A Green Megaphone for California’s Small Businesses.

Inaugural Blog post from Susan Frank, Director, California Business Alliance for a Green Economy

Three years ago, we created the California Business Alliance for a Green Economy with a handful of “founding” small business members. Back in 2009, we were just beginning to build a network of like-minded small business owners, CEOs and entrepreneurs to ensure that the business community’s support for clean energy and climate policies was being heard in Sacramento and in media outlets throughout the state.

Originally, the Alliance was formed to give a platform and voice to California’s small businesses who are counting on California to implement AB 32, our state’s landmark clean energy and climate law. In 2009, while there was a clear clean tech voice of support for AB 32 – and plenty of oil industry opposition – there was no single, small business voice expressing support for the law. So the Alliance filled an important gap and with more than 1,230 members today (and growing), it is clear that the need for this network remains strong.

The charter of the Alliance has since expanded to include support for important policies like the Low Carbon Fuel Standard and Advanced Clean Cars Standards, as well as renewable energy, energy efficiency and green building standards.  In terms of AB 32, that law is already creating jobs and economic growth, attracting record venture capital investment in renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies and ensuring California continues to be a global leader in energy solutions that save businesses and consumers money. And voters reaffirmed AB 32 in 2010 by resoundingly defeating Proposition 23, which would have repealed the law and all of the benefits that have come from it.

When we first started the Alliance, small businesses were especially feeling the pain of the economic recession and state budget crisis. Economic challenges continue, yet California’s small and mainstream business leaders understand that price stability comes with these clean energy policies and technologies, which in turn benefits our collective bottom line. These bi-partisan policy solutions are well-documented and  have led to millions of dollars in investments, jobs and economic growth for California.

The Alliance has had many partners over the years – members of the network who have penned opinion editorials, spoken with reporters about the benefits of clean energy policies, released important studies about the true impacts of AB 32 on small business, and championed the notion that AB 32 and having a successful small business go hand in hand.

Some of the founding members in the Alliance network have included:

  • Scott Hauge, founder and president of Small Business California who wrote in 2009, “It is interesting, as a small businessman, to watch large industry weigh in on my behalf…Claiming to act in the best interests of small business, big business has actively lobbied to delay action on climate change.”
  • Mary Sue Milliken, one of the owner-operators of The Border Grill, commented back in 2010: “I am baffled by those who oppose carbon constraints by declaring them bad for business. In the long term, unrestrained and unsustainable energy consumption is bad for business.”
  • Tom Bowman, chairman of Bowman Design Group, once wrote: “…small businesses are well positioned to lead the green revolution. Entrepreneurs can make decisions and take action quickly. And cutting costs is always an important incentive.”

The California Business Alliance for a Green Economy has helped reclaim the authentic voice of California’s small and mainstream businesses over the past three years. And we are really just getting started. Today, the Alliance is recognized as a leading voice for clean energy policies that will help create sustained economic growth for California.

To help provide another outlet for California’s business voices, I am especially excited to launch this new blog which will provide insights into current clean energy and climate policy issues affecting the business community.

Creating a megaphone for Alliance members and like-minded business interests is truly a team sport and your voices are needed now more than ever.

I invite Alliance members to submit blogs for consideration. Together, we can continue to amplify the message that the state’s clean energy policies are good for business, our families and all Californians.

Email greenbizalliance@gmail.com with your proposed blog post and/or a link to your blog, which must contain themes consistent with the Alliance’s mission/charter.

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