Who We Are
We are a group of committed individuals bringing people together to talk, to listen, and to develop and implement creative solutions to problems. As individuals we have wide ranging interests and talents. As a group we are deeply rooted in delivering shared learning opportunities and outcomes-based solutions which transform systems.
Our work is scalable—from North Minneapolis youth leaders learning about and leading environmental justice initiatives to industry-leading supply chain companies and environmental nonprofits developing solutions for removing barriers to widespread adoption of regenerative agricultural practices in the Midwestern United States.
We learn together and foster a work environment which values relationships. From these relationships we develop unique partnerships and programs to unlock opportunity and solve problems which limit prosperity, equity, and environmental health. We do good work, we make a difference, and we are opening hearts and minds.
We also have fun. From developing cookbooks to good-natured competitions, our team has leaders who understand that joy is an essential component of work. We encourage you to support our work, meet our board of directors, and attend an event.
Catalyze collaboration across perspectives, power, and systems for social equity and environmental health.
Relationships foster an inclusive, just, and thriving world for all beings.
We facilitate powerful, thoughtful shared action; catalyze creative, innovative solutions; and generate transformative, long-term, systemic outcomes through open-minded listening, sharing, support, and dialogue.
We skillfully engage complexity, nuance, multiple narratives, ambiguity, and the need for adaptation and iteration, as environmental concerns are interwoven and everchanging. We develop a way forward together by learning from each other and by being a trustworthy partner.
We exercise deep care in our relationships. We undertake our work together to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes for people and places. Our collaborations are nurtured and pursued conscientiously and ethically to lead to greater impact.
We are all related. Trust, relationship and interconnection are the cornerstone of genuine, respectful dialogue; wise decision-making; and resilient communities.
We create an inclusive, respectful, space for courageous decision-making, sharing power, determining together how best to care for people and planet, and mitigating disproportionate impacts of environmental issues on communities of color and Indigenous, low income, and rural communities.
We bridge across perspectives, people, systems, and differences in power. We cultivate and connect diverse, principled leaders who have the ability to hold multiple perspectives, complex ideas, and different worldviews, and who are effectively and thoughtfully working together for lasting good.
Our founders chose to incorporate the word “initiative” into our name to reflect their vision that dialogue and collaboration would result in concrete action for a better environment. Three decades after our founding, Environmental Initiative continues to offer a nationally unique model for environmental problem solving.
In early 1992, leaders from seemingly adversarial interests came together around a vision of partnership. This group of individuals who were leading Minnesota businesses, environmental advocacy nonprofits, and state agencies discussed a collaborative model for problem solving. The organization grew out of these early conversations and was founded under the name Minnesota Environmental Initiative (MEI).
As Environmental Initiative, we carry forward the tradition of building partnerships to develop collaborative solutions to environmental problems. Environmental Initiative’s collaborations, partnerships, resources, and successes are highlighted in the Our Work and Tools & Guides sections of this website.