AKRON — Climate change is one of the most divisive issues being debated today. Politicians generally believe it or they don't, and it's rare to see large multinational corporations beating the drum for more regulations.
That's what makes it all the more significant that five of the top executives in the U.S. tire industry are urging lawmakers to take action on climate change.
Gary Garfield, CEO of Bridgestone Americas Inc.; Pete Selleck, chairman of Michelin North America Inc.; Pierluigi Dinelli, chairman of Pirelli Tire North America Inc.; James Hawk, chairman of Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc.; and Takaharu Fushimi, CEO of Yokohama Tire Corp., wrote an open letter recently to Congress to plead their case.
They write that almost every scientist across the world—they said NASA puts the number at 97 percent — believes climate change is a legitimate threat, “caused by human activity.”
They said if an expert at one of their plants warned them that a tragic event was 97-percent likely to happen, “the CEO would be compelled to act on the warning.” And if he didn't, and the prediction came true, that CEO would “lose his job and might...face dire legal consequences.”
With the presidential election less than 10 months away, these tire executives are to be congratulated for calling attention to this critical issue. Most of the candidates running for the nation's highest office have not revealed any plans to combat climate change if elected. Four don't believe climate change is real.
To be fair, politicians and lawmakers can only do so much. It's up to companies across the world to reduce their carbon footprint in order to reverse the effects of climate change.
The five executives said they not only are talking the talk, but are walking the walk. They said their companies are making strides to reduce their carbon footprints, but Congress needs to push for a more coordinated regulatory framework and investments in green technologies. “Although we are comparatively large companies, compared to the whole picture, we are too small to move the needle,” they wrote.
Perhaps, though, their letter will encourage other companies, as well as other industries, to follow their lead.
This editorial appeared recently in Rubber & Plastics News, an Akron-based sister publication of Tire Business. Have an opinion about this? Send your comments or a letter to the editor to [email protected]. Please include your name, title, official company name, city and state, and a daytime phone number at which you can be contacted.