Hartford Business Journal, Hartford, Connecticut
By Javier Quinones
In December, Gov. Ned Lamont joined leaders from neighboring states in signing a bipartisan agreement to launch the Transportation & Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P).
This multistate agreement to reduce harmful air pollution and improve the way we move people and goods around the region is years in the making.
Now, the Connecticut legislature can take the landmark step of formally approving the agreement, paving the way for transformative policies to improve the state’s transportation system so that we can cut pollution, alleviate inequalities and tackle the climate crisis. Connecticut businesses and residents stand to benefit from transportation solutions that increase green mobility and lead to cleaner air for all.
Here at IKEA, one of our core principles is ensuring a better life for the many people. In this case, that better life starts with protecting the home we all share — planet Earth. We are in a moment when we need to be serious about tackling the climate crisis, and transportation is a major contributor to climate pollution.
Whatever we do in the next 10 years will write the future of our planet, and if we want to continue living on our planet tomorrow then we must make changes to our habits today. TCI-P is a great first step for Connecticut, as it is expected to cut transportation-related greenhouse gases by 26% by 2032.
We know the climate crisis cannot be solved by governmental action alone. That’s why IKEA is also committed to doing our part, working to make all home deliveries zero emissions by 2025, and aiming to be climate positive by 2030.
Additionally, we are harnessing the size and scope of our global business to launch the IKEA Climate Campaign, aggregating millions of voices from the many people IKEA comes in contact with to urge their governments to take bold and ambitious climate action — just like Connecticut is on the precipice of taking.
Improving transportation options is also central to addressing social and racial inequalities. Transportation is the No. 1 source of air pollution in Connecticut, and it disproportionately impacts those communities least responsible for it, including low-income communities and communities of color.
Furthermore, in a state where four major cities have disproportionately high rates of households without cars, the accessibility to transit is a major hurdle for so many to get where they need to go.
TCI-P is designed to help alleviate some of these painful inequities. The program is projected to bring in $89 million in revenue to Connecticut in its first year, and at least 35% of that revenue will go directly to programs focused on overburdened and underserved communities. Through TCI-P, the state will also create an equity advisory body to monitor the fair implementation of program revenue.
Most know IKEA as a home-furnishings retailer, so the concept of “home” is near and dear to our hearts. In keeping with that theme, protecting the home we all share is at the forefront of all that we do. IKEA is advocating for bold, ambitious climate action around the world.
Here in the United States, Connecticut can serve as an example by establishing a pathway to lower emissions and adopting policies and incentives aimed at transforming our energy and mobility systems — both key features of our own climate campaign.
We urge the Connecticut legislature to pass this agreement to serve as an example to other states, and most importantly, to protect our shared home.
Javier Quinones is the president of IKEA Retail U.S. and chief sustainability officer.
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