Building Climate Change Resilience in Boston is a Community Project“The non-profit Climate Action Business Association (CABA) is another example of how local engagement can stimulate collective action on climate change. The organization’s goal is to address the climate crisis by working with local businesses to become more sustainable and to be more effective climate change advocates.
CABA was founded in 2012 and is based in Boston, but works with businesses around the country to help them develop their own climate action plans within the city’s larger resilience strategies. In the past year, they’ve gone from having 28 members to 78 members, which reach across multiple sectors of the community – from companies like the Gentle Giant Moving Company and Somerville Sustainable Cleaning, to investment firms like Green Century Funds and Balanced Rock Investment Advisors. Each of these member businesses takes a different approach to sustainability, but all of them are invested in creating a more sustainable future.
‘Our portfolio is so wide-ranging,’ said Polina Malozemova, internal sustainability coordinator. ‘Each company comes in with their own hopes of what they will get out of this organization. The amount of time and resources they can dedicate is different.’
For every business that comes in, CABA helps them conduct an energy audit using a sustainability data management tool, the Sustainable Performance and Reporting Kit (SPaRK), which assesses impacts related to greenhouse gas emissions, energy, waste, and water to help its users develop a business plan. Later, CABA follows up with members to determine how businesses will follow through on that initial plan while also sticking to company values.
Malozemova says that among participating businesses, she has seen an increasing dedication to sustainability. ‘People don’t come in because they feel like they ought to do something,’ she said. ‘People believe in what they do and that contributes to our success.’
A common thread that the staff observes between their members is a sense of solace in working alongside a like-minded community. The staff facilitates this by holding community events at the organization’s headquarters at Boston’s historic Old West Church.
‘Lots of small businesses in the Boston area have a stake in climate change and how it affects their livelihood,’ said Joe Carpenter, director of operations and sustainability. ‘When you come together as a community, you’re much more effective as a group.’
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