On November 5, Environmental Initiative was honored by the City of Minneapolis City Council with a Green Business Award. The Green Business Awards honor businesses and organizations that work to improve green infrastructure for better public health in Minneapolis. The Green Business program, which has been around since 2012, works to support businesses and organizations as they transition into cleaner alternatives with the goal of reducing pollutants and improving air quality for the citizens of Minneapolis. This occurs through a variety of means, such as cost share programs to support small businesses that are interested in becoming more green but face financial barriers.
In 2018, Minneapolis became the first voluntarily perc-free city in the country. Perc is a chemical used in dry cleaning that can have long-term air quality and health effects, and the Green Business program has supported local dry cleaners as they move into more environmentally-friendly alternatives. Environmental Initiative is proud to have been part of this work from the beginning. We were also pleased to learn that, after this year, the program will be expanding into residences, in order to serve even more of the Minneapolis community.
We were so honored to receive this award, and for the kind words from Councilmember Alondra Cano, who represents the Ninth Ward. Councilmember Cano noted, “the ethos of a public-private win-win approach to solving problems was inspired by Environmental Initiative’s approach to their work…Their staff conduct and one-on-one outreach with our commercial and industrial partners to share opportunities and walk owners through hurdles was second to none…We couldn’t have become a perc-free city without them.”
Accepting the award on behalf of Environmental Initiative was Bjorn Olson, our Outreach and Partner Development Coordinator, who acknowledged first and foremost the city’s commitment to public health and the environment. We value the work being done in our city to work toward collaborative solutions that improve not just the environment, but also provide economic solutions and improve public health. As Bjorn put it, “this program is second to none in the nation, and we should really take heart in that and be proud of what’s going on here, because it’s very unique and special, and shows what we can do when we work collaboratively together toward solutions.”
Once again, we want to thank the City of Minneapolis, the City Council, and all our valued partners—we couldn’t do this without you. We truly are better together.