GEMI summer meeting addresses resource efficiency strategies

GEMI summer meeting addresses resource efficiency strategies

Members share case studies and insights to close loops in supply chains, recover and recondition materials and integrate sustainability throughout the lifecycles of materials

Washington, DC – The Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI), the global leader in developing insights, networking and creating collaborative sustainability solutions for business, gathered for its summer meeting to focus on resource efficiency on July 27-28 in St. Paul, Minn. Hosted by GEMI member Tenant Company and held at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Environment (IonE), the meeting began with Lewis Gilbert, managing director of the IonE, sharing insights from the organization’s projects about valuing natural capital, supply chain sustainability, water conservation in agriculture and sustainability communications.

“Hearing from those who are making progress in resource efficiency efforts within their companies and organizations helps all of us think of ways we can implement those insights for our own business solutions,” said Stan Mierzejewski, senior manager, sustainability, Tennant Company. “Whether it’s determining financial and natural capital opportunities for closed-loop systems, designing for circularity, materials recovery and reconditioning or value chain approaches to developing resource efficiency solutions, we can learn from each other and connect our efforts for better supply chain efficiency outcomes and healthier environmental impacts.”


Pictured: Kathleen Salyer, US EPA; Chad Pregracke, Living Lands and Waters

Leading business and environment experts joined GEMI membership to share case studies, projects, research and new ways evaluate the risks and opportunities. Speakers included representatives from the University of Minnesota, the U.S. EPA, Trucost, the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development, 3M, Johnson Controls, Steelcase, General Motors, Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council, Resource Recycling Systems, Living Lands and Waters, Koch Industries, GE Water and the Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition.

“Sustainability has evolved from businesses retroactively reporting on goals and outcomes to enhancing reputation to proactively managing materials and resources and measuring that performance daily,” said Steve Hellem, executive director, GEMI. “Global and U.S.-based initiatives are driving the push toward a circular economy, but there are many regulatory, standardization, chemical make-up, process and communication, packaging and financial roadblocks that stand in the way shifting from a recycling-heavy mindset to true systematic supply chain development.”


Pictured: John Bradburn, General Motors; Sheryl Corrigan, Koch Industries

As part of GEMI’s meetings, GEMI members work together to identify and develop new solutions related to the meeting topic. As a follow up to this meeting, GEMI will develop a Quick Guide on Resource Efficiency to serve as a primer for all business leaders who are interested in implementing circular economy concepts. The Quick Guide is planned for late 2016. All current GEMI Quick Guides are available to the public:

The next GEMI meeting will be held in November 2016, and will address supply chain sustainability. Nonmember companies considering membership may request attendance at one meeting on a complimentary basis. For more information about GEMI, membership benefits and upcoming meetings, visit or email GEMI’s Executive Director, Steve Hellem:

About GEMI

GEMI is the global leader in developing insights, networking, and creating collaborative sustainability solutions for business. For 25 years, GEMI has captured the vision and experience of global corporate environmental, health and safety (EHS) and sustainability leaders from diverse business sectors through the development of a wide range of publicly-available, solutions-based tools designed to help companies improve the environment, their operations and add business value.

New 3M Petrifilm Plate Launched to Help Food Companies Reduce Spoilage and Minimize Waste

ST. PAUL, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In food processing, lactic acid bacteria can be friend or foe. Kept in check, these organisms help produce fermented foods ranging from smooth yogurts to crunchy pickles – and can even be leveraged for probiotic purposes. But under low oxygen, low temperature and acidic conditions, the bacteria can cause spoilage, discoloration, bloated packages and textures, odors and flavors that displease customers, trigger recalls and cause food waste.

To help food processing companies streamline complicated labor intensive testing methods, 3M Food Safety introduces the 3M™ Petrifilm™ Lactic Acid Bacteria Count Plate with a more efficient, all-in-one solution for monitoring lactic acid bacteria levels in food products and manufacturing environments. The plate offers all of the time-honored benefits of the award-winning 3M™ Petrifilm™ Plates – simplicity, reliability, productivity, and sustainability – while eliminating the need for the costly anaerobic equipment used with traditional methods.

For the first time ever, the 3M Petrifilm Lactic Acid Bacteria Count Plate combines oxygen-scavenging technology and oxygen-barrier films to create a self-contained anaerobic environment. Now food processors and testing laboratories can get true, accurate anaerobic results using aerobic incubation conditions, providing enhanced recovery of lactic acid bacteria within 48 hours.

“Food manufacturers are becoming more aware of the impact lactic acid bacteria plays on their products’ quality and shelf life,” said John David, 3M Food Safety global marketing manager. “Our hope and belief is that the improved and easier testing process made possible with the 3M Petrifilm Lactic Acid Bacteria Count Plate will enable them to more effectively monitor this group of microorganisms and make confident decisions about their product quality, helping to reduce waste, minimize recalls and protect brand reputation.”

In contrast to traditional methods, 3M’s advanced technology can be used to test a wide range of foods and environmental surfaces. The company expects its plate will be especially valuable for manufacturers of meat, fish and poultry products, processed foods, produce, dairy products, and various dressings and sauces. If the test determines lactic acid bacteria levels are unacceptable, companies may want to adjust their processing conditions or intensify cleaning and sanitation.

3M Food Safety, a leader of innovative solutions that help the food and beverage industries optimize the quality and safety of their products to enable consumer protection and improve their bottom lines, is pursuing third-party scientific validations such as AOAC and ISO for its new technology. To order the 3M Petrifilm Lactic Acid Bacteria Count Plate, or learn more about it and related products, individuals can contact their local sales representative, call (800) 328-6553 or visit

About 3M
At 3M, we apply science in collaborative ways to improve lives daily. With $30 billion in sales, our 90,000 employees connect with customers all around the world. Learn more about 3M’s creative solutions to the world’s problems on Twitter at @3M or @3MNewsroom.

GEMI Summer Meeting – Resource Efficiency


Please complete the following form to request a guest invitation for the meeting.

Subject to change.

9:00am – 9:15am GEMI Welcome and Antitrust Guidelines

Introduction to the meeting theme, and brief overview of GEMI projects/activities.


9:15am – 9:40am Tennant Company Host Presentation

  • Pete Swenson, Director Sustainable Enterprise, Tennant Company


9:40am – 10:05am Introduction to University of Minnesota Institute on Environment (IonE)

Overview of IonE, its vision, and the variety of projects it is leading.

  • Jessica Hellman, IonE Director, University of Minnesota


10:05am – 10:20am Optimizing Eco-Efficiency Across the Procurement Portfolio

Update on NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise(NiSE) research on environmentally preferable procurement, stemming from prior GEMI collaboration.

  • Tim Smith, Director NiSE at IonE, UMN


10:20am – 10:45am US EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Strategy

Update on EPA’s SMM strategy and initiatives, and the actions underway with the G7 Alliance on Resource Efficiency.

  • Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator, Office of Land and Emergency Management, US EPA (invited)


10:45am – 11:00am Break
11:00am – 12:00pm Closing the Loop to Advance a New Economy

What are the business opportunities of moving to a circular economy, and what key challenges and opportunities exist across various industries.

  • Libby Bernick, SVP, Trucost
  • Andy Mangan, Executive Director, US BCSD


12:00pm – 1:00pm Lunch
1:00pm – 2:00pm Designing for Circularity

How are businesses integrating life-cycle concepts into the design process and applying circular principles in design of new products.

  • Carrie Pearson, LCA Supervisor, 3M
  • Megann Head, Environmental Design Engineer, Global Sustainability, Steelcase


2:00pm – 2:30pm Closing the Loop: Developing Circular Business Models

What steps are businesses taking in developing and scaling new circular business models, and what barriers may need to be considered.

  • Adam Muellerweiss, Director, Sustainability and Environmental Affairs, Johnson Controls


2:30pm – 2:45pm Break
2:45pm – 3:30pm Building a Supply Web to Keep Materials in Use

How can a web of unique supplier partners come together to support new reuse opportunities for byproducts.

  • John Bradburn, Global Manager of Waste Reduction, General Motors


3:30pm – 4:50pm Value Chain Approaches to Developing New Resource Efficiency Solutions

Discussion of innovative partnership approaches working to develop and enable new resource efficiency solutions.

  • Tod Christenson, Director, Healthcare Plastics Recycling Council
  • Hunt Briggs, Project Manager, Resource Recycling Systems


4:50pm – 5:00pm Closing Comments
7:00pm Dinner: Fogo de Chao – Hosted by Tennant Company


July 28

9:00am – 9:15am GEMI Welcome and Antitrust Guidelines


9:15am – 9:45am Cleaning up America’s Rivers

Chad Pregracke has made it his life’s work to clean up the Mississippi River and other American waterways, removing millions of pounds of waste from rivers across the US.

  • Chad Pregracke, Founder, Living Lands and Waters


9:45am – 10:15am Additive Manufacturing: Innovation in Technology and Materials

What efforts are underway to accelerate the adoption of new 3D printing materials, technologies and products, and drive new innovation?

  •  Ed Morris, Director, America Makes (invited)
10:15am – 10:45am Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition

A regional partnership for demonstrating and accelerating a thriving circular economy.

  • Amy Skoczlas Cole, former Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at Pentair, Chair of Minnesota Sustainable Growth Coalition
10:45am – 11:00am Break


11:00am – 11:30am Circular Economy of Water

What are the current technologies / partnership models supporting circular approaches for water, and what are the next steps needed to advance such efforts.

  • John Peichel, Technology Leader, GE Water


11:30am – 12:30pm Creating New Value Opportunities through Resource Efficiency

How are companies developing innovative opportunities to improve resource efficiency while building new business value and generating broader sustainability benefits.

  • Sheryl Corrigan, Director EHS, Koch Industries
  • Steve Levitsy, VP Sustainability, Perdue Farms (invited)
  • Anne Monine, Corporate Environmental Lead, Cargill (invited)


12:30pm – 1:45pm Luncheon Roundtable Discussion: Next Steps / Action Items

Facilitated by Steve Hellem, GEMI

After grabbing lunch, participants will review the issues discussed over the course of the meeting, and discuss opportunities that exist to collaborate to advance new resource efficiency solutions.


1:45pm – 2:00pm Closing Comments

Save the Date – GEMI Summer Meeting

Resource Efficiency: Taking the Circular Economy from Theory to Action

July 27-28, 2016
Hosted by Tennant Company – St. Paul, MN

Please save the date of July 27-28 for GEMI’s Summer Meeting on Resource Efficiency: Taking the Circular Economy from Theory to Action.

The meeting will be hosted by Tennant Company at the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment located in St. Paul, MN. The meeting is planned to examine tangible resource efficiency projects/examples from across industries, and explore steps sustainability leaders are taking to implement circular economy concepts in their businesses and create value.

Additional meeting details will be shared with GEMI members following GEMI’s Spring Meeting on Science-Based Targets.

Please contact Kellen Mahoney ( with any questions on the meeting in the meantime.