August News Update from David Jerome, President & CEO of the El Paso Chamber
As we wind down the summer, I am cautiously optimistic about the state of the pandemic in our region. Our vaccination numbers have been inspiring and while I am certain we will face some bumps in the coming months, I do believe we are moving forward. I want to extend our continued appreciation for the frontline medical personnel and those involved with the vaccination process in the El Paso area.
In thinking about this month’s note, I have been tracking the work of the UN and their recently released report on climate change. The report and its conclusions are harrowing, particularly because they signal a coming ecological Rubicon; if we do not take steps to act now, the impact of climate change will be irreversible. Global temperature is up from the late 1800s and the rate of warming is the fastest it has ever been in history. I look out on a waterlogged El Paso this week and can see how shifts in the environmental cycle can have tremendous impact on our own community.
It would be easy to think that the Chamber does not have a role in this conversation, but as many of you know I believe sustainability is a crucial goal in business. Not only do I think that sustainability is part of a strategic business plan, but I believe if sustainability is merged into shared values espoused by both a business and a community, both can work together to mitigate the risk of climate change. The UN report offered a stark view on climate change, but I also feel like their underlying imperative was to point to possibility for positive actions and I along with my staff are ready to heed those suggestions. I believe that action now can have a positive impact on our immediate future and the future facing our children and their children.
The certainty presented in the UN report is important because it means we can start to see the specific impact of human practices on global weather events. That certainty means we can target policy and changes in business operations for specific sectors of the economy and in specific geographies. Climate policy no longer has to be a guessing game and it means that innovation in business practices can advance the bottom line, enhance shared values, and be used to make meaningful change in terms of the environment. I believe that business transforms lives for the better and that is inclusive of changes to the economy and people’s livelihoods, as well as to enhancing the ecology around us.
The Chamber is committed to store housing data on innovative practices and trends related to minimizing climate change. We believe that solid climate science informs business practices and the better, more complete our data, the better the result. Internally, the Chamber has made several moves to enhance sustainability in the office and in our operations. We recognize that there are many things that can minimize the carbon footprint of our organization and help streamline costs related to operations as well. We are also committed to working with our members to find pathways to sustainability in their daily practices and in the output of their operations. For small and medium enterprises, there are strategies to streamline elements of operations that model those from our major corporate partners. We believe we can serve as the bridge to enhance and inform those practices, while offering strategic insight into how business can make those as strategic enhancements benefiting their stakeholders and clients.
In the coming months as we focus on additive manufacturing and the enhancement of the local economy, we will also be planning events and sharing information on how we all can be a part of positive change toward the environment. The moment to act is now and as the UN has suggested, our efforts could have lifelong, positive consequences.