation should be welcomed and is an important PR boost after the repeated failure of global climate negotiations.
As Thursday’s declaration indicates, the President will have the support of many SMEs.
If more join the cause then he will have an important card to play when congressional debates get heated.