business and environment series: COP21: The impacts, opportunities, and risks for businesses

about the program

Late last year, nearly 200 countries signed onto a historic climate agreement at COP21 in Paris. Recognizing that climate change represents an urgent threat to our planet, people, and profits, both the public and private sectors will be essential to the dramatic transformation needed to achieve change at this scale. What might the impacts of this unprecedented climate agreement be on Minnesota companies? What is the role of the business community in meeting our national and international climate goals?

During this session we explored the implications of new international and national climate goals for Minnesota businesses. Participants discussed why, and how, businesses are using the momentum created by COP21 as a catalyst to assess climate-related risks and opportunities, drive science-based goal setting, and develop credible carbon reporting programs. Participants engaged in informal networking, small group discussion, and peer-to-peer learning with our cross-sector community of sustainability professionals at this event.

Participants in this session:

  • Understood the outcomes of COP21 and their importance to business and industry here in Minnesota
  • Explored the relationship between the international climate goals agreed to at COP21 and private sector carbon reduction and reporting programs
  • Learned how businesses are using the momentum created by COP21 to drive change within their organizations
  • Discussed ways to bring this conversation back to your workplace


  • Rusty Callier, Director, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Uponor
  • Jeff Hanratty, Environmental Compliance & Sustainability, General Mills
  • Tom Kloc, Director, Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Services, KPMG
  • Pete Swenson, Director, Sustainable Enterprise, Tennant Company 


COP21 major outcomes: 5 key elements of the Paris Agreement (World Resources Institute) »

So, COP21 happened – what’s next? (GreenBiz) »

With COP21 behind us, now what? (GreenBiz) »

Doing business in a post-Paris world (GreenBiz) »

Corporate reporting on GHG emissions evolving (Thomson Reuters) »

The 2-degree business plan: how investors can cut climate risk (GreenBiz) »

The wow factor: the next phase for corporate climate targets (GreenBiz) »