Companies are doing more to address climate change, according to the annual rating of consumer brands performed by Climate Counts, an affiliated program of the Sustainability Institute at the University of New Hampshire. The latest scoring results show that 66 percent of companies rated have publicly available climate and energy strategies, compared to just 25 percent in 2007, the year the organization began rating companies.
“When the financial crisis hit, it was as if the climate discussion fell into a coma,” said Mike Bellamente, director of Climate Counts. “Now we’re seeing major consumer brands calling climate change by name and meeting aggressive targets to slash emissions—all while turning a profit and growing their business. It’s still dismally quiet on Capitol Hill, but it is promising to see signs of leadership emerging from the private sector.”
Such climate leadership cannot come soon enough for the US winter tourism industry.
According to UNH researchers Elizabeth Burakowski and Matthew Magnusson in their study “Climate Impacts on the Winter Tourism Economy in the United States,” the $12.2 billion winter tourism industry spread out across 38 states has experienced an estimated $1 billion loss and up to 27,000 fewer jobs over the last decade due to diminished snow fall patterns and the resulting changes in the outdoor habits of Americans. The study was prepared for the nonprofit groups Protect Our Winters (POW) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
Failure to address climate change at all levels — not solely by industry, but by government as well — will mean further losses.
“In the many U.S. states that rely on winter tourism, climate change is expected to contribute to warmer winters, reduced snowfall, and shorter snow seasons,” said Elizabeth Burakowski, UNH researcher and report author. “This spells significant economic uncertainty for a winter sports industry deeply dependent upon predictable, heavy snowfall.”