Small Businesses, Climate Change, and Preparedness
IN THIS EPISODE
[02:37] Introduction of Michael Green.
[03:09] Michael explains what the Climate Action Business Association (CABA) is and what its mission is.
[03:51] Michael shares how the organization got started and how long it’s been around.
[05:35] How long has Michael been working at CABA?
[05:48] Michael describes how he personally came to this work.
[08:11] Michael shares a basic summary of what CABA does and how it serves businesses.
[11:11] Michael explains what the Businesses Acting on Rising Seas (BARS) initiative is.
[14:55] Is there a threat of rising seas or flooding to the businesses in the Massachusetts area?
[16:20] How is it that GE is moving into a place where they’re at risk of sea rising?
[18:11] Michael explains how CABA’s guide helps businesses outline an approach to decrease the risk of going out of business due to consequences of climate change.
[20:47] Michael shares where people can learn more about CABA and BARS.
[21:33] Are there resources on the website that will help small businesses learn what kind of steps they need to take to be resilient against climate change?
[22:18] Michael shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
[23:01] Michael describes the action listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
[24:05] Michael explains what Massachusetts looks like 30 years from now.
Michael Green is the Executive Director of the Climate Action Business Association (CABA). He came to CABA as a seasoned advocate for climate policy and environmental action. Since 2012, he has served as a representative to the United Nations focusing on international climate science and policy. As an activist, he has played strategic roles in several of the largest national, as well as international, campaigns dedicated to fighting climate change. In his role at CABA, Michael manages staff and oversees the development of all program areas. He sits on the Board of Boston area non-profits as well as a policy advisor to national business associations on topics ranging from energy policy to climate adaptation. Michael is a Northeastern University graduate with degrees in international affairs and environmental studies, course work at the University of Edinbrough’s MSc Program in Environmental Protection and Management, and Harvard Business School’s CORe Program.
CABA’s mission is to help solve the climate crisis by organizing local business leaders to be more effective advocates for climate change action within our communities, at the business, and at local, state, regional, national and international levels. CABA envisions a new economy based on a strong, cooperative local business community, working together to create and maintain a resilient and sustainable future that is responding to climate change, with business leaders helping to achieve collective agreements at all levels of governance.
CABA provides participating businesses with the resources and tools needed to work within the business on climate change and sustainability efforts, and within the coalition on broader policy initiatives. The coalition members set policy priorities, and create opportunities for business owners to leverage voice in policy. CABA welcomes all independent businesses looking to be effective policy advocates and offer resources to this collective effort. CABA’s work focuses on 3 main areas: internal sustainability, political advocacy, and building community.
CABA’s summer campaign is called Businesses Acting on Rising Seas (BARS). For eight weeks, the CABA team will educate local businesses across the state of Massachusetts about the impacts of rising sea levels. CABA will engage into face-to-face conversations with business owners and managers providing education that is crucial to sustaining economic vitality and business continuity in the region with the threats of climate change looming. CABA will provide free resiliency guides, which outline an eight-step approach to decrease the risk of going out of business due to the consequences of climate change. The aim of the campaign is to prevent the loss of local business and support a secure economy for Massachusetts in the event of a natural disaster and to build better understanding of climate resilience and a sense of community in the city of Boston and along the coast of Massachusetts.
“Climate Action Business Association is a Boston-based business group. We’re focused on climate and energy policy, and we work on policy here in the state, in the city, assisting with several of the administration’s plans on climate adaptation and preparedness, and then we also work on national policy.”
“What happened was I have a career prior to this of working in advocacy and as a climate activist; and the more that I was involved in various movements globally, whether it was here in Massachusetts on the national level and even spending some time in the UK, I saw this debate of us versus them—us being a progressive, forward-thinking, in my case young, green movement versus them being this voice that was hard to pin down that said taking action on climate change is bad for jobs and bad for the economy. I knew from my time working with small businesses in Massachusetts that that just wasn’t the case, that there’s plenty of businesses that look at their carbon footprint as just as important as their community impact and their bottom line. Yet that’s not the narrative that we hear.”
“We quickly got to about a dozen businesses in the first six months or year and saw that there was a real need for this. So we spent about a year developing our programs and figuring out what exactly our niche and our role we wanted to play within this movement and then also what services and products we wanted to offer the local business community. Since then, we’ve really been growing leaps and bounds, spread across the state, and we’re getting prepared to launch in other states across the country.”
“On the internal-sustainability side, we’ve developed a web app. It allows a business to track its wastewater, energy, and transportation usage. It kicks out a greenhouse-gas footprint and then also allows the business to check that greenhouse-gas footprint in comparison to business metrics that are slightly more normalized—like their full-time employees, square footage, fiscal goals—so they’re able, on a clear dashboard, to see how their carbon footprint relates to their business growth.”
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