Smart companies realize that carbon pollution and climate change have an impact - and will continue to have an impact - on their bottom lines.
According to a report just out from CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project), 29 major publicly traded companies now factor into their business models the costs of the carbon they emit, as well as potential business opportunities from reducing carbon emissions. The companies include giants such as Microsoft, Google and Walt Disney, as well as some of the nation's biggest utilities and all of the biggest oil producers. See the full report here.
As the New York Times points out, the CDP report is significant because it indicates businesses could be more inclined to support policies that address climate change.
But it's important to note that these big companies are doing what other smart companies - big, small, in every sector of the economy - are already doing: They're realizing the risks and the potential rewards that come with the huge and growing market for low-carbon energy.
We know that clean energy works for America. As my organization, Environmental Entrepreneurs, recently reported, more than 15,000 clean energy and clean transportation jobs were announced across America in the third quarter of this year. The renewable power sector alone announced more than 6,700 jobs in the third quarter. You can see more details by state, sector and industry here: www.cleanenergyworksforus.org.
The potential impact of future federal standards that would limit carbon pollution is only one factor driving the decisions by businesses to start considering the cost of carbon pollution.
The major companies cited in the CDP report also see the potential of robust market opportunities for all of the technologies that will deliver cleaner, more secure, more locally generated energy at a stable, predictable price.
Their decision to factor the cost of carbon pollution into their future plans will help not only their own businesses, but those who supply them and work with them, including many of the members of my organization.
The bottom line on these bottom-line business decisions: Factoring the costs of carbon pollution into future plans is not only a smart business move; it's also a driver for economic growth and job generation in America.