- Associated Press - Monday, October 27, 2014

SEATTLE (AP) — Dozens of Washington state businesses such as REI, Microsoft Corp. and Virginia Mason on Monday signed a declaration supporting action to tackle climate change.

At a news conference in Seattle, several executives said that businesses in Washington state can lead the way in finding innovative solutions to protect the region’s natural resources and the economy.

The businesses say they support cleaner fuels, energy efficiency, advancing renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“If we’re not doing everything possible within our control to reduce emissions, then we’re failing them (the next generation),” Tim Engle, president of Saltchuk Resources Inc., which owns Foss Maritime and Totem Ocean Trailer Express.

The business leaders said there are economic and social costs to doing nothing, but also economic opportunities to address carbon pollution.

“The riskiest decision a business person can make is to do nothing,” said Perry England, vice-president of building performance for MacDonald-Miller. “Climate change is happening. It will continue. And it is affecting our business whether you believe it or not.”

He said signing the declaration recognizes that the company is doing something on the issue.

Some say their companies are already working to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Others say they were excited to join like-minded businesses on the issue.

“The outdoors is our business. And being good stewards of the outdoors is synonymous with running a good business,” said Vikram Sahney, divisional vice president of strategy for REI. He said he looks forward to the ongoing conversation with other like-minded businesses.

The declaration doesn’t actually require businesses to do anything other than agree with the statement.

But Brenna Davis, sustainability director for Virginia Mason, said it’s an opportunity to educate and engage other businesses on climate change.

Some businesses have been doing things for years to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, while others are in the early stages, she said.

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