Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition

More than ever before companies are driven to make meaningful, positive impacts that address complex environmental and social issues across the globe. Minnesota has a proud leadership history addressing these challenges, but we’ve 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.

Nearly 30 businesses and organizations have formed the Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition, a business led partnership harnessing their expertise to advance the next frontier of corporate sustainability — the circular economy.

Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition members are collaborating to:

Define the Circular Economy

Coalition members will work together to build the vision and action steps required to achieve a fully realized circular economy.

Develop Projects and Initiatives

To determine projects that move Minnesota towards a circular economy, the Coalition will evaluate options through stakeholder, environmental, economic, social wellness, and life cycle lenses. To start, collaborative projects will advance clean energy, convert organic waste into valuable resources, and protect or restore the natural water cycle.

Tell Our Story

Building our brand as a place that is safe, healthy, economically vibrant, and sustainable will advance the coalition’s goals while retaining and attracting new talent to the region.

Focus areas

Clean Energy

The Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition’s vision for Minnesota’s clean energy future is that Minnesota will be known for:

  • Surpassing the State of Minnesota’s current economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions targets of 30 percent reduction by 2025 and 80 percent reduction by 2050
  • Increasing access to affordable, reliable, clean energy to improve racial, economic, social and public health outcomes
  • Fueling economic growth for all Minnesotans

Problem Statement

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that urgent measures must be taken in the next decade to reduce climate risks on society. Energy contributes significantly to the State of Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emissions and the State is not on track to meet its greenhouse gas emissions goals. Action must be taken to decrease greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, which threaten our natural resources, health and well-being, as well as business continuity and growth.

Business Case for Collective Action

Through clean energy strategies, the Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition has the opportunity to make a substantial impact on Minnesota’s greenhouse gas emissions and ensure a thriving economy and healthy equitable communities. Benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to a clean-energy economy may include, but are not limited to:

  • Reducing operational and supply chain costs and risks
  • Creating new business models, products and services
  • Meeting demand from customers, investors and employees
  • Building a regional brand that elevates Minnesota as a great place to do business and live
  • Growing job opportunities for all and attracting and retaining talent in Minnesota
  • Improving Minnesota’s quality of life

To achieve this vision, the Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition will focus on these key areas:

Focus Area

Rationale

Desired State

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Reducing energy consumption and managing demand lowers greenhouse gas emissions and saves money. Minnesota is the leader in energy conservation, productivity and managing demand.
Transition to Clean Energy A transition to lower-carbon and carbon-free fuels allows us to better achieve our goals and addresses the health and social impacts of energy production, storage, transportation and use. Minnesota has a low-carbon energy supply that leverages its renewable resources and optimizes distributed energy. Individuals and organizations have many opportunities to equitably participate in the clean-energy market transition.
Optimized Energy Systems Optimization of the energy system allows for greater innovation and resilience while increasing access to affordable, reliable clean energy. Minnesota is home to a modern energy system that makes effective and efficient use of our energy resources and infrastructure.
Electrification Electrification can present cost-effective emissions reductions that provide business and innovation opportunities and improve public health. Minnesota has minimized fossil fuel use and emissions through electrification.
Greenhouse Gas Capture and Use Greenhouse gas emissions are waste products from our energy system, but a circular economy will restore the natural carbon cycle and take advantage of opportunities to use greenhouse gases as beneficial inputs. Minnesota captures greenhouse gasses for long-term storage or beneficial use.

Greening Gray Infrastructure

In a circular economy, our infrastructure is restorative and mimics the efficient processes of the natural world. By greening our infrastructure, we will realize ongoing, equitable benefits in the form of improved human health, increased biodiversity, resilient systems, enhanced resources, and a high quality of life for everyone.

Greening Gray Infrastructure work

  • Pollinators

Organics - Materials

A circular economy aims to keep products and materials at their highest utility and value at all times. Waste does not exist when the biological and technical components (“materials”) of a product are designed to operate within a cycle. Shifting away from a linear model (extract, use, dispose) of waste has direct implications for businesses by refocusing efforts on designing durable goods that are easily disassembled, and developing efficient systems to take back, reuse or upcycle goods.

The Coalition will work together to advance effective product design and use of materials to maintain or increase technical and natural resources. We will employ a lifecycle approach to advancing innovation across product design, manufacturing processes, service and business models, food, farming, feedstocks and products.

Together, we will work to flip the traditional waste hierarchy (or “pyramid”) and create new systems and mechanisms to help our region reach and exceed its goal of diverting 75 percent of waste from landfill.

The Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition meets quarterly. Environmental Initiative convenes the partnership and provides staff support for the effort.

 

Becoming a Coalition Member

The Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition is not currently accepting member applications from leading Minnesota businesses and organizations.

If advancing the circular economy through a diverse, collaborative effort is something your organization is interested in, please complete the following steps.

Information Requirements

If you are interested in the Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition, please get acquainted with the Coalition’s mission and charter by reading the following documents:

Interested in Membership?

Interested in learning more? Call or contact Amy Fredregill, Managing Director of the Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition at 612-334-3388 ext. 8110.