Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your web browser

Hope for Workers, Wins for Transparency  

ASBC Meets with Biden Teams on Labor, Agriculture   

As the incoming Biden-Harris administration conducts reviews of the various departments it will oversee as of January 20, 2021, ASBC has been actively involved with several of the agency review teams, providing recommendations in vital areas of interest to our stakeholders.   

“The Executive branch can make real improvements in the first few months without waiting for Congress,” explains EVP Thomas Oppel, himself an Obama administration. “We’re taking every opportunity to get input from our community and convey it in actionable form to the Biden-Harris review teams.”  

On December 14, ASBC met with Biden appointees tasked with reviewing the Department of Labor: Chris Lu, Obama’s cabinet secretary and deputy Labor secretary; and Josh Orton, a Sanders senior advisor. Priorities we discussed at this in-depth meeting include federal paid family leave, universal broadband access, minimum wage increase, race and equity improvements and worker ownership. We heard from experts in our community including Michael Peck, Co-founder/Executive Director, 1worker1vote; April de Simone, Designing the WE; Joy Sterling, Iron Horse Vineyards; Joe Kenner, Greyston Bakery; Joe Sanberg, Aspiration Bank; and Denise Bowyer, American Income Life. Read our recommendations.

ASBC also met with the Biden-Harris transition team reviewing the Department of Agriculture, bringing them input from our Regenerative Agriculture and Farm Justice Working Group. We discussed maximizing the Department’s support for regenerative and organic agriculture; ensuring equity in access to its programs, specifically addressing its historic injustices; and building resilience throughout the agricultural value chain. We heard from experts in our community including Alisa Gravitz, Green America; Avi Garbow, Patagonia; Farmer Rick Clark; Steward Aaron Newton; Aria McLauchlan, Land Core; Megan Debates, Organic Trade Association; Juan Garcia, National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association; and Wizipan Little Elk, Rosebud Sioux Economic Development Corp. 

Read our inspiring, pragmatic Executive Order Recommendations and contact Thomas Oppel, toppel@asbcouncil.org or Carolyn Pincus, cpincus@asbcouncil.org to learn more. 

PLUS: Safety for Georgia Poll Workers  

In December ASBC partnered with WeTheChange to urge Georgia’s Department of Public Health and Secretary of State to provide Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to poll workers during the state’s crucial runoff elections for U.S. Senators. With Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations again quickly rising, responsible business leaders understand that practical support is vital for the at-risk volunteers making sure Americans can exercise the right to vote.  

Watch for the latest news on this election and Covid-19 relief legislation in your email and in the January 2021 issue of ASBC Policy Update. 


What's New

At last: Congress bans anonymous shell companies 

Congress has finally passed a law to end legalized corporate secrecy in the US that has been used by drug traffickers, terrorist cells, tax cheats, pimps, arms traders, fraudsters, and  

criminals. In 2013, ASBC leader Frank Knapp Jr., president and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, stood up on the issue, when ASBC and SCSBCC joined the FACT Coalition, which led this campaign for corporate transparency. 

Recalls Frank, “On behalf of SCSBCC and ASBC I wrote, ‘No Main Street small business or consumer wants to inadvertently support an anonymous shell corporation that is laundering money, supporting terrorists, or funneling money to enemy governments.’ Subsequently, I pointed out how shell companies had harmed small businesses and that compliance with a corporate transparency law ‘would not burden small businesses.’ 

By a veto-proof majority of 84 to 13, the U.S. Senate passed historic legislation to end the incorporation of anonymous companies in the United States on December 11, 2020, sending the measure to the White House to be signed into law.  The Corporate Transparency Act, which is included in the annual “must-pass” defense bill known as the National Defense Authorization Act, was previously passed in a veto-proof majority by the U.S. House of Representatives on Dec. 8. 

"The support for ending anonymous shell companies was enormous and included businesses of all sizes, financial institutions (including the South Carolina Bankers Association), faith organizations, law enforcement, non-government organizations, unions and more,” Frank concludes. “Congratulations to all for this long-sought victory “to protect our small businesses, defend our democracy and to ensure our security.” For more details on this exciting win for transparency, visit https://thefactcoalition.org/with-veto-proof-majority-senate-sends-landmark-bill-ending-anonymous-companies-to-presidents-desk/


More Good News: Science Gets Bipartisan Nod from Senate   

ASBC is proud of our support for a new federal bill passed by the Senate which will emphasize American jobs and manufacturing while also protecting human health and the environment by helping to realize the full innovation and market potential of sustainable chemistry technologies. The Sustainable Chemistry Research and Development Act of 2019 passed the Senate on Dec. 11, 2020 as part of the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. The Sustainable Chemistry Act enjoyed bipartisan support: led by Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), it was cosponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME); Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).  Read more.


ASBC Celebrates NY State Pension Fund move to divest from fossil fuels 

After years of campaigning, American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) and other members of the DivestNY coalition are celebrating a role model climate win: New York State’s decision on Dec. 9 to begin divesting its $226 billion pension fund – the world’s largest – from fossil fuels in the next four years.  

“We are delighted to know that NY State will start divestiture from the most concerning oil and gas companies near-term and will decarbonize the entire fund by 2040, and we’re proud to have helped in DivestNY’s vital climate campaign toward this goal,” says ASBC President David Levine. “On behalf of the 250,000-plus responsible business leaders and investors ASBC represents, we applaud the NY State Comptroller for this significant move and the example it sets for the rest of our country.”  

The comptroller’s office, custodian of the state’s $226 billion pension fund, will initiate measures to decarbonize the pension fund’s portfolio entirely by 2040, with interim targets. It will complete a systematic review of all fossil fuel investments within four years, including divesting from any companies lacking a plan to leave fossil fuels behind, which would include aligning with the Paris Climate Agreement and transitioning away from oil and gas production, servicing or transport. The state will provide news updates each time it undertakes and completes review of a particular investment, plus annual in-depth reports on implementation. It will also engage more rigorously with companies’ leadership, including voting against board directors of non-fossil fuel companies that fail to take climate action in line with the fund’s decarbonization goal. 

 “Like New York’s ban on fracking, this move will earn global acclaim and makes good economic sense,” says New York Sustainable Business Council Executive Director Bob Rossi. “While the future of fossil fuel investments looks grim, the clean energy sector is booming with tech innovation and accelerating popular demand.  New York should capitalize on this energy transition. We applaud Comptroller DiNapoli and urge him to take a step further: reinvest our pension fund specifically in the growing renewable energy business community based here in New York State. This would ensure their success.” 

 ASBC member Ron Gonen, CEO of Closed Loop Partners, agrees. “This comprehensive climate action plan is a step in the right direction. Wasteful, extractive businesses cost taxpayers money and fuel an inefficient, linear, take-make-waste economy. Decarbonizing and dematerializing our economy is critical to create a more sustainable, circular economy that reduces waste and protects the environment." 

 “As the economic risks from climate change mount, it’s clear we need strong, responsible action by government, business and investors,” ASBC’s Levine concludes. “If we redirect our considerable investment assets out of fossil fuels and into the many sectors that foster a more equitable, sustainable economy, we’ll have an economy with returns we can truly live with. 

ASBC boosts support for Arctic Refuge Defense 

In another action at the federal level, ASBC has been a close partner with the Arctic Refuge Defense campaign, taking action against the Trump administration’s opening of fragile, environmentally important coastal land to destructive oil and gas drilling. Together with ARDC, we recently mobilized more than 300 business leaders from our communities to sign onto a letter to Congress, advising them businesses want the Arctic Refuge protected. Thanks to our high level of engagement with our responsible community members, ASBC mobilized more than 20% of the signatures for the last mile of the campaign. Learn more on the campaign here.


Always Open: Problem-Solving Resources  

You can count on ASBC sending you timely action tips on legislative issues affecting your business, but we also offer busy leaders a wealth of in-depth guidance you can access any time on our website. Want the details on how famous companies of all sizes provide a high-road workplace – and how it boosts their business? Need to make a big media impression (or lots of them) with your firm’s sustainability news? Want to persuade your market why safer, greener products matter? Need to make your responsible business case for better laws to your elected officials at local, state and national levels? ASBC’s online library of resources can help with these and more. Check out the Research & Data and Policy & Action sections on the ASBC website and contact us with your questions or suggestions.  


Media Coverage, Blogs, and More

  • Business Insider’s Market Insider reported on Dec. 12 that ASBC and Social Economy Europe (SEE) (https://www.socialeconomy.eu.org/) announced their global collaboration of more than 3.1 million social enterprises and sustainable businesses. The occasion marked the fifth anniversary of the Paris Climate Accord, which President-elect Biden has promised the U.S. will rejoin next month after his inauguration. 
  • "This strategic partnership is an opportunity to work together in building an economy that works for people and planet," says SEE President, Juan Antonio Pedreño.  "Social economy enterprises...can do a lot together to tackle some of the main challenges of our time such as rising inequalities, climate change or social exclusion. We are stronger together and ready to build a better future for all." ASBC President and co-founder David Levine, adds that "COVID and climate change have made the need for an equitable and sustainable economy even more clear. ASBC and our dedicated member 1worker1vote, led by Michael Peck,” see enormous potential in this collaboration with SEE.” Learn the collaboration’s objectives and more at www.asbcouncil.org
  • In a story by the Dover Post, ASBC is named as a supporter of the Sustainable Chemistry Research and Development Act which passed the Senate on Dec. 11, 2020 as part of the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. 
  • ASBC Co-Founder and President David Levine was the guest presenter in an episode of the popular podcast series, What's America's Purpose? The presentation was entitled, ”David Levine: Can American Business Help Lead the Way to a Sustainable Future?” 
  • ASBC and the Coalition for a National Infrastructure Bank (NIB) joined to present a webinar on water infrastructure on December 7. The event was an opportunity to show how solving our problems with infrastructure can ultimately be an opportunity to trigger a sought-after economic recovery and reduce unemployment. Additionally, panelist outlined the advantages of shifting towards green infrastructure as response to the deadly consequences of climate change. 

See additional media hits under Member News in this issue of ASBC’s Policy Update. 


Welcome New Member

Patagonia (Leadership Member) 

Founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, Patagonia is an outdoor apparel company based in Ventura, California. A Certified B Corporation, the company is recognized internationally for its commitment to product quality and environmental activism, and for its contributions of more than $110 million in grants and in-kind donations to date.    

Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association (Association)

 Building Product Ecosystems (BPE) works with building owners and their teams to optimize material resource cycles for whole-system health. Founded by Amanda Kaminsky and The Durst Organization in 2014 as a public-private partnership with The New School, City University of New York, Healthy Building Network, and Vidaris, BPE has grown into an independent LLC, collaborating with diverse partners on innovative industry improvements. BPE’s current focus includes transparent data, industry signaling, job-site piloting and standardization. 


Member & Staff News

  • Ben & Jerry’s  

    Fast Company magazine online chronicled this celebrated ASBC member’s latest social consciousness venture on Dec. 10. Ben & Jerry’s teams up with Colin Kaepernick on new ice-cream flavor to ‘Change the Whirled’ Know Your Rights director of community outreach Patricia Robinson says the organization is heartened by Ben & Jerry’s commitment to educating themselves, scrutinizing history, and telling the truth with unflinching clarity. “These are the sort of remarkable qualities we admire in our partners, qualities that are increasingly rare as corporations routinely avoid taking stances they perceive could alienate large swaths of consumers.” The new ice cream flavor, like Ben & Jerry’s commitment to justice and climate activism, will join the firm’s permanent roster of offerings.     

  • Patagonia   

    Bloomberg Green reported on Dec. 16 about new CEO Ryan Gellert’s plans for the high-profile ASBC member’s activist firm. Patagonia’s New CEO Plots a Post-Trump Future for the Activist Brand. Gellert, who took on the role as the pandemic first began to ravage retail, is committed to continuing Patagonia’s activism, especially on climate change. “I think we have absolutely lost the right to have philosophical debates about the role of business vs. the role of government or whether it’s too late to do anything. I think it is absolutely implicit that government step up and do the job,” Gellert asserts. Management gave employees four days paid leave to serve as poll workers and staff were given time during the workday to write letters and texts to get out the vote. Some employees will remain in Georgia to aid voting rights operations into January.  

  • Pirelli    

    ASBC congratulates member firm Pirelli & C. S.p.A., reconfirmed on Dec. 8 as a global leader in the fight against climate change. Pirelli earned a place in the Climate A list prepared by the CDP (former Carbon Disclosure Project), the international non-profit organization which gathers, distributes and promotes information on environmental issues. The rarely awarded “A” grade was conferred following an exhaustive rating process that takes into consideration the effectiveness of the company’s efforts to reduce emissions and climate risks and foster a low- carbon emission economy, the completeness and transparency of information provided, and the adoption of best practices associated with climate impact. CDP Reconfirms Pirelli a leader in the fight against climate change.  

  • National Stewardship Action Council    

    National Stewardship Action Council has partnered with Texans for Clean Water to drive a more circular economy in a way leadership says is “uniquely Texas, for Texans.” ASBC members can help further this goal by endorsing the Texas Clean and Healthy Initiative, a free-market, no-tax rebate program that will reduce litter, increase recycling, create jobs, and fund state and local needs including infrastructure and PPE. Visit www.texansforcleanwater.org/the-plan and Email jordan@nsaction.us for more info. 

ASBC Announces New Board Members 

  • Heather Mason 

    A vice-chair on the SVC board and a board member for Social Venture Network, Heather founded Caspian in 2005 to produce conferences in the innovative and social good business arena. Social enterprise clients include Skoll Foundation, for which it has produced the Skoll World Forum for the past 12 years; Omidyar Network; Code for America; Playworks; Endeavor Global; San Diego Zoo; and Futures Without Violence. Caspian has also worked with brands including HarperCollins, Vanity Fair and Keurig Green Mountain Coffee.  

    Heather also created Caspian 10 Essentials, a methodology to ensure business goals can be mapped and met through live events. The system, offered as a training program for in-house event teams and clients including Oxford University, Swansea University, and Cheung Kung Institute of Business in London, is now available through Cvent as a webinar series. 

    Previously, Heather worked for Sundance Film Festival, Fox Studios, Fox TV, Cannes Film Festival, Bud Greenspan’s Olympic film crew; ShowBIZdata, Broadstream and more. Prior to founding Caspian, she produced conferences nationwide for Charles Schwab.   

  • Lauren Singer 

Lauren Singer is founder and CEO of Package Free, a company on a mission to make the world less trashy by offering products that help people reduce waste daily. She is also founder of the leading Zero Waste editorial platform “Trash is for Tossers,” which demonstrates how living a low- or no- waste lifestyle can be cost-effective, accessible, and fun; and which has earned her a spot on The New York Times’ “30 Under 30.” Lauren has walked the walk, producing so little trash over the past eight years it can all fit in a 16-oz Mason jar. 

A former Sustainability Manager at the NYC Department of Environmental Protection with a degree in Environmental Studies from NYU, Lauren is a pioneer of the Zero Waste Movement. A knowledgeable and highly popular social influencer for Zero Waste, Lauren has empowered millions to reduce their waste and has kept over 125 million pieces of trash out of landfills through her work at Package Free.  

  • Rose Yee

Rose leads Green Retirement, an immigrant-, woman- and minority-owned firm that is the nation’s first-ever advisory firm focused on fossil-free, socially and environmentally responsible 401k’s. The firm has advised more than 90 retirement plans across the country and guided thousands of working people to use their 401ks to save toward a financially secure retirement -- while also helping to protect people and planet by rooting investment decisions in the principles of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. Rose was honored by the National Association of Plan Advisors as a “Captain of Industry” in 2015, in its inaugural recognition of women’s vital role in the retirement planning profession.  

Rose co-founded and co-leads WeTheChange, a movement of “empowered women creating a radically inclusive and richly regenerative global economy.” Comprised of women leaders of certified B Corporations and other purpose-driven enterprises, WeTheChange received one of the first B Collective Awards in 2019.  

For her efforts in helping B Corp B2B’s connect, build, and grow their businesses, Rose was honored with a B Economy Leadership Award in 2018 and was recognized by Conscious Company Media as one of the World Changing Women of 2020. Rose holds a Civil Engineering degree from the University of San Agustin and a Master's in Business Management from the Asian Institute of Management in the Philippines. 

ASBC Members, Let Us Help You Share Your News! 

Your ASBC membership is a valuable networking opportunity to share your news with other mission-driven companies and supporters nationwide. Please send us your product and service introductions, personnel and facility changes, awards, charitable events and other news in your press releases, blogs, captioned photos and videos. We’ll include them in ASBC’s monthly Policy Update newsletter and social media outlets. 

AND....Show your customers, prospects and vendors your values right upfront:  display the “Proud Member of ASBC” logo on your website and marketing materials.  

ASBC appreciates your support for our work and we’re proud to support you all the way! 

Upcoming Events

Next Economy Webinars 
Webinar | Watch when you want
ASBC and SVC co-sponsor this line-up of thought-provoking discussions and case histories from businesses around the globe on today’s challenging problems, important missions and innovative solutions: building resilience, community investment, finance and social justice, BOPOC access to capital, customer engagement, mentoring, demographics in a digital world, and much more.


American Sustainable Business Council
712 H Street, NE, PMB 42, | Washington, District of Columbia  20002
202-660-1455 | replies@asbcouncil.org

Follow Us