Seventh Generation founder: “The US Chamber of Commerce doesnt act in the best interest of business…. I think its a reputational risk to be associated with the Chamber, given their behavior.”

The key point about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is that they do not speak for “American business.” That’s why there’s been an exodus of leading companies from the denial-pushing industry group.  That’s why as Grist reported, Microsoft’s Rob Bernard wrote in an e-mail that “The views expressed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce do not reflect Microsoft’s position on climate change and we are not participating in their climate initiatives.” This repost from Wonk Room tells the story of yet another industry leader speaking out for clean energy jobs and against the Chamber.

Last week, over 150 business leaders from major American companies came to the capital to tell Congress to “pass comprehensive climate change and energy policy legislation this year.” One of the corporate titans who participated in the We Can Lead effort was Jeffrey Hollender, the co-founder, executive chairman, and “chief inspired protagonist” of Seventh Generation, the leading producer of green household products. In an exclusive interview with the Wonk Room, Hollender had strong words for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, explaining that it made sense for prominent companies like Nike and Apple to cut ties to the chamber over its opposition to climate action:

I think the U.S. Chamber of Commerce doesn’t act in in the best interest of business. They represent what was historically best for business. They represent exactly what’s the polar opposite of the future of business. The chamber is a voice of the energy industry, of the coal industry. As you’ve seen in the last couple of days, Nike gives up its position on the board, Apple resigns “” businesses will increasingly abandon the chamber because they are just so wrong on this issue. Not that they’re not wrong on most issues, but they’re more wrong on this issue than they usually are.

Hollender further described membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as a “reputational risk“:

These companies, like Nike and Apple, are taking a leadership position with their own energy efficiency initiatives. They don’t want to see a playing field where companies who abuse and pollute get benefits, and companies that are more efficient don’t. So, part of it is making sure the playing field is leveled. But I also think it’s undeniably important that the consumers of these companies would be embarrassed if they knew that Nike was sitting on the board of the chamber. I mean, I think it’s a reputational risk to be associated with the chamber, given their behavior.

Pausing in the Russell Senate building between meetings with senators from some of the 20 states in which Seventh Generation has manufacturing facilities, Hollender explained why capitalists like himself support the efforts of Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to craft legislation with a cap-and-trade and energy efficiency provisions to cut global warming pollution and promote clean energy investment. Responding to critics who claim that advocates of a green economy are “socialists” who want to “kill capitalism,” he said, “the fact that we should be responsible for the effect we have on other people, anyone who tells you that’s anti-capitalist is crazy.”

Hollender concluded that Congress should pass clean energy and climate legislation immediately, because it’s “right for business, right for the economy, right for jobs, and good for the future of the country.”

4 Responses to Seventh Generation founder: “The US Chamber of Commerce doesnt act in the best interest of business…. I think its a reputational risk to be associated with the Chamber, given their behavior.”

  1. Concerned says:

    I don’t understand why people are demonizing the Chamber of Commerce. They do not support current cap and trade legislation; not because they don’t support efforts to curb emissions, but because they do not think this bill will achieve its goal. At the same time, it will be far too costly for American businesses. I think the Chamber of Commerce is right. Cap and trade is not the way. We need further discussions. Join the debate and write your Senators at

  2. Leif says:

    Concerned #1: If that is what the CC means how come they don’t come out and say it? Just what is their helpful suggestion? “Scopes monkey trial” does not sound much like meaningful dialog.

  3. Jeff Green says:

    Reply to #1
    It’s time for the chamber of commerce to come up into the present day needs of society. There will always be those that lag behind in change. We have consequences that we can’t avooid from our emissions of co2 to the environment. Further waiting only exacerbates our future environment. It will take 50 years as it is to become a zero carbon economy. We are dependent on the earth absobing co2 back in to remove it from the atmosphere. It may take 30 to 40 years to just see a decrease in co2 ppm in our air. If business doesn’t get it and cooperate they take us down with them in their intransigence. The irony of dealing with deniers is that we still need their cooperation, even while they go on their destructive ways.

  4. Greener says:

    Time to hold local members of the chamber responsible. If you see a CC sticker on a business you’re about to enter just walk on and find another door to enter.