Businesses bucking trend of getting profits at all costs

Our View

For as long as we can remember, big business has been synonymous with conservative ideals and unprogressive practices. Recently, however, a few companies have stood up to this notion and are redefining what big business stands for.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently came out in sharp critique of a current House climate bill. The group expressed doubts of human-caused climate change and challenged the science to be put on trial. Soon after this statement, Apple and other key members quit the chamber, citing its opposition to climate change legislation and denial of a human role.

Along with Apple, Exelon, PNM Resources, Pacific Gas and Electric (California’s largest utility), Public Service Company of New Mexico (again, the state’s largest utility) and Levi Straus have all exited the chamber. In addition, Johnson & Johnson and General Electric have released statements of disagreement with the chamber on climate policy, and Nike has given up its seat on the chamber’s board.

Apple displayed disappointment with the chamber’s stance, calling it “frustrating” and urging it to take a “more progressive stance on this critical issue and play a constructive role in addressing the climate crisis.”

We believe that this represents a positive, hopeful direction for businesses. The fact that we are seeing powerful corporations adopt liberal, forward thinking stances against the world’s largest business federation shows that companies are no longer blindly following dollar signs, unconcerned with the means to the end.

Their willingness to address today’s threats with innovative practices and direct action represents a fundamental shift in the paradigm for thinking of a corporations role in society and contradicts the current stereotypes of big business.

Hopefully businesses will continue to take more compassionate, up-to-date stances just as these corporations have.

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