The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Michael Neuwirth
Chief Communications Officer, ASBC

Linda Behnken
Executive Director, Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association

ASBC, Indigenous and Community-Based Business Leaders See True Conservation & Sustainable Economic Potential In Dept. Of Interior Report

Businesses for conservation and climate action launched and poised to engage.


Today the Department of the Interior (DOI) issued its highly anticipated report called for by President Biden's executive order on combating the climate crisis at home and abroad. The report outlines the stakeholder engagement approaches and principles that are to be used by the administration in achieving its broad conservation goals in the coming years.

Businesses for Conservation & Climate Action, comprised of the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) and a coalition of Indigenous and community-based business leaders, applaud the inclusive, bottom-up, and stakeholder driven approaches and principles highlighted in the DOI report. With broad application across sectors and agencies, the report establishes visionary approaches to conservation of U.S. lands, inland waters, and oceans that will provide Indigenous and resource-dependent stakeholders a long-demanded seat at the table. In turn, these business communities are ready to engage in order to achieve meaningful, durable, and inclusive natural resource conservation wins for the benefit of the environment and all Americans.

"This is an important step forward in protecting our environment, addressing the climate crisis, and helping communities and sustainable businesses thrive," said David Levine, ASBC president and co- founder. "The principles established in this report clearly define the path our members will take from their brilliant bottom-up conservation approaches to real world implementation. Resource-dependent communities mean business, and our members' meaningful participation can ensure fair, equitable, and durable conservation wins for all."

"Indigenous People of this continent have successfully managed complex societies and resource dependent economies for 10,000 years," said Natasha Hayden, elected Tribal representative and owner of a small-scale fishing business in Alaska. "When our communities and businesses are provided a genuine role in policy making, we can expect to see meaningful results that mirror this legacy for the good of all communities. The Administration's new process is a major step in the right direction for my Tribe, my business, and the perpetual health of the resources we have always depended on."

"We have reached a critical moment where the only way forward is for everyone, including small business leaders, to work together to protect the ocean, soil, forests, and every ecosystem that regulates the climate," said Rosanna Marie Neil, policy counsel at the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA). "Communities and responsible businesses must be given a leading role in ensuring that major climate initiatives are holistic, fair, and practical. If 30x30 is managed well, there's real potential for ocean conservation wins that include sustainable access and participation for America's fishermen and women."

"Achieving real conservation and climate solutions depends on our ability to rediscover our place within the global environment and on having the humility to embrace our role," said Linda Behnken, executive director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association. "There is still much work to do to build trust around 30x30 and establish processes that enhance community perspectives and the sustainable access of local people to natural resources. This report shows that the Biden Administration has listened to us. Now we must chart a course towards national conservation policies that recognize sustainable small businesses as compatible with healthy lands and oceans."

"Small businesses played a critical role in partnering with conservation groups in politically and legally blocking the oil industrialization of the Atlantic Coast," said Frank Knapp Jr., president & CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce and ASBC board member. "The environment and local sustainable economies were protected in our successful coalition, a model for future conservation efforts including 30x30."

The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) advocates for policy change and informs business owners, policymakers and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant, broadly prosperous, sustainable economy. Founded in 2009, its membership represents over 250,000 businesses in a wide range of industries.

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