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Thursday, July 15, 2021
As the business world continues to evolve and grow, sustainability factors have become a larger part of the site selection decision process – and Michigan is leading the way in green practices.
Research released by the Site Selectors Guild in June 2021 shows that green energy and sustainability are among five of the current trends in corporate location decisions, particularly among consumer-facing and public companies. Michigan-based companies and the larger statewide community are responding with programs and investments to support sustainability impact and goals.
The state’s commitment to green energy practices and social responsibility has been affirmed by Site Selection’s 2021 Sustainability Rankings. Michigan was ranked by the magazine as the No. 3 state for sustainable development, and Grand Rapids and Lansing were ranked the nation’s No. 2 and No. 6 metros, respectively, on the list.
Utilities Set Aggressive Goals for Sustainability
Jackson-based Consumers Energy is leading by example with impressively ambitious sustainability goals. Their nation-leading plans call for zero-methane emissions from its natural gas delivery system by 2030. Their electricity business has also committed to achieve net zero carbon emissions, end coal usage, and increase clean energy resources by 2040.
DTE Energy, headquartered in Detroit, plans to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions through an innovative plan that includes both its suppliers and customers. By 2050, the DTE Gas Net Zero Plan will reduce carbon emissions by 6 million metric tons per year ― the equivalent of taking 1.3 million cars off the road.
Private Industry Invests in a Clean Future
Global automakers like Ford are creating the blueprint for a future fueled by renewable energy. Ford is aiming to use 100% renewable energy for all its manufacturing plants across the globe by 2035. The automotive leader has identified naturally reproducing sources such as hydropower, geothermal or wind and solar power as their focus. Ford has also vowed to eliminate single-use plastics from all operations by 2030 and reach their goal of true zero-waste-to-landfill across operations.
Also committing to sustainable car manufacturing is Detroit-based General Motors. Since 2010, General Motors has achieved 22% reduction in absolute energy use, 13% reduction in water intensity, and 45% reduction in VOC emissions, with those rates only growing. They have also seen a 95% increase in renewable energy usage over the last decade.
Stellantis is also working toward carbon neutrality across all products, assembly plants, and other facilities with its Mack assembly plant in Detroit both the future home of two electrified Jeep® vehicles and one of the company’s most efficient and sustainable manufacturing operations.
Midland-based science giant Dow is driven by their company purpose to deliver a sustainable future for the world through materials science expertise and collaboration with partners. Working with those partners, Dow has reduced overall emissions 15% in the past 15 years.
Grand Rapids-based Cascade Engineering is making a name for itself by constructing the first commercial building in Michigan to achieve LEED EB Platinum Certified status. Cascade is using recycled materials whenever and however possible, aiming to never touch a landfill in their operations, and is utilizing a closed loop water system.
Supporting Sustainability from the Top
Through Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Healthy Climate Plan the state of Michigan is working to protect the health of Michiganders and put the state on a path toward becoming fully carbon-neutral by 2050. Governor Whitmer announced in 2020 that state-owned facilities would utilize 100% renewable energy by 2025 through partnerships with DTE, Consumers Energy, and Lansing Board of Water and Light. The energy purchased will expand the utility's renewable portfolio in Michigan, rather than simply rerouting existing renewable energy that is already being generated. Additionally, the state’s Council on Climate Solutions is already helping to guide the development and effective implementation of emissions-reduction strategies, working closely with EGLE’s Office of Environmental Justice Public Advocate to ensure fairness and representation from underserved communities throughout that process.
This commitment to sustainability and protection of the state’s Pure Michigan quality of life, combined with an affordable cost of living and competitive business climate position Michigan as the ideal choice for businesses looking to infuse sustainability into their business growth and expansion efforts.
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