Tag Archives: 2018

BCSE Quarterly Connection: Summer 2018

BCSE Quarterly Connection: Summer 2018

In this issue:

President’s View: New Federal Climate Policies Emerge

July has seen a resurgence of attention to federal climate change policy and carbon pricing – with energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy technologies at the center of the solution set.  With the introduction of a carbon tax bill in the House of Representatives, the Market Choice Act, by Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), and the launch of coalitions focused on elevating federal policy responses to both greenhouse gas reduction and enhancing resilience from natural disasters, new political coalitions are emerging.  This provides significant opportunities for the Council to shape policies to ensure that initiatives cost-effectively reduce emissions and help communities prepare for the impacts of climate change using the broad portfolio of clean energy technologies.  BCSE has long supported federal legislative action on an economy-wide, market-based approach to address climate change.  As new industries and stakeholders are coming to the table with ideas on policy and non-policy drivers to accelerate action, the Council’s history of crafting market-based programs is ready to share its expertise in this new round of action.

BCSE Communications Network Shares Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Communications

These days there are almost too many ways to connect with your clients, contacts and target audiences. Here are a few tips to consider doing what you already do, but just a little bit better, courtesy of the BCSE Communications Network.

  • E-mail subject lines with 29-39 characters get the best click through numbers; 4-15 characters get best open rate.
  • A/B test your content – try different times or subject lines for e-mails and different graphics and text for paid advertisements on social media.
  • Video. Video. Plus, a little humor every now and then on social media will boost your likes.
  • Make sure your website has a privacy policy and notification about cookies.
  • Get consent from your contacts to e-mail them, especially if they live in Europe.

The BCSE Communications Network has been spending its summer diving deep into a range of topics, including expanding digital media reach, effective emails campaigns, and managing data & privacy policies.  The above tips have emerged from this lunch & learn series, which will continue in the Fall.  For more information, please contact Laura Tierney ([email protected]).

Hear the Chorus of Climate Action at Upcoming Global Climate Action Summit

San Francisco, California, will be hosting upwards of 50,000 people the week of September 10 at the Global Climate Action Summit.  The Summit will be accompanied by over 350 affiliate events that week, held by leaders from cities, states, businesses, and other stakeholders.  This includes events by the BCSE, the Alliance to Save Energy, PG&E Corporation, the U.S. Green Building Council, WRI’s Building Efficiency Accelerator and many more.  Details on these events will be made public by mid to late August.

The aim of the summit is to demonstrate a commitment to climate action by sub-national actors, and to pressure national governments to do more on climate change. The Summit, from September 12-14 is co-chaired by California Governor Jerry Brown, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, UN Special Envoy Michael Bloomberg, Mahindra Group’s Anand Mahindra and China’s Climate Change Minister Xie Zhenhua.  The Summit will focus on five cross-cutting challenge areas: healthy energy systems, inclusive economic growth, sustainable communities, land and ocean stewardship, and transformative climate investments.  Find out the latest on the Summit website or contact Laura Tierney ([email protected]) for more information.

BCSE Resilience and Reliability Dialogue Highlights Need for Education and Better Quantification of Benefits

Starting in May, the Council launched a strategic initiative on resilience and reliability.  The purpose of the initiative is to capture the breadth and scope of these important market drivers for BCSE industries and to share information gaps and policy ideas with decision-makers at the federal, state and local level. A member-only Thought Leaders Series began this spring with guest speakers from the National League of Cities, the National Governors Association, MIT, the Department of Energy as well as leading land management and national security experts.

Key take aways from these discussions have been that resilience and reliability are intertwined, but have distinct aspects.  Further, the conversations have highlighted the need for policymakers to be educated on the economic and human health benefits of pre-disaster and post-disaster resilience investments, and that better tools to quantify the

benefits are needed.  As this effort progresses, BCSE will release a coalition brief of this topic and will continue to advocate for federal legislation to enhance resilience and reliability.

Congress Considers Disaster Recovery Reform as 2018 Hurricane & Wildfire Seasons Begin

The partnership with BCSE and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) has been positive as the two organizations continue working together to advocate in support of disaster recovery reform and resilience provisions in various pieces of legislation.  BCSE and NASEO, along with BCSE members such as the US Green Building Council (USGBC), have been working to add the Senate version of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA), S.3041, as an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Bill, HR 4. The provisions in the DRRA represent a national focus on pre-disaster mitigation and response measures that - for the first time - will ensure the United States will be better prepared for disasters by advancing electric grids, power supplies and building stock that are reliable, more resilient, agile, cost effective, cyber-secure, and environmentally sound.

NARUC Events Provide Opportunity for Partnerships with Clean Energy Stakeholder Groups

BCSE members met with utility commissioners from the mid-Atlantic region at breakfast sessions held during the  June meeting of the Mid Atlantic Regulatory Utility Commissioners (MACRUC) in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  Members of the Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN) and GridWise Alliance joined the Council to share information and updates on our work, while commissioners from Ohio, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and the U.S. Virgin Islands addressed pressing topics from their states. In addition to the breakfast sessions, BCSE continued its very popular sponsorship of a photographer at the MACRUC President’s Installation Dinner. BCSE also co-sponsored a clean energy industry reception at the National Association of Regulatory Utilities Commissioners (NARUC) meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, in July along with AEE, ACORE, AWEA, CERES, GridWise Alliance, and SEIA.

Clean Air Subcommittee Tracks Carbon Pricing, EPA Developments

Over the past several weeks, the BCSE Clean Air Subcommittee has held meetings to learn more about the landscape of carbon pricing policies at the state level and what’s being proposed at the federal level. Dan Delurey, President of the Wedgemere Group, gave an overview of both the state policy landscape and the various groups working on carbon pricing. These include the Climate Leadership Council, the Citizens Climate Lobby, and others. Catrina Rorke of the Climate Leadership Council will speak at the next Clean Air meeting on August 6 about their carbon price proposal. The Council is also reviewing its climate change policy statement, with an eye toward updating the principles to reflect members’ current priorities.

BCSE and its members also continue to follow several regulations expected to be acted on by EPA in the coming weeks and months. As Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler begins his leadership of the EPA, many expect that the EPA’s agenda will remain largely unchanged, but that his approach will be different and more transparent than his predecessor. The administration’s proposed replacement for the Clean Power Plan is expected in the late summer or early fall, and the revised Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards could come as early as this week.

Conference Negotiations over Spending Bills and Farm Bill Programs Address Clean Energy

House and Senate conference negotiations continue over a three bill “minibus” that includes the Energy and Water Development, Veterans Affairs, Military Construction and Legislative Branch Appropriations Bills. Congress is hopeful the “minibus” will be signed into law before the end of the current fiscal year in September. Appropriators were able to address a shortfall for veterans’ health care which made progress on the rest of the bill possible.  BCSE has weighed in with conferees regarding our funding priorities for the Department of Energy in the three bill “minibus.” BCSE has also weighed in on a second, four bill “minibus,” which includes funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, along with other agencies. That bill is expected to be passed by the Senate before the August Recess and go to conference in September. Funding levels for BCSE priorities in both “mini-buses” are positive.
In addition to the funding bills, the House and Senate are going to conference to reauthorize the Farm Bill this summer. BCSE has been advocating in support of rural energy programs and for the continuation of modest, cost-effective investment.  Farm Bill energy title programs provide the means for agriculture-based entrepreneurs to launch initiatives to generate jobs and economic development – from wind, geothermal, hydro and solar power, to biogas and advanced biofuels, to biopower, bio-based products, renewable chemicals, and energy efficiency.  The energy title has enabled farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses to become more self-sufficient, and bring high-value products to market.

New Member Spotlight:
Capital Power

BCSE recently welcomed a new member to the coalition: Capital Power. Capital Power Corporation is an independent power generation company based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Capital Power develops, acquires, and operates power generation from a variety of energy sources, including natural gas and wind, in Canada and the United States.

Clean Energy Business Network's Faces Behind the Facts

 The Clean Energy Business Network released 5 new profiles in July for the ongoing Faces Behind the Facts series, which tells the stories of business leaders behind the trends in the 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook. Learn how BioJoe and Beth Renwick grew one of the southeast’s leading biodiesel companies out of their garage, Matthew Goss went from pit crew member to energy consultant, and Jim Newman became the “Dean of Green.” See these fresh new faces.

Featured Event: National Clean Energy Week

Washington, DC - September 24-28
The BCSE is pleased to announce this year’s National Clean Energy Week (NCEW) will take place in Washington, DC, during the week of September 24. The second annual NCEW will include a full day symposium, associated dinners, a young professionals reception, and more.

For additional details and the full schedule, please visit www.nationalcleanenergyweek.org.

Clean Energy Businesses Urge Maximum Funding Levels in FY2019 DOE Appropriations Bill (July 19, 2018)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                           

July 19, 2018

Contact: Laura Tierney
Email: [email protected]
Office: 202.785.0507

Clean Energy Businesses Urge Maximum Funding Levels in FY2019 DOE Appropriations Bill
Report language should be included to ensure funds are obligated and spent as directed by Congress

Washington, DC –Clean energy businesses made the case for funding Department of Energy clean energy programs in a letter released this week to House and Senate conferees on the so-called “minibus” legislation, which includes funding for Energy and Water Development programs, Veterans Affairs and Military Construction and the Legislative Branch.   

Lisa Jacobson, President of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy made the following statement upon release of the letter:

“BCSE industries in the renewable energy, energy efficiency and natural gas sectors have long partnered with the federal government on research and development and have worked together to bring clean energy innovation to the market.

“Renewable energy, energy efficiency and natural gas deliver more jobs, increased economic growth, greater energy productivity and fewer emissions for the United States (2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook). This market dynamism and success is the result of a long-time bipartisan consensus of world class research, both pure and applied, successfully linked with industry.

“To ensure that DOE clean energy programs continue to build upon this existing partnership and market growth, we urge Congress to accept the maximum funding levels for DOE clean energy programs in conference negotiations and to include clear and direct report language to ensure that funds are obligated and spent as directed by Congress.”

Examples of innovation can be found in a project entitled Faces Behind the Facts produced by the Clean Energy Business Network (CEBN), BCSE’s partner organization of 3,000+ business leaders from small to medium-sized companies across the U.S.  Faces Behind the Facts tells the story of clean energy business leaders across America.  Many of whom have benefitted from federal programs to launch their business ventures and provide solutions that work for American consumers and taxpayers.




The Business Council for Sustainable Energy joined state utility commissioners and others at the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (MACRUC) 2018 Annual Education Conference from June 24-27 in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

BCSE sponsored MP Photography to take photos of guests (and their families) at the MACRUC President’s Installation dinner on June 26.

The photos will be available after June 29 to download for free and print packages will also be available for purchase. 

View or download your photos here!

Department of Defense Invests in Making Energy Savings and Increasing Resilience

June 20, 2018 | Jennifer Schafer-Soderman, Executive Director, Federal Performance Contracting Coalition |

The Senate’s recent passage of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 included important energy resiliency measures that support the Department of Defense (DOD)’s increased use of Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) and Utility Energy Service Contracts (UESCs) to modernize and upgrade U.S. military facilities.

The specification to use these energy efficiency and energy financing tools will not only enable the DOD to meet its energy resilience requirements but will also allow it to address its infrastructure maintenance backlog. The use of these financing tools leverages private sector investment to meet our country’s defense goals.

 | ESPCs have achieved over $20 billion in guaranteed energy savings across the federal government.

In an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) or Utility Energy Savings Contract (UESC), the private sector works with the government customer to develop a project, but then the private company implements that project, measures and verifies savings every year, and guarantees that the savings will accrue. The private sector is repaid out of these guaranteed utility bill savings allowing for no added expenditures by the federal government.

About the Federal Performance Contracting Coalition (FPCC)

The FPCC is a group of 14 Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) advocating for increased federal use of Energy Savings Performance Contracts by the federal government. The FPCC activities focus primarily on barrier removal and ensuring "more, faster, bigger and better" ESPC projects in the federal ESPC marketplace. The FPCC is the primary organization representing ESPC industry and our members represent over 90% of federal ESPCs. The Business Council for Sustainable Energy is the administrator of the FPCC. For more information, please visit: http://federalperformancecontracting.com.

BCSE Technology Brief: States Take the Lead on Renewable Natural Gas

The policy landscape is changing for renewable natural gas, and market opportunities for the domestic, renewable, clean fuel and energy source are expanding as well. Under the leadership of one of BCSE’s partner organizations, the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas, states are advancing policies that promote the use of renewable natural gas (RNG). These policies are needed to create market certainty, which is necessary to drive greater development, deployment and utilization of RNG.

Thirty-seven states and DC have Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) programs, which can be met in part by producing renewable electricity from RNG. Many states and regions are also adopting policies that facilitate the use of RNG for transportation fuel. The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is the California regulation that requires a 10% reduction in transportation fuel carbon intensity by 2020. Governors of CT, DE, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PN, RI, and VT signed a 2009 memorandum of understanding committing to develop a regional low carbon fuel standard. Many states are considering new policies to create new markets for RNG, such as California’s Senate Bill 1440, which would establish a biomethane procurement goal for gas corporations.

As the policy landscape continues to evolve, states and the federal government should continue to support policies that promote the use of renewable natural gas, and result in longer term market certainty for this renewable energy and ultra low-carbon fuel.

RNG has many applications that make it a valuable and flexible resource. It can be blended with or substitute for conventional natural gas in vehicles as well as in commercial, industrial and residential end-use applications. RNG can be used to power your home or business’ natural gas appliances. It can also be converted to Compressed Natural Gas (R-CNG) or Liquefied Natural Gas (R-LNG) to fuel natural gas vehicles; many cities have transitioned their diesel bus fleets to natural gas engines fueled by renewable natural gas.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a federal program administered by the US Environmental Protection Agency requiring transportation fuel sold in the United States to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuel. Renewable Natural Gas meets the highest standards of RFS2 for lifecycle GHG emissions reduction, and currently comprises greater than 95% of all the cellulosic biofuel under the RFS program.

Many are familiar with natural gas, and with renewable resources, but what exactly is renewable natural gas?

Renewable Natural Gas (RNG, Biomethane) is an ultra-low carbon alternative to traditional natural gas. When organic waste breaks down naturally, it emits methane gas, also called biogas, a mixture of carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons. Renewable natural gas is biogas that has been upgraded to transportation fuel grade specifications or natural gas pipeline quality standards such that it may blend with, or substitute for, geologic natural gas. Large amounts of biogas (the raw, freshly emitted and untreated gas) can be collected at local landfills, wastewater treatment plants, commercial food waste facilities and agricultural digesters (dairies, etc.).

For more information on RNG, please see the RNG Coalition website at www.rngcoalition.com


Businesses, States, Cities Lead the Way on Climate Action in the United States (June 1, 2018)

June 1, 2018

Contact: Laura Tierney
Email: [email protected]
Office: 202.785.0507

Businesses, States, Cities Lead the Way on Climate Action in the United States

Washington, DC – BCSE President Lisa Jacobson issued the following statement on the progress of clean energy and climate action in the United States today:

“A surge of climate action is taking place in the United States, lead by American leaders in cities, states, the private sector, universities and other parts of society.  This action is taking place across these diverse cross-sections of America because there are economic, environmental and public health benefits.

“We are decoupling economic growth from emissions reductions.  Costs are falling in a broad range of clean energy technologies that have made significant emissions reductions possible – and we are not seeing corresponding increases in costs for American businesses and households.

“We believe these trends will continue because of the wide-spread benefits of climate action and preparedness to the U.S. economy.  Investments and deployment of clean energy are already well underway in the United States – with an increasingly diverse set of solutions from the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors emerging as the growth sectors of the U.S. energy landscape. “

The latest edition of Sustainable Energy in America Factbook chronicles the latest in this clean energy transformation as of 2017, including:

  • 93% of new power capacity built in the U.S. over the past 25 years has come from natural gas and renewable energy, including hydropower.
  • Natural gas and renewable energy accounted for 50% of all electricity generation in 2017, up from 31% in 2008.
  • The energy productivity of the U.S. economy grew 2.5% in 2017 as economic growth continued its long-term trend of decoupling from energy use. Energy productivity has increased 17.3% since 2008.
  • The U.S. power sector is driving the economy’s de-carbonization as its emissions fell 4.2% in 2017. Power sector emissions now sit 28% below their 2005 peak.
  • American consumers devoted less than 4% of their total annual household spending on energy in 2017.

Download the press release.

BCSE Statement on U.S. Energy and Employment Report (May 15, 2018)

May 16, 2018                                                                                                                       

Contact: Laura Tierney
Email: [email protected]
Office: 202.785.0507

BCSE Statement on U.S. Energy and Employment Report
Clean Energy Industries Show Strong Employment Figures, Support over 3 Million U.S. Jobs

Washington, DC – Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) President Lisa Jacobson made the following statement about the U.S. Energy and Employment Report released earlier today:

“The Business Council for Sustainable Energy commends the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and the Energy Futures Initiative for carrying forward this important assessment of employment in the energy sector.  The report is valuable because it is a resource that tracks employment in the energy sector, which is a critical component of the U.S. economy.

“This year’s U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) affirms the fact that these clean energy sectors – energy efficiency, natural gas, and renewable energy – are the growth sectors of the American economy, supporting over 3 million jobs across the country.

“By taking a close look at the USEER and overlaying the lenses of current policy discussions on tax, grid modernization, resilience, infrastructure and energy innovation, we can see even greater untapped potential.  Strengthening policy certainty and encouraging investments in clean energy will increase the number of jobs these sectors provide and broaden the reach of economic benefits to households across the country.”

Highlights of the report include:

  • The energy efficiency sector now employs 2.25 million Americans and added 67,000 new jobs – or 50 percent of total new jobs in the energy sector – in 2017.
  • Natural gas sector employment numbers are also rising, adding 19,000 new jobs in 2017.
  • Combined heat and power, which represents 8.5 percent of U.S. generation, doubled its jobs numbers in 2017.
  • In renewable energy, the wind industry increased its workforce by 6 percent, adding 107,000 jobs; the solar industry employed 350,000 Americans; and the bio-energy sector experienced the fastest growth, increasing its employment by 55 percent to over 4,000 workers in 2017.


Download this press release here.

Energy Business Groups Call for Protection of American Energy Transition and Opportunities to Improve Trade Relations with China (May 15, 2018)

May 15, 2018                  

Energy Business Groups Call for Protection of American Energy Transition and Opportunities to Improve Trade Relations with China

Washington, DC –  A coalition of energy groups submitted written comments on May 11 to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to express the concerns of a broad range of U.S. energy interests regarding the potential impact of proposed trade tariffs with China on the growing American clean energy industry.

The groups, which include the Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), the Alliance to Save Energy, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE), spoke to the strength of the clean and advanced energy and energy efficiency resources in the United States, representing $200 billion of economic activity and employing more than 3 million workers across the country.

“Energy-efficient products help consumers and businesses save energy and money, and we should be thinking of ways to increase those opportunities, not hinder them. Unfortunately, these proposed tariffs would make it more difficult and more expensive for Americans to access the long-term savings of these energy-saving technologies,” said Alliance to Save Energy President Jason Hartke. “Moreover, the U.S. energy efficiency industry, and the more than two million jobs it supports, uses many of these products to deliver energy savings and we don’t want to see that success disrupted or that industry weakened. It is important that the administration understand the potential negative effects of tariffs on energy efficiency.”

“Businesses in the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors are committed to growing the U.S. clean energy economy and are participants in the global economy – with component providers and customers throughout China,” commented BCSE President Lisa Jacobson.  “We recognize that the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) is a critical component of business operations and development in any country, and fundamental to energy innovation. We seek opportunities to work with the Trump administration and Chinese government leaders to implement improved trade relations.”


Ben Somberg, Alliance to Save Energy, [email protected], 202-530-2223
Laura Tierney, Business Council for Sustainable Energy, [email protected], 202-785-0507


Download the press release.

Future-proofing Supply Chains in the Face of Climate Change

May 8, 2018 │ Ashley Allen, Climate & Land Senior Manager, Mars, Inc. 

As the complexities of climate change loom large across all sectors, one thing is becoming increasingly clear for corporations: taking action on climate change is smart business. But while the business case for investing in clean energy to fuel business operations is well-known, for many companies the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions and climate risk exist in their supply chains. Only by using their influence to address climate change in their supply chains will businesses thrive into the future.

Mars restores coral reefs in the Coral Triangle, which increases resilience of coastal communities.

Corporate climate action is growing.

Over the last few years, the business community has awakened to the reality that actively responding to climate change isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s better for the bottom line.    More than 12,500 companies, cities and other non-government entities – “non-state actors” in United Nations (UN) parlance – have registered climate commitments and actions into the UN NAZCA portal (an on-line data platform named after the ancient Peruvian geoglyphs that represent symbols of nature). More than 380 companies have signed on to develop science-based targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in alignment with the goal outlined in the UN Paris Agreement to keep global warming to under two degrees Celsius. In the United States, the business community has come out especially strong in support of the We Are Still In campaign, which provides a platform for U.S. companies and subnational governments to pick up the mantle of the Paris Agreement as the U.S. Administration vows to pull out.

The business case for climate action is clear.

The enthusiasm of the private sector for taking action on climate change is perhaps unsurprising in light of the ever-clearer business case. According to a 2017 article by the New Climate Economy, 190 of the Fortune 500 companies collectively saved $3.7 billion in 2016 through renewable energy and energy efficiency. And taking action early to reduce greenhouse gas emissions can give companies a competitive advantage over late-movers as an increasing number of countries and regions institute a carbon price. In 2017 around 42 national and 25 subnational jurisdictions had a carbon pricing scheme, generating a cumulative $20 billion in revenue. At Mars, this solid business case motivated us to launch our Sustainable in a Generation Plan, including targets to achieve 100 percent renewable energy by 2040 and cut our full value chain carbon emissions by 27 percent by 2025 and 67 percent by 2050. Stated simply, climate action is smart business.

Agricultural supply chains are at significant risk.

While the clean energy business case is broadly accepted at this point, the risk exposure and loss potential of climate change impacts for companies’ full value chains is less well understood, and perhaps even more significant. Consider the Mars supply chain: to make the branded products that consumers love, such as M&M’S®, Uncle Ben’s®, and Whiskas®, we source hundreds of ingredients from more than 80 countries.  In the face of climate change, crops are exposed to stronger and more frequent storms, less predictable precipitation, and increasing potential for drought or other climate extremes. Around the world, agricultural systems depend on predictable cycles of sun, rain, and seasonal temperatures. In fact, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, around 80 percent of global agriculture is rain-fed. When weather patterns that farmers count on are disrupted, food production suffers. The remaining 20 percent of agricultural area that is irrigated produces 40 percent of the world’s food, and is located primarily in China, India and Pakistan. Heat and drought conditions that increase water stress also threaten production in these areas, which are at the same time facing growing populations and growing demand for food.

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in a Climate One podcast with Jason Clay, senior vice president at the World Wildlife Fund, an expert in climate change and food. Jason described countless examples of shifts in the areas where foods are traditionally grown – oats are now produced in Canada instead of the U.S.; the U.S. Corn Belt is edging toward the Canadian border, as well; and Russia is seeing bumper harvests of wheat as record temperatures boost yields, to name a few examples. As the world continues to see shifting trends in global agriculture, companies that depend on crops to create their products are going to have to adapt to continue to be successful.

The key to future-proofing supply chains is sustainable sourcing.

So what can companies do now to help climate-proof their supply chains for the future?  The Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure recommends that companies begin to screen their business now for climate risks, plan for multiple climate change scenarios, and set up the governing structures to reduce their exposure to these risks. F

or food companies, the bulk of these risks appear at the highest tier of their supply chains, where farmers grow or produce the ingredients with which their products are made. Food companies rarely have direct control on how these ingredients are grown, or direct relationships with the farmers who grow them. Instead, food companies can influence the production of these ingredients through sustainable sourcing strategies – essentially setting standards and making strategic decisions on how and what they buy.

Planning for the future and advancing climate-responsive agricultural production through sustainable sourcing can both help tackle the causes of climate change and build resilience to climate shocks. At Mars, we’re developing strategies to sustainably source the key ingredients we depend on. Sustainable sourcing strategies can improve the social and environmental impacts of ingredients, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and take into account the changing political, environmental, and other contexts in which those ingredients are produced. For example, in our rice supply chain we’ve set up water efficiency programs with farmers in water-stressed regions in Pakistan, India and Spain. In Pakistan, initial results have seen water use reduced by 30 percent and farmers’ income increased by 75 percent. In the U.S., we’re advancing alternate wetting and drying techniques to reduce water use. These efforts also reduce methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas.

Mars is helping farmers in Pakistan adopt water-saving measures for basmati rice production

Mars is also working to build resilience in critical ecosystems that support our supply chains. For example, we’re supporting the world’s largest coral reef restoration program in the Coral Triangle area near Indonesia, which is threatened by ocean acidification, ocean warming, overfishing, and other stresses. Using steel ‘spider’ structures to fill in damaged reef areas, the project has increased coral growth cover and diversity. Restored reefs provide food, shelter and spawning areas for a variety of marine mammals and fish, such as tuna which is an important supply chain for Mars pet food brands.

Companies need to step up on supply chain sustainability.

Of course nothing is ever fully future-proofed or climate-proofed. Climate change is by nature unpredictable, and because of the bank of CO2 that has already built up in the atmosphere, some level of climate change is inevitable. What’s missing is a clear process for embedding mid- and long-term climate scenarios into existing corporate risk management systems, to lower the risk of supply volatility and disruption. If climate science can be effectively translated for business, companies can make sourcing decisions that lower climate risks and raise the resilience of food systems. Reams of climate data and climate change scenarios are publicly available. Already this data is being translated into tools and metrics for national governments, states and cities to build climate resilience. We need climate, agricultural and business experts to come together to translate these data and tools for businesses, so that companies can integrate this data within their existing strategies and business systems. And we need food companies to step up and commit to sustainability not only in their operations, but in their supply chains, so that we can transform the agricultural sector into the clean and resilient food system of the future.

This article was originally posted by the author to her LinkedIn profile on April 20, 2018 and is re-published here with the author's permission.

BCSE Statement on Farm Bill Energy Provisions (May 3, 2018)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                           

May 3, 2018                                                                                                                                       

Contact: Laura Tierney

Email: [email protected]

Office: 202.785.0507

Clean Energy Businesses Urge Action on Energy Provisions in Farm Bill

Washington, DC – Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) President, Lisa Jacobson, made the following statement about the urgent need for Congress to maintain a bipartisan energy title in the comprehensive Farm Bill rewrite.

“The Council urges Congress to reauthorize and maintain stable mandatory funding for energy title programs in the next farm bill reauthorization. It is essential that a healthy, robust bipartisan energy title continue as part of new comprehensive agriculture legislation.

“The farm bill energy title programs have assisted rural America to develop clean, renewable energy, bio-based products, and to make energy efficiency investments.

“Energy title programs provide the means for agriculture-based entrepreneurs to launch initiatives to generate jobs and economic development – from wind, geothermal, hydro and solar power, to biogas and advanced biofuels, to biopower, bio-based products, renewable chemicals, and energy efficiency. The energy title has enabled farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses to become more self-sufficient, and bring high-value products to market.

“For America’s farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses to continue to be leaders in the development and the advancement of the clean energy economy, it is critical the next Farm Bill reauthorize programs such as the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and other energy title programs,” Jacobson said.

For a complete copy of a letter the Council sent to Congress about the Farm Bill go here.