Chuck Chaitovitz Chuck Chaitovitz
Vice President, Environmental Affairs and Sustainability, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


June 27, 2024


Businesses are investing hundreds of billions in projects and actions that will accelerate the deployment of innovative technologies to help us meet our ambitious climate and infrastructure goals. To highlight the critical need for private and public collaboration to accelerate these shared goals, we recently hosted our second-annual Sustainability and Circular Economy Summit.  

Our summit featured insights from corporate sustainability leaders, government officials, nonprofits, academics, and innovators to discuss the big ideas needed to develop the sustainability policy agenda for the future and to bring more voices into the conversation.

The speakers underlined the need for Congress to address policy bottlenecks in advancing the clean energy transition and the importance of public-private partnerships to reduce capital costs and mitigate risks in emerging technologies.

Essential Chemistry and Sustainability

One topic of interest was the many safe and effective applications of essential chemistries needed for the energy transition and broader economy, from semiconductor and electric vehicle battery manufacturing, advanced electronics, and 5G infrastructure to airplane safety applications.

"We're launching a responsible manufacturing commitment, we're reducing emissions, working with government, and ensuring we can use these essential chemistries safely and responsibly," said Jenny Liu, Global Sustainability Senior Director, Chemours.

Today’s essential chemistries are manufactured and used responsibly and provide important performance for products Americans use every day, which is the centerpiece of the Chamber’s Essential Chemistry for America campaign.

Sustaining Meaningful Progress on Climate, Circularity, and Resilience in 2024 

Private sector opportunities are being fueled by recent legislation such as the Energy Act of 2020, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the energy and climate provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act. However, barriers to fully realizing these opportunities remain, and speakers stressed that long-term success would require both private-sector solutions and smart, balanced policies that encourage further investment and foster innovation.  

“We need to build out our waste infrastructure and create value from waste: to make it a material as opposed to something going to landfills. Then we can create an ecosystem. In order to do that, we need all parts of the value chains, including public and private support,” said Chris Killian, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Eastman.

“Business wants to be part of the solution," added Philip Brides, Senior Managing Director of Investments, Allstate. "Corporations generally exist to solve problems. They get rewarded when they solve a problem for society. Investors get rewarded when they’re funding the companies that are solving problems for society. We’ve seen the power of that come together with legislation that encourages public and private engagement.”

Sustainability Innovation and Public-Private Partnerships 

U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Infrastructure Dr. Kathleen Hogan underscored how her office is working with the business community. The agency’s focus includes expanding access to affordable clean energy, renewing domestic manufacturing and supply chains for clean energy, creating jobs and community benefits, and catalyzing investment to turn the billions allotted through the Inflation Reduction Act and bipartisan infrastructure law into trillions infused with private sector capital.  

“Sustainability solutions will be government-enabled and private sector-led,” said Dr. Kathleen Hogan, Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Infrastructure, U.S. Department of Energy.

Public-Private Partnerships as a Launch Pad for Sustainable Permitting Reform

The Chamber’s Christopher Guith moderated a panel between experts from Toyota, GE Vernova, and the federal government that highlighted positive outcomes from existing partnerships and emphasized the need for federal permitting reform to address energy transition challenges. The business community agrees that Congress must build on the significant investments from the bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act, which could spur combined public and private infrastructure investments of nearly $2 trillion. 

"If we don't have business buy-in, these sustainability programs won't succeed. We need win-win policies between government and the private sector," Cathy Koch, Former U.S. Department of Energy, EY, and Senate Finance Committee, said.

“We have to have permitting reform," Tran Che, Sustainability Director & Executive Human Rights Council, GE Vernova, said. "If we want to talk about adding greener electricity to the grid, we need things to move faster.”

The Importance of Ocean Restoration with Alexandra Cousteau

For the capstone of our summit, Veolia’s CEO of North America’s Water Services, Karine Rouge, sat down with Alexandra Cousteau, Co-Founder of Oceans 2050 and leading ocean restoration advocate, to highlight the importance of collaboration and private sector leadership.  

“We are bringing in participants in this mission that are not traditionally represented, such as investors. And we are now starting to talk in the language that they understand. And we stop working in silos,” said Cousteau.

The Path Forward  

The Chamber is committed to providing a platform for policymakers and the business community to solve complex challenges and is planning another successful program at COP29 this year. We’re excited to continue the work this year and invite you to join us.

About the authors

Chuck Chaitovitz

Chuck Chaitovitz

Chuck Chaitovitz is vice president for environmental affairs and sustainability at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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