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.

07 Feb

WIN: Governor Cuomo Signs Child Safe Products Act Into Law

Child Safe Products Act signed into law

Albany, NY — February 7, 2020: Governor Cuomo signed the Child Safe Products Act (S.501-B Kaminsky / A. 6296-A Englebright) into law.  The move marks the fulfillment of a decade-long campaign by a broad, diverse coalition of environmental health advocates, health-impacted groups, sustainable businesses, environmental justice leaders, health care providers, child care providers, parent groups and many others. The law will require manufacturers to disclose chemicals of concern in children’s products and restrict the most toxic, while authorizing the State to add chemicals to disclose and restrict by regulation. The bill passed 53-9 in the Senate and 100-23 in the Assembly on April 30, 2019 as part of a first-ever bicameral Earth Day package.

“The New York Sustainable Business Council represents thousands of businesses committed to the triple bottom line of social responsibility, environmental stewardship, and economic prosperity,” said Bob Rossi, Director, New York Sustainable Business Council.  “The Child Safe Products Act cuts across all three tenets. It not only protects our most vulnerable and reduces environmental contamination, it will strengthen our economy. Smarter chemical regulations will drive green tech innovation. Chemical disclosure will allow our retailers to meet the growing demand for non-toxic products. Plus, the children we aim to protect are our future workforce. We thank Governor Cuomo and the leaders in our legislature for seeing this bill through.”

“Passing the Child Safe Products Act is a major step forward for protecting children’s health and it makes good business sense.  It protects shareholders, workers, and companies’ brand names, while restoring consumer confidence in product safety. This legislation will drive innovation and lead to greater profits and job growth for responsible New York State businesses. Our businesses are proud to stand in appreciation of the Governor and the New York State legislature for passing this historic legislation,” said David Levine, President, American Sustainable Business Council.

ASBC and NYSBC want to thank all the businesses that joined us in helping to support this important bill.  We also want to thank our coalition partners in the Just Green Partnership for their leadership.  See the coalition’s full press release here.

 

29 Jan

Urgent Action Needed on NY’s Child Safe Products Act

The Child Safe Products Act (CSPA) is sitting on Governor Cuomo’s desk and we need your help to get it signed into law. The Governor has between now and February 7th to decide whether to sign or veto this bill, which has been a decade in the making.

This monumental bill, which passed the NYS Senate and Assembly with bipartisan support, lays out an intelligent framework for identifying and requiring disclosure of harmful chemicals in children’s products, and also bans the most harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, arsenic, and asbestos. Innovations in the chemical industry have far outpaced effective regulation of new chemicals and continue to negatively impact our most vulnerable, our future workforce, our economy, and the ability of responsible businesses to compete in a poorly regulated space.

This bill can break that cycle… IF it gets signed in the next week. You can help make that happen. As a responsible business owner, you offer a critical voice on this issue. Governor Cuomo has just a few days left to make a decision on this bill, and he is certainly under large corporate pressure to veto or dilute the bill. It is critical that his office also hears from business leaders like you.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. To better understand the business and economic benefits of the Child Safe Products Act, we invite you to review NYSBC’s one-page memo of support.
  2. If helpful for you: There are 6 bulleted points in that memo, some apply to specific sectors (eg, retail, manufacturing, green chemistry) and some apply to all of us. Identify the points that you can speak to from your own business experience and values.
  3. Call the Governor’s office at 518-474-8390, introduce yourself and your business, urge him to sign the Child Safe Products Act into law, and offer the reasons you’ve outlined above. If helpful, see sample script below.
  4. Then, please let us know that you took action. Contact us by email or comment on our facebook post and tag friends or share the post. Your action will inspire others!
  5. Are you on Twitter?  Here’s a sample tweet.  Add to it or modify as you see fit.
    Our company works to ensure products are safe, and customers deserve to know when harmful chemicals are in products for kids. That's why we stand with @NewYorkSBC & @ASBCouncil and urge @NYGovCuomo to sign the #ChildSafeProductsAct. #nontoxicny

Note: When calling the Governor’s office, know that there are thousands of parents and environmentalists calling for this bill and large corporations fighting it. That makes it appear to our lawmakers that this issue is parents/environmentalists vs business/economy. It’s not. By focusing on your business perspective, you have the power to dismantle that false narrative.

Do you have a business testimonial to share with us? Please email us. Your testimonials are gold!

Here’s a testimonial from a New York State skateboard manufacturer with a global market.

“It is entirely possible to build products—even durable products that require strong adhesives—without using formaldehyde. Since 1997, Comet Skateboards has been building skateboards to withstand constant thrashing from people of all ages and sizes. We do so using industry standard formaldehyde-free adhesives like Franklin Multibond 4000 FF. Avoiding the use of formaldehyde is not a barrier. It’s a decision. The more companies make this simple decision, the more options will arise from green tech innovators.”
— Jason Salfi, President of Comet Skateboards


Sample Business Script   (Add to it or modify with your reasoning from step #2 above.)

Hi, I am XXXX from XXXXX company, and we support the Child Safe Products Act. I’m calling to urge the Governor to sign the bill — because it will help create a level playing field for responsible businesses including the many companies that manufacture or carry sustainable products. We believe customers deserve to know when harmful chemicals are in products for kids.

It’s important to us that this bill achieve the following:

  • Require product makers to tell us if harmful chemicals are in what they sell.
  • Require manufacturers to phase out the most toxic chemicals—like formaldehyde, arsenic, and asbestos—in children’s products.
  • Create a way to report and restrict additional dangerous chemicals in children’s products in an ongoing process that solves this problem once and for all.