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Rethinking policy - making partnerships b/t business & advocacy groups. (Seminar E - session 2)
Interested in how Novazhymes can become more involved in policy.
Kristen (Environmental Resource Management)
Interested in how policy is made behind the scenes
Robin Langdon (Environmental Defense Fund)
Veronica: (NC Conservation Fund)
Lori B (Nicholas School Faculty)
Kristen: How do businesses approach advocacy groups with their policy goals?
EDF makes its decisions based on environmental improvement in a smart way.
EDF is very broad in its focus, others can be very specific.
Robin:comes from a private background.
Environmentalism is often characterized as radical.
Advocacy groups should be smarter about how they engage with the public, companies, etc.
Lori comes from a policy background, but she sees a similarity between her work and Robin's
It is important to find this positive dialog, especially with those companies which are doing some things well and some not so well
Alren's company is interested in working with groups with tangible goals. This involves a dialog to find areas where interests overlap
Corporate sustainability can no longer be a "shotgun" approach. People need to recognize that their actions have a ripple effect
We don't know when, but it is likely that we will have some sort of national GHG regulatory policy at some point.
Those companies that prepare now will be ahead of the curve when this happens.
EDF is in a position where it can connect companies to others who can help each other.
E.g., Carbon Footprinting: many companies do not know what this entails, or how to quantify it.
Alren: we would like NGOs to look to us for our capabilities.
Lori: Is there a roundtable business discussions?
Robin: Not yet, but this is one of the items on her agenda.
Are private businesses against the reporting rule for GHG emissions?
Robin: Not necessarily. Energy bills are going up anyway, so legislation is not to blame.
Veronica: Many companies are already paying to lower emissions, so why not put in federal regulations to make everyone do it?
Kristen: Businesses understand that it is advantageous to become more sustainable, but do not know how to do it.
This is especially true in predicting policy.
Robin: In her experience she has emphasized that doing nothing costs money to. If you wait, then it may be more expensive in the future when everyone else wants it.
Lori: Costs of policy are focused on a chosen few, but the benefits go to everyone.
Another possible solution: Is there a role for academia in as an intermediary between business and policy.
E.g. There are faculty at the Business school that could advise companies on benefits. Their opinion may be more effective.
Robin: we can make businesses behind environmental policy by emphasizing job creation.
E.g. there are 8000 parts that go into every wind turbine. Automotive manufacturing is tapering off in the US. These people who are watching their business disappear would be interested in transitioning into creating new parts.
Lori: buzzwords like "non-outsourceable" jobs could catalyze large groups of people into getting behind Environmental Policy
Veronica: The language is very important. How do you reconcile business language with advocacy?
E.g. "Sustainability, Clean Coal, etc"
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