May 1, 2024

Leading Massachusetts Businesses and Institutions Call for Climatetech Investments in State’s Economic Development Package

BOSTON – In a letter sent this morning to Chair Jerald A. Parisella and Chair Barry F. Finegold of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, 81 leading Massachusetts businesses and institutions called on state lawmakers to include at least $1 billion in climate technology investments over the next ten years in the Legislature’s economic development package. 

“Ambition on this scale will signify to companies, venture capitalists, and innovators that Massachusetts is the place to be for climatetech,” write the letter’s signatories. “Fifteen years ago, the Commonwealth competed – and won – the life sciences industry by going bold and big, and we can’t afford to miss the chance to do the same with the growing green economy. Leveraging the capacity of public investment to catalyze growth is the kind of creative policymaking that the moment requires, and we look forward to the Commonwealth’s continued leadership to meet this global challenge with historic action.” 

The legislation – first released on March 1 by Governor Maura Healey, and currently being considered by the legislature’s Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies – presents a first-of-its-kind opportunity to integrate climate and clean energy priorities into Massachusetts’ strategy for economic development and growth. It positions Massachusetts to become a global leader in climatetech by building on lessons from the 2008 Life Sciences Initiative that propelled the state to the forefront of the biotech sector. 

The letter’s 81 signatories note that by making these robust investments in our climatetech industry, state leaders can boost the Commonwealth’s economy, move us closer toward our legally mandated climate goals of reducing emissions to 50% by 2030 and achieving net-zero by 2050, and accelerate our transition to a net-zero future.  

Specifically, the letter calls for lawmakers to advance the state’s environmental and economic goals in three key areas: 

  • Robust and sustained funding in the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC);  
  • Investment in building and training a skilled and inclusive clean energy workforce; and  
  • Attracting, growing, and retaining climatetech businesses and startups in Massachusetts. 

“Massachusetts should be the best place in the nation to start, staff, and scale companies that solve environmental challenges,” said Miriam Posner Harris, Executive Vice President of the Environmental League of Massachusetts. “This letter demonstrates that businesses and institutions across our economy see the return on investment of growing this sector. This could be a transformative moment to intentionally build opportunity, particularly in our overburdened and underserved environmental justice communities. If we can do for climatetech what we did for biotech in 2008, people across the Commonwealth could have access to purpose-driven and family-sustaining career pathways, along with better and lower-cost technologies to decarbonize their homes and businesses.” 

“Climatetech is a promising and generational opportunity for Massachusetts to lead the nation and globe by marshaling our historic strengths and unique ecosystem to not only develop cutting edge solutions to climate change but create a statewide economic and workforce development engine,” said JD Chesloff, President & CEO of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable and a member of the Economic Development Planning Council which helped develop the legislation. “The economic development legislation filed by the Healey-Driscoll Administration provides a bold and comprehensive vision for the climatetech industry. We look forward to working with the legislature, along with ELM, this letter’s signatories and other stakeholders to pass an economic development bill this session.” 

“By investing in climate innovation and our clean energy workforce through the Climatetech Initiative, Massachusetts can drive better outcomes in health, business, and our communities,” said Bob Biggio, senior vice president and chief sustainability and real estate officer at Boston Medical Center. “Our environment is intrinsically linked to health and wellbeing. With increased support for environmental justice initiatives, we can address the root causes for health inequities and pave the way for our communities to thrive.” 

“Massachusetts is home to top institutions educating the next generation of climatetech workers,” said Chancellor Julie Chen of the University of Massachusetts Lowell. “This legislation will help expand these programs and diversify our state’s trained workforce so that our graduates can find high-quality jobs, remain in Massachusetts, and develop this industry in our vibrant Gateway Cities.”  

“If we are to live up to our responsibility to build climate resilience for all our residents we need to invest in the talent and businesses that make up this sector so we not only retain but also build a robust, equitable workforce here in Massachusetts,” said Lee Pelton, President & CEO at the Boston Foundation. “These investments stand to drive innovation, create quality jobs and ensure all our communities can thrive in the face of a changing climate.” 

“At the national, state, and local levels, it is clear that strong climate and clean energy policy makes for strong economic development policy. With its fertile innovation ecosystem, highly skilled workforce, prolific financial services sector, ambitious climate goals, and the impressive clean-tech work already happening in the Commonwealth, Massachusetts is becoming the energy hub of the future,” said Anne Kelly, Vice President of Government Relations at Ceres. “We urge lawmakers to make a robust investment in clean technology in the upcoming economic development bill to ensure the Commonwealth captures this vital economic opportunity.” 

Several environmental and clean energy organizations worked collaboratively to convene this group of businesses and institutions, including the Environmental League of Massachusetts, Ceres, Healthcare Without Harm, NECEC, and Second Nature. 


Read the full letter.

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