Climate Voices

July 9, 2018
By: Climate Generation

Minnesota is Still In

On June 13th, our MN is Still In day of action brought together business leaders, policymakers, and supporters to celebrate climate change solutions and our clean energy progress.

The day included a benefit luncheon for Climate Generation, the Leadership on Climate Action Business Workshop, and a screening of James Redford’s film Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution.

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Benefit Luncheon Raises Support for Climate Action

Over 300 individuals who attended our benefit luncheon witnessed Governor Dayton’s proclamation that Minnesota will join the We Are Still In climate declaration. Read the success story here.

Minnesota is now the first Midwestern state to join nine others in the nation-wide promise to uphold the Paris Agreement commitments of the U.S., alongside businesses, universities, cities, tribes, and faith-based organizations.

Featuring keynote speaker James Redford alongside Governor Dayton, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, Will Steger, and our staff and youth climate leaders, our MN is Still In benefit luncheon raised over $100,000 to support our programming that builds climate literacy, develops powerful climate advocates, and elevates bold leadership for climate action.

We premiered a YEA! MN alumni-produced video featuring our climate storytelling work and youth leader Munira’s experience witnessing climate change impacts while visiting her family in Somalia and Ethiopia.

Minnesota Businesses Workshop Bold Climate Commitments

Over 70 representatives from 38 companies and organizations—ranging from multinational to local in scale—workshopped how to increase and amplify their commitments to carbon reduction and clean energy at our Leadership on Climate Action Business Workshop.

Businesses answered the following questions before the workshop began to report their interest in attending and working on climate action:

Why is your business committing to climate action?

What are your biggest barriers to acting on climate?

What are you looking forward to today?

Will Steger began the program with his eyewitness to climate change and his call to action for founding Climate Generation. James Redford, keynote speaker, grounded the necessity for corporate action on climate change and the groundswell of clean energy happening around the country that is cheaper, better, and inevitable to grow our economy and create a sustainable future. Stephanie Zawistowski, Senior Policy Advisor for Governor Dayton, discussed the climate and clean energy progress Minnesota has already made as a leading state and member of the U.S. Climate Alliance.  

Janet Brown, Associate Director of Climate Generation, shared the mission of Climate Generation and information on the progress America has made with climate action in only one year — the time it has been since the Trump Administration decided to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement.

Private Sector Leadership:

Dominique Nils Conseil, global business leader and strategic advisor, spoke to the place of business at the leading edge of socio-environmental responsibility. At the helm of Aveda Corporation for seventeen years, Conseil proved a business can dramatically grow its top and bottom lines while simultaneously enhancing socio-environmental responsibility.

Roadmap to Sustainability:  

Ceres Senior Director Natasha Scotnicki presented the network’s Turning Point: Corporate Progress on the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability report, highlighting the top ways that businesses are positioned to address sustainability issues from climate change to human rights. You can download the full report here.

Climate Commitments:

Businesses vocalized their top three goals to act on climate. From companies ranging in size, targets included reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increase clean energy percentages in their portfolios, as well as other science-based, measurable, and ambitious commitments.

Corporate Vignettes:

Six companies — three of which were highlighted in the Ceres Turning Point report — presented on their science-based climate targets and how they are using unique approaches to address the issue.

Alexis Ludwig-Vogen, Best Buy, Director of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability

Alexis shared Best Buy’s targets to significantly reduce carbon emissions from their operations to energy sourcing, as well as how sustainability is presented in customer programs and brand-wide communications.

Jeff Hanratty, General Mills, Applied Sustainability Manager

Jeff spoke to General Mill’s mission to earn the trust of their consumers through sustainability leadership and treating the world with care. Their science-based targets are factored into the growth and resilience of their supply chain, all while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Judy Poferl, Xcel Energy, Senior Vice President, Corporate Secretary and Executive Services

Judy shared Xcel Energy’s trajectory toward leading the clean energy transition, which includes targets to reduce carbon in the midwest energy supply by 80% by 2030. Electrifying transportation, increasing energy efficiency, and solidifying the reliability of the grid are key points in their values-based vision for the future.

Eliza Clark, Andersen Corporation, Director of Sustainability and Environmental

Andersen Corporation sees climate change as a top global risk, forming four sustainability pillars (responsible sourcing, reducing their footprint, sustainable products, making a difference in their community) to guide their work.

Adam Fetcher, Askov Finlayson, Vice President of Environmental Impact & Policy

Adam spoke to the company’s Keep the North Cold initiative, which has developed into a brand-wide mission to calculate their carbon footprint, measure the social cost of their impact, and use that amount to support leading-edge climate solutions.

Steve Dixon, Birchwood Financial, CFA, Principal Investment Manager

Steve shared Birchwood Financial’s work to help individuals align their financial goals with their environmental values — and sustainable investing has increased by 600% in the last decade.

Collaborative Conversations:                                            

To wrap up the workshop, tables worked together to brainstorm around two questions:

How can you amplify the actions you are currently taking publicly? and How can you ratchet up your company’s ambition? What do you need?  

See our event recap page for a full list of companies who attended the day.

James Redford Shares his Eyewitness to the Clean Energy Revolution

We partnered with The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul to show James Redford’s film Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution with a Q&A afterwards. Happening provides an inside look at the inspiring citizens, business leaders, and politicians leading the clean energy revolution across the nation.

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