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Thursday, 26 February, 2009 10:27 PM

CEO of The Nature Conservancy Addresses the Detroit Economic Club

Photo by Jeff Kowalsky

Mark Tercek at the Detroit Economic Club on February 26, 2009.

 

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. -- The Detroit Economic Club (DEC) was pleased to host Mark Tercek, President & CEO of The Nature Conservancy. As CEO of the world's largest environmental organization, Tercek is aggressively engaging the business community to develop new market approaches for conservation that benefit nature and people. Tercek explained why such collaborations are catalysts for true business advantages, and outlined what companies can do to take action.

"What does a company do that really gets it, that's different from the thinking that prevailed in the old days? Well, they do a few things. First, they work to fully understand the whole life-cycle impact of the products they produce, from the raw materials that are extracted before production, to the way the product is discarded after it's used by customers. That's one thing. Second, they push their suppliers to be better environmental stewards. They design innovative products that help their customers meet their own environmental goals. They develop environmental performance objectives that measure their successes and failures, and they report those results very transparently to the public and their shareholders. They partner with NGO's like us, outside scientists and other stakeholders to find good and innovative solutions to environmental problems. And importantly, they build an internal culture of environmental performance, engaging the power of their employees in goal-setting, training, and objectives."

Tercek championed the use of offsets to reduce the cost of regulation and aid in the fight against global warming, coupled with the emerging cap and trade program.

" Suppose The Nature Conservancy buys a soybean field down in Louisiana, and plants a hardwood forest on it. As the trees grow on the land, those trees will remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in the trunks and branches and roots of the trees. The carbon removal action in that year it occurs will be just as effective in mitigating global warming as the strategies such as energy efficiency, or solar and wind power that also reduce emissions. Therefore, if you believe the economic rationale for offsets, the government should award the Conservancy with an allowance for each ton of carbon dioxide that our forest-growing project removes from the atmosphere. And we should be able to sell those allowances to regulated emitters, such as power plants and oil refineries, who will need them for their own compliance. Those offset allowances we earn will be in addition to allowances that are issued under the cap, and therefore the total number of allowances in circulation will be higher and as you'd expect, that will make them cheaper. The availability of this offset option will reduce the overall cost of a program like this to our economy. In fact, EPA ran some simulations in connection with the climate legislation that was considered last year. In one program, there were no offsets and the price of allowances was almost 100 percent higher than in the simulation that included offsets. It's a triple win: Our forest projects remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, reducing the amount of global warming that would otherwise occur. Emitters get to buy allowances at a lower price, and the cost of the regulatory program is therefore brought down. And the forests we grow will be habitats for the plants and wildlife that are native to the region."

The Detroit Economic Club was formed in 1934 as a platform for the discussion and debate of important business, government and social issues. It is known internationally as a top speaking forum for prominent business and government leaders, who address members and their guests at the Club's 35 meetings a season. With more than 3,200 members, the DEC is about vital issues, prominent voices, a commitment to education and inspiring leadership. The Club is proud to have hosted every sitting U.S. President since Richard Nixon and proud to have been ranked among the top speaking platforms for CEOs.

Source: Detroit Economic Club


 

 

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