SAN FRANCISCO: A group of students, activists and executives, led by former Google and Facebook sustainability czar Bill Weihl, is launching ClimateVoice, a new initiative designed to mobilize the workforce to urge corporate advocacy of pro-climate public policies. Students preparing to enter the workforce and current employees will be invited to take the ClimateVoice Pledge, to leverage their influence to urge companies to go #AllinOnClimate. Those making the Pledge will get action updates and tools they can use to raise the climate issue with employers.
“America’s corporate sector has the power to disrupt climate change and put us on a path of steep carbon reductions,” said Weihl, who first revealed the effort at this weekend’s ClimateCAP conference in Virginia. “Many companies are doing great sustainability work in their operations, and some are speaking up -- but not enough of them, and not often enough. Silence is no longer an option. ClimateVoice is mobilizing the power of the workforce to activate companies to raise their voice in climate policy battles.”
ClimateVoice has the support of allies and advisors in the field. “Given the urgency of the climate crisis, companies need to use their resources -- financial, human, and political capital -- to advocate for and drive action.” said Andrew Winston, an expert on business, climate and sustainability strategy who has joined the ClimateVoice Advisory Board. “Students and workers are ready and willing to raise their voice for just and sustainable policies,” said Isha Tobis Clarke of the Bay Area-wide Youth vs Apocalypse, who has also joined the Advisory Board. “Today’s corporate sustainability leaders are thinking beyond their own operations and even their own supply chains, toward also being effective advocates for more aggressive public policies to address climate change,” said Michael Toffel, Senator John Heinz Professor of Environmental Management at Harvard University. “When CEOs advocate for policies across a host of societal issues, they are often guided by their workforce. I’m confident that the same can be true with climate change, and I think ClimateVoice’s initiatives will accelerate this.”
ClimateVoice has announced three policy focus areas for its launch. The Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) would make Virginia a leader on climate, and ClimateVoice is urging action before the close of the legislative session in March. In Illinois, ClimateVoice is calling on workers and companies to back the state’s pending Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA). ClimateVoice will also focus on the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), a regional effort aimed at reducing transportation emissions in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.
Bill Weihl announced the launch of ClimateVoice at the ClimateCAP conference, in front of an audience of business students. Over the next few months, ClimateVoice will be engaging students and activists at a series of climate-related events across the country, with the next stops at the Social Impact Summit held at the University of Chicago on February 28 and the GoGreen conference in Seattle on April 9.
The long term goal of ClimateVoice is to enlist the active voices of hundreds and thousands of current and future employees, to persuade their companies to go #AllinOnClimate -- not just in their own business practices, but in the policy arena. “Unleashing the muscle of the corporate sector will be a climate game changer, tipping the balance on policy battles that are now stacked in favor of polluting industries,” Weihl said. “We invite all current and future employees to visit us at climatevoice.org and take the ClimateVoice Pledge.”