On Tuesday, March 10, the Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition held our 2020 Legislative Breakfast, bringing together business, public sector, and energy thought leaders with policymakers to talk about the business case for sustainability and the importance of the circular economy. It was our first event like this, and I was excited to be able to tell our story of collaboration and leadership. As a Coalition, we are not intending to weigh in on specific legislation with our work on policy, but more generally we support policies that will help realize a circular economy including transitioning to lower and carbon-free fuels, and this step was an important step in moving us closer to our Clean Energy Vision.
The breakfast kicked off with an introduction from me about the Coalition and our vision to advance circularity, followed by words from a bipartisan group of clean energy leaders at the Minnesota State Capitol. Senator Eric Pratt talked about the important drivers of a strong economy, and Representative Jean Wagenius talked about how Coalition members are role modeling. The comments from these legislators were valuable because they are building bridges, collaborating and leading discussions around clean energy.
We then transitioned into a business panel with Emilio Tenuta, Senior Vice President of Sustainability at Ecolab and Chief Sustainability Officer, Holly Lahd, Lead Energy Program Manager at Target, and Pete Swenson, Sustainable Enterprise Director at Tennant Company. They each talked about their companies’ work and its impact on communities, customers, investors and climate. The reason these members spoke at our event is because of their company’s enterprise-wide commitments to energy and climate. Our Coalition is fortunate to have cutting edge business leaders, and their efforts have a measurable impact not only in Minnesota, but across the world.
Finally, Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelly and Department of Administration (also a Coalition member!) Commissioner Alice Roberts-Davis spoke to the group about their efforts from a state perspective. Piloting new approaches and public-private partnerships are important tools to advance our Coalition and corporate goals, and it was great to hear perspectives across sectors and in government.
The Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition is advancing circularity through our work on energy, water and materials, and our members are leading. By working in this way we can achieve more effective and longer lasting solutions for a healthy environment, a prosperous economy and an equitable society. Our members individually have a major impact regionally, nationally and around the world, but together we know we can more effectively address natural resource scarcity and take advantage of opportunities from evolving customer preferences.
I am thankful to Ecolab, Target and Tennant Company for sharing their work, as well as to the state leaders whom joined us for our first Legislative Breakfast.
I look forward to continuing to find ways to engage with policymakers and putting on more impactful Coalition events like this in the future. Thank you to everyone who came out to make this event a big success!