A year ago, we shared our concerns about climate change and some of our sources of hope and inspiration for the future. We were spurred by the U.S. Administration’s announcement that the United States would be pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, which felt like a stunning setback after decades of work and a unique moment of consensus by the global community. In response, we announced that we were joining with a cadre of others organizations to say, “We Are Still In”. A year later we reflect on what has transpired since and where we are headed.
In sharing why we were signing onto the ‘We Are Still In’ statement, I wrote about our optimism and our belief in the power of innovation. It turns out that we are not alone. What started as a sign-on statement in response to the announcement has truly become a movement. Now with 2,770 organizations signed on, coming from all 50 states and every sector of our economy and communities, ‘We Are Still In’ has become a force. The signatories represent 160 million people and $6.2 trillion in GDP. 1,800+ businesses, plus states, counties, cities, universities and colleges have all come together with one voice to say to the world that regardless of what our federal leadership says or does, that we are still moving forward fighting climate change. Now more than ever.
At Stonyfield, we continue to advance progress on climate. We’re working to help create tools for farmers to monitor soil health and increase carbon sequestration in their soils. Partnering with organic dairy and educational farm, Wolfes Neck Farm, we’re helping advance technologies that will improve the way farmers identify the best opportunities on their farm to improve soil health and profitability while increasing the amount of carbon they store in the soil. As part of this project, we’re working to build a network of farms in our own supply chain and beyond that will use these tools. And it’s not just organic farming that has this opportunity. Agriculture has the potential to become a net sink rather than a net source of greenhouse gas emissions and the opportunity to roll-out regenerative farming practices throughout the agricultural community is enormous.
We’ve used our voice to open and continue conversations with legislators and administrators on the state and federal level, sharing our story about why climate change is a business issue for us and why clean energy is important to our business and the economy. As part of the BICEP coalition, we work in a bi-partisan matter to bring the business voice to the table as an advocate for measures that promote clean energy and fight climate change. And we’re joining with other businesses in our home state of New Hampshire to support clean energy.
We also hope to inspire you, our consumers, to support the environment as well. That’s why we’ve launched the “Make Earth Cool Again” campaign to encourage people to get out and vote for the environment in the 2018 midterm elections. It’s more important than ever that people ask questions and consider carefully whether candidates vote for or against environmental interests.
In our own natural products industry, more than 250 companies have made climate commitments. Under the umbrella of the Climate Collaborative, natural product companies large and small are stepping up their game. The Climate Collaborative is working to help companies take meaningful steps to reverse climate change, both on their own and by working together to scale solutions.
Nationally, the good news is that the organization America’s Pledge, a sister movement to ‘We Are Still In’, has committed to quantifying and aggregating the actions of states, cities, businesses and other non-federal actors in the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and share them with the world as our collective effort to fulfill our country’s responsibility.
California, the 6th largest economy in the world, has not only signed on to ‘We Are Still In’ but continues to prove that it is the premier state leader in addressing climate change and driving greenhouse gas reductions. They have already reduced their emissions to 1990 levels and have committed to an additional 40% reduction by 2030. Oh and by the way, they are growing their economy at the same time.
Retail giant Walmart has taken unprecedented action, committing to eliminating a gigaton of greenhouse emissions by 2030 by convening and supporting the work of their suppliers. Talk about leverage! Walmart estimates that the impact would be comparable to taking 211 million cars off the roads.
Even Congress is showing some signs of progress. The Climate Solutions Caucus in the House of Representatives has grown from 40 members to 78. This bipartisan group, which by design is made up of 50% republicans and 50% democrats, is educating themselves and exploring policy options that address the impacts, causes, and challenges of our changing climate.
There is so much more to do. But we remain inspired by so many people, communities, businesses and organizations rising up and taking action. The challenge is huge but the solutions can be built from a million smaller steps. Challenging the status quo is key, and inspiration and innovation critical. All ideas are welcome here at Stonyfield.