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The American Midwest: a hub of climate activity for cities, states and businesses

8 April 2022, 10:47 BST 2 min read

Our members in the Midwest are driving forward climate action. We spoke with three of them to find out how, and what other states and regions can learn from their experiences.

Siemens, Johnson Controls and Zurich are active members of our EV100, EP100 and RE100 initiatives, respectively. They told us how they are pursuing a net zero future, and why the Midwest region is brimming with opportunity for climate action.

Accelerating the EV transition

There is a growing demand for reliable electric vehicle charging across the US, and the Midwest is no exception. Transitioning to a zero emissions transport future requires a robust and equitable charging network. 

Vartan Badalian, Government Affairs Manager, US & Canada, Climate Group asked Chris King, Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Siemens eMobility, about the needs of Midwestern states to deliver a fast EV transition:

“As a leading EV100 member with a bold commitment to electrify 50,000 vehicles by 2030 and to achieve a net zero carbon footprint by 2030, what do you think is needed in the Midwest for electric vehicle charging? How can we accelerate the deployment of more reliable, equitable and fast public charging across the region?”  

“What all regions need is EV charging that is as accessible and readily available as gas stations. And just like gas stations, consumers should be able to use common and universal payment methods such as credit cards. A great consumer experience is key to accelerating the transition to EVs”.

Chris King, Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Siemens eMobility

Decarbonizing the built environment

Midwest businesses have great insights into how governments can support to decarbonise the built environment and improve energy efficiency. Buildings make up roughly 40% of global emissions, and Midwestern states can help to accelerate the transition. 

Louise Plotnick, Head of Programs, North America, Climate Group, asked Renae Kezar, Vice President, Global Sustainability and Regulatory Affairs, Johnson Controls, about climate ambition and leadership in the Midwest:

“Johnson Controls, Inc., with its operational headquarters in Wisconsin, is a smart leader in transforming the built environment - from optimizing building performance and efficiency, to improving safety and enhancing comfort. As the first US company to join EP100 and with a pledge to double your energy productivity by 2030, what do you think “climate ambition and leadership” means for Wisconsin and other neighboring states in the Midwest?” 

"At Johnson Controls we are invested in climate action as buildings account for almost 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The time for action is now to guarantee energy savings and decarbonize buildings. With operations around the world and right here in Milwaukee, WI we are committed to going state by state to support our customers achieve net zero buildings".

Renae Kezar, Vice President, Global Sustainability and Regulatory Affairs, Johnson Controls

Leading on renewables

The Midwest – known as the industrial heartland of the US – has a rich history of innovation and manufacturing. This, combined with its unique geographic and climate profile, makes it an ideal location to develop the clean energy sector.

Nehmat Kaur, Head of Global Government Relations, Climate Group, asked Mark Way, Head of Sustainability Underwriting, Zurich North America, about the role of Midwest states in driving a clean energy transition:

“As a leading RE100 Gold member committed to sourcing 100% renewable energy globally by 2022, and a major employer in the Midwest, what are the most important things you think Midwestern states - and the region - should be doing to accelerate the energy transition?”

Action to support and invest in clean energy infrastructure is critical for the transition to a net zero economy. Especially valuable are long-term programs that would increase confidence in the market to produce, store and transmit energy from renewable sources as well as the charging station network we need for the ongoing shift to electric vehicles”.

Mark Way, Head of Sustainability Underwriting, Zurich North America

You can hear more from Midwestern cities, states and businesses at our US Climate Action Summit this April. Register now to join the event