The Hill: Lawmakers say companies need to play key role in sustainability

THE HILL, JARED GANS

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle Friday said companies should be treated as key stakeholders in efforts to find sustainable solutions to climate change.

Speaking at The Hill’s “Sustainability Imperative” event, Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) said markets are an effective way to bolster sustainability and that the government’s role is to create incentives or structures that can help create a more sustainable future.

“In my view, this is both good economics, good investing, and also produces an outcome that is good for the common good,” Boyle, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, told The Hill’s Steve Clemons.

He said governments need to strike a balance with standards for offering tax credits to companies that follow environmental, social and corporate governance guidelines that support sustainability. Standards that are too high, he said, will turn companies away from trying to meet the guidelines, but standards too low will result in giving away more money than needed.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), chair of the House Agriculture Committee’s conservation and forestry subcommittee, said bringing in farmers and food producers’ expertise to discussions about sustainability can lead to solutions that also strengthen their industry.

The Virginia Democrat said she plans to reintroduce the Growing Climate Solutions Act, a measure that would allow farmers and producers to be part of a carbon marketplace.

Spanberger, who also serves on the Agriculture Committee’s panel on commodity, exchanges, energy and credit, said her bill would provide technical assistance to farmers who enroll in the carbon marketplace and set up a certification program at the Department of Agriculture to identify experts to help farmers through the carbon credit process.

“The value here is that carbon markets for the farmers who choose to engage in them really create an opportunity for them to have additional revenue streams,” she said.

The legislation garnered 20 cosponsors in the House during the previous Congress but never received a floor vote.

Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), ranking member of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, said many companies are involved in producing conventional forms of energy like oil and gas as well as alternative ones like wind.

“There is a lot of that kind of symbiotic relationship for a lot of the lessons learned from the conventional energy industry being applied to the renewable energy industry,” Graves said.

The Hill’s event was sponsored by the American Investment Council, the American Petroleum Institute, the Consumer Brands Association, Philip Morris International, Electric Last Mile Solutions, Securing America’s Future Energy and XL Fleet.

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