Are small businesses worried about climate change? You betcha!

Businesses Fear Climate Change

New Poll Shows Business Owners Worried

87% See Climate Change as Po­tentially Harmful to their Business,

64% Believe Govern­ment Needs to Regulate Carbon Emissions from Power Plants

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), which represents a membership network of more than 200,000 businesses, released new poll results showing that a large majority of small business owners see climate change as a risk to their businesses. A majority also want the federal government to combat climate change by limiting carbon emissions from power plants, which are the largest single source of the carbon dioxide causing climate change.

“This poll shows that most small business owners are quite worried about climate change in general and specifically endorse the EPA taking action to reduce carbon emissions,” said David Levine, CEO of the American Sustainable Business Council. “Policymakers on both sides of the aisle should pay attention.”

“When businesses experience extreme weather, the economic impact from lost sales and lost productivity can be more damaging that the immediate physical consequences,” said Susan Labandibar, President of Tech Networks of Boston. “From 2011-2013, damage from extreme weather exceeded $200 billion in the U.S.  Small businesses with limited resources, fewer employee bases and locations, often bear the brunt of these costs. Setting limits on carbon pollution promotes innovation in clean energy technologies which helps us create a clean energy future.”

The national, scientific, telephone survey of small business owners found that 87% of business owners named one or more consequences of climate change as po­tentially damaging to their businesses. A majority of business owners (53%) expressed concern about higher energy costs, closely followed by power outages due to stress on the power grid and rising health care costs. In addition, 64% of business owners called for govern­ment regulation to reduce carbon emissions from power plants.

Other key findings from the report expand on the growing concerns of business owners about climate change:

  • 57% said that the biggest carbon emitters should make the biggest reduc­tions in carbon emissions and bear most of the costs of reduction efforts.
  • 53% think extreme weather has harmed, or could harm, their businesses. One in five businesses has already been hurt.
  • Two in five said they would rather pay more for energy than accept the consequences of climate change. Only 25% said they would prefer climate change.

This poll comes after other recent high profile national surveys showing that the American public supports taking action on climate by large and increasing numbers.  The new ASBC poll finds that businesses too are strongly rejecting the climate denial argument and calling for action.

Christine Hughes is the owner of Village Bakery in Athens, OH. She said,“For the first time in 12 years, our organic garlic grower can’t provide garlic for our restaurant, due to the extremely wet and cold winter here in Ohio. Earlier, our organic flour supplier cut off deliveries because of drought in California where the wheat is grown. Disruptions like these are especially hard on the many small businesses still struggling to recover from the Great Recession.”

Noting that the consequences of climate change may not be felt equally by all businesses, Jose Bravo, Executive Director of the Just Transition Alliance said,“Small businesses of color will lose capital and maybe even their entire business due to the effects of climate change. These include lost productivity from health-related issues in the workplace, such as asthma and heat-related illnesses and from natural catastrophes which include access to homes and workplaces. This is especially true in areas that are prone to severe weather because of climate change, such as coastal areas, or urban areas experiencing severe heat island effects, etc.”

ASBC’s poll was conducted by Lake Research Partners and is available here:

The American Sustainable Business Council and the ASBC Action Fund represent a membership network of more than 200,000 businesses nationwide, and more than 325,000 entrepreneurs, executives, managers and investors. The Council informs policy makers and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant and sustainable economy. The Action Fund advocates for legislative change.



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