Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Small Business Owners Support Action on Climate and Energy

The US small business community overwhelmingly believe in the veracity of climate change. They see this as a threat to their businesses and they endorse government regulatory efforts to reduce power plant emissions.

The views of the small business community on climate and energy issues is crucial because they are both a powerful economic engine and the primary source of job creation in America. The sheer size and scope of the small business community make their contributions to climate mitigation and adaptation absolutely essential.

These are the findings in a June 2014 American Sustainable Business Council poll of 555 small business owners. For the purposes of this study small business are defined as those with between 2 and 99 employees. 

While we commonly associate climate and energy strategies with larger corporations, the data shows that forward looking small businesses also understand that there are benefits to engaging environmental sustainability. They know that investments in clean energy and energy efficiency offer short term cost savings and position their businesses for longer term growth.

The survey found that clear majorities of small business owners are concerned about how climate change will affect their companies, including its impact on energy costs, health care costs and the infrastructure. Almost two thirds (64 percent) of small business owners believe that government regulation is essential, particularly with regard to reducing power plant emissions.

When it comes to perceiving climate change as a threat the results were unequivocal. A total of 87 percent of business owners named one or more consequences of climate change as potentially harmful to their business. What makes this so compelling is that these results hold across party lines (55 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of Independents and 81 percent of Democrats). Less than one third (29 percent) stated that they think power plants should be allowed to regulate themselves. These findings have obvious implications for the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan.

It is interesting to note that more than half (53 percent) think that extreme weather has or will have, a negative impact on their businesses. Among larger small business (those with between 20 and 99 employees), that number goes up to almost three quarters (71 percent).

The poll indicates that many are willing to pay for climate mitigation efforts. Despite concerns about energy costs, the largest share of respondents said they would accept a 10 percent increase rather than suffer the consequences of climate change.

Small business owners are concerned about costly, disruptive consequences of climate change. The bigger the business the more they are concerned.

To read the full report click here.

Related
Primer on Sustainability in Small Businesses
Why Small Businesses are Engaging Sustainability
Why Small Businesses are Well Suited to Sustainability
Why Small Businesses are Not Engaging Sustainability
Now is the Time for Environmental Sustainability
What Businesses Can Do to be More Environmentally Sustainable
Small Businesses Need to Engage the Green Economy

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