Valeo – Aiming for Carbon Neutrality by 2050

In 2021, global automotive supplier Valeo committed to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. With $21 billion in sales and 109,900 employees in 29 countries, Valeo has a presence in Troy, Auburn Hills, and Highland Park. SBN Detroit interviewed Valeo Group CAP50 Director Zobeida Gutierrez about the company’s sustainability efforts globally and its impact on Southeast Michigan. Q: Tell us about the CAP50 project.   A: Championed by CEO and President Christophe Périllat, Valeo’s global decarbonization plan primarily focuses on 156 production plants. However, our actions extend to our design centers and Valeo Service activities around the world. I have worked for Valeo for thirty years in a variety of positions, including roles in quality in operations, supplier quality, project management, and special projects. I am now the global lead for Valeo’s CAP50 decarbonization plan, and I support other sustainability and circular economy initiatives within North America. Q: What are the specifics of the plan? A: This is our action plan to contribute to carbon neutrality by 2050 across the entire Valeo value chain. Valeo has set 2030 near-term CO2 reduction targets validated by SBTi (Science Based Target initiative) Scope 1 and 2 CO2 emission absolute value reduction of 75% and Scope 3 upstream and downstream reduction of 15% from our 2019 baseline. This goal translates to removing 8.1 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Since 2019, we have removed 4.4 million metric tons as of the end of 2022, confirming the effectiveness of our CAP 50 plan. The second reduction target integrates benefits realized from electrification within our product portfolio, accounting for a 45% CO2 emission reduction due to avoided emissions at third parties as compared to the 2019 CO2 emissions footprint baseline. Q: What actions are you taking to achieve this? A: Our framework includes all three scopes as well as greenhouse gas emissions. Scope 1 targets direct emissions coming from our operations. We are currently investing to get our top 100 CO2 emitting sites Energy Management ISO 50001 certified to ensure they are focusing on energy efficiency to drive a 30% reduction in energy consumption by 2030. We are also switching to LED lights, eliminating fuel, oil, and natural gas use, installing solar panels at our sites, and introducing energy-efficient equipment. Scope 2 focuses on indirect greenhouse gas emissions incurred by our energy suppliers. Our low-carbon electricity procurement supports the increase of renewable energy capacity projects. Our internal target is to secure 50% of energy coming from renewable sources by 2025 and 80% by 2030. Valeo has committed to investing $436 million to support Scope 1 and Scope 2 actions. Scope 3 involves indirect greenhouse gas emissions within our supply chain, upstream and downstream. Upstream efforts target indirect emissions incurred by our suppliers, and downstream efforts target indirect emissions incurred by the use and end-of-life of our products. For Scope 3 upstream, we launched a sustainability assessment questionnaire to evaluate our supply chain sustainability maturity level. We also align our suppliers’ greenhouse gas emissions targets with ours – a reduction of 75% for Scope 1 and Scope 2 and 15% for Scope 3 Upstream emissions vs. their baseline year. Our suppliers are also required to cascade these targets throughout their entire supply chain. Our transportation levers within Scope 3 include greener fuels, optimization of filling rates for trucks, multimodal scenarios such as replacing airfreight with train or truck, and the use of returnable and greener packaging. For Scope 3 downstream, Valeo is accelerating its technological roadmap and cementing its global leadership in the electrification market. Currently, 60% of our portfolio supports EVs. We are researching and validating greener materials and designing more energy-efficient, lighter, and greener products. No reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is too small. Every Ton of CO2 reduced counts. Even if it’s simply balancing HVAC systems in our buildings to save energy, simple things can add up to several tons of CO2 emissions reductions.  Q: How is your team structured to support the goals and initiatives? A: It starts at the top. Our board of directors has set targets and reviewed achievements related to sustainability and climate change since 2016. In addition, since 2020, a director has been responsible for monitoring corporate social responsibility issues. The Chief Sustainability Officer position within Valeo aligns with the Corporate Vice President of Sustainable Development and External Affairs, who works in partnership with the Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Strategy. Sustainability topics are therefore under the direct oversight and management of the CEO. Our human resources, health, safety, and environmental, ethics and compliance, research and development, and operations departments (purchasing, quality, projects, industrial) all contribute to Valeo’s sustainable development policy, and each business group assigns CAP 50 champions. Q: What are your biggest challenges? A: Our biggest concern – which is not unique to Valeo – is the lack of renewable energy capacity. The world needs to triple global renewable capacity from 2022 levels by 2030, which must reach 11,000 gigawatts in line with the International Energy Agency’s net zero emissions by 2050 scenario. Also, there is a need for stronger domestic policies and international support, most notably in clean energy investment in emerging and developing economies. Q: What are the biggest opportunities? A: Electrification acceleration. The introduction of electric vehicles is an opportunity, not only for cars but also for micromobility. Another opportunity is preserving our resources by creating a circular economy. Valeo has created the 4R Circle, which is our plan for Robust Design, Remanufacturing, Repair, and Recycling aimed at reducing the use of raw materials and preserving the planet’s resources by giving our products extended life and recyclability options. Q: How is the work you are doing impacting Southeast Michigan? A: In June 2022, we signed a contract with energy supplier DTE Energy to contribute 100% of renewable energy usage at our Michigan locations (Troy, Auburn Hills, and Highland Park) starting in April 2024. This contract is for 20 years, and it demonstrates Valeo’s commitment to supporting renewable energy projects

30-Year Architecture Firm Looks Toward Sustainability in Design


Hamilton Anderson Associates (HAA) sits in the heart of what was once Harmonie Park and is now Paradise Valley – and has since the architecture firm’s start in 1994. Its doctrine is to ‘design sustainable communities that inspire change,’ and this encompasses not only architecture, but interior design, landscape architecture, urban design and planning, and development services. The firm was founded by Rainy Hamilton Jr. and Kent Anderson. SBN Detroit spoke to Hamilton about the firm’s sustainability focus and impact on Southeast Michigan. Q: Tell me about HAA as it relates to sustainability A: This is a big topic. Overall, we are always looking to have a positive impact on our clients’ projects and ultimately their bottom line. We always strive to have their best interests in mind and toward that, we need to be cognizant of the design approach, and how we can spend their funds wisely and thoughtfully. We incorporate products and materials that can be recycled or have been recycled, and that are manufactured locally, whenever possible. We think about how we can craft design solutions that take into account the environment and the planet – such as how we can include passive energy generation like wind and solar power. Also, how we manage stormwater is a significant topic with large impervious areas such as roofs and surface parking areas. All of these things are embedded in our thought process for every project. Q: Has HAA always had a focus on sustainability? A: Yes. As trained architects, it has become more commonplace over the last several decades to have this mindset around sustainability. We have been trained to push for well-crafted design solutions that minimize the impact on the environment. We are conscious of utilizing renewable resources such as lumber.  Reforesting serves to replenish these natural resources when done properly. At Hamilton Anderson, sustainability is built into our design processes. It is in our DNA to minimize the impact of building on Earth and be sensitive to the environment. Q: Your website says that HAA designs sustainable communities that inspire positive change. Will you elaborate on this? A: In very simplistic terms, let’s think about a typical day. If we can craft our public rights-of-way to be rich and beautiful with adequate lighting and thoughtful landscaping when people move through these areas their spirits are lifted. You feel a very different reaction if you walk through an area with no investment, no landscaping, and no thought or work put into beautifying the space. These types of conditions can negatively impact one’s psyche. Good design is good business. We want to create places of work, rest, and play toward the best possible experience. Q: What are some examples of this? A: We were excited to be part of the design team for Little Caesars Arena. The urban design solution implemented recessed the seating bowl down below grade to reduce the overall height of the facility on the street. Building elements such as retail outlets and other activities were placed around the bowl and the exterior facades were articulated in varying ways to create a wonderful street environment. The result is an active, energized Woodward Avenue with wonderful streetscapes. As we travel the Woodward Corridor, there are many HAA projects that have been completed and have contributed to the growth of Detroit.  Projects include the Wayne State Welcome Center, the Addison Hotel, the Strathmore Hotel, Crystal Lofts, Woodward Place, Hamilton at Midtown, Woodward West, Detroit School of Arts, and City Modern. Our work on the Hudson’s Tower with the Bedrock team involves enhancing the downtown area with this major new landmark building and thinking about how it intersects the ground plane and surrounding streetscapes. We rode by the Port Authority Building the other day that we designed on the Detroit River. We suggested a second floor be added to what was originally going to be a one-story structure. Now, there is a gathering event space on top that takes full advantage of the riverfront views. This banquet and meeting space has had a positive impact on the Port Authority’s bottom line and has enhanced the visitor experience. We are thrilled to be working on the expansion of the Music Hall and how to craft this new building next to the historic Music Hall. This addition will enhance the hall and will shine as a beacon welcoming visitors into this vibrant district. Q: How does developing the economy in Southeast Michigan come into play in your work? A: The projects we help bring to fruition and the overall momentum happening in Detroit play a huge role in sustaining and advancing the economy in Southeast Michigan. When I think about the Henry Ford Health right in Midtown, we are proud to be part of the design team. We are influencing how this large development meets the ground plane and embraces the surrounding community.  This is critical for the success of this project. The sheer number of jobs this project will create is good for the city and enhances the future of healthcare in Detroit and Southeastern Michigan. All of this will enhance the livability of our city. Over our thirty years of practice, I’ve seen development and construction blips occur in Detroit. Large projects begin and end and there have been development lulls in between. But now we have momentum. We are seeing sustained growth on many fronts. We are seeing new housing and sustained growth occur that is fueling our economy. Q: How important is choosing suppliers and partners that also have a sustainability focus? A: Very important. We work with many different engineering consultants that follow best practices for sustainable design. Many of our contractors are LEED Certified and employ sustainable practices in constructing projects. Q: What are your biggest challenges? A: We are having difficulty finding professionals to grow our practice. We are currently a firm of 40 professionals and are looking to grow but struggling to find the right team members. Also, quality assurance is critical. We practice internal

African American-Led Grocery to Open Soon in Detroit


The Detroit People’s Food Co-op – projected to open in February at 8324 Woodward Ave. in Detroit’s North End – is an African-American-led, community-owned grocery cooperative. It seeks to address the issue of food insecurity, educate the community about nutrition and sustainability, support local businesses, and pump investment back into the area. Malik Yakini is the cofounder and executive director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, the nonprofit organization that led the formation of the co-op, and serves on the co-op’s board. SBN Detroit spoke to Yakini about the co-op’s vision and sustainability goals. Q: Tell me about Detroit People’s Food Co-op. A: The Detroit People’s Food Co-op is a grocery store that’s in the development stage and is owned by member-owners. It’s projected to open in February 2024 and will have a full line of groceries, including produce sourced locally and regionally. It will carry value-added products that are produced by local entrepreneurs, and as much as possible we will hire staff from Detroit. The most significant part of a co-op is that it is not a corporation coming into Detroit to profit. It’s people in the community banding together to co-own the store so that the community reaps the benefits and profits. Currently, we have 1,958 member-owners. In this pre-opening stage, the member-owners make a lot of the decisions and shape the direction and culture of the store. The member-owners elect six of the nine members of the co-op’s board of directors, and DBCFSN appoints the other three.  In June, the board contracted with an interim general manager who is tasked with getting the final pre-opening tasks done, coordinating the opening, and making sure that the store is positioned for success. The board hopes to hire a permanent general manager in the next few months. The other benefit of being a member-owner is the opportunity to share in the profits of the store. In any year the store is profitable, member-owners get a percentage. Q: What inspired the co-op? A: It grew out of discussions within the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network. When the network was founded in 2006, one of the goals was to support existing co-ops and to create this new food co-op. So, this has been percolating for 17 years. It grew out of the desire of members of the network to push back against extractive economic practices we see in Black communities within the food realm.  There is only one Black-owned grocery store in Detroit – Linwood Fresh Market – and that is very recent. For a city that has an African American population of 80%, to have other ethnic groups owning almost all of the retail food outlets in the city and extracting those profits from the city just isn’t right I don’t want to overgeneralize. Some of the stores are doing a good job at community partnerships and some are not. But the desire is to push back against an economy where others come in and set up stores and use the profits for their communities and families. We want to keep the profits and decisions here in our community. A co-op is one of the best ways to contribute toward a circular economy. Q: Why do you think the co-op is critical from a business perspective? A: The co-op model is an important model that has historically been used by Blacks and others marginalized by the mainstream economy. It broadens the ownership base and by doing that, those member-owners provide some of the financing for the business as well as receive some of the profits.  So it’s a model that is more accessible to low- and moderate-income community members who don’t have access to the capital. Q: Does this create job opportunities for those in the community? A: Yes. We are expecting the grocery store to create more than 40 new jobs. Above the store, DBCFSN will operate a banquet hall and kitchen facilities that will create more. An important piece of the kitchen facilities is that they will be available for rental, which we hope will inspire food entrepreneurs to step into this arena, and those doing it to scale up their businesses. So yes, the vision is to create specific jobs at the store and to stimulate new and existing food businesses. Q: What is the economic impact on the community? A: I can’t give specific dollar amounts, but generally what happens when a business like this opens, it creates new jobs in the community. And now you have more people in the community with income being spent in the community. We are expecting that in this way the presence of the co-op will stimulate the economy in the area. We are also already seeing an increase in property values, which is a mixed blessing. We want to revitalize this community, which has seen distress, but at the same time, we need to make sure that development happens in an equitable way and doesn’t push out existing residents. This is a dilemma we are faced with. Q: Do you think this acts as an example for others in Southeast Michigan to replicate? A: One of the things we know is that Detroit is in some ways the canary in the coal mine. Detroit is an example of what happens as the economy shifts from industrial to more information-based. We are acutely aware that Detroit is being watched by the world. So as we develop this and other programs, we are certainly creating a model that’s being watched globally, so we move with that awareness. I hope this model is replicated around the world. Q: How will the co-op educate the community about sustainability? A: An important part of the co-op will be community education. We are concerned about nutrition and health and also the health of the planet because they are bound together. So we have a number of activities that will be geared toward educating community members about issues related to the food system, how the

An Interview with Detroit’s New Director of Sustainability


Jack Akinlosotu, Detroit’s new director of sustainability, sees sustainability opportunities in Detroit’s large geography, mobility industry focus, and other characteristics as he begins to immerse himself in the community. Akinlosuto came to Detroit from Washington, D.C., where held posts at the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE), the Clean Energy Institute, and in private industry. He also has held positions in New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle. Immediately before coming to Detroit, he served as the senior product manager at Oracle Energy & Water, where he led partnership outreach and software development of the company’s product that helps utilities find, reach, and enroll limited-income customers in financial assistance and energy efficiency programs to lower their utility bills. Previously, he worked as the energy program specialist at DOEE to coordinate multiple renewable energy projects, including community accessibility to solar power, electric vehicles, and green financing. SBN Detroit spoke with Akinlosotu about his vision, how he’ll align strategies with the city’s Sustainability Action Agenda, and his top priorities in his new position. Q: What role does environmental sustainability have for a city the size, scale, economy, and density such as Detroit and how will you approach it? A: When I first came and visited Detroit I was surprised at the geographic scale. There is a lot of space and land. For a city this size to have this much unused land is unusual, and that provides opportunities here in terms of sustainability. There is ample space to scale, deploy and set up solar power and things like that. Also, Detroit is the Motor City and is in a good position to be the frontrunner in the EV revolution. If we deploy EVs in smart ways we will continue Detroit’s history of being the leader in mobility and that’s a great opportunity for economic sustainability as well. Q: What challenges do you foresee ahead of you, for your office, as you move ahead with a sustainable mission for the city? A: The biggest challenge is making sure we are all hitting our climate goals. When it comes to scaling climate change, that’s a challenge every city faces. There is a lot of work to do and coordination and collaboration need to happen. We need to make sure all parties are in alignment for success, and some challenges come with this. We also need to ensure that the people who have historically been left behind are included as part of the process. Q: Conversely, what opportunities do you foresee? You are quoted as saying “There is a great deal of opportunity in Detroit to be more creative in developing lasting sustainability. The sustainability programs we need will be a transformative leap for Detroit.” What does this mean for the businesses and people of Detroit? A: With all the work at hand there are significant opportunities to bring along a new workforce. For example, we need to work on making these older buildings and also residences energy efficient and we need a workforce to do that. We need to deploy and scale the use of solar energy and we need people to do that. There are a lot of opportunities to align climate goals with new jobs. We also need to focus on putting programs in place – such as deploying renewable energy – that help people with limited income. I see this as an opportunity to build a more sustainable economy and more sustainable communities. Q: How do you foresee working with businesses in the city to help them to become more sustainable? Or equitable?   A: It’s important that we all work together to help businesses in our region hit their climate goals. In addition to sustainability, there are a lot of financial upsides to making buildings more efficient so there are several “wins” here. Q: What does the Sustainability Action Agenda look like now as you work to create a more sustainable Detroit where all Detroiters thrive and prosper in an equitable, green city and have access to affordable, quality homes? A: There is work being done on many fronts to hit our goals and inform an updated Detroit climate strategy, including the following four key priorities: -Electrification of the city’s vehicle fleet -Transitioning municipal buildings to energy efficiency and -Deploying solar and other measures of clean energy to help with decarbonization -Focus on vulnerable communities and the city’s overall resilience We are working to help vulnerable residents across Detroit by setting up resilience hubs for when there are outages and protecting homes with basement backup retrofits and things like this. The Sustainability Action Agenda is informing the Detroit climate strategy and this work.  And the goal is to work as fast as possible. Q: What changes /impact do you expect to have made a year from now? A: On a personal level, I’m new to the city and have been working to intentionally familiarize myself with the community by reaching out to individuals and groups who have been leading the on-the-ground work in their neighborhoods. My goal is to create good relationships so that I understand and hear their needs and what the residents and businesses want out of our plans. I look forward to executing these plans and being further ahead a year from now. In terms of my responsibilities as the director, I plan to deploy as much renewable energy as possible within communities in the city. We will see that progress a year from now. We will see more EV charging stations across the city, and a lot of that work is being done in this area now. The city recently converted its entire municipal parking department fleet of 48 vehicles to all-electric and has deployed four electric buses as part of the bus fleet conversion. We need to keep this momentum going, and we will. Q: What does a successful collaboration between city departments and agencies look like for sustainable growth in the city? A: Keeping all lines of communication open is going to be

Mitigating Climate Risks to Michigan’s Forestry Industry

More than half of Michigan is forested, with 20 million acres making up a vital part of the state’s landscape. Millions of acres of Michigan forest land are used to produce timber, a renewable and sustainably managed resource that supports many industries. The forests also provide other values, including wildlife habitat and watershed protection, and also help to sustain biodiversity. According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the state’s forest products industries provide direct employment to almost 42,000 people, leading to $13.4 billion in economic output. Since 2014, jobs directly provided by forest products industries have increased by 9.7%. SBN Detroit spoke with DNR state forest planning and operations manager David Price about the impacts of climate change on Michigan forests, the trickle-down effect, and what can and is being done to mitigate risk. Q: How is climate change impacting forestry in Michigan? A: Forests have always been associated with Michigan. They’re a huge part of our social and economic fabric. Our forests support direct forestry jobs and also many other secondary industries. Trees are also important to our general well-being, mental health, and recreational pursuits. They help to regulate the global climate, absorbing a substantial portion of the fossil-fuel carbon emissions we humans produce. Climate change is driving concerns about forest health and productivity in many ways. Michigan is growing warmer and wetter, and there are projections that by the end of the century, the climate will be more like present Arkansas. Cold winters control and kill off certain insects that can be harmful to trees. Warmer winters mean these insects can be more persistent and harmful. Combine that with the fact that warmer weather can stress certain tree species and make them more susceptible to drought and less resistant to insects and disease, and we have a big problem. In Michigan, a good example of this is the hemlock woolly adelgid. We’ve been battling to contain this insect because it’s threatening to kill our hemlock trees along the coast of Lake Michigan.  Cold winter weather helps to control the scale of this insect that spreads fungal disease, and warmer winters directly correlate to less winter mortality. There are operational considerations that climate change is causing as well. If the ground does not freeze, it’s significantly harder to harvest timber without causing extensive damage to the soils, potentially contributing to sediment moving into streams and wetlands. In Michigan, we have indigenous species such as red and jack pine, aspen, and boreal – spruces and firs – that are at the southern-most extent of their natural range in Michigan and they are not able to move quickly and adjust as the climate changes. A potential decline in the health and productivity of these tree species due to climate change will harm the values that they provide, including timber production, wildlife habitat, and carbon storage. An excellent example of this is the potential decline of jack pine forests in the northern Lower Peninsula which would cause a loss of habitat for the Kirtland’s warbler, a bird that is endemic to Michigan, recently removed from the endangered species list and proposed to be the new state bird of Michigan. So, as you can see, climate change is affecting our forest health and productivity in several ways. Q: What are the implications regarding business and the economy in Southeast Michigan? A: Michigan has a robust $22 billion forest-products industry. Most of the timber is harvested in northern Michigan, but secondary manufacturing occurs throughout the state, including Southeast Michigan. Many are surprised that Wayne County itself generates over a billion dollars in the forest products industry.  The county’s paper products industry supports over 2,800 jobs alone. Think about sawmills in northern Michigan that then distribute products that are then sold at Menards, Home Depot, etc.  This directly contributes to home construction in Southeast Michigan, which is also a huge industry. The bottom line is, maintaining a healthy and productive forest throughout the state is directly related to the economy in Southeast Michigan and the economy of the entire state. Q: What can be done to mitigate the risk to our forests, and what is the DNR doing about this? A: This is a million-dollar question. The happy news is that we can do things to change the outcome and the DNR has many initiatives in place. One simple thing we can do is plant trees. There is a lot of vacant land in northern Michigan that used to be forested. These areas are prime for reforestation. Planting trees is a great way to utilize nature for removing carbon from the atmosphere, and it’s underutilized in the state. The DNR plants over six million trees per year, most replacing forest that’s been harvested. The DNR has also initiated The Big Wild Forest Carbon Project, the first project in the nation to leverage the carbon storage capacity of trees on state forest lands. This pilot project captures carbon that is sequestered in trees and generated carbon credits. DTE Energy purchased the first decade of carbon offset credits to be used in their commercial natural gas programs. On a smaller scale, we are working offsetting power usage at our fish hatcheries through solar energy. We are also working with a company called Circle Power to develop two utility-scale solar energy projects on brownfield sites in the Upper and northern Lower Peninsulas. The DNR also partners with Michigan State University for some important research projects. First, we are evaluating assisted tree migration, which is a climate change adaptation strategy that involves moving trees or their genetic material from a known location to an area where they are presently well-adapted to an area where they are not currently present or prevalent, but where the trees may be better adapted to future climate under climate change projections. We are experimenting with new species and genetics of species and also identifying seed sources that may be better climate adapted to Michigan in the future to help the forest to

Consumers Energy’s PowerMIFleet Program Grows to 50+ Companies

MSU EV Fleet of cars and cargo vans.

Consumers Energy launched its PowerMIFleet program 19 months ago to augment its existing  PowerMIDrive. The latter program, launched in 2019, is targeted to smaller users and offers lower electric rates for off-peak charging for drivers and will provide rebates for residential, business, and public charging stations. More than 2,700 have been granted so far. PowerMIFleet was launched in mid-2021 to build on that program by connecting businesses, large institutions, local governments, and school bus fleets with planning resources, expert guidance, and financial incentives to easily and cost-effectively transition to electric vehicles. One of those large institutions, Michigan State University, is deep in the throes of transitioning 369 vehicles in its fleet of 1,200 internal-combustion vehicles to electric vehicles over the next decade and is working with Consumers Energy and the PowerMIFleet program to do so. SBN Detroit spoke with two individuals deeply involved in MSU’s process, beginning with Jeff Myrom, Consumers Energy director of electric transportation customer programs, and Adam Lawver, director of Campus Services Infrastructure Planning and Facilities at Michigan State University, to gain insights into the process and how it works for Michigan businesses. Q: Jeff, first tell us about the PowerMIFleet program. Myrom:  PowerMIFleet is a program designed to help business owners, municipalities, and educational institutions charge off-peak to reduce operating costs, eliminate emissions, and simplify vehicle maintenance by transitioning to electric vehicles. This is a program for those looking to electrify multiple vehicles and potentially a variety of vehicle classes. This, along with PowerMIDrive, is aimed at gaining insights and learnings and then sharing those learnings with different sectors so we can optimize success in the future, and it supports the statewide goal of having 2 million EVs on our state roads by 2030. Q: How long have these programs been in existence? Myrom: PowerMIDrive has been in place for a little over three years. We are getting ready to convert the residential portion of this pilot to a permanent program. PowerMIFleet launched in June of 2021 and has been so successful that it’s now fully subscribed. Q: What is involved in the PowerMIFleet Pilot Program? Myrom: Essentially there are three phases. In this first phase, we are working with fifty customers across a wide geographic base within different industries and sectors. We conduct full assessments regarding their fleets and then develop a five-year plan for conversion and infrastructure. This longer-term plan allows us to build for the future now versus having multiple infrastructure upgrades over time. In Phase Two we move forward with EV infrastructure development and the purchase cycle begins for the customer. Phase Three involves taking a look at the actual experience with electrification to see if the infrastructure is adequate and circling back on lessons learned. For PowerMIFleet, this will take place in 2024.  Q: Who are you working with through PowerMIFleet in addition to MSU? Myrom: We are currently working with over 50 customers, including several school districts. For example, Jackson Public Schools are looking to acquire 21 electric school buses. Homer Community School District is bringing on seven electric buses. We are working with Domino’s Pizza on their rollout of 800 GM Chevy Bolt electric vehicles now. We will publish our lessons learned from the vehicle electrification assessments starting in Q1 of 2023 and move from there. Q: What challenges do you face? Myrom: Vehicle availability and costs are a challenge. We recognize that until the supply chain is improved this will be the case. Another potential challenge for those with large fleets is adopting time-of-use rates. Usage across the state is highest between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. We are offering several different time-of-use options to minimize costs for businesses and help alleviate this challenge. A good example of this is the work we are doing with Michigan State University. The PowerMIFleet program is providing rebates to MSU toward their charger installation costs, and we’ve supported the grid upgrades needed, as they prepared to take delivery of forty new EVs in September. Michigan State University is clearly a leader in fleet electrification, and one of the first movers in the PowerMIFleet pilot. Partnering with a leading educational institution like Michigan State University is a real boost to our fleet pilot learnings.  Q: Adam, what should we know about your conversion to electrification with Consumers Energy and PowerMIFleet? Lawver: As part of our strategic plan goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from its 2010 baseline, we are converting 369 internal combustion engine vehicles to fully electric vehicles over the next decade. The conversion will decrease the university’s overall carbon footprint by 18,945 metric tons of carbon dioxide long-term – the equivalent of planting 312,584 trees. In September 2021, we connected with Consumers and its PowerMIFleet program. Together we assessed our 1,200 vehicles and built fleet electrification roadmap. Now, one year later we’ve received all 40 vehicles of the initial order and are in process of connecting charging stations. Q: What manufacturers are you working with to build your fleet? Lawver: We selected different types and manufacturers, according to what they’d be used for. Some vehicles are used to move people short distances, some are utility vehicles, some are used by staff to travel around the state for meetings, and so forth, so they all have different uses and needs. So far, we have purchased a combination of Ford E-Transit Vans, Ford F150 Lightening Electric Trucks, Ford Mustang Mach-E’s,Chevy Bolts, and Tesla Model 3s. Q: What can businesses learn from your current experience of electrification and working with PowerMIFleet? Lawver: I think small businesses with a few delivery vans up to entities with large fleets would benefit from completing a fleet analysis and considering electrification. I think you first need to look at the total cost of ownership of your vehicles. Each business owner needs to assess that and evaluate it over their fleet and see if there is a good alternative to convert to decrease their carbon footprint. Then, build a roadmap for

DTE Talks About the Challenges and Opportunities in Building and Adopting EV Infrastructure


Widespread electric vehicle (EV) adoption is crucial for achieving climate goals. However, the pace of EV adoption varies significantly across different income sectors, markets, and geographies. There are significant barriers to EV entry that are hindering the overall pace of electrification including lack of charging infrastructure (range anxiety), charger access disparities, and affordability. Addressing these challenges is critical. SBND talked with Tony Tomczak, vice president of electric sales marketing for DTE Energy, about the company’s initiatives and partnerships designed to build infrastructure and capacity. Q: Is growth in EVs outpacing charging stations? How is DTE is working to address this? A: Yes, at the current rate of adoption, EVs are outpacing EV chargers. From January 2020 to October 2022, public EV chargers in Michigan increased from 1,070 to 2,300 and EVs increased from 21,500 to about 44,500. We recognize that access to EV chargers across the state can be a barrier for many when deciding to go electric. We offer businesses thousands in rebates to incentivize them to install EV chargers at their business, including retail, workplaces, multiunit dwellings, and schools. In the Q4 2022 report that we filed with the MPSC, we shared that we have approved 2,300 residential Level 2 EV chargers, 1,130 Level 2 rebates, and 120 CFC rebates. You can learn more about our business rebate program here. Q: A significant barrier to entry in EV ownership is range anxiety. What are the goals to convert drivers to EVs and the infrastructure in place to support them? A: The current charging infrastructure is not enough. While the biggest barrier to EV ownership is still the upfront vehicle and charger cost, range anxiety is also a barrier many of our customers face. The State of Michigan has an aspiration to deploy enough charging infrastructure to support two million EVs on the road by 2030. While we’re still a long way from that volume of EVs, in the meantime DTE is facilitating charging deployment through our EV programming and other partnerships to leverage available funding. Q: Michigan will receive a $110 million grant from the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, as part of the Federal Infrastructure Law. There is a plan in place to install four 150 kilowatt – or greater – vehicle chargers spaced no more than 50 miles apart along each of the state’s designated Alternative Fuel Corridors, which include all seven of the state’s major highways that will serve as the backbone of Michigan’s vehicle charging network. These include I-96, I-75, I-696, I-275, I-69, I-196 and I-94. What is DTE’s involvement with this? The plan, and timing, is this enough? A: The plan is to closely collaborate with the Michigan Department of Environment Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) to review and identify ideal sites that are eligible for NEVI funds and which can be layered with our EV programming incentives and rebates. Ideal sites are defined as well-lit areas that are publicly accessible 24/7, and usable by people with disabilities. Preference will be given to sites that have amenities for the EV drivers (e.g., food, bathroom, seating indoors) within 0.25 miles of walking distance on pedestrian-friendly routes and are within two miles of driving distance of an interstate, U.S., or state highway. We will be participating with the state’s committee to review and vote for NEVI projects. The EGLE request for proposal (RFP) solicitation to organizations that are interested in receiving NEVI funding is scheduled to go out this winter, and the committee will come together sometime in Q2. NEVI projects will begin to be awarded later this year. Additionally, since DTE’s Charging Forward rebated make-ready model leverages other funding by design, we will continue to collaborate with EGLE’s Charge Up Michigan team. Since launch, we have approved 48 Charging Forward sites which will also receive a combined $1.3 million in funding from the Volkswagen (VW) settlement funds that EGLE is managing. There is another potential ~$5 million in funding currently going through the Charge Up Michigan evaluation process, and DTE will continue to work closely with state agencies as the process for NEVI funding distribution becomes clearer. Q: According to the Michigan Future Mobility Plan, the state will install 100,000 vehicle chargers to support 2 million electric vehicles by the year 2030. To meet the goal over 12,000 vehicle chargers would need to be installed per year. Is this possible? What is DTE’s involvement? A: Similar to our involvement with the EGLE program, DTE partners with the Michigan Future Mobility Plan by facilitating charging deployment through our EV programming and leveraging their partnership for additional available funding. To date, we have installed over 780 public chargers within the communities in our service territory and will continue to do so with the continued EV programming rebates and incentives. Q: Michigan is quickly becoming a center of U.S. battery manufacturing. What are the job implications of this?  A: We are excited that many electric vehicle automakers and suppliers, including battery manufacturers, are continuing to call Michigan home. One of the many benefits of driving electric vehicles is knowing that the fuel is made in Michigan, by Michiganders, which stimulates our local and state economies. The significant amount of charging infrastructure required is creating jobs for local installers and maintenance providers. The DOE has the JOBS EVSE tool which allows users to estimate the economic impact of EVs, including charging infrastructure, job creation, and local spending. Q: What can you tell us about your partnership with Volta Charging which received a  Michigan Mobility Funding Platform grant and other programs we haven’t talked about so far? A: Our portfolio of EV programming is designed to reduce the barriers to EVs for our customers. Our partnership with Volta was just one example of bringing our goals to fruition and enabling equitable access to EVs by deploying chargers in lower-income or rural communities that have not seen as much investment to date. Volta chargers are unique since they also act as a platform for education with their

Helping Detroiters Create New Businesses for a More Equitable World


Jerry Davis, Gilbert & Ruth Whitaker Professor of Management and faculty director of Business+Impact at the Michigan Ross School of Business, believes that with more available government funding than in the past, more entrepreneurs and businesses in Detroit are in a position to build equitable community wealth. Davis, who received his Ph.D. from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and taught at Northwestern and Columbia before moving to the University of Michigan, has published six books and dozens of articles in academic and business publications. His latest book is Taming Corporate Power in the 21st Century (Cambridge University Press, 2022). His focus is reshaping and developing businesses to be drivers of social and environmental change. SBN Detroit spoke to Davis about his perspectives, the new graduate-level class, and what it ultimately means to Detroit businesses. Q: Tell us about your concept of reshaping businesses into drivers of change. A: I think there are two ways we can orient businesses toward a more equitable sustainable future. First, we can take an existing business and reform it from the inside. This is often done by intrapreneurs. Second, we can create new enterprises that are built right from the start. My overall concept is that businesses can address bigger challenges than just shareholder value through reform or fresh starts. There are so many new building blocks available to businesses today that we can leverage to not only make money but also to begin to address the racial wealth gap, generational inequality, and the green energy transition. Q: What do you mean by building blocks? A: Technology has fundamentally changed the building blocks for creating an enterprise in the last fifteen years. There are dozens of new ways to raise capital that didn’t exist ten to fifteen years ago. There are new ways to find distribution channels, new ways to work with suppliers and labor, new legal formats, and the list goes on. Q: How do the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals inform your work? A: Since the inception of the Sustainability Development Goals in 2015, I’ve used them as a GPS of sorts for orienting what businesses can do to contribute to social benefit. I’ve integrated this into my teaching and writing and research. Drilling down …If you had to pick one threat we are facing on a global basis that businesses can work better to address – and that creates business opportunities –  it’s the green energy transition. This is the thing in our generation that we need to accomplish starting today. And it’s impossible to address it with government action only. There is a central role for businesses to play in bringing about this transition. And with the Inflation Reduction Act and Justice40 in place, there is no better opportunity to build green enterprises than right now. Q: What are some of the opportunities provided by the Inflation Reduction Act? A: As I said, the need for the green energy transition has never been greater. It is imperative for our species. At the same time, we have the Biden-Harris administration launching the IRA, which creates huge incentives to electrify and transition to green energy. There is an astounding amount of money being allocated to homeowners and renters and drivers to help make this transition. You can simply go online and see the offerings – switching from a gas furnace to a heat pump offers free cash. There are huge tax benefits to electric vehicle owners. And low-income brackets receive even more benefits. I highly recommend the “Rewiring America” website. From a business perspective, this is an opportunity like never before. Businesses that provide services around transitioning to green energy stand to prosper greatly through this funding. These opportunities represent a chance to build generational wealth. Q: Can you explain more about how the act supports generational-wealth building? A: Detroit has been hit hard in several ways … the mortgage crisis, residential flight, municipal bankruptcy, and the list goes on. These have robbed people of opportunities to create prosperity for themselves and their families. So, this funding represents an especially well-placed opportunity for cities like Detroit. According to the White House, the Justice40 initiative means that “40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.” That includes “climate change, clean energy, and energy efficiency, clean transit, affordable and sustainable housing, training and workforce development, remediation and reduction of legacy pollution, and the development of critical clean water and wastewater infrastructure.” When you combine the IRA and Justice40, it opens the spigot for cash allocated toward environmental initiatives. So again, the opportunity to start a new business and build community wealth has never been greater than it is right now. This is the impetus behind a new graduate class starting this week called “Impact Studio: Designing the Equitable Enterprise” that I am teaching with my co-instructor Cat Johnson. Q: Tell us more about the class and how you see it impacting both the students and local businesses. A: The class focuses on how to use the new building blocks of business to create enterprises in Detroit that will facilitate the green energy transition. Students will interview dozens of Detroit businesses and members of the community to better understand the needs and pain points around energy. They will then map out the opportunities. For example, let’s say a building contractor is looking to use heat pumps but can’t find someone with the skill to install them, or can’t find a vendor for them. This represents an opportunity. Maybe a college can create training programs for installation. Or find incentives to make heat pumps more widely available. They will then go on to create what I call template business models – plausible, economically sustainable models that are replicable – and a set of how-to guides. The how-to guides will translate into plain English the ways in which entrepreneurs and communities can build on the IRA and the new building blocks of

With 110,000 Jobs and $5 Billion in Wages, Michigan’s Outdoor Rec Industry Continues to Grow


With 36,000 miles of rivers and streams, 20.3 million acres of forests, 1,300 miles of designated mountain bike and bicycle trails, 6,500 miles of snowmobile trails, and more than 600 campgrounds, Michigan has a lot to offer in the way of outdoor recreation. These resources provide connections with nature and opportunities for a healthier lifestyle, and they support Michigan’s economic growth with more than 7,000 outdoor recreation industry companies that include manufacturers and retail and service-sector businesses. And the goal is to continue growing. “When you put Michigan’s outdoor rec growth stats next to the fact that Southeast Michigan is one of the best places for entrepreneurship and venture capital, it becomes about how do we exemplify this and amplify it and bring and support talent here toward even more growth,”  said Brad Garmon, director of the Michigan Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer created the office in 2019 to focus on the outdoor economy, and the same year, the state joined the Confluence of States (COS), a bipartisan coalition of states dedicated to cultivating strong outdoor recreational economies while preserving land and other natural resources. Garmon, the coalition’s incoming chair for 2023, said the coalition’s four areas of focus align with Michigan’s goals of developing a sustainable future: Economic development, workforce and education, public health and wellness, and conservation and stewardship. “There is inherent connectivity between the outdoor recreation industry and building a sustainable future – a sustainable Michigan,” Garmon said. “We are leaning into the four COS areas of focus to create jobs, strengthen the economy, and promote physical activity while also being stewards of our wetlands, waters, forests, trails, parks, and natural resources.” The added infrastructure points to the growth in the outdoor recreation economy. According to the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the  U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis: Michigan’s outdoor recreation economy grew 15.4% from 2020 to 2021 and is up 30 percent since 2012. The outdoor recreation industry employs nearly 110,000 people in a wide range of occupations and skills, including design and manufacturing, retail sales, and hospitality, accounting for $5 billion in wages and salaries. More than 7,200 of Michigan’s outdoor recreation jobs are in manufacturing, such as boating, RV, and gear manufacturing. The outdoor recreation economy also impacts local retailers across the state to the tune of $3.5 billion, accounting for 32% of the total value-add impact. Retail jobs supporting outdoor recreation totaled over 41,000 in 2021. The value-add is the difference between sales receipts plus other operating income and inventory change and production costs. And more growth is the plan. “We are working on identifying how we can add jobs, and also bring companies in from out of state,” Garmon said. He points to the bike industry as an example, saying, “I attended a bike industry summit recently and a large area of discussion focused on the fact that manufacturing is mostly overseas, and that the legacy of bicycle production in the U.S. has been lost. By pointing them to the manufacturing and engineering expertise in Michigan this creates a pathway for opportunity and a win/win for all.” Another area of interest for Michigan is the electrification of motor sports vehicles. “This industry is looking at and thinking about an electric future now, and our innovation in this area could bring big opportunities and more business,” Garmon said. Given that Michigan is also being recognized as a destination for startups and venture capital investment, the implication of opportunity gets even stronger. In fact, Detroit is the No. 1 emerging startup ecosystem globally, according to newly released rankings from Startup Genome’s 2022 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER). When you consider that Detroit has also been recognized as one of the best travel destinations in the world, one of Time’s ‘Worlds’ Greatest Places’, and the Riverwalk is consistently voted best in the America, Detroit becomes even more interesting. Garmon shares, There is this antiquated idea that recreation only happens in wild or natural places, but Detroit is demonstrating that recreation happens everywhere. The Dequindre Cut, Belle Isle, the Riverwalk, and our parks all support quality of life and activity and recreation in Detroit. He added: “You don’t have to be on a trail or working in the wilderness to apply work skills and/or enjoy life. We are getting better at telling Detroit’s story and talking about Michigan’s assets and not living in the shadows of places like Colorado – we are now standing right next to them.”   Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for regular updates on sustainable business practices in and around Detroit.

A New Boulevard for Social Justice, Connectivity, and Economic Impact


The development of I-375, the extension of I-75 that runs into downtown Detroit, leveled the Black Bottom residential neighborhood and the Paradise Valley entertainment district when it was constructed in the late 1950s and early 1960s with economic impact displacing 130,000 people, hundreds of small businesses, churches, and more. The city has been divided by the highway for over 70 years. Now, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is funneling $104,657,051 from the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that passed last year to replace the one-mile-long freeway and develop a lower-speed urban boulevard with the impetus to recognize the wrongdoing of the past and get it right for the future. The project proposes three elements of study, design, and research. The first is understanding the urban design profile … how this area is developed to reconnect Downtown Detroit and the riverfront to the surrounding neighborhoods. Second is the final boulevard design, which is intended to enhance the urban experience based on City of Detroit design standards and offer new economic opportunities via business development. Finally, the framework will determine how diversity, equity, and inclusion can be used to create opportunities for Detroiters, taking the history of the land into consideration. This is the first of a two-part article that will cover the project’s social justice, connectivity, and economic impacts. In this article, MDOT Director Paul C. Ajegba talked to SBN Detroit about this ‘very unique and challenging project.’ With more than 31 years of experience at MDOT, Ajegba established the position of chief culture, equity, and inclusion officer at the deputy director level within his leadership team. This followed his work to establish MDOT’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Transportation Diversity Recruitment Program (TDRP). The program is a partnership between MDOT, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan (ACEC), and Michigan colleges and universities, offering on-the-job training to minority undergraduate students pursuing degrees in engineering. Ajegba is a member of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) and serves on the following boards: the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) (vice president), chair of the AASHTO Council on Public Transportation, ITS America, Mcity, the University of Michigan Civil and Environmental Engineering Friends Association (board president), the Engineering Society of Detroit, and the . Q: What is the impetus behind the I-375 project? A: It is a way for us to recognize that things were not done right in the past, and it is our opportunity to get them right. In the early ‘50s, Black Bottom was a large community with many thriving African American residents and businesses. In those days we did not have the community engagement that we do now. City planners decided that the best use of the area was to build a freeway and they did it, causing the displacement of thousands of residents and many successful businesses. So, the impetus behind this project is to take a step back and rethink the way we plan and design, build our infrastructure and then build it with the users, stakeholders, businesses, and residents in mind. It is the opportunity to conduct a 360-degree review of all areas of impact and make decisions that are right for everyone. The equity and inclusion piece of this is huge. We are being meticulous and methodical in how we plan to make sure the community is engaged every step of the way. Q: What is the narrative around the topic of equity? A: We need to bring equity into our transportation infrastructure. We cannot erase the mistakes of the past, but what we can do is make sure we look through and operate through a lens of equity going forward. Several different uses of this area have been on the table. We engaged with the community and together decided that creating a boulevard that will attract new development and connect neighborhoods is the best use of the corridor. Q: How will this project honor the history of Black Bottom and Paradise Valley? A: We are currently in the design process and considering all different ways to do this and we are hiring a historian to help with this aspect. Recognizing and honoring what took place here will be built into the aesthetics of the whole corridor. You will see this reflected in the project overall. Q: Is this project part of a larger shift toward building state infrastructure with equity in mind?   A: I think there is a big shift taking place not only in Michigan but across the country to rethink inclusivity when it comes to building infrastructure. There is a substantial focus on developing walkable communities, making sidewalks wider, incorporating bike lanes, and connecting neighborhoods with greenways. The walkable aspect gives local businesses in the area more foot traffic and access opportunity. I believe this is an equity issue, an economic issue and also a health issue. Making areas accessible for walks and bike rides and connectivity and movement is important. Q: How did this project originate? A: Discussions began eight years ago. The bridges and roadways have required repair and are at the end of their useful service life. So instead of simply repairing them, we began to look at rethinking the freeway and asking ourselves – Is this the right thing for the city? Extensive research was conducted with a Planning and Environmental Linkage (PEL) study to identify and evaluate alternatives for the corridor that would meet the transportation needs of all users and improve connectivity. This led to the determination that the transformation from a freeway to a boulevard was feasible. This then led to an Environmental Assessment (EA) study to document the human and natural impacts associated with any proposed improvements. What we landed on is a street-level boulevard that will begin south of the I-75 interchange and continue to the Detroit River (Atwater Street), effectively using the city grid to disperse and collect traffic, opening additional connections to the riverfront, Eastern Market, and Brush Park, and creating