Left to right: Anne Robertson, Nature Maids; David Levine, CEO, American Sustainable Business Council; Bryan McGannon, Policy Director, ASBC; Jessica Alba, founder, The Honest Company; Christopher Gavigan, Chief Product Officer, The Honest Company; Ansje Miller, Policy Co-Chair, BizNGO,; Dale “Sebastian” Luckwitz, Sustainability Officer, Naturepedic; Ed Brown, director of movie Unacceptable Levels. Photo Credit: American Sustainable Business Council.
As Sustainability Officer for Naturepedic, my role is to go beyond the certified organic products we make to strengthen our relationship to the larger sustainability picture including business practices and advocacy. When things go really well, I get to compare notes with others also passionate about sustainability. When things go really, really well, I get to promote sustainability at the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C. with Jessica Alba. Thursday, June 18 went really, really well. Serving as a Naturepedic representative for the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), I spent the day alongside actress and advocate for safer products Jessica Alba, co-founder of The Honest Company, and a team of talented business professionals, traveling the halls of the U.S. Senate to meet with a variety of senators. As members of the ASBC, we made the case for sensible reform to the outdated Toxics Substances Control Act (TSCA). Currently, a draft bill, S. 697, is being considered in the Senate. In addition to Alba, our team also included Christopher Gavigan, co-founder and CPO of The Honest Company, David Levine, CEO of the ASBC, Jeffrey Hollender, noted speaker, founder of Seventh Generation and co-founder of the ASBC, and representatives from Earth Friendly Products, Nature Maid, BizNGO and other ASBC members. In addition to focusing on key aspects of potential legislative reform to TSCA, we also highlighted that sustainable business practices make solid business sense. While Alba’s star power garnered attention as we occasionally paused to allow passing aides and staffers to get a photo, the collective business case put forth by each ASBC member highlighted that stronger regulations for safer chemistries is ultimately good for American business and jobs as well as for the health of American families. Topics we discussed ranged from state preemption (our coalition spoke out loud for preserving a state’s right to regulate chemicals) to a needed focus on chemicals labeled as Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxins (PBTs). As this post is being written, the U.S. House of Representatives have recently passed a separate and competing bill H.R. 2576. It is uncertain whether either the House of Senate versions of the reform will garner enough votes to pass, or if some combination of the two bills will be formed. The current version of the House bill falls seriously short of providing the type of safeguards needed for American families although it does largely preserve state’s rights. In the meetings with Senators, we also focused on key aspects we felt would strengthen the House bill. The meetings went on from morning to afternoon following a tight meeting schedule as we stopped only for a quick lunch at the Dirksen Senate Building Cafeteria. The pace was intense but the energy high as we talked chemical reform. There was a noticeable comradery present as our separate business interests joined together for a common cause. For some reason, though, the senators seemed a bit more interested in getting a picture alongside Jessica than with me. Maybe it was my tie.