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About Us

The drive for environmental sustainability is changing the global landscape. Declining resources, increasing access to information and demands for transparency, rising consumer and government expectations and intensifying competition mean the rules of the game have changed.

California has a long history of enacting innovative environmental policies, with Silicon Valley serving as the standard-bearer in the quest to develop the programs and technologies necessary to help overcome our most pressing environmental challenges.   The Silicon Valley Leadership Group is proud to work at this intersection of innovation and policy – helping foster solutions that benefit our region, state and nation. Our top policy priorities are the climate crisis, water supply reliability, and rising waters.

Our Team

Mike Mielke
Sr. Vice President, Environment & Energy
[email protected]
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Heidi Sickler
Director, Energy & Environmental Policy
[email protected]
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Christophe LaBelle
Associate, Environment & Energy
[email protected]
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Environment Committee


The Environment Committee works with the Leadership Group to ensure long-term environmental and business sustainability by advocating for balanced, efficient, and effective policies and programs.


The Environment Committee generally meets the second Wednesday of every month from 2:00 pm- 4:00 pm at a rotating member company location.

Meetings are open to member companies only, and the agenda typically includes:

  • Speaker presentations from external non-profits, agencies, and stakeholders
  • Informative briefings about SVLG policy advocacy
  • Policy and regulatory discussion and action items


  • Susanna Kass, Head of Innovation and Sustainability Strategy, BASELAYER
  • Katie Excoffier, Sustainability Manager, Genentech
  • Courtney Lorenz, Sustainability Manager, XL Construction

Environment Workplan

Water Reliability

Staff Lead: Mike Mielke, Senior Vice President, Environmental Programs and Policy

Key Support: Christophe LaBelle, Associate, Environment & Energy

Executive Champion: Matt Mahan, CEO, Brigade

Partners / Affiliated Orgs:
Santa Clara Valley Water DistrictCA Natural Resources AgencyImagine H20Water FoundationBechtel FoundationCalifornians for Water Security

Priority: California is just recovering from a multi-year drought, followed by the wettest winter on record, and more recently catastrophic wildfires. Given the changing climate and the importance of the issue, it’s not surprising that water is close to the top of the list of global risk factors, and that businesses are responding to the demands of shareholders, customers, and investors for greater accountability on this material issue. Understanding and mitigating future water risk is of central importance.

Water is vital to the California economy that is subject to numerous and competing demands. It is especially important that we encourage continued innovation in and financing for the water sector, so that our economy can continue to grow as our population increases, all while we wrestle with the new normal of increasingly severe climate-induced droughts. In 2019, we will work to ensure Silicon Valley has the water it needs to thrive.

Quantifiable Goals:

  • focus on implementation of Delta Conveyance (formerly WaterFix) and help drive a project forward to the next stage
  • engage on, and support new water financing (i.e. water fee)
  • support water sector innovation by helping guide the implementation of the Open and Transparent Water Data Act

Zero-Emission Vehicles & EV Charging Infrastructure

Staff Lead: Heidi Sickler, Director, Energy and Environmental Policy

e Champions for ZEVs and EV Charging Infrastructure:

Ryan Popple, President and CEO, PROTERRA, and SVLG Executive Board member

Susanna Kass, INTRAHOUSE

Partners / Affiliated Orgs: EV Drive Coalition, CalETCCalifornia Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission, Veloz, Advanced Energy Economy, NextGen California, National Resources Defense Council, Plug in America

Priority: In California, transportation electrification represents the largest near-term opportunity to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and air pollution to help California meet its climate and clean air goals. Our ongoing goal is to support the deployment of light-duty, medium-duty and heavy-duty zero-emission vehicles and charging infrastructure to curb the 40% in carbon emissions generated by California’s transportation sector — the largest of any sector in California in terms of emissions.

What is the importance of such work for the innovation-economy? Deployment of ZEVs and EV charging infrastructure were among our members’ 2018 Energy and Environment priorities — SVLG took positions on ten ZEV bills and five ZEV and EV infrastructure regulatory issues.  This year, SVLG has taken a “Support” position on CARB’s zero-emission airport shuttle rule, and a “Support if Amended” position on AB 40 (Ting), the Clean Cars 2040 Strategy.

ZEV policies and regulations are of importance to the Leadership Group and the Bay Area because they have a direct impact on tour members’ bottom line, including electric bus, automotive, storage, EV charging, clean energy and autonomous vehicle companies.

Quantifiable Goals:

  • Passage of federal and/or state legislation supporting or providing increased financial incentives for ZEVs  and ZEV infrastructure adoption, such as reforming the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program (CVRP)
  • Comment in 1-2 regulatory agency proceedings affecting ZEV and EV infrastructure adoption, including CARB’s zero-emission airport shuttle rule.

Climate Change Mitigation

Staff Lead: Mike Mielke, Senior Vice President, Environmental Programs and Policy

Key Support: Heidi Sickler, Director, Energy and Environmental Policy

Executive Champion: Ian Monroe, President and CEO, Etho Capital; Jon Chorley, CSO, Oracle

Partners / Affiliated Orgs: BCLCCBIHewlett FoundationEnergy FoundationPRGCeresCDPGreenBiz

Priority: In the absence of political action at the federal level, it is important to support thoughtful policies in California that can serve as a model for action elsewhere, and to consider what business can do to advance the conversation. California is widely and deservedly looked to as a leader for action on climate change and high-tech, in many ways, demonstrably leading the way in terms of advancing energy efficiency for their facilities, acquiring renewable energy to power their operations, to advancing renewable power policies at the local and state level. In 2019, we will continue to support policy that reduces greenhouse gas emissions while enhancing business growth and leadership.

Quantifiable Goals:

  • support and seek passage of two state climate change mitigation bills
  • form a partnership with a key ally in the Environmental Justice movement
  • Summit:
    • Showcase at least three case studies that focus on the how, why and return on investment (ROI) for climate action
    • Engage legislators in a discussion with business on concrete action and policy
  • creation of a high-tech federal climate action working group and development of principles for action

Rising Waters

Staff Lead: Mike Mielke, Senior Vice President, Environmental Programs and Policy

Key Support: Christophe LaBelle, Associate, Environment & Energy

Executive Champion: RYAN POPPLE, CEO, PROTERRA

Partners / Affiliated Orgs:
 Save the BaySFBRACA Coastal CommissionBay Area Council; Coastal Hazards Adaptation Resiliency Group (CHARG); Regional Shoreline Adaptation Plan (RSAP) Leadership Advisory Group

Priority: San Francisco Bay is more than just the geographic heart of the area; it is the crowning jewel that defines our region and provides for a high quality of life. The health and sustainability of the Bay is intertwined with the very health and sustainability of the region. In short, a healthy and resilient San Francisco Bay able to withstand the threat of sea level rise, where thousands of animal and plant species and human co-habitants can thrive now and in the future, is of vital importance to the region’s populace and infrastructure. In 2019, we will work to support wetlands restoration and flood mitigation efforts in the San Francisco Bay to the benefit of our members and the region as the next several years are of central importance, in terms of cementing and building on the success of Measure AA.

Quantifiable Goals:

  • focus on the importance of healthy wetlands and restoration via media and events throughout the year
  • creation of Bay Area Baylands Caucus in the state legislature
  • guide funding to key wetlands restoration projects, per Measure AA, through participation on the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority Advisory Board
  • development of and acceptance of common vision of success (see our discussion document about a Bay Area Sea Level Rise “Adaptation Visioning” Task Force)
  • identification of additional resources for restoration work
  • development of a widely accepted plan of action for wetlands permit coordination

Legislative Activity

2019 Legislation

H.R. 763 (Deutch, D-FL) – Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019
This bill imposes a fee on the carbon content of fuels, including crude oil, natural gas, coal, or any other product derived from those fuels that will be used so as to emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

The fee is imposed on the producers or importers of the fuels and is equal to the greenhouse gas content of the fuel multiplied by the carbon fee rate. The rate begins at $15 in 2019, increases by $10 each year, and is subject to further adjustments based on the progress in meeting specified emissions reduction targets. The bill also imposes a specified fee on fluorinated greenhouse gases.

The bill includes
– exemptions for fuels used for agricultural or nonemitting purposes,
– exemptions for fuels used by the Armed Forces,
– rebates for facilities that capture and sequester carbon dioxide, and
– border adjustment provisions that require certain fees or refunds for carbon-intensive products that are exported or imported.

The fees must be deposited into a Carbon Dividend Trust Fund and used for administrative expenses and dividend payments to U.S. citizens or lawful residents. The fees must be decommissioned when emissions levels and monthly dividend payments fall below specified levels.

The bill also suspends certain regulations that limit greenhouse gas emissions. The suspensions expire if the emissions targets established by this bill are not reached after a specified time period.

SB 200 (Monning, Bloom, E. Garcia) – Safe Drinking Water for All Act
This bill creates the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, into which General Fund and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) appropriations will be made annually for clean water programs and projects. SB 200 also establishes regulations for operating the Fund.
The Silicon Valley Leadership Group supported SB 200, though with reservations about the use of GGRF monies as a funding source.

2018 Legislation

CA Delta Conveyance

Newsom Administration and a New Delta Conveyance Project
The Leadership Group has re-engaged with Californians for Water Security (CWS), a coalition of dozens of organizations representing labor, business, public safety, minority advocates, environmental organizations and others that all support Governor Newsom’s single tunnel plan to modernize our statewide water conveyance system. We are in strong support of a renewed plan to fix California’s aging water distribution system that brings water from the Sierra Nevada Mountains, through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, to more than 2/3 of California’s homes, farms and businesses. For more information, see a CWS coalition letter to the Governor here.

CA WaterFix
Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) took an important step forward on October 17, 2017 to support the CA WaterFix project. In a 7-0 vote, SCVWD approved conditional participation in a smaller WaterFix project based on seven guiding principles. In the week leading up to the vote, the Leadership Group facilitated a key meeting between Governor Brown, Secretary Laird, SCVWD Chair Varela and Vice Chair Santos, and 20 Silicon Valley CEOs. This compromise will allow SCVWD to remain at the table in a serious investigation about the best way to upgrade the state’s water infrastructure—an important step to secure water for the region.

2017 Support

2017 Support in Concept

  • AB 1184 (Ting): AB 1184 would require the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to identify $3 billion for a new up-front, point-of-sale electric vehicle rebate to deploy 1.5 million electric vehicles by 2025.

Support in Concept motion asks for:

  • Clarification that AB 1184 include funding and/or does not crowd out funding for:
    • Zero- and low-carbon transportation incentive programs
    • Non-light duty low- and zero-emission incentive program
    • Hydrogen fuel cell vehicle
  • Removal of the 2023 sunset date for the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) rebate and tying the phase-down of incentives to market penetration
  • Directing CARB to identify what is fair for evaluating incentives for PHEVs and pure zero emission vehicles.

Past Wins

2018 Proposition 68: Clean Water and Safe Parks Act

The Leadership Group supported this successful bond on the 2018 June ballot. Prop. 68 leverages $4.1 billion to support California’s myriad water, natural resource, and park needs. Prop. 68 bond monies will help fund key Leadership Group priorities, including $20 million to support SF Baylands restoration, $450 million to help ensure safe drinking water, $550 million to protect communities from flooding, and $180 million to increase water supplies with groundwater cleanup and water recycling.

2018 AB 1668: Water Management Planning

Conjoined bills AB 1668 and SB 606 updated Urban Water Management Plans, and implemented permanent water efficiency standards for indoor and outdoor residential water use, and commercial water use.

2018 AB 1889: Santa Clara Valley Water District

2017 AB 398 Cap-and-Trade

Longstanding supporters of California’s cap-and-trade program, the Leadership Group worked closely with state legislators, the Brown Administration, and other key stakeholders to help secure a 2/3, bipartisan vote to extend the cap-and-trade program through 2030. Cap-and-trade helps provide market certainty for the clean energy economy to flourish. Additionally, the program serves as a model to other states, the federal government, and other countries, and maintains California’s commitment to greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

2016 Measure AA

The Leadership Group joined forces with other Bay Area organizations, Senator Feinstein, and environmental and community leaders to help pass Measure AA. The Bay Area’s first ever nine-county measure, Measure AA provides critical resources to restore wetlands, improve water quality for wildlife habitat, and protect communities from flooding across the San Francisco Bay Area. Through the Leadership Group’s sponsorship and active support, Measure AA received over 70% vote through all Bay Area counties, and will help preserve and restore the San Francisco Bay for future generations of Bay Area residents.

2016 SB 32 and AB 197

The Leadership Group, the first business association to support AB 32 in 2006, maintained its climate and clean energy leadership by supporting SB 32 and AB 197 in 2016. SB 32 builds on existing policies to set a greenhouse gas reduction goal of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. AB 197 ensures that that there is equity in the state’s climate programs to guarantee all Californians benefit from cleaner, healthier air. These legislative bills work in tandem to provide California businesses with regulatory certainty, improve public health, and strengthen the clean energy economy.

2014 State Water Bond

The 2014 Water Bond provides $7.5 billion to address California’s aging water infrastructure. Water reliability is important for businesses and the Silicon Valley region. The Leadership Group was proud to support Proposition 1, a bond that funds urgent improvements in watershed protection and restoration, surface and groundwater storage, and drinking water protection, to safeguard water resources for the state.

2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)

The Leadership Group supported for this legislation, which responded to one of the worst droughts on record with foresight and a commitment to innovation. The SGMA requires California’s critical groundwater resources be sustainably managed by local agencies, including cities, counties, and water districts, with a goal to have sustainable groundwater management by 2042.


Silicon Valley Energy & Sustainability Summit

When: August 7, 2020 all-day
Where: Oracle, 350 Oracle Parkway, Redwood City

Friday, August 7, 2020 8:15 AM – 9:00 AM Networking via Whova conference platform 9: 00 AM – 4:00 PM Formal Summit Programming Virtual Event Buy Tickets ABOUT The climate decade: How do we build a zero carbon and climate-ready…

Keep current with our activity via Twitter!@greenSVLG

In the News

9/19/19 Marketplace Tech: Where is Big Tech on solutions for climate change adaptation?

9/16/19 Marketplace Tech: At the intersection of tech, climate and the land of Silicon Valley

6/04/18 Peninsula Press: Prop 68 to decide funding for water, parks and climate change in California

5/08/18 Mercury News: San Jose water agency approves up to $650 million for Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels project

4/09/18 Mercury News OpEd: Water Conservation Bills offer Map to California Water Security 

10/12/17 Mercury News OpEd: Santa Clara Valley Water District should join in the WaterFix tunnel project

9/29/17 Capital & Main: California Bill Would Bring Climate Change Battle to State Construction Projects

9/4/17 Mercury News OpEd: San Jose’s sustainability plan is good government use of tech

08/29/17 Commonwealth Club: California’s Climate Crusade 

07/17/17 Mercury News OpEd: Cap and Trade advocate: Business supports anti-pollution, pro-clean tech bill 

07/11/17 San Francisco Chronicle: Brown’s cap-and-trade bill exposes fault lines of state politics

07/11/17 Highland Community News: California Business Leaders Respond to Bills Advancing State’s Cap-and-Trade Program

07/10/17 Mercury News: Jerry Brown, lawmakers announce California climate deal

05/22/17 GreenBiz: The business bulwark behind California’s climate progress

12/12/16 Mercury News OpEd: Mielke: What Donald Trump can learn from tech leaders 

08/17/16 Mercury News OpEd: Mielke: WaterFix provides solution to California’s water woes 

06/06/16 The Hill OpEd: Climate solutions: from a promise to a plan on the West Coast

05/11/16 NPR: Proposed Property Tax To Fight Climate Change Criticized As Unfair 

05/09/16 KQED: Measure AA Asks Bay Area Residents to Help Protect Against Sea Level Rise 

04/08/16 San Francisco Chronicle OpEd: A way to help save the bay

01/26/15 Mercury News OpEd: Delta plan: New coalition supports the governor’s twin tunnels

05/22/14 Mercury News OpEd: AB 32: California businesses appreciate state’s environmental planning

08/11/12 Mercury News OpEd: Measure B will protect Santa Clara valley against flooding.

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