The Michigan Chamber’s 2022 Sustainability Summit drew over 200 private and public sectors at its 4th annual virtual gathering putting a spotlight on key trends and policy issues in the environmental and energy space. This year included federal climate change initiatives and infrastructure developments and investments.
Chamber President & CEO Jim Holcomb kicked off the summit and introduced Washington insider and watcher Catherine Boudreau, senior sustainability correspondent for Business Insider, as the keynote who provided an overall backdrop and foundation for the summit.
Catherine touched on the broader political and policy climate overall as well as several large national trends that spanned from the Ukraine War and energy independence concerns to specific burgeoning technologies like net zero concrete. She noted that cost remains a key constraint for the business community.
Two panels followed. The first — Federal Climate Change Policies: What Should We Expect? — focused on key federal policy issues affecting climate change and clean energy. Four experts representing the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, sustainable consulting sector, and clean energy advocacy participated in a lively discussion.
Top Takeaways included:
- The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will lead to a historic investment in clean energy policies and represents both opportunities and challenges to the business community. Michigan is poised to be a leader in sustainability, given the IRA’s particular focus on supporting energy intensive industries.
- Collaboration is a contact sport. Start local, ask questions and develop relationships to capitalize on opportunity.
The second panel — Infrastructure Investments to Support a More Sustainable Future — focused on the ways investing in infrastructure can unlock the value of clean energy technologies and sustainability practices. Industry experts from Blue Triton, Enbridge and NextEra all shared how their companies are making key investments in infrastructure to achieve a more sustainable economic footprint, while also improving their bottom line.
Top takeaways included:
- There are many approaches to developing a competitive sustainability strategy. It’s essential for businesses to understand what they do well and where they can improve. Creating benchmarks and implementing them effectively is the secret ingredient to success.
- Being a champion of sustainability oftentimes means being a champion of your community. Helping understand your community’s needs can help inform decisions on becoming more sustainable.
Want more details? Catch a recording of the full summit here.
For any questions, or ideas for future programming or speakers, please reach out to Mike Alaimo, director of environmental and energy affairs, at email@example.com.