Business Leaders Arrive in D.C. to Urge Swift Action On Jobs and Energy

March 11, 2010
Group says climate and energy policies could create up to 1.9 million jobs nationally from 2010 to 2020

Clean energy and Fortune 500 executives arrived in Washington D.C. on March 10 for the fifth and final leg of "Race for American Jobs: Clean Energy Leadership," a coast-to-coast virtual race to drive home the economic and job-creation benefits of national climate and energy legislation.

Sponsored by We Can Lead, the four-week campaign engaged business leaders across the country with events in Oregon, Colorado, Ohio and New Hampshire, before coming to Washington. The 'race' baton, calling for swift passage of comprehensive climate legislation, was hand delivered to Congressional at briefings today on Capitol Hill.

The baton was signed by executives from Best Buy, Nike, Starbucks, Levi Strauss, Jones Lang LaSalle and Stonyfield, as well as clean energy companies, union leaders, investors and youth groups.

We Can Lead is a coalition of more than 150 business leaders -- innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, manufacturers and energy providers

Comprehensive climate and energy policies such as those that passed in the House could create up to 1.9 million jobs nationally from 2010 to 2020, including up to 26,000 jobs in Oregon and 61,000 jobs in Ohio, according to a recent study by the University of California.

"The time to act is now," said Sarah Severn, director of stakeholder mobilization for Nike Inc., which hosted the first leg of the cross-country race Feb. 16 at its Oregon headquarters. "The U.S. needs legislation that gives clean energy entrepreneurs an even playing field to compete globally for innovation and job creation."

"It has become clear the energy landscape is going to change," said Eric Zimmer, president of Ohio-based Tipping Point Renewable Energy. "We face the decision of whether we are going to lead, or lag behind, in the global clean energy economy."

"The sooner we develop national climate policies, the better equipped we'll be to compete in the global race for clean energy and create new jobs here at home," said Jim Hanna, director of environmental impact at Starbucks.

"Stonyfield rejects the notion that climate and energy legislation is going to be costly," said Gary Hirshberg, CEO of the Londonderry-based Stonyfield Farm. "Based on our experience, climate action offers economic opportunity rather than economic penalty. We either get into this now, with the right policies, or we'll find ourselves sitting on the sidelines losing our economic competitiveness."

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