“If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”

August 24, 2022

If your organization is ready, willing, and able to advance climate action for the good of your business and the good of all stakeholders, but you just aren’t sure where to begin, you’re not alone.

The results of in-depth interviews with leaders from 30 businesses and 8 non-profits in the Pacific Northwest reveal that a lot of businesses would like to do more to address the climate crisis, but face significant barriers and lack support structures. Hired by the Northwest Climate and Business Network, Point B Consulting interviewed managers and senior executives from businesses ranging from small owner-operated start-ups to publicly-traded multinationals across 18 industries in both metro and rural areas, to better understand what challenges businesses of different sizes face, and what support they need to meet their existing climate goals (or step up their ambition). Some common barriers to action were revealed:

  • Time
    • Insufficient time to research and determine what to do, let alone make a plan and act on it
  • Money
    • Worried about upfront costs (e.g., a “green premium”), and how to show a positive ROI for management approval
  • Resources
    • Coming out of the pandemic, many (smaller) businesses are just focused on survival; Many lack access to sustainable solutions such as electric cargo vehicles or commercial composting
  • Knowledge
    • “Don’t know what they don’t know”; Need help deciphering climate legislation or applying for government incentives

Climate Solutions convened a Pacific Northwest coalition with Clean & Prosperous Washington, The Build Back Black Alliance, Oregon Business for Climate, and The Wave Foundation. We began with the hypothesis that many businesses would like to do more to address the climate crisis, but face barriers and lack support structures. Point B’s interviews validate that hypothesis, illuminate the barriers, and point toward some opportunities, two of which are: 

  • Fleet Decarbonization Accelerator
    • For companies that are committed to lowering transportation-related emissions and are looking for support to make rapid, equitable, and measurable progress.
    • The program will combine learning and action, bringing together experts from industry, government and academia to cover the basics of transportation decarbonization, new developments and technologies, and government regulations and incentives. 
    • Participating businesses will develop and begin to implement decarbonization action plans with the support of other like-minded businesses. 
    • If you are interested in participating in the Fleet Decarbonization Accelerator program, please contact Paul Bloom at paul.bloom@climatesolutions.org.

  • Northwest Climate and Equity Action Support Network
    • For companies that are working to accelerate progress on climate change and equity, and need help to do it.
    • A range of potential support tools are envisioned, including a concierge-type service to connect businesses to experts and other businesses to solve specific challenges; targeted educational sessions on topics like key climate change issues in the Oregon and Washington state legislatures; and more. 
    • As a next step, a series of three, one hour facilitated conversations with senior business leaders will be organized to determine the most useful tools to develop and get started. If you are interested in being part of this group, please email Gregg Small at gregg.small@climatesolutions.org.

As the African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”. Climate action is urgent, so going fast is important. But going far is the bigger opportunity, and for that, going together is the wise approach. We invite you to join us in this journey with the Northwest Climate and Business Network. 

Clean & Prosperous Washington is a project of the Washington Business Alliance.
Contact us at info@cleanprosperouswa.com