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Archive for January, 2012

GreenBiz Forum 2012: Optimistic Outlook with a Healthy Dose of Reality

January 27th, 2012

On a frigid morning last week, I joined 200 national and local business leaders at Best Buy’s LEED-certified headquarters for the Minneapolis stop of the three-city GreenBiz Forum 2012 “tour.”

For those unfamiliar with GreenBiz, they are a national group that provides resources and learning opportunities to help companies integrate environmental responsibility into their operations.


Ellen Gibson


Senior Director, Projects & Programs

2012 Business & Environment Series: We Need Your Help!

January 23rd, 2012

It’s hard to believe, but 2012 will be the fifth year of Environmental Initiative’s Business & Environment Series.

Over the past four years, the Business & Environment Series has brought business leaders together with nonprofit and government partners to share resources, hear case studies, and discuss issues related to sustainability, business and environment. It’s inspiring to look back and see how far we’ve come. From our 2008 discussions on energy and carbon management, to more recent sessions focused on energy efficiency, water resources or product stewardship, we’ve seen Minnesota companies leading these efforts, continuously seeking additional resources, new information, and opportunities for collaboration. We’ve seen trends shift, and the conversation among our partners and session attendees has moved from whether to practice sustainability to how to do it most effectively. (more…)

Georgia Rubenstein


Senior Manager, Sustainability Program

2012 Legislative Preview Policy Forum Recap

January 18th, 2012

Last Tuesday, a typical Environmental Initiative crowd – a diverse group of representatives from government, nonprofits, business, and academia, hailing from all corners of the state – joined bipartisan Minnesota legislators for our annual Legislative Preview Policy Forum.

The standing-room-only event gave audience members a first look at the legislators’ priority environmental issues for the 2012 legislative session, which begins next Tuesday, January 24. From Asian carp to Minnesota sand to bike paths, they covered a lot of ground. Here’s a quick summary of our notes (in speaking order) – please comment below and let us know if you have anything to add! What issues do you hope to see addressed this year? (more…)

Georgia Rubenstein


Senior Manager, Sustainability Program

2012 Minnesota DNR Roundtable Recap

January 17th, 2012

Mike Harley and I attended the 2012 Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Roundtable event on January 6th and 7th at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Saint Paul.  In the day’s opening address given by Governor Mark Dayton, the critical role that natural resources and outdoor recreation play in the state’s identity was highlighted as a top priority of the current administration.  He identified the inauguration of the governor’s pheasant opener this year as evidence of his personal commitment to protecting and enhancing the state’s natural resources.  The governor also stressed the administration’s strong and ongoing interest in addressing aquatic invasive species (AIS), a common theme throughout the roundtable event. (more…)

Mark Lundgren


Director of Environmental Projects

Introducing Meleah Houseknecht, Manager of Environmental Projects

January 12th, 2012

Having worked in many types of organizations in the environmental field, I can’t image a more exciting place to have landed than here at Environmental Initiative.

I believe that Environmental Initiative takes a uniquely effective approach to solving complex and politically charged issues of critical importance to our state, and am excited to be a part of supporting the conversations necessary to forging collaborative — and more thoughtful, fair and stable — solutions. (more…)

Meleah Houseknecht


Director, Environmental Policy

Minnesota Green Chemistry 2012: Strategies for Growth

January 5th, 2012

Have you heard of “green chemistry”? I sure hadn’t until I started working with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and the Minnesota Green Chemistry Forum as an intern.

Green chemistry focuses on intentionally reducing and hopefully eliminating toxic substances from our environment, improving energy efficiency and reducing waste. It encompasses everything from consumer education to waste disposal, venture capital for startups to industrial process improvements. The scope of moving toward green chemistry is huge, and its impact can help shape a cleaner and safer world.



Green Chemistry Conference Intern, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Campaign Wrap-Up and Thank You!

January 3rd, 2012

As many of you know, Environmental Initiative kicked off our year-end fundraising campaign on Give to the Max Day this past November. Our Board of Directors and a group of past board members contributed $6,000 in matching funds to help motivate giving and challenge us to stretch our fundraising efforts. In order to gain access to the match, 100 people needed to contribute between Give to the Max Day and the end of the year. I’m so happy to report, we surpassed this goal of 100 donations raising over $50,000 to support Environmental Initiative’s mission. I was completely blown away by the generosity of the individuals and organizations listed below. Thank you so very much for supporting our work to develop collaborative solutions to environmental problems during our campaign.  (more…)

Emily Franklin


Director of Communications
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