This Byte has been authored by

Bill Weihl

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Did you know that the company you work for is likely a member of a trade association?

There are over 100,000 of these groups in the U.S. alone and many more across the globe. Their membership can be very specific, like the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters or extremely broad like the National Association of Manufacturers .

Many trade associations have a big influence over government policies. This influence can often get in the way of passing just, science-based climate policy.

Why Companies Join Trade Associations

A positive reason companies join trade associations is tolobbytogether as an industry. The goal is to speak up about their shared interests and shape public policy.

But a negative reason companies join these groups is that it allows them to influence legislation away from the eyes of the public.

Because trade associations do not disclose their members or the source of their donations, companies can pay to lobby on an issue without public scrutiny. That means they can have a public reputation for supporting pro-climate policies, while privately undermining those positions.

Dwayne from the office saying.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Example

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1912 and has been described as “the most powerful trade organization in the world. It spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year to influence the actions of government."

This group has a long history of supporting fossil fuel interests and obstructing climate policy. Most recently, they aggressively lobbied against the Build Back Better Act.

Two comic panels explaining how fossil fuel companies are drowning out climate advocates 10 to 1 with lobbying dollars.

Quiz

In 2015, did the U.S. Chamber support the Paris Agreement, an international treaty on climate change?

Corporate Complicity

When member companies who support climate legislation allow their trade associations to lobby against those policies — in their name — they are complicit. The money they spend on membership dues enables this obstruction and they should be held accountable.

A level meter labelled

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