Mpls approves green business partnership

The project aims to bring in green manufacturing and business.

by Andre Eggert

The Minneapolis City Council approved a partnership Friday with St. Paul to attract and retain green jobs in the two cities.

The partnership, called “Thinc.Green,” will promote environmentally friendly initiatives by recruiting businesses, developing financing options for startups and supporting “aggressive” building standards. It will also require local government to follow a regional green purchasing policy and recognize businesses with exemplary practices.

The St. Paul City Council approved the same resolution Wednesday.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Glidden, chairwoman of the Regulatory, Energy and Environment Committee, said the initiative was a way to find opportunities to recruit new green businesses and repurpose
existing industry.

“This is trying to market Minneapolis and St. Paul as a place for green manufacturing businesses,” Glidden said.

Some of the policies for Thinc.Green are already in place. Minneapolis has a citywide green purchasing policy, and St. Paul has instituted environmental building standards.

Thinc.Green is an evolution of the MayorsâÄô Green Manufacturing Initiative, which began in 2006 with a partnership with the Blue Green Alliance.

“Saint Paul and Minneapolis have been working together for years to help green businesses grow,” Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said in a prepared statement. “This formal agreement gives us one more important tool to position our cities as national leaders.”

The initiative focuses on one goal, said St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman âÄî “Making our region the center of a burgeoning green economy.”

The Twin Cities already have “promising concentrations” of industries that will benefit from the new initiative, according to the Thinc.Green plan. These include businesses in water, green chemistry and renewable energy.

The timeline of Thinc.Green is still unknown.

“We are trying to still develop what does it mean to be a green business,” Glidden said. Finding the right fit for Minnesota is important.

A steering committee will help direct the marketing and find ways to spur economic development under the initiative.

The University of Minnesota is considered a stakeholder group on the project but will not be involved in the upcoming steering committee, Glidden said.

“ThereâÄôs not a seat for the University as part of the steering committee. But I know the University will continue to be a major player,” Glidden said, noting that the University is a “natural” partner in projects like this.

Glidden believes this agreement helps bring Minneapolis and St. Paul together, rather than butting heads.

“[The initiative is] part of thinking of ourselves as a region,” she said.