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100+ Join Microsoft Calling for Action on Climate Change

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The Evergreen State just got a little greener. Following in the footsteps of California where, earlier this year, more than 140 businesses and trade associations signed the Climate Declaration, more than 100 Washington State businesses have stepped up to get behind it. The announcement was made today by the sponsor of the project, the nonprofit group Ceres, which focuses on promoting sustainable business practices.

Business leaders in Washington state see climate change as a threat to their success and to the state's economy and natural assets. Photo credit: Ceres

"Over 100 businesses, including Virginia Mason, Microsoft, REI and Saltchuk today launched an open declaration calling for action on climate change," said Ceres. "The Washington Business Climate Declaration highlights the support of state business leaders for action on climate change that would preserve and expand our state’s vibrant economy."

The declaration states, "There is a clear and present need for action on climate change to protect our region's natural assets, its vibrant communities and its growing economy. We business leaders of the Pacific Northwest endorse the Climate Declaration because we support using energy efficiently, investing in cleaner fuels, advancing renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The biggest fish was clearly Microsoft, the state's biggest employer after Boeing and the University of Washington, with more than 40,000 employees in Washington alone.

"In the face of the increasing challenges presented by climate change, Washington State’s innovative spirit creates opportunity to help develop solutions and help to preserve our outstanding quality of life,” said Rob Bernard, Microsoft's chief environmental and cities strategist.

Smaller businesses concurred. Bill Taylor, president of the family-owned Taylor Shellfish, which employees 500 in Washington and British Columbia, said, "With ocean acidification impacting our ability to produce young oysters to stock our farms, we understand all too well the importance of tackling the carbon pollution problem. Washington’s Business Climate Declaration is a strong statement from our state’s business leaders that it is time to act and that doing so should be seen as an opportunity not a threat.”

The company's website emphasizes its longtime support of sustainable practices, describing how the acidity dissolves the shells on oyster, clam and mussel seed, causing crop failures in recent years. "Without new crops, all of our environmental, social and community efforts will be in vain," it says.

The Seattle Chamber of Commerce, which represents more than 2,000 businesses employing 700,000 people, was also one of the signers.

"The Chamber sees climate change as a significant risk to our economy and unique quality of life, but it also poses an opportunity," said chamber president and CEO Maud Daudon. "Our region’s businesses have designed products and services that have improved lives around the planet and they are uniquely positioned to provide solutions to our global climate and energy challenges. We support putting our businesses in a position to be the first mover on this global opportunity."

More than 1,000 companies ranging from corner stores and ski resorts to big companies like Apple and automaker GM have signed the Declaration, which Ceres describes as "a call to action from leading American businesses and individuals urging policymakers and business leaders to seize the economic opportunity in tackling climate change."

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