WASHINGTON — VF Corp., Levis Strauss & Co., Nike Inc. and 220 other companies sent a letter Tuesday to President Obama endorsing a plan proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce carbon dioxide emissions at power plants in the next 15 years.
“As businesses concerned about the immediate and long-term implications of climate change, we strongly support the principles behind the draft Carbon Pollution Standard for existing power plants,” the companies said. “The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Carbon Pollution Standard for existing power plants represents a critical step in moving our country towards a clean energy economy.”
The EPA’s proposed plan would cut carbon dioxide emissions at power plants by 30 percent, from a 2005 baseline, by 2030. The agency’s public comment period ended Monday and it is expected to release a final rule by June.
The businesses called tackling climate change “one of America’s greatest economic opportunities of the 21st century.” If implemented, it would be one of the strongest actions the U.S. government has ever taken to address climate change, which is a controversial policy issue on Capitol Hill. Several apparel brands and major retailers have set their own sustainability goals, with some implementing targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The letter, which was also sent to top Congressional leaders, was signed by a wide array of businesses, including Kellogg’s, Starbucks and Nestle. Other brands and retailers signing on included The Adidas Group, Eileen Fisher, Patagonia and Aveda.
“As a company that makes innovative apparel and footwear for people who love the outdoors, we know how important addressing climate change is to our consumers, and therefore, our business,” said Letitia Webster, director of global sustainability at VF, which owns outdoor brands such as The North Face, Timberland and Reef. “EPA’s clean power plan provides the long-term certainty that VF needs to continue to invest in clean energy solutions so that we can do our part to reduce the impacts of climate change.”
The 223 companies lauded the Obama administration for committing to tackling climate change and also for allowing states the flexibility to comply with the proposed standard.
“Clean energy policies are good for our environment, the economy, and companies,” they wrote. “Increasingly, businesses rely on renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions to improve corporate performance and cut costs.”
The companies pointed to a recent study conducted by Ceres, Calvert Investments and the World Wildlife Fund that found that 60 percent of the combined Fortune 500 companies have set a renewable energy goal or greenhouse gas reduction goal or both.