As part of its work with the Business Council on Climate Change (BC3), New Resource Bank is now serving on the advisory board for San Francisco’s nine-year-old Climate Action Plan (CAP), an aggressive effort to drive down the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“We’re part of a committee of local businesses giving feedback to the San Francisco Department of the Environment,” says Bill Peterson, executive vice president and chief credit officer at New Resource. He adds that because the CAP directly affects the business community, companies large and small have been tapped to comment on proposed policies, initiatives and goals.
BC3, established in 2007 by the Bay Area Council and the San Francisco Department of the Environment (DOE), is a collective of Bay Area companies committed to reducing their own greenhouse gas emissions as well as developing and implementing wide-ranging sustainability practices within the corporate community, says Peterson.
Plan focuses on four key areas
Climate plans are sprouting up across the country, focusing on areas with the greatest impact on climate change in a particular locale. Key issues in San Francisco’s CAP are transportation, energy efficiency, renewable energy and solid waste management.
When San Francisco adopted its CAP in 2002, the goal was a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2012, 25 percent by 2017, 40 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050. Using the 1990 emissions baseline, the DOE monitors the city’s yearly emissions and revises the CAP as changes occur in the four key focus areas.
“This is a groundbreaking and immense undertaking by the city of San Francisco,” says Peterson, noting that challenges include obtaining accurate measurements for greenhouse gas emissions and proposed reductions, setting realistic goals and establishing the public/private partnerships required to make real progress – all while keeping budgetary impacts in mind.
BC3, according to Peterson, recognizes that the CAP’s goals can be accomplished only with the coordinated efforts of government, business and the public.
New Resource seeks to share and spread knowledge
“We hope we can be helpful in fostering the relationship between these stakeholders and generating innovative policies and practices that will lead to tangible improvements,” Peterson says, adding that New Resource can contribute by “sharing our experience on best practices, helping to spread the word through our network of triple-bottom-line clients and partners, and continuing to develop the economic case for sustainability and reduction of greenhouse gases.”
Ultimately, Peterson hopes that the CAP and BC3 will not only contribute to San Francisco’s climate change goals, but also be “shining examples for other cities that wish to establish concrete actions and policies to address climate change.”