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.

3. Weigh in Now

One of the most important things companies and investors can do is make their voices heard and use their influence to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy. Companies can also show leadership by calling for – and publicly supporting — policies that cut climate pollution, such as the recently introduced Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. This bill sets ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals and harnesses the power of the market to meet them, letting businesses choose for themselves how to cut pollution. The bill is also designed to drive investment and innovation in new, better, and faster ways to cut emissions.

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.


Contact EDF to learn more about policy engagement.