For Texas Companies, Reckoning With Climate Change Is Good Business

Businesses with Texas facilities, including Mars and ExxonMobil, will continue sustainability efforts with or without government leadership.

By Laura RiceJune 13, 2017 12:02 pm| ,

President Donald Trump framed his recent decision to exit the Paris Climate agreement as a move that would protect American businesses and jobs.

In Texas, many big businesses are making their own moves to fight climate change, apart from federal requirements. Mars, Incorporated, which produces Snickers bars and Pedigree pet food in Texas, has fronted efforts to reduce climate change since long before the Paris accord.

The candy giant is not alone. Jeff Mosier, who covers energy and the environment for the Dallas Morning News, says Texas businesses have been reducing their carbon footprints and embracing renewable energy for years.

“Most of these businesses, particularly large corporations, really care a lot about climate change,” Mosier says of Texas-based operations. “They’re very concerned about supply chains and regulations overseas, as well as just general consumer interest.”

Mosier says while some businesses are likely encouraged by the benefits of having an “environmentally friendly” image, for many of them, climate change is a very important business issue.  

Mars, for example, has a candy manufacturing plant in Waco and a pet food plant in Temple. The company sources cocoa from West Africa and wheat from Europe, as well as other places around the world.

“[Mars has] a really large global supply chain,” Mosier says. “If there’s climate change that affects weather elsewhere and causes droughts or messes up what crops can grow where, that has a very big effect.”

Other environmental efforts by businesses with Texas interests include a new focus on electric cars by Texas automakers like Toyota. Oil companies have largely shifted to acknowledge the effects of climate change, including ExxonMobil’s endorsement of the Paris agreement ahead of Trump’s decision.

Although many Texas businesses are continuing environmental efforts outside of federal requirements, Mosier says U.S. involvement in a global climate change agreement would still act as a positive unifying force.

“The argument is that [the] Paris [agreement] gives the world a framework to work with and some goals to reach,” Mosier says. “They’re looking for a framework that people can rally around and potential goals that they can reach. So far, I think most of the countries are trying to at least head for those goals. If there’s no goals out there and if random companies are just left to their own, they’re probably going to try to do some of this, but at some point they need everyone to pull together in the same direction.”

 

Written by Rachel Rascoe.