31 Aug

Raise a Glass to Clean Water! Raise your Voice for Water Protection!

Did you know that August is National Water Quality Month?

As this month concludes, let us reflect on the history of water protection and take action for a clean water future. 

Founded in 2005 by the Environmental Protection Agency and backed by the United Nations, National Water Quality Month was established to promote ways to ensure universal access to safe, clean drinking water. In this newsletter, we share two ways that you can leverage your business voice to protect drinking water for generations to come.

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act, and it is now under attack in a case before the Supreme Court: Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  This case will determine how the EPA exercises its regulatory jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act and what land is subject to this regulation. Your business voice is critical in supporting science-based Clean Water Act protections. Learn more and show your support by clicking the link below.

Add your voice to protect the Clean Water Act

If you live or work in New York City or Westchester County, you may be surprised to learn that you get roughly half of your drinking water from the Delaware River Watershed, which originates in the Catskill Mountains. To protect this watershed, NYSBC works with businesses, nonprofit partners, and lawmakers in an ongoing campaign called “Clean Water is Good for Business.”  Learn more about this ongoing work and show your support by clicking the link below.

Add Your Voice to Protect NYC/Westchester Drinking Water

Clean Water is Good for Business is a multi-state effort organized by the American Sustainable Business Network (ASBN).  The objective is to build a coalition of businesses and business associations to make the economic case for drinking water protections and specifically safeguarding the Delaware River Watershed. We work with businesses and lawmakers to protect soil health, advance green stormwater infrastructure, support regenerative agriculture, and propose other measures to ensure clean drinking water for all.

New York State’s drinking water ranks seventh in the nation with almost  ninety-five percent of all New Yorkers receiving water from public water supply systems. These systems include New York City (the largest engineered water system in the nation), privately-owned water supply companies serving municipalities, schools with their own water supply, rural stores serving well water to their customers. In total, there are over 9,000 public water systems in New York State.

These complex and varied systems are increasingly vulnerable to threats of contamination from an aging and crumbling infrastructure, an industrial legacy of toxic sites, and eroding public health programs.  Two bills that NYSBC businesses and nonprofit partners helped advance through the New York State legislature this year could help address two very different water quality concerns:

  • The “PFAS in Apparel” bill (S6291a/A7063a) prohibits the production, distribution, or sale of common apparel with intentionally added PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) is a diverse class of chemicals that have polluted water supplies across the country and are used in a wide range of products, such as cookware, firefighting gear, and furniture. PFAS are hazardous and persistent chemicals that have been shown to accumulate in our waterways as well as in our bodies. 
  • The “Moratorium on Cryptocurrency Mining” (S6486d/A7389c) requires an environmental impact review before permitting future proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining operations, which are extremely energy consuming and many of which have cooling systems that directly increase nearby natural water temperatures causing harmful algal blooms (HABs).

If you are willing to speak with your representatives about these and other ways to protect your community and your natural resources, let us know.  We would be happy to connect you with key decision makers on issues that matter to you and your business. Your business voice is powerful, and essential to safeguarding our communities and natural resources.

10 Jun

2022 Legislative Victories

Last Friday, New York State saw the conclusion of an intense legislative session. We were thrilled to see the following 5 (FIVE!) of NYSBC’s priority bills pass–a couple on the final day and one in the final hour!

  • The “Clearing the Toxic Air” bill is critical for setting and enforcing limits on toxic air pollutants that damage our health, further wealth inequality, and create more drag on our social services and overall economy. (learn more)
  • The “Cumulative Impacts” bill ensures that cumulative impacts are taken into consideration in the State’s Environmental Quality Review process when considering new permits for potentially polluting facilities and siting new environmental facilities in economically distressed communities. (learn more)
  • The “Carpet EPR” (extended producer responsibility) bill helps us transition from an extractive, linear economy to a circular economy by engaging carpet producers in creating a system for carpet collection and recycling. (learn more)
  • The “PFAS in Apparel” bill prohibits the production, distribution, or sale of common apparel with intentionally added PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances)—a persistent chemical that is harmful to our health, our environment, our food system, and our overall economy. (learn more)
  • The “Moratorium on Cryptocurrency Mining” requires an environmental impact review before permitting future proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining operations that are extremely energy consuming—threatening local ecosystems and our local businesses and related economies. (learn more)

With thousands of bills under consideration, it is reassuring to see such political will behind these 5 bills that are essential to building a just and sustainable economy, but the work does not stop here. In order to become law, these bills must be signed by Governor Hochul this year or they will simply expire—a process known as a “pocket veto.”

Look for future updates from NYSBC on how you can leverage your business voice to help each of these bills get delivered to the Governor’s desk and signed into law.

04 Dec

WIN! New York State Bans PFAS in Food Packaging

PFAS poisoning explainedNew York State has now adopted the strongest PFAS in Food Packaging ban. This nation-leading move is a win for New Yorkers and the US in general. It demonstrates that we can summon the political will to overcome corporate interests and take the bold measures required to protect our citizens.

Our current health crisis underscores the importance of this action. There is a growing body of research showing that PFAS poisoning can weaken the immune system and undermine resistance to infections such as COVID-19. According to the CDC, “PFAS exposure may reduce antibody responses to vaccines.” Our business community is ready to pivot to safer alternatives, and we already have PFAS-free food packaging produced right here in New York State.

Big thanks to Assemblymember Patricia A. Fahy and Senator Brad Hoylman for their leadership on this bill (S8817/A4739B), and to Governor Cuomo for signing it. Congratulations for taking this important step in reducing our consumption of PFAS.

18 Aug

What can we do to empower women in today’s economy?

“We hold these truths to be self-evident:
that all men and women are created equal…”

[ DECLARATION OF SENTIMENTS ]Thus began the Declaration of Sentiments drafted by Elizabeth Cady Stanton—borrowing from our nation’s Declaration of Independence. Stanton read these words at the Woman’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY in 1848. She then outlined injustices against women in the United States and called for women to be granted the same civil, economic, and political rights as men. This launched the women’s suffrage movement that waged for decades until the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified granting women the right to vote—one hundred years ago today.

womens suffrage

As we celebrate this important centennial, let’s also recognize how much further we have to go and find ways to hasten that progress.

Here are a few options:

  1. Identify the women-owned businesses that you can support in an ongoing fashion such as suppliers to your business, makers of products that you buy, restaurants in your neighborhood, etc.  Women and specifically women of color have increasingly become key players in a business community that has been dominated by white men.  Now, as we reopen our economy, these women face additional obstacles from economic stimulus inequities.  Vote with your dollar to keep their businesses strong!
  2. Help close the gender pay gap in your company and demand the same from companies that you support.  The gender pay gap continues unabated with women earning 20% less than men for the same work. Accounting for race and ethnicity, studies find that black women are paid 38% less and Latinas are paid 47% less than men.  Learn 4 steps that your company can take to close the gap and read ASBC’s Declaration on Equity in Business, which includes 8 public policies to support an inclusive economy.
  3. Share what you learn with NYSBC including any local networks/directories of women-owned businesses. Send us an email.  We can share and amplify your impact.
  4. Let us know how we can better support women-owned businesses in your community.
17 Jul

Possible Ban on PFAS in Food Packaging

We hope the NYS Assembly and Senate both consider the bill (S2000B/A4739B), which would ban PFAS in food packaging.  There is a growing body of research showing that PFAS poisoning can weaken the immune system and undermine resistance to infections such as COVID-19. According to the CDC, “PFAS exposure may reduce antibody responses to vaccines.”  While scientists around the planet race toward a vaccine for COVID, we are poisoning ourselves in a way that potentially reduces vaccine efficacy. The long term impact of PFAS on our communities directly affects our ability to survive this COVID-19 pandemic and future health crises.

We must pivot now to safer packaging alternatives, which already exist.  If you represent a business and are interested in sharing your voice on this important issue, contact bob@NewYorkSBC.org.