Voting for a Sustainable Future

The Future Impacts On Businesses

Voting for a Sustainable Future

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Sustainability is becoming a more important consideration for voters. This will likely drive government policies on stricter environmental business standards and building codes.


sustainability movementThe upswing in appetite for sustainability measures in the public realm is seen with purchasing power and voting power. We also see consumers and investors leaning more towards companies that demonstrate responsible behavior and sustainability initiatives. Voters are making their voices heard, and candidates must recognize the issue of sustainability in elections. Recent elections in the U.S. reveal voters are increasingly demanding elected officials make policies to protect the planet.

The omnipresent concern of climate change is becoming a leading issue for voters. In tight races, the candidate with a more robust environmental policy might just be the one that triumphs.

While the issue tends to gain more traction with Democratic voters, it is nonetheless something that both sides of the aisle will discuss in the 2022 election cycle.

Who is Driving the Sustainability Movement?

The push for sustainability is growing across all party lines. Some sectors of society place higher importance on the issue than others. Still, the numbers show that across the United States, those who say that global warming is a significant threat to American society grew from 44% in 2009 to 60% in 2020. Looking back at the 2020 election, 68% of registered voters claimed that climate change was a very important or somewhat important issue to them. 

The issue has increased importance for young voters. Younger voters tend to be more concerned about international social, political, and environmental issues because they have grown up in a globalized world. Millennials are more likely to pay more for sustainable products or support sustainably-minded companies. They bring this mindset with them to the polls. Of the young voters who identify as Democrats, 79% confirm they would be much more inclined to vote blue in 2022 if the Democratic Party vowed to take stronger action on climate change.

Although climate change and sustainability concerns tend to be of higher importance to Democratic voters, it is not absent in the minds of Republicans. In polling from the 2020 general election, only 24% of Republican voters said that climate change is not a threat to the country--a position long held by many Republican elected officials. The remaining 76% acknowledged that climate change is either a major (31%) or minor (45%) threat.

Sustainable Policies Across the U.S.

The impact of increasing public interest in sustainability can already be seen across many U.S. states. A report by U.S. News found that on average, states that vote democratic tend to have more environmentally friendly policies and green building codes. This makes sense considering democratic voters tend to place more importance on the environment when going to the polls.

The same report found that all of the 10 “greenest” states were located in the Northwest or West Coast: Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, California, Oregon, Minnesota, Hawaii, Connecticut, and Washington. Backing this up, a poll by the Pew Research Center found that people in these states were also the most open to implementing stricter environmental regulations and codes. Public pressure on candidates does incentivize action.

Global Trends Affect U.S. Policy

The pressure on candidates to enact sustainability policies does not just come from the public, but also from international organizations and binding multilateral agreements like the Paris Agreement, for example. These factors compel successful candidates to enact legislation that combats climate change. Businesses may soon be obligated to demonstrate their sustainability measures, cap greenhouse gas emissions, or change their polluting suppliers. 

Climate regulations can mean massive overhauls for businesses that are unable to fulfill their requirements and likely big hits to their bottom line when they alter practices to comply. The threat of diminishing profits can incentivize businesses to support candidates favorable to their cause.

Is Your Business Ready?

Climate change and sustainability are issues that are growing in importance for American voters. Look for these issues to play a critical part in the 2022 elections--with pressure on both sides of the aisle.

Even if your business strategy is to object to government policy, businesses need a concrete sustainability plan to address consumer and investor pressure. Businesses that get in front of the legislation and start acting today will be able to hit the ground running, while other companies try to pick themselves up off the floor when strict climate regulations come into play. We at Emerald Built Environments can help ensure that your business is climate compliant and sustainably certified. Contact us today to keep your business ahead of the climate regulation curve!

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