Apr 10, 2012

Sustainability Lobbying - A New Frontier

(The following post is from our guest blogger, Mark Walker, president of B2B4ME. posted 4/10/12.)

Forming a lobbying group within B2B4ME is the last segment in our production of a total solution for creating true sustainability.  In working with our European value chains of sustainable corporations we have found each are utterly baffled by their peers in the United States.  Sustainability is becoming main stream in Europe and they have almost a decade of legislative reforms created to aid the growth of sustainability overseas.  Here’s why it is a future mandate for the U.S.

The Two PRs

The biggest PR effect of sustainable legislation is not what you would think at first glance.  The biggest reasons for sustainable legislation are Protection and Reimbursement.  The laws can protect fledgling sustainability efforts in many ways.  In France, Germany and UK certified sustainable businesses get first considerations for projects and higher cost parameters because they will not be externalizing so many costs as their less sustainable peers.  The reimbursement portion is where the sustainability legislation grants lower taxes for each certified sustainable result for businesses.  This is a much better path than trying Pigovian taxes, whereby businesses that externalize costs are taxed for them.   The carrot works far better than the club!

The second PR is the usual namesake for this acronym – public relations.  Many industrial societies as they age find many groups that want to re-allocate the existing profits from the net production rather than chance creating new production.  This is the main reason empires fail.  But sustainable production flips this trend on its head!  Consider this current scenario:  A business externalizes many social, environmental, and economic costs onto the public.  Down range, the government may or may not catch some small portion of these externalizations after spending millions to track them down and recoup some small portion. 

Now for the new sustainable scenario:  A certified sustainable business describes in detail how changes in production have eliminated certain systemic costs from their production line and lowered these externalized costs by a certain percentage.  For example, for every ton of polysilicon (a major component of solar panels) manufacturers produce four (4) tons of silicon tetra chloride (a toxin).  China is offering polysilicon for $21,000 -$55,000 per ton while countries with pollution controls are averaging $86,000 per ton.  Removing a known toxin from a production process is a huge win for the planet and should be given the big PR, Protection and Reimbursement, through national and state legislation. A certified sustainable business that could produce polysilicon without producing four times as much silicon tetrachloride would be huge!

The first scenario recoups net costs of .0001% after years.  The second scenario eliminates 100% of certified externalized costs immediately!  This is a tremendous shot in the arm for the countries' GNP and a strong reason why Germany is so firmly embracing this path.

At B2B4ME we are forming a committee with representatives from our hubs overseas and our hubs here in the U.S. to begin forming sustainability legislation for the United States.  If you are interested in joining this work then please contact us at:  info@B2B4ME.com  with  “Lobbying” in the subject line.

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