In a major effort to combat climate change and promote clean energy, the leaders of British Columbia, California, Oregon and Washington have joined together to form the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy. Through the plan, these leaders charged their governments to account for the costs of carbon pollution, adopt and maintain low-carbon fuel standards, and support clean energy for their region, which together represents the world’s fifth largest economy.
As Skanska continues to grow our business on the West Coast, we’re proud to support this landmark political, environmental and economic initiative.
“We have to work with risk factors all the time, and a changing climate is a significant business risk,” says Steve Clem, a Skanska vice president in Oregon (Read his OpEd on the subject in Sustainable Business Oregon). “The more tools we have to address and mitigate the risks we know are coming, the more equipped we can be. Our leaders are setting smart policy, based on sound research. If we follow through on it, we will guarantee a vibrant, healthy world for our children while also creating a sustainable clean economy going forward.”
We built the West Coast’s first certified Living Building, the Bertschi School Science Classroom Addition in Seattle.
Our own business is centered on doing what’s right for the environment while providing the buildings and infrastructure urban areas need to thrive. Measuring and managing carbon emissions is part of our daily work towards our Journey to Deep Green™ and being a leader in reporting and reducing CO2 emissions. We’ve developed our Color PaletteTM framework to measure and guide Skanska’s green performance.
Not only do we hold our company to high standards, but we’re committed to supporting national and global efforts to support clean energy and green building. Skanska’s volume gives us buying power that can be used to leverage market change if we partner with clients and policy makers. In a market that remains fiercely competitive, well-crafted policy helps us do the right thing faster.
In July, we dropped our membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to protest their backing of proposed changes that would weaken the use of LEED in federal buildings. (Read our CEO Mike McNally’s explanation of Skanska’s position here in this op-ed published in The Washington Post.) Today, we were gratified to learn that the U.S. General Services Administration is continuing to support third-party green building certification systems by recommending the use of LEED 2009 and Green Globes 2010 for use in federal projects.
The Pacific Coast Action Plan for Climate and Energy is an important step in the right direction. If a region as large as that one – with 53 million people and with a combined GDP of $2.8 trillion – can come to a consensus, and across international boundaries, we hope this inspires the rest of the U.S. to take similar green actions.
“The actions outlined in the Pacific Coast Climate Plan will help us address carbon in a much more unified way that support a truly sustainable future – socially, environmentally and economically,” says Clem. “Efforts like this will drive innovation, encouraging businesses to develop better products and solutions that are good for profits and people.”