As an organization, Positive Energy Solar was built on the idea of social and environmental justice. We understand how our employee ownership model has a greater positive impact on the families of our employees, and trickles out, further, to our community. We recognize that energy independence means empowerment, and every family we can help make this transition is a step in the right direction. We operate as a values-based company (and Certified B-Corp) recognizing the equal importance and impact we have on a triple-bottom-line -- people, planet, and profit. We have implemented programs -- utilizing the tools we have available -- to educate undeserved populations about their potential to grow in the renewable energy sector, and have even worked to hire non-violent ex-offenders as part of a re-entry program. All of these actions are just a drop in the bucket, however, and we recognize (as does our entire industry) that we, too, must improve. We must actively increase efforts to diversify our rapidly growing (and mostly white) workforce, as well as to recognize that climate change disproportionately affects low-income and under-served populations. We can, and must, do better.
An open letter from Positive Energy Solar's President to our employees:
I want to open a conversation about an issue that I feel uncomfortable talking about, George Floyd, a black person killed in Minneapolis who's last words were "I cant breathe". My own experience and background does not prepare me to talk about this which is the source of my discomfort. Yet I know this is important.
I see this as an unresolved issue from the origins of our country. We have not treated each other equally and with respect. It is my opinion this incident and many like it were created because we did not transform our minds from one of white supremacy to a society built around equality. So we have created a system to perpetuate inequality.
Why am I bringing this up and why is this important? The similarities between racism (social justice) and climate change are striking to me. American businesses profited from exploiting people and natural resources destroying ecosystems and polluting water and air without serious consequences. Similarly there has been no accountability for violence against African Americans or people of color. I think that both businesses and our law-enforcement systems have misused their power. Both issues have been ignored for a long time, making change very difficult. I believe these two issues are inseparable: climate change and social justice. If we address climate change without social justice it will mean more inequality.
Here are a few questions to start our conversation:
● How am I educating myself and my stakeholders about structural racism?
● How am I holding space to allow for conversations about structural racism in my company?
● How am I supporting civic engagement to hold public leaders accountable and tackle structural racism in our systems of government?
We must address social justice and climate change together. The more informed we are of both of these issues, the easier it will be for us to transform as a Company to address the challenges ahead. Let's start the conversations and sharing about this.
Much love to you all,