Makeeba McCreary

President, New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund

What a simply amazing experience I had with #ABLinDenmark last week. Not only did I get to spend time with phenomenal leaders from Boston but was afforded the privilege of deep learning about the critical importance of climate justice and our ability to catch up here in MA on getting to a zero carbon footprint. Within 6 intense (and superbly designed!) days we visited the Port of Esbjerg where a full city of industry has been built to support the expansion of wind farms across the country. We had presentations from “State of Green”, a briefing from the U.S Ambassador, a boat visit to Middelgrunden Offshore Wind Farm and a tour of Copenhill for skiing and trash recycling all-in-one mountain! So many other fantastic moments including the Reffen Street Food Market, a visit to the Village of Ribe, a virtual tour of Samso Energy Island (totally energy self-sufficient) and of course- dinner and fun at Tivoli Gardens where Walt got his inspiration for Disney! Thank you to the Barr Foundation for making the trip possible.

Now we are back in MA and the question is what next? I encourage everyone to read the article linked below from the BBJ “Windfall: Offshore wind developers are pledging millions in local investments”. 

We learned in Copenhagen from our Danish friends and from our local colleagues, is that Massachusetts is proactively planning long-term clean energy goals, including multiple pathways to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 — all of them including at least 15 gigawatts of electricity from offshore wind. Already planted in the cape, next up for wind farm locations are New Bedford and Salem. Thousands of jobs are coming to make sure our wind can turn into clean energy – saving MA from a slow burn and ensuring our generations to come have a chance at living in a city and state where we are safe from harmful carbon emissions. And who will get us there? What are the types of job that will emerge and who will be in them? 

MayflowerWind says their investment will consider upwards of $2.5 million to ensure diversity and inclusion goals are met and joining them are Vineyard Wind and Commonwealth Wind, the state’s other upcoming offshore wind projects “committing tens of millions of dollars” to ensure our Black and Brown residents are first in line for these roles. 

My 6 days in Copenhagen, Denmark will stay with me for a lifetime but the urgency of making sure we have instructional supports in place to require the commitment to racial equity is truly represented in the thousands of jobs coming on line, is my most present focus. Join me and my travel-mates from the #ABLDenmark delegation as we work together with the wind industry to make this come true.

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Betty Francisco

CEO, Boston Impact Initiative & Angel Investor with Pipeline Angels

Betty and Paul Francisco

Day 1 in #copenhagen with @abl_impact and @umassboston to learn about Denmark’s approach to creating a greener and more resilient economy. We had a terrific sustainable bike tour with ten neighborhood stops that gave us a flavor of how Copenhagen has moved to a biking 🚴‍♀️ city that centers people, green space, play and affordable housing.

Jim Boyle

CEO and Founder, Sustainability Roundtable, Inc.

JC Morales, Lars Thaaning Pederson (CIP CEO), Jim Boyle and Representative Jeff Roy

“Impossible To Be Better”

The The Alliance for Business Leadership trip to Denmark was three years in development. In partnership with the intellectual leadership of UMass Boston and the visionary financial support of the Barr Foundation it brought more than two dozen business and policy leaders from Massachusetts to investigate Denmarks world leading success in our needed transition to a more just and sustainable prosperity.

It is an honor to be part of ABL Copenhagen Team. It is as diverse, smart, shrewd and as audacious in aspiration and accomplishments as our Commonwealth. Denmark, like MA, is free of excessive size or excessive “natural resources” (ie extracted value) and, therefore, Denmark like MA has had to turn (as Horace Mann had it) “to mine the infinite resource of the intellect of man.”

In MA we know about shared aspirations and accomplishments. On this beautful, stolen, land we call Massachusetts (“the people by the great hill”) for over 400 years pilgrims of one sort or another have dreamed in English about a more perfect union. John Winthrop, Adams & Kennedy each called MA and America (ie Kennedy) to be “like a city upon a hill.” A troubled world has never needed this type of visionary leadership towards a more cohesive shared life more.

Denmark has been acting like a “city upon a hill” when it comes to our needed transition to a more just & sustainable society. So we went there to study their success. Again & again we heard about their relative homogeneity & higher levels of trust. And more than even racial & religious homogeneity we saw the probable driver of that cohesion in a 70+% private sector unionization rate. Which is something shared with the larger and more diverse Netherlands nearby which is beginning to rival Denmark in global sustainability leadership.

What I’m left wondering is can MA with its superior immigration rates and greater diversity have both the drive and the complexion to better lead the world in our needed transition than Denmark, Netherlands or New Zealand? Certainly being a part of the world’s largest commercial market in the US helps. As does our 120+ world leading colleges and universities. But what really gives us the edge, I think, is the audacity of our immigrant culture.

The human community itself is now an immigrant into what scientists call the “Anthropocene”. An epoch of geologic time defined by man. We need to become as Calvin Coolidge had it in his 1914 speech “Have Faith in MA” – “as radical as science & as reactionary as a multiplication table.” We’re going to need the sorts of guts i heard one delegate say his father taught him after he crossed the Rio Grande into America. Like my father’s constant refrain: “make good things happen” it silently assumes great challenges & unrelenting effort. It was his dads answer to: “how are you?” and it’s also a great description of the ABL Copenhagen trip. It is: “impossible to be better!”

Representative Jeff Roy

House Chair, Massachusetts Joint Committee on Telecommunication, Utilities, and Energy

Representative Jeff Roy at the Port of Esbjerg

Just wrapped up a weeklong study mission on renewable energy in Denmark with the Alliance for Business Leadership. It was an amazing experience to view renewable energy in action and see how a small country with strong trust in governance was able to generate sustainable and robust energy for its citizens. The journey offered some great ideas for implementation in Massachusetts. (Check out Rep. Roy’s photos on facebook!)

Jen Gorke

Senior Director at Travaglini, Scorzoni, & Kiley LLC

Christian Scorzoni, Jen Benson, Jen Gorke, Jeff Roy

Reflecting on a truly amazing experience touring Denmark last week with some of the Commonwealth’s leading business and community leaders, policymakers and academics. Thank you to The Alliance for Business Leadership, the Barr Foundation, and UMass Boston for organizing such an interesting, productive and fun tour of Denmark’s green transition. I look forward to combining what I learned about Denmark’s climate innovation, planning creativity and use of public-private partnerships with the relationships I built this past week to work toward inclusive climate action in the Commonwealth!

Highlights of the trip for me included: 

  • Port Esbjerg: Once a leading port of fishing and oil and gas, the Port today reflects the results of a green transition, handling more shipping for the offshore wind industry than other port in Europe.
  • Samso Island: This island municipality has completely transformed its energy system from fossil fuels to renewable energy, becoming the world’s first renewable energy island. Samso is carbon negative and boasts 100% ownership of renewable energy investments. They have ushered in this transition while putting the community at the center of thinking and planning about this green transition. 
  • Middelgrunden Wind Farm: The world’s largest offshore wind farm when it opened in 2001, the farm consists of 20 turbines equally shared by its developers and a private cooperative partnership. 
  • Nordhavn: This harbor area, formerly an industrial shipyard, is on track to support Copenhagen’s vision to become the first carbon neutral city. Development in Nordhavn is focused on design and planning that supports complex urban life, business, and areas that promote rest and recreation.
  • Coppenhill: The cleanest waste-to-energy plant in the world, Copenhill is an incredible example of creativity and multi-purpose design with tree-lined hiking trails up the building, a ski slope on its roof and a climbing wall on its facade.