Andersen Windows & Doors, Partnership, and Celebrating the Sustainable Growth Coalition’s 5th Anniversary

  • December 10, 2020
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  • Jon Smieja

Some of us at Andersen Windows & Doors have long memories when it comes to working with Environmental Initiative. I am not one of those people. As we celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Sustainable Growth Coalition, I felt it was a good time to check in with some who have that long memory to see how the relationship started.

Kirk Hogberg, Andersen’s manager of energy and environmental management, had this to say:

Andersen’s partnership with Environmental Initiative dates to the early 1990s when we first met EI staff and participated with the organization’s board, roundtables and numerous events. We were instantly impressed with EI’s vision for what could be accomplished in the state of Minnesota by convening a cross-section of public and private organizations and citizens to tackle real issues and drive real results. Mike Harley soon came onboard to enhance the group and lead them to where they are today. Through our 20+ years of partnership we have been continuously impressed with EI’s ability to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of our region. Their ability to engage and lead on many critical issues has been a gift to the community and most importantly, the environment.

Given that long history of partnership, it may come as no surprise that Andersen took a leadership role in the development of the Sustainable Growth Coalition. Eliza Clark, Andersen’s former director of sustainability and community, reflected on the founding of the Sustainable Growth Coalition or “SGC” as it is also known:

Andersen has always had a strong commitment to working with other organizations in its region and industry to tackle entrenched systemic challenges that impact people and the environment. After more than two decades of partnering with EI to advance business sustainability in MN, we were excited to join forces with a small group of other corporate leaders who saw the potential of collaborating to unlock a thriving and sustainable economy based on the principles of circularity and systems change.

This history of partnership between Andersen, Environmental Initiative, and the Sustainable Growth Coalition serves as the backdrop to Andersen’s commitment to this work today. We get so much value out of our work on the SGC’s multiple technical committees and the steering committee, and we hope the SGC benefits from our work as well.

This work broadens our network, increases our knowledge of best practices in sustainability, and allows us the opportunity to have an outsized impact on sustainability in our home state and beyond. Being a part of the Sustainable Growth Coalition for these three years I’ve been at Andersen has been one of the best experiences of my career.  I love serving on the SGC’s steering committee and am happy that Andersen has people at the table for nearly every SGC activity. As I reflect on the progress of the first five years of the Sustainable Growth Coalition, and think about the next five and beyond, a few things stand out:

  • The groundwork that we set paves the way for necessary changes in the way businesses operate in this state and beyond.
  • The technical capability and skills in collaboration of the member organizations of the SGC is incredibly strong and primed for impactful outcomes in the years to come.
  • The Sustainable Growth Coalition is incredible lucky to have an organization like Environmental Initiative behind us to create the conditions for success and remind us of what’s important.
  • Now is the time to buckle down and focus on what we can do to improve the future and develop a true circular economy.

We wrote about our partnership with the Sustainable Growth Coalition in Andersen’s recently published Corporate Social Responsibility report. I’ll end by stealing an excerpt from that report that I think sums up Andersen’s feelings about our work with the SGC.

Through collaborative engagement in the Sustainable Growth Coalition we have reached a new tipping point – one that encourages us to bring our talents and expertise together to tackle issues from natural resource scarcity and risk to changing customer preferences.

Happy 5th anniversary to the Sustainable Growth Coalition, and here’s to the next five.

sustainable growth coalition logo