MAINE'S BUSINESS COMMUNITY LAUNCHES INITIATIVE TO PROMOTE TRANSITION TO 100% CLEAN ENERGY
A group of private business owners is developing online tools and a support network to help companies eliminate their emissions from fossil fuels.
Describing their project as an independent, nonprofit, non-political, business-led effort, the owners of one dozen Maine companies have made a commitment to take effective action ‘On the Pathway to 100% Clean Energy.’ They are reducing their own emissions from fossil fuel, and hope to inspire other Maine businesses to join them. The founding “Leadership Circle” of the project includes: Lamey-Wellehan Shoes, Scratch Baking Co., GWI, Geiger, FlowFold, Loohoo Wool Dryer Balls, ReVision Energy, Fiddlehead Designs Cabinetry, Wicked Joe Coffee, Wicked Leaf Tea, Green Clean Maine, and Spark Applied Efficiency.
“Starting today, every Maine business has a better on ramp to get on the pathway to 100% clean energy,” said Fred Horch, volunteer director of the project. “There are no fees to participate,” he added. “If you own a business in Maine, you can qualify by taking three simple steps: 1) sign a letter committing your own business to the goal of 100% clean energy; 2) describe at least one way your company has begun reducing your own emissions from fossil fuel; and 3) outline a plan to eliminate all of your remaining emissions, over time.”
Businesses that meet these qualifications will receive public recognition, including use of the campaign's emblem, and free publicity through the campaign website and other public communications efforts. The website provides everything necessary to get started: the commitment letter, an emissions calculator, a pathway planner, and soon, guidebooks and a growing support network of consultants, financial partners, and contractors to help optimize, electrify and solarize businesses in Maine. Business owners and interested citizens are invited to visit: www.PathwayToCleanEnergy.org
While there is no cost to join the campaign, to achieve meaningful results, business owners will likely need to improve their own buildings, such as by installing better insulation, LED lighting, electric heat pumps, or solar panels; and upgrade to electric vans and trucks as those become available. The nature and timing of those investments is entirely up to each business owner; but one of the key tenets of the campaign is to ensure follow through once a business owner signs the commitment letter.
The ‘On the Pathway’ project has been assembling an advisory board to provide strategic guidance for the effort. Currently, that board includes Jim Wellehan, CEO of Lamey-Wellehan Shoes; Sue Inches, community leader and author of Advocating for the Environment; Jeff Marks, Senior Policy Director, Acadia Center; Joel Alder, Employee-Owner, ReVision Energy; and Joe Walsh, Founder and President, Green Clean Maine.
“One of the major goals of the project is to show that we have the potential to stop fossil fuel emissions from thousands of Maine businesses,” said Jim Wellehan, CEO of Lamey-Wellehan and an advisory board member. “Once a business’s owners have made the commitment, it may mean taking small steps in the first year, then ramping up, year after year. But that’s what it means to be ‘On The Pathway To 100% Clean Energy,’” continued Wellehan.
In June 2019, the Maine Legislature enacted LD 1679 which created the Maine Climate Council and the development of a Climate Action Plan. That plan points to the need for voluntary efforts by Maine’s businesses and organizations. Its recommendations called for innovation and leadership from the private sector, and the establishment of partnerships and the sharing of best practices.
“The ‘On The Pathway’ project is a concrete example of the private sector’s meaningful action toward a shared goal that will save money, reduce pollution, and build healthier communities. Mainers are just starting to get over their long-standing dependence on dirty fossil fuels and these companies are investing in clean energy systems that meet our state climate policies and reduce operating costs over time,” said Jeff Marks, Senior Policy Director of Acadia Center, and advisory board member.
‘On the Pathway to 100% Clean Energy’ is a nonprofit, nonpartisan project initiated by a group of Maine business owners, for the benefit of all Maine businesses. The project is managed by a volunteer director and guided by an independent advisory board. Funding comes from companies and individuals who believe that Maine’s business community has a shared responsibility to work together—starting now—to create Maine’s carbon neutral economy by 2045.