19 Apr

NYSBC’s 2018 Priority Issue Areas

Based on feedback from our members and our ongoing work, we have identified a broad array of bills in the NYS legislature in need of your support. These bills can be grouped into the following 4 issue areas: Healthcare, Toxic Chemicals, Solar Energy, and Fossil Fuels.

On April 25th, 10am – 4pm, we will be convening business leaders in Albany for our 5th annual NY Sustainable Business Summit, where will will speak with policymakers on these issues.  (more information and registration for our 2018 Summit)

HEALTHCARE
Arguably the most transformative bill on our docket is the NY Health Act, which — if passed — would establish a comprehensive single-payer system of access to health insurance and would replace private insurance company coverage in NYS.  For small businesses, startups, and low margin sectors, this means eliminating the bureaucratic maze and high costs of buying health coverage for employees. We believe it would make New York dramatically more attractive to businesses looking to relocate. and their future employees.  The NY Health Act gained steam last year as our federal healthcare system was under fire, and your business voice can help push it across the finish line this legislative session.

TOXIC CHEMICALS
On a related note, we have identified bills that would reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals. The Toxic Show & Tell act is a powerful bill with a playful name that creates an important framework for addressing this issue.  The State would maintain a list of chemicals of high concern to children and require product makers to disclose their presence in children’s products sold in NYS. We believe smarter chemical regulations will drive green technology innovation, and transparency throughout the supply chain is good for business as it will allow our product makers and retailers — and their customers — to make informed decisions. We will educate Summit attendees and lawmakers on additional bills including the Drug Take Back Act which calls for a statewide program paid for by pharmaceutical manufacturers to manage the disposal of their products and reduce their contamination of NYS waters.

SOLAR ENERGY
After years of healthy growth in New York State’s solar industry, the corporate power utilities managed to erect a major barrier to solar in the form of the VDER regulation passed by New York’s Public Service Commission (PSC) last year.  The rate of solar growth in NYS has since been declining. This barrier hurts our NYS solar installers and blocks you and your business in particular from the community solar opportunities that would otherwise be more abundant and accessible today.  Between now (as I type this email) and our Summit, we expect a bill to be introduced that would delay the rollout of VDER statewide for 3 years and direct the PSC to fix these problems with the VDER regulation during that time. It gets more complicated, of course, so expect a thorough breakdown at the Summit.  In addition, we are supporting a bill that would extend for 2 years the New York City solar property tax abatement, which sunsets at the end of this year. These 2 bills would provide the much-needed boost for the NYS solar industry and would benefit all New Yorkers and New York State businesses seeking to source their power from the sun.

FOSSIL FUELS
And while our planet basks in sunlight, NYS’s pension fund (3rd largest in the nation) invests more than $5 billion in fossil fuels — orders of magnitude greater than investments in renewables.  In response, we support the Fossil Fuel Divestment bill that would immediately stop new investments in fossil fuel companies and transition current investments within 5 years with coal investments being dropped in year one. With the growing riskiness of fossil fuel investments, this transition makes good economic sense.  Although the bill doesn’t specify where the $5 billion should be reinvested, we aim to highlight that the clean energy sector is growing at nearly double the rate of the overall economy. Also, clean energy investment creates three times as many jobs as the equivalent investment in fossil fuels, so New York has a genuine opportunity to invest in New York’s clean energy businesses to ensure their success, growth, and ability to employ more and more New Yorkers.

21 Mar

NYSBC Brings Toxic Chemicals Workshop to NYC

Reduce Harmful Chemicals and Grow Your Business!

ISSP-NYCJoin us in midtown Manhattan for our next in-person workshop, co-sponsored by the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP-Greater NYC chapter). 

Savvy business owners everywhere are designing their products, workplaces, and retail environments to respond to consumer demand for safe standards and to differentiate their businesses in a changing market. This cross-sector introductory workshop will ​point​ ​you​ ​in​ ​the​ ​right​ ​direction​ ​toward​ ​safer​ ​materials​ and practices ​for​ ​your business. Experts will provide guidelines, case studies, certification program information, and opportunities to support the movement toward safer environments. You’ll learn how to assess your current chemical use, reduce your toxic chemical footprint, and impact your company’s profile.

  • Hilary Baum, Program and Policy Director, NYSBC, will discuss green procurement as a business strategy and the role of business leadership in the movement toward safer materials procurement.
  • Rich Schiafo, Campaign Coordinator, Clean and Healthy New York, will provide guidelines for identifying toxic chemicals in your workplace and finding safer alternatives that support your bottom line.
  • Robin Guenther, Principal of Perkins+Will and Senior Advisor to Health Care Without Harm, will discuss her company’s role as an innovator in the construction industry around both material transparency and material health, the tools and resources they have developed to further this work, and the associated culture change that has taken place within the company itself.

DATE, TIME, & VENUE 

      Wednesday, April 11th, 5:30pm-7:45pm
      The Suite Project, 8th Floor
      417 Fifth Avenue (between 37th and 38th Streets)
      New York City

TICKETS

      NYSBC and ASBC Members – $25
      ISSP Members – $25
      ISSP Student Members – $15
      Non-members – $35
      At door – $45

Join us for an insightful discussion and networking reception with sustainability professionals!

REGISTER

AGENDA

      5:30 – 6:00pm – Reception
      6:00 – 7:15pm – Program and Q&A
      7:15 – 7:45pm – Networking Cocktail Reception
      Wines, soft drinks and refreshments will be offered.

SPEAKERS

Hilary Baum is the program and policy director of the New York Sustainable Business Council.  She is a producer of coalition-building educational programs and public awareness campaigns focusing on food, farming, and sustainability. A pioneer in the regional food movement, she co-founded Chefs for the Marcellus, a coalition of food professionals and business owners concerned about fracking in New York, and directed Food Systems Network NYC and The Public Market Collaborative. Her background includes artisan food production, marketing, restaurant procurement, farmers’ market operations, and community supported agriculture. She is an author of the American Sustainable Business Council’s report, Re-thinking Fracking, and a contributor to the New York City Council’s FoodWorks, and co-author of Public Markets and Community Revitalization and The Lifespice Cookbook.

Rich Schiafo has three decades of experience as an environmental professional, having held various positions with nonprofit environmental organizations and local, regional and state government agencies. Rich works with Clean and Healthy New York’s leadership to advance the Reducing Chemicals of Concern in Products in NY State policy campaign and the Getting Ready for Baby market campaign. Rich’s recent work encompassed watershed protection outreach and education and regional materials management with a focus on organics, chairing the Hudson Valley Regional Materials Management Working Group. With a passion for food justice, Rich has been a leader of the ‘Feeding the Hudson Valley’ events, and he has done significant food recovery work for Dutchess and Ulster County charitable organizations. For the City of Kingston, Rich prepared a greenhouse gas inventory and authored their Climate Action Plan. He is the recipient of a U.S. EPA Region 2 Environmental Quality Award and Hudson River Watershed Alliance Stewardship Award.

Robin Guenther is a Principal of Perkins+Will and Senior Advisor to Health Care Without Harm. An expert in sustainable healthcare design, Robin is a long-time advocate for healthier healing environments and recently spoke on the topic at TEDMED 2014. Notable projects include leading the major expansion of the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, and ongoing work with preeminent institutions such as Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Robin also led one of the two winning teams in the Kaiser Permanente “Small Hospital, Big Idea” Competition. Healthcare Design magazine named her the “#1 Most Influential Designer in Healthcare” and she co-coordinated the “Green Guide for Health Care,” the most commonly used method of tracking sustainability in healthcare spaces today. She released the second edition of Sustainable Healthcare Architecture in 2013 and Fast Company named her as one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business.” 

28 Nov

New Workshop: Reduce Harmful Chemicals and Grow Your Business!

BY POPULAR DEMAND: Reduce Harmful Chemicals and Grow your Business!

The New York Sustainable Business Council and Clean and Healthy New York are launching a program of in-person workshops and webinars to guide businesses through the initial steps of reducing harming chemicals. With a focus on specifying solutions to toxic chemicals, this course will also open up avenues to recasting all your purchasing protocols. The first workshop will be held Friday, December 8th at Westchester Community College, as part of a session hosted by Westchester Green Business. 

Learn more on our Workshops page.

23 May

New York Business Roundtable on Carbon Tax

New York Business Roundtable on Carbon Tax

We invite you to join us in person or online on Tuesday, June 6th 4pm-5:30pm to learn about the national movement for carbon tax legislation, discuss a new legislative proposal for New York by NY Renews, and offer your business perspective on this important issue.

By registering, you will be informed of meeting login info or nearby host locations.
In-person gatherings will also be announced on the Facebook event.

Register NOW

Agenda

  • Introductions
  • Speaker Presentations
    • Richard Eidlin, American Sustainable Business Council
    • Stephan Edel, NY Renews
  • Q&A
  • Open Discussion & Feedback
  • Networking at in-person gatherings

The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) is our nation’s leading business advocacy group working to implement public policies that build a sustainable economy.  While advocating for a national carbon tax, ASBC continues to partner with business organizations like NYSSBC on parallel state-level legislative efforts.

NY Renews is a statewide climate / jobs / justice coalition with more than 100 organization members. Their proposed “polluter penalty / just transition” legislation would create a fund to support initiatives to help businesses transition to renewables, support workers displaced by the transition, and protect businesses and communities that have been most impacted by the burning of fossil fuels and climate-change-related extreme weather events. This “Build the Future” fund would be financed in part by an escalating fee on pollution, or a polluter penalty.

Goals for this gathering

  1. Gather input from independent New York State business leaders on the NY Renews policy proposal
  2. Engage around the idea of legislating a price on pollution to help pay for a just transition to a sustainable economy in New York
  3. Connect with like-minded businesses both locally and across the State

We hope you can join us in person or online.
Feel free to share the Facebook event with other business owners.

We look forward to your participation on June 6th!

Register NOW

22 May

Businesses Advocate at NYSSBC’s 2017 Albany Business Summit

Business leaders from across New York State convened at the state capitol on May 8th for NYSSBC’s 4th annual business summit.  We’d like to thank all participating business leaders, policy briefers, and collaborators Clean and Healthy New York (CHNY), the New York Health Campaign, Elected Officials to Protect New York, and Environmental Advocates.

It was an especially exciting Summit this year as there were two concurrent lobby day efforts and press events taking place organized by the Divest NY Coalition and the JustGreen Partnership.  JustGreen was at the capitol to build awareness around a bill to be introduced later in the week that would regulate chemicals of high concern to children.  NYSSBC supported this bill as well and partnered with JustGreen on a couple scheduled meetings with elected officials.

The Divest NY Coalition was at the capitol advocating for the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act, a bill that we supported as well in our summit.  We also sent business leader Katie Wilson of JSA Financial over to offer the business case for fossil fuel divestment at the Divest NY press event.  Their lobby day and press event are detailed in this blog post.

In addition to the above 2 bills, we advocated for the New York Health Act (single payer system), Employee Owned Enterprises/Worker Owned Coop Bill, Uniform Treatment of Waste (fracking waste loophole), and the Secured Wages Earned Against Threat (SWEAT) act.  The NY Health Act discussions were especially well-timed as only a few days prior the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly approved legislation to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act.

Our day consisted of morning briefings by experts on each issue, a lunch sponsored by Clean and Healthy New York, and an afternoon of meetings with elected officials and staff.  Business leaders were equipped with legislator bios and asks, bill summaries, and NYSSBC memos of support for each bill.  At the meetings, everyone had the opportunity to speak and contribute their own business story the impacts of the issue being discussed.  

NYSSBC is following these bills through this legislative session and will provide updates on additional actions needed to see them closer to passage.  Stay tuned!