Environmental Initiative - Home

Archive for May, 2012

A Path to Legacy Funding for Parks and Trails

May 24th, 2012

I was recently out for a bike ride on a warm spring evening after work. I left my house in south Minneapolis, breezed down Minnehaha Avenue and entered Minnehaha Park. The bike and pedestrian trails were full of people enjoying the falls and the warm weather. I biked through the park, jumping on the Minnehaha Trail and eventually made my way to Fort Snelling State Park. The ride was beautiful and I had the added bonus of bumping into a male and female wild turkey at the Fort Snelling Visitor Center. I don’t think the male was too happy with me interrupting his date. His feathers were fanned out in a marvelous display. (more…)

Emily Franklin


Director of Communications

Embedding Sustainability – Why, How and Is It Even Possible?

May 17th, 2012

What do dumpster diving, battling paper wasps with honeybees, and overcoming envelope misconceptions have in common? They were all stories we heard at last Friday’s Business & Environment Session – and all are ways that companies and institutions have engaged employees, integrated environmental practices into their most fundamental processes, and taken steps to embed sustainability into the fabric of their organizations.

As we heard throughout the day, embedded sustainability can mean many things to many people. So why talk about it? Despite the varying definitions, we all came away with a more complete understanding of what it means to take steps to shift sustainability from an “add-on” to a foundational piece of your operations; from something that employees grumble about adding to their already full plates to something that’s automatically factored into every decision; from being housed with an individual or an isolated department to a concept that is built into a company’s brand and identity.


Georgia Rubenstein


Senior Manager, Sustainability Program

Chemical Regulation and Policy – The Heavy Lifting

May 16th, 2012

Collaborative problem solving is hard work, and progress on some of the most challenging issues facing society does not always take the form of complete consensus. In some cases advancing the dialogue and laying the groundwork for further discussion is a worthwhile effort that ultimately may set the stage for a win-win solution further down the line.

The Minnesota Chemical Regulation and Policy Project has just about concluded, after countless hours of creative and constructive dialogue stretched over fourteen stakeholder Work Group meetings spanning more than two years. Environmental Initiative has appreciated the opportunity to work with such a dedicated and capable group of individuals to wrestle with this difficult issue. Over the course of the project, we’ve learned that chemical management and policy is extremely complex and multi-dimensional – regulators and decision makers need to weigh complicated scientific information against public health and economic considerations and try to provide adequate assurance of safety while making sure we all continue to benefit from robust chemical and consumer product industries. This is not an easy task, and as I described in a past post, Chemicals Policy 101 – What You Need to Know, government officials across the country at all levels (federal, state and local) have been grappling with this challenge for quite some time.


Ellen Gibson


Senior Director, Projects & Programs

Upcoming Event: Renewable Materials Summit – Markets for Building the Biorefinery

May 8th, 2012

Minnesota is a global leader in the commercialization of green chemistry, which is one of the reasons why Environmental Initiative has worked with an array of partners on the Minnesota Chemical Regulation and Policy Project, and served on the steering committee of the Minnesota Green Chemistry Forum. (more…)

Tim Welle


Program Manager, The BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota

Earth Day 2012: Down and Dirty At Quality Bicycle Products

May 2nd, 2012

Engaging coworkers, peers, and family members in environmental sustainability, and educating them about the the merits and benefits of it, is a perpetual challenge. Even though we are seen as a progressive company we are challenged by how to meaningfully share our message and get buy-in and participation from our coworkers.

Well, we’ve unanimously decided engaging employees with a physical task or event is a tactic we’re going to use more often from this point on. Point being, most of us are bombarded with emails non-stop, sunup to sunrise, everyday of the week in our personal and professional lives. Thus the best crafted newsletter, memo, or poster will often go unread, or read and forgotten about. In essence, “doing” is more likely to engage than reading an email.



Environmental Coordinator, Quality Bicycle Products
Environmental Initiative - Home