About Us

The drive for environmental sustainability is changing the global landscape. Declining resources, increasing demands for transparency and easier access to information, rising consumer and government expectations and intensifying competition mean the rules of the game have permanently 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 surmount 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 corporate environmental sustainability, water infrastructure financing, and climate change.

The Team






Mike Mielke
SVP, Energy and Environment
mmielke@svlg.org │ 408.501.7858






Heidi Sickler
Sr. Associate, Energy and Environment
hsickler@svlg.org │ 408.501.7883






Kendra Schultz
Associate, Energy and Environment
kschultz@svlg.org│ 408.453.4754

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 is pleased to introduce Susanna Kass as our newest Environment Co-chair. Susanna takes on this role in addition to her work as the Head of Innovation and Sustainability Strategy at BASELAYER, and as an Energy Fellow with U.S. Renewable Group. The committee will greatly benefit from the addition of her leadership.

Committee Co-Chairs
  • Dr. Rosalind Grymes, Lead, Planetary Sustainability, NASA-Ames Research Center
  • Susanna Kass, Head of Innovation and Sustainability Strategy, BASELAYER
Our 2018 – 2020 Priority Issues
  • Support thoughtful climate change mitigation policy at the state and federal level
  • Support policy that reduces greenhouse gas emissions while enhancing business growth and leadership.
  • Executive Champion: Ian Monroe, President & CSO, Etho Capital; Jon Chorley, CSO, Oracle
  • Staff Lead: Mike Mielke, SVP, Environment and Energy
  • Support wetlands restoration and flood mitigation efforts in the San Francisco Bay
  • Educate the public on the importance of wetlands and help guide SF Bay restoration and regional flood protection.
  • Executive Champion: Kyra Whitten, VP Corporate Communications, Lam Research
  • Staff Lead: Mike Mielke, SVP, Environment and Energy
  • Ensure Silicon Valley has the water it needs to thrive
  • Support CA WaterFix and promote technological innovation and financing.
  • Executive Champion: TBD
  • Staff Lead: Mike Mielke, SVP, Environment and Energy
  • Support deployment of light-duty and heavy-duty electric vehicles and charging infrastructure in CA
  • Support CA Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate
  • Executive Champion: Susanna Kass, SVP, Baselayer; Ryan Popple, President & CEO, Proterra
  • Staff Lead: Heidi Sickler, Senior Associate, Environment and Energy

Are you a member of our Environment Committee? To access our Environment Committee Only webpage, click here.

Participating Member Companies
  • Booster Fuels
  • CalWaterService
  • Ernst & Young
  • Flex
  • Genentech
  • GreenBiz
  • Lockheed Martin
  • NASA-Ames
  • Pacific Gas & Eectric
  • PayPal
  • Proterra
  • Infinera
  • San Jose Water Company
  • San Jose State University
  • Silicon Valley Bank
  • SunPower
  • VMWare

Recent Achievements

Legislative Updates:

The Leadership Group supported the following pieces of legislation that Governor Brown recently signed into law: 

  • AB 398 (E. Garcia): California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006: market-based compliance mechanisms: fire prevention fees: sales and use tax manufacturing exemption.
  • AB 262 (Bonta): Buy Clean California Act
  • AB 184 (Berman): Sea level rise planning: database
  • AB 851 (Caballero): Local Design-Build Project Delivery
  • SB 492 (Beall): Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District: purchase of property: San Jose Water Company

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.

2018 Legislative Positions

  • SB 881 (Wieckowski) SB 881 would qualify the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Project for the State Flood Subventions Program administered through the Department of Water Resources.
  • AB 1668 (Friedman), SB 606 (Skinner, Hertzberg) Conjoined bills AB 1668 and SB 606 would update Urban Water Management Plans, and implement permanent water efficiency standards for indoor and outdoor residential water use, and commercial water use.


2017 Legislative Positions

  • AB 184 (Berman): AB 184 would extend the sunset for the Planning for Sea Level Rise Database (PSLRD) to January 1, 2023, to prepare for sea level rise. 
  • AB 262 (Bonta): AB 262 would require the Dept. of General Services to update the State Contracting Manual with Maximum Acceptable Global Warming Potential (MAGWPs) standards for certain building materials, and contractors that win state bids to source materials consistent with those standards.
  • AB 388 (Mullin): AB 388 would require proceeds from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) to be available for expenditure on the reuse of dredged material for wetland restoration, flood protection, and carbon sequestration.
  • AB 851 (Caballero): AB 851 would authorize the Santa Clara Valley Water District to use the design-build procurement method for certain building projects.
  • AB 1073 (E. Garcia): AB 1073 would extend, until 2020, a requirement that 20% of the funding for the Clean Truck Program be allocated to the early commercial deployment of zero- and near-zero emission vehicles.


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

  • 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 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.

  • 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 measure 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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 and Sustainability Summit 

Since 2013, the Leadership Group has held an annual Energy and Sustainability Summit. This Summit brings together over 300 business, nonprofit, and public sector leaders to discuss best practices, lessons learned and practical solutions in applying innovative technologies and practices to achieve energy and sustainability goals for the future. For more information on the 2018 Summit, themed Powering Forward in an Age of Disruption, please visit the event webpage here.

In the News

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.


Climate Change