Corporate Leaders Support a Carbon-Neutral Michigan
Equity and sustainability are critical to the economic success and viability of our companies and Michigan. We are sustainability leaders representing some of Michigan’s largest and most trusted businesses. As members of the Michigan Business Sustainability Roundtable (MBSR), convened by the Erb Institute at University of Michigan, we urge all Michiganders to come together in collaboration and support of Michigan’s movement toward a healthier and more sustainable economy.
On April 22, 2022 Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) delivered to Governor Gretchen Whitmer the final MI Healthy Climate Plan, a high-level strategy to guide the state toward its 2050 carbon neutrality goal. This plan was conceived through a thoughtful, stakeholder-informed process in response to the growing climate crisis. EGLEs commitment to carbon neutrality centers on job creation, economic growth, a more resilient Great Lakes system and improved quality of life for all Michiganders.
We believe the overwhelming scientific evidence that, collectively, we must strive to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius to protect our planet’s most vulnerable populations and maintain global stability. To do so will require significant but achievable effort and collaboration. We are heartened that the State of Michigan is aligning its policies with the global consensus on climate science.
The MI Healthy Climate Plan lays out six focus areas to achieve economy-wide carbon neutrality: committing to environmental justice and a just transition, cleaning the grid, electrifying vehicles and increasing public transit, repairing and decarbonizing homes and businesses, driving clean innovation in industry, and protecting Michigan’s land and water. These focus areas are also vital to MBSR corporate members, the communities in which we work and our partner and peer businesses. Therefore, we are keenly interested in how this unique Michigan plan comprehensively lays out the opportunities—and challenges—we face as a state in responding to the climate crisis.
As the state develops an implementation strategy for the MI Healthy Climate Plan, we urge the state to prioritize and incentivize the decarbonization of Michigan’s energy production, transportation and industry. We believe that the most urgent priority should be solutions that will have the most immediate and greatest impact and that will be deployed justly and equitably, including:
- Carbon and greenhouse gas tracking
- Energy waste reduction in our built environment
- Electrification of transportation infrastructure and vehicles
- Building decarbonization
- Grid decarbonization, including enabling equitable access to renewable energy and reducing reliance on greenhouse-gas-emitting sources
- Grid reinforcement to support a greener grid
- Waste reduction through circular economy policies and infrastructure, including recycling and composting
- Nature-based climate solutions, such as green stormwater infrastructure
As EGLE works to develop the MI Healthy Climate Plan implementation strategy, the Michigan Business Sustainable Roundtable stands ready to provide support and business insight to develop achievable solutions.
A Call to Action for All Michiganders
The richness and extent of Michigan’s natural resources, most notably our globally renowned Great Lakes, are unparalleled and must be leveraged and protected in our just transition to a sustainable economy. Likewise, Michigan has the demonstrated drive and innovation to lead the nation in crafting a new, greener future. Doing so will attract new talent and investments and create economic opportunities that will benefit all Michiganders.
We all have a role to play in moving Michigan toward a more just, prosperous and sustainable economy. Specifically, we call on:
- State lawmakers and policymakers to commit to advancing forward-thinking policies and regulations that will pave the way to a just climate transition.
- Governor Whitmer and her leadership team to collaborate with the Michigan Business Sustainability Roundtable and other businesses to support the deployment, demonstration, innovation, and research and development needed to speed this transition.
- Ourselves and our business colleagues to collaborate with the state in developing the MI Healthy Climate Plan implementation strategy and identifying and advancing those focus areas of the plan that align with our own work.
The transition to a sustainable economy presents tremendous economic development opportunities, and Michigan must be ready and at the forefront as a leader in this new economy. As sustainability leaders at some of the state’s largest companies, we invite other businesses to join us in supporting ambitious climate action and moving Michigan to the forefront of climate action.
Chip Amoe, Director of Sustainability, Henry Ford Health
Ryan Friedrichs, Vice President of Development, Related Companies
Kate Gasparro, Director of Land Development and Sustainability, Bedrock
Brandon Hofmeister, Senior Vice President, Governmental, Regulatory, and Public Affairs, Consumers Energy
Shawn Patterson, Vice President, Environmental Management & Safety, DTE
Kristen Siemen, Vice President, Chief Sustainability Officer, General Motors
Carla Walker-Miller, Founder and CEO, Walker-Miller Energy Services
Cynthia Williams, Global Director, Sustainability, Homologation & Compliance, Ford Motor Company
Who is the MBSR?
Convened and facilitated by the Erb Institute at the University of Michigan, the Michigan Business Sustainability Roundtable was created to build an equitable and socially and environmentally sustainable State of Michigan through the power of business. The group includes senior business leaders who are committed to working toward transformational change in the social and environmental performance of their companies, their industries and the State of Michigan. The views expressed by the Michigan Business Sustainability Roundtable are those of the collective group and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of the MBSR individual members and/or their affiliated companies or organizations.