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Paris Withdrawal Won’t Stop Business Sustainability

June 27th, 2017

In the wake of the United States leaving the Paris Climate Agreements, many states, cities, and individual companies have taken pledges to continue sustainability efforts. In Minnesota, we’re lucky to have major companies and thought leaders stand firm in their commitment to environmental protection, including many members of the Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition.

In an effort to work toward a circular economy, environmental protection and stewardship must be a high priority. Several Coalition members have issued public statements and/or been in public support of the Paris Climate Agreements, demonstrating the leadership in our community on environmental issues.

The fact is, a commitment to the Paris Agreements, and more broadly our environment, is a smart business decision no matter your priorities.

STAYING GLOBALLY COMPETITIVE

One of the main reasons that companies and government entities are still following through with climate promises is to stay competitive. Cargill issued a statement reflecting their need to remain globally competitive, concluding that the Paris accords impact “trade, economic vitality, the state of our environment, and relationships amongst the world community.” Because of this, CEO David MacLennan said Cargill will not back away from efforts
to reduce climate change.

General Mills and several leading companies (Google, Walmart, Unilever, and more) echoed that sentiment with a letter to the President to express why the Paris Climate Agreements are important to their ability to compete globally: “the agreement ensures a more balanced global effort, reducing the risk of competitive imbalances for U.S. companies.”

INNOVATION & OPEN MARKETS

Part of being globally competitive is practicing innovation. The Paris Climate Agreements helped companies to innovate and create technologies that lower business costs. That new technology allows companies to enter new markets and keep markets open. Dow commented on how they will act in light of the executive decision, saying they will “continue to advocate for smart policies that enable the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions and ensure that global markets stay open to American exports and innovation.”

Thomson Reuters also commented on the importance of climate innovation: “In short, having a sustainability strategy integrated into your business model is an efficiency, growth and innovation driver.”

COMMITTING TO CUSTOMERS

In addition to economic arguments, Xcel Energy made a more values-driven appeal. In an op-ed, Xcel’s CEO calls out the value of their customers, and responding to their interests in achieving a higher standard of environmental protection. As a result, Xcel is already on a “path to reduce carbon emissions by 45%
by 2021, well ahead of the U.S.-Paris commitment.”

Best Buy also highlighted what they’re doing in response to customer interests, saying, “Best Buy is focused on reducing our own carbon impact, and helping our customers use less energy as well… Collective action will result in a healthier world for generations to come.”

THE BOTTOM LINE

In the end, Minnesota businesses and corporations are dedicated to the environment for more than just regulatory reasons. Investing in environmental protection is a smart business decision. Even more than that, private-sector leaders see lessened environmental protections as harmful to their organizations and global markets as a whole.

These businesses, our state, and many others are still committed to action on the environment. It’s because of that leadership that we can still look forward to climate action for years to come.

Sam Hanson

POSTED BY:

Director, Sustainability Program

Partnership to Watch: Ceres, WWF, and the AgWater Challenge

October 28th, 2016

Food companies face a range of social and environmental challenges. Global freshwater supplies are increasingly at risk for scarcity and pollution. Consumers are also demanding more information, transparency, and sustainability from companies who produce our food.

Environmental Initiative is working to address these challenges and trends through Field Stewards – an innovative program that provides financial incentives to farmers who implement best practices to protect water quality. But, we aren’t the only ones who are using the power of partnership to achieve better environmental and business results.

The AgWater Challenge

Ceres and WWF launched the AgWater Challenge, a collaborative initiative to advance water stewardship and sustainable food sourcing solutions in the food and beverage sector. This sector alone uses more than 70 percent of the world’s freshwater supply, largely for growing the food we eat. The AgWater Challenge aims to inspire the world’s most influential food and beverage companies to:

  • Reduce the water impacts associated with key agricultural commodities (like corn and soy)
  • Implement locally-relevant strategies to mitigate water quality concerns and water scarcity risks in agricultural sourcing areas
  • Support and incentivize farmers and other agricultural producers to strengthen water stewardship

Minnesota Companies Recognized

Minnesota-based General Mills and Hormel, along with five other companies representing $123 billion in net annual revenue, are currently being recognized for their participation in the challenge.

AgWater Challenge

Hormel is a multi-national manufacturer and marketer of consumer-branded food and meat products, specializing in processing and marketing pork and turkey. The Austin, MN-based company has committed to develop a sustainable agriculture policy, assess water quality and water quantity challenges in priority sourcing areas, and establish time-bound goals aimed at improving water quality in high water risk regions. Learn more about Hormel’s commitment here.

General Mills was recognized for their ongoing efforts across all five stewardship activities.

Congratulations to Ceres, WWF, Hormel, General Mills and all of the AgWater Challenge partners. It’s inspiring to see collaboration in action for our shared water resources.

Greg Bohrer

POSTED BY:

Senior Manager, Agriculture and Environment Program

Global Water Issues and Minnesota Business: Values, Risks, and Opportunities

March 31st, 2015

The Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul region has been described by one CEO as the “Silicon Valley of Water” with a unique network of businesses, talent, and thought leadership well positioned to contribute solutions to regional and global water challenges.

Join the Center for Ethical Business Cultures (CEBC) at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business on April 29 to hear from global water expert Dr. Peter H. Gleick, co-founder and president of the Pacific Institute. Gleick integrates technical expertise on water and the environment with a profound commitment to social justice, human rights, and sustainability.

Two Minnesota executives will also share their insights on water risks and opportunities: Emilio Tenuta, Vice President of Sustainability at Ecolab, and Jerry Lynch, Chief Sustainability Officer at General Mills.

This event is free and open to the public but registration is required.

EVENT DETAILS

Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Registration:  4:00 p.m.
Program: 4:30 p.m.
Networking Reception: 6:15 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Register »

Thornton Auditorium, Terrence Murphy Hall
University of St. Thomas – Minneapolis Campus
1000 LaSalle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Map & Directions »

I hope you will join CEBC for this important conversation to explore global water perspectives and implications for Minnesota businesses. For more information about the event, speakers, or to register visit CEBC’s website.

David Rodbourne

POSTED BY:

Vice President, Center for Ethical Business Cultures - University of St. Thomas, Opus College of Business

2013 Environmental Initiative Award Winners

May 24th, 2013

First, I want to say a big thank you to everyone who joined us at Nicollet Island Pavilion to celebrate the 19th annual Environmental Initiative Awards. With nearly 400 attendees, we had a very full house. I hope you met some new people, enjoyed learning about all of the great environmental projects, and had fun.

Congratulations to the 2013 Environmental Initiative Award winners:

BUSINESS AND ENVIRONMENT
General Mills Fridley Oat Biomass Boiler

ENERGY AND CLIMATE PROTECTION
Energy Innovation Corridor

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION
YES! Expansion Into West Central Minnesota

NATURAL RESOURCE PROTECTION AND RESTORATION
Southeast Minnesota Wastewater Initiative

SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES
Mahtomedi Area Green Initiative

2013 PARTNERSHIP OF THE YEAR
Weber Stream Restoration Initiative

I’d also like to extend a quick thank you to WCCO’s Frank Vascellaro for serving as the evening’s emcee. We greatly appreciated his time and help celebrating all of the outstanding environmental projects across the state.

Enjoy some of the photos from the event below and congratulations again to all of the finalists and winners. (Photo credits: Megan Dobratz, studioTart.)


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Andrea Robbins

POSTED BY:

Director, Engagement and Systems

GRI Training Comes to Minneapolis for the First Time

June 1st, 2012

Environmental Initiative’s Business and Environment Series is building momentum to integrate sustainability into operational strategy. But how do we reliably measure our current impact, track progress, and determine where to focus our efforts?

The Carlson School of Management and Net Impact Minneapolis are excited to announce a groundbreaking opportunity for GRI Certification.  Taught by ISOS Group, this special two-day Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Certified Training will be held for the first time in Minneapolis on July 19-20.

(more…)

Sally Mills

POSTED BY:

Owner, Triple Green Solutions, LLC and Board Member, Net Impact Minneapolis
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