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.
17 May

3 Days Of Advocacy

If you have joined NYSBC for our annual Sustainable Business Summit before, you will remember a full day of education and advocacy on a gambit of important subjects that impact your business, your community, and your environment.  We’ve learned that many of you wish to focus more deeply on one subject area.  To that end, we now invite you to select from 3 separate days of advocacy:
  • Tuesday 5/28: Healthcare — Show your support by attending the first ever joint Senate-Assembly hearing on the NY Health Act, which would create a statewide universal healthcare system.  You will also have the option to share testimony of your personal struggle to access healthcare, provide healthcare for your employees, etc.
  • Wednesday 5/29: Energy Democracy — Join the first ever Energy Democracy Lobby Day and advocate for energy efficiency and renewable energy policies that would create a more resilient, localized, and democratically controlled clean energy economy in New York State.
  • Thursday 5/30: Environmental Health & Justice — Advocate for policies that would ensure transparency of chemicals in common products, eliminate harmful chemicals in children’s products, require government action on known toxics, and provide green procurement incentives to make safer products more available and affordable.

Each event above is separate.  Each is a full day—roughly 10am to 4pm—and attending a portion of a day may be possible.  Expect more details including formal RSVPs to roll out next week.  You may use this form to share your interest in the above events or for general feedback to NYSBC.

In the spirit of our Earth Day email, we are inviting you to engage around the issue(s) that you are most passionate about.  The better connected your heart is with your advocacy, the more fulfilling and long-lasting your impact will be.  NYSBC will continue to build allies and curate policies that reflect triple bottom line principles and the feedback of sustainable business leaders like you.

Your business voice is critical to this advocacy work.  Together, we bring a much needed counter narrative to debates dominated by the largest profit-driven corporations that claim to represent businesses—including yours.  NYSBC can help you explore how you and your business relate to the above issues and hone your story to have the deepest impact. 

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.”