Making it Green – Minneapolis-Saint Paul Positioned Well for Green Manufacturing

Mayors Chris Coleman of Saint Paul and R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis presented a study providing a blueprint for both cities to pursue green manufacturing opportunities and take advantage of the expanding green business sectors.

April 22, 2008

Mayors, Business, Labor, and Environmentalist Team Up For Jobs and Global Warming Solutions

MINNEAPOLIS/SAINT PAUL (April 22, 2008) – Marking Earth Day, Mayors Chris Coleman of Saint Paul and R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis presented a commissioned study today that provides a blueprint for both cities to pursue green manufacturing opportunities and take advantage of the expanding business sectors around green products and design. Leaders from government, labor, business, academia, and environmental groups joined together for the study.

The study, Making It Green in Minneapolis Saint Paul, authored by Candace Campbell of CDC Associates, examines three green manufacturing sectors and outlines strategies for the two cities to capitalize on those sectors’ potential. The study looked at job growth opportunities in the green building, transportation, and renewable energy sectors and found that the area has significant advantages for green manufacturing. Taken together, Minneapolis and Saint Paul are the 4th largest manufacturing city in the U.S, and  both cities have policies in place to attract industrial firms; both offer ready marketplaces for green products and suppliers; and both have an increasing variety of renewable energy sources and green transportation/shipping options, such as the Mississippi River.

“Our study confirms that the Upper Midwest’s regional economic driver – Minneapolis and Saint Paul – has strong foundations in labor, education, industrial land, and economic support to seize part of the green manufacturing economy that is currently worth $229 billion,” says David Foster, executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance and a co-chair of the Mayors’ Initiative on Green Manufacturing. “To capitalize on those opportunities, the report shows that there needs to be a concerted effort as a region, from local to state to business leaders, in order to market the two cities’ assets.”

Making it Green recommends focusing on five strategies to create green manufacturing jobs in the Minneapolis Saint Paul area:

  1. Market Aggressively – Initiate an aggressive, leadership-driven marketing plan – “Making it Green in Minneapolis & Saint Paul” campaign;
  2. Realign Our Tools – Realign our cities’ economic development tools to focus on the green “industries of the future”;
  3. Grow Markets for Local Suppliers – Grow receptive markets for these green manufacturers by sharpening our procurement and public policies;
  4. Coalesce State Policies and Programs – Create a set of state policies and incentives to support the creation of green jobs in Minneapolis and Saint Paul; and
  5. Forge Enduring Partnerships-Adopt and strengthen the culture of innovation and partnership of the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul with the on-going work of the Mayors’ Green Manufacturing Initiative through a restructured Mayors’ Green Manufacturing Development Team.

With the ever increasing talk of economic recession, inflation, and globalization, revitalizing Minneapolis Saint Paul’s manufacturing base to provide the products needed to solve global warming could not come at a more important time.

“We don’t have to build our green manufacturing from the ground up,” Mayor Coleman said. “From the windmills standing in greater Minnesota and the Dakotas to the hybrid buses on our streets, we know there are parts and supplies needed to make this green economy perform. Last year’s state renewable energy legislation will generate more than $4 billion of economic activity by 2020. With the recommendations from this report, we can focus our efforts more to be strategic and expand or attract manufacturers who need a skilled workforce, want access to growing markets, and also seek a high-standard of living for its executives and employees.”

“As we commemorate another Earth Day, we are again reminded of the dire and urgent need to marshal all efforts in the fight against global climate change,” Mayor Rybak said. “By creating new forms of energy we will not only fight global warming, we will reinvigorate our manufacturing base and create thousands of jobs right here in Minnesota. We have the manufacturing potential, we have the educated workers, we have the political will, and now we have the blueprint. The next step is to get to work and produce results.”

The Mayors’ Initiative on Green Manufacturing was created by Mayors Coleman and Rybak in partnership with the BlueGreen Alliance to work to attract green collar jobs and businesses, like wind turbine component manufacturing, to the Minneapolis Saint Paul area and help current manufacturers become greener and expand. Candace Campbell is the principal for CDC Associates, a local economic development consulting firm and public policy practice headquartered in Minneapolis, and the author of Making It Green. The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of the United Steelworkers, North America’s largest manufacturing union, and the 1.3 million members and supporters of the Sierra Club, the nation’s largest grassroots’ environmental organization.  The Blue Green Alliance is headquartered in Minneapolis, MN.

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The Mayors’ Initiative on Green Manufacturing is supported by the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation, a 501 c(3) organization dedicated to educating the public about the job-creating potential of global warming solutions, including the expansion of renewable energy and energy efficiency across the United States.