By Brian Skinner, Esq.
I learned some exciting news today. The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), the nation’s foremost business advocate for an environmentally safe and equitable economy announced a strategic alliance with Social Venture Circle (SVC), the country’s foremost social impact networking organization. The new partnership will create the United States’ leading socially responsible business group and unite top U.S. entrepreneurs and the leaders of mission-driven companies in common cause while amplifying and extending the collective voice of the sustainable business community in previously impossible ways.
The resulting collaboration should be a powerful new force for environmental change and economic justice at the federal, state and local levels.
This is welcome news and something that we need now.
The argument that the jury is still out on climate change is no longer sustainable. Each passing moment adds to the already substantial evidence confirming what scientists have been telling us for decades. Climate change is real and the impact on our communities may be irreversible unless we act. Now is the time to find ways to achieve sustainable economic growth that satisfies the needs of people but in way that sustains natural resources and the environment for future generations.
Hopefully, the strategic collaboration between the ASBC and SVC will offer an alternative to our current economic thinking and reject policies that focus too narrowly on short-term shareholder value in favor of a stakeholder economy based on creating long-term worth and universal accountability.
The ASBC is the leading business organization serving the public policy interests of responsible companies, their customers, and other stakeholders. Founded in 2009, ASBC membership represents over 250,000 businesses in a wide range of industries. ASBC advocates for policy change and informs business owners, policymakers, and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant, broadly prosperous and sustainable economy.
SVC is a membership network that equips entrepreneurs, impact investors, and capacity-builders with connections, money, and expertise in order to build businesses that drive the NEXT economy: one that is regenerative, equitable and prosperous for all.
The two organizations intend to pool resources and share intellectual capital, while continuing to operate independently. ASBC will serve as the policy and advocacy group for the combined entity and maintain its current focus on the circular economy, climate and energy, infrastructure, and the high-road economy. SVC will continue to work on the ground connecting entrepreneurs, investors, and corporate leadership teams with the funding and capabilities needed to create businesses that contribute to a regenerative economic system.
While many economists and other disagree about the importance of the environment as it relates to economic activity, I think we can all agree that:
- The extraction of natural resources causes pollution and permanently changes the landscape;
- The costs of the harm created by economic activities has a disproportionate impact on those who don’t often get the benefits of the economic activity or agreed to pay those costs; and
- We simply cannot survive if we destroy our environment.
This partnership is exciting because it will address these facts head-on by bringing together value-aligned entrepreneurs, business leaders, and investors of responsible companies for the purpose of working together to build and create sustainable, responsible businesses while advocating for public policy issues that protect and augment the bottom line and build an economy that works for all.
Having worked in state government for several years, I recognize that entrepreneurs and business leaders often are key policy influencers at the federal, state and local levels. Governmental officials and legislators are more apt to listen when entities that are instrumental to the economic well-being of the state, are the ones advocating for changes in state policy and law. Now is the time for business leaders to advocate on behalf of a new form of capitalism – one that rejects a narrow focus on short-term profits in favor of seeking long-term value and accounting for owners and workers.
The issues impacting our communities, state, and nation are the same that are impacting the entire world. We must seek to understand how inequality affects economic, social, and political outcomes. We need innovative policies in the areas of business governance, access to capital, tax equity, economic inequality, prioritizing investments, worker wellbeing, campaign finance, politics, and the environment. And finally, equity and inclusion must be a priority as we advocate for environmental and economic justice. Whether it be climate and energy policy, or policies related to working conditions and infrastructure investment, we must build on our nation’s economic and political traditions to reduce inequality while increasing shared economic growth and the protection of our environment.
You can read the full press release here.
To learn more about the ASBC/SVC partnership visit: jointhenexteconomy.org
Brian is the former counsel to the West Virginia House of Delegates Judiciary Committee and counsel to the West Virginia Senate Minority Caucus. He was also general counsel to the West Virginia State Health Officer and Commissioner for the Bureau for Public Health. He has almost two-decades of experience as a strategic advisor and chief legal counsel to both executive and legislative branch public officials.