As we marked the 48th Earth Day, it is with the knowledge that tremendous progress has been made to address many of our most serious and chronic environmental challenges.

While we celebrated this progress, we know that there is more we can do while still sustaining the economy, creating jobs, and expanding economic opportunity to diverse and disadvantaged populations. Since the first Earth Day nearly a half a century ago, business innovation and the development of new technologies offer great promise in tackling the toughest remaining sustainability challenges, but only if they are applied realistically and effectively.

The next leaps in real environmental progress will require unprecedented collaboration across business sectors. That means bringing all interested parties to the table to merge expertise and technical skills, with the common goal of driving progress to find advanced solutions. Only through fully engaging everyone – from the public sector and non-governmental organizations to the business community and experts from a wide range of industries, including gas and oil producers – will real, holistic progress be made.

We all benefit by seeking and valuing diverse views, constructively addressing fears, mistrust, and negativity, and encouraging fact-based dialogue. Pre-existing biases, entrenched positions, and opinions that impede successful initiatives must be set aside to ensure success. These are the sentiments that all parties – from business to regulatory – should be bringing to future debates that will reshape our mindsets on everything from the environment to the economy.

California’s oil and gas industry is prepared to participate fully in a genuine, united effort to make real environmental progress that can be celebrated on every Earth Day to come. As part of a collaborative and inclusive dialogue, we feel it’s critical that we rethink the way we have been communicating. To drive more effective change, it’s imperative that each stakeholder in the process must:

Our participation in future sustainability planning brings important resources to the entire process. Our members are high-tech, innovative businesses with highly skilled workforces that deliver vitally important products people need to work and live every day. We do this with the goals of limiting our impact on the environment and enhancing the local communities in which we operate, which we think this is an approach everyone can agree on.

Our expertise and current impact on the economy, the environment, equality, and energy deserve a voice in the debates, conversations, and planning of today and tomorrow.

We realize that relationships are built on trust, and we hope to continue to earn and build mutual respect. On Earth Day, and every day, we’re ready to join other stakeholders to collaboratively chart a path forward to a sustainable energy future.