Major businesses laud Minnesota climate action to transition to a net zero economy

As Gov. Tim Walz presents Minnesota’s final Climate Action Framework designed to help the state achieve its climate pollution reduction goals, nine major businesses recently released a letter in support of Minnesota’s transition to a carbon neutral economy.

Aveda, Ben & Jerry’s, Clif Bar, Ecolab, Eileen Fisher, General Mills, IKEA, LHB, and Trane Technologies signed the letter, noting that “climate change poses a significant risk to our businesses, threatens the competitiveness and livelihoods of our supply chains, and impacts the communities in which we operate.” 

Minnesota missed a 2015 target to reduce climate pollution by 15% and is on pace to miss a 2025 goal of 30%. The Climate Action Framework includes several near-term actions to correct course, with plans aimed at equitably cleaning the transportation system, making buildings operate more efficiently, improving climate resilience in the state’s communities, using natural resources to better store carbon, and more.  

“The Climate Action Framework offers an important step towards achieving our longer-term goal of carbon neutrality, building a sustainable economy that will enhance the vitality, competitiveness, and growth of our state, while sending a clear signal that Minnesota is open for business,” the companies wrote in the letter, which was organized by the sustainability nonprofit Ceres

“Minnesota companies have long pushed the state to take a more aggressive approach to preventing the severe business and economic risks of the climate crisis by creating a policy environment to attract companies looking to build and benefit from a clean energy economy,” said Deana Dennis, senior manager of state policy, Ceres, the sustainability nonprofit that organized the letter. “The Climate Action Framework represents a crucial step toward meeting that level of ambition, outlining key near-term steps that promise to have enormous long-term benefits that companies and their investors increasingly demand.” 

The companies that signed the letter all have made strong internal climate commitments, including several who have made net-zero commitments. They believe state policy action is essential to ensuring they meet their own goals, and that establishing a net zero economy statewide is necessary to prevent the significant business risks presented by the climate crisis. 

“Sustainability has always been core to Ecolab,” said Emilio Tenuta, senior vice president and chief sustainability officer, Ecolab. “We are outpacing our operational targets each year, and now more than ever we are working with our customers to accelerate and deliver on their bold sustainability and climate commitments.” 

The letter is the latest sign of strong corporate support for robust climate policy in Minnesota. In 2019, some of the state’s largest employers — including Best Buy, Cargill, General Mills, and Targetwrote to state lawmakers calling for policies to strongly reduce greenhouse gas pollution. Major employers in the state also backed the bipartisan ECO Act of 2021, to expand the state’s energy efficiency programs. 

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