Today’s leading companies recognize that it is no longer enough to tend their own sustainability gardens. Businesses are expected to work together to improve sustainability across their supply chains and to go beyond compliance to support the policies needed to ensure a thriving economy and a healthy planet. These environmental safeguards can drive innovation; create jobs; foster efficiencies; support long-term competitiveness; and, help companies meet their sustainability goals.

Further, investors and stakeholders are increasingly scrutinizing companies’ engagement in public policy, and demanding consistency with their sustainability goals. Customers and employees broadly support policies that cut carbon pollution and protect human health.

Policy engagement – at the local, state, and national level – should be a no-brainer for companies that have made commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions or shift to renewable energy, or signed on to We Are Still In. That's why EDF is urging businesses to stay on course towards a cleaner and more competitive economy by standing up for strong environmental protections and action on climate change.

Here are three essential elements of leadership on policy advocacy.

1. Set Your Policy Engagement Goals

Here are some key steps to consider in developing your policy plan and goals:

  • Identify which policies affect your ability to meet your environmental goals (it’s not just the ones that directly regulate you).
  • Understand where you have the greatest influence (by sector and geography).
  • Determine which policies you want to influence in the short, medium and long-term – then set your policy engagement goals.
  • Be transparent: include your policy goals in your sustainability reporting; disclose your trade association memberships – and make sure your trade associations represent your sustainability goals; and, disclose your political giving.

2. Collaborate for Impact

Companies don’t have to go it alone in the policy arena – look for opportunities to increase your influence by joining with others.

The Sustainable Food Policy Alliance, for example, is a promising step forward by four influential companies – Danone North America; Mars, Incorporated; Nestlé USA; and Unilever United States – that could serve as a model for policy engagement. This collaboration aims to leverage collaboration to inspire policy action that improves transparency for consumers, supports farm communities, and tackles climate change.

Leadership also includes showing support for policymakers that bring forth climate solutions.

When representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) introduced the MARKET CHOICE Act (H.R. 6463), a bill that would repeal fuel taxes and replace them with a carbon tax, 34 leading companies — including Campbell Soup Company, BP America, Shell, Dow Chemical Co., DuPont, National Grid, and General Motors — signed onto a letter thanking Rep. Curbelo for his leadership on climate. In this letter, the businesses noted that, “valuing or pricing carbon and strengthening our economy are not mutually exclusive – something we, as businesses, have understood for many years.”

3. Weigh in Now: Register Support for the Clean Power Plan 

A new proposal aims to scrap the Clean Power Plan in favor of a rule that will increase health-harming pollution from coal power plants and, by the Environmental Protection Agency's own estimates, could result in more than one thousand extra deaths per year by 2030.

  • The Clean Power Plan is central to the U.S.’s ability to achieve the emission reductions agreed to in Paris in 2015. It also establishes a predictable framework for reducing carbon pollution from the power sector, and creates a stable environment for planning and investment for companies across all sectors.
  • Rolling back the Clean Power Plan would slow job growth by reducing demand for clean energy, a sector that is adding jobs far faster than the rest of the economy. It would also put U.S. manufacturers of low-carbon technologies at a disadvantage globallyif demand for their products shrinks here at home.

What you can do:

Engage in the upcoming rulemaking process to put your company on the record in support of a clean energy future and opposed to this roll back. Your company can do this by submitting comments and/or attending a public hearing.

Make clear today that your company remains committed to adopting clean energy by restating its desire to transition to 100 percent renewable energy over the coming decade.  Consider joining the over 100 influential businesses that have joined RE100 and demonstrated support for a clean energy future.

Here are 3 essential elements of leadership on policy advocacy – including business support for the #CleanPowerPlan via @EDFbiz Click To Tweet


Contact EDF to learn more about policy engagement.