Diversifying the energy utility sector: Building consensus among competing interests 

Challenge

While Minnesota’s energy utility sector serves the entire public, its workforce and supplier chain do not reflect the state’s diverse populationWith increasing diversity in Minnesota overall, and with communities of color being left behind, leaders and advocates called for changes that would address disparities in this sector—both for racial equity and business viability.

What we did

We led a process of engaging a large advisory group with diverse, and sometimes competing, interests representing energy utilities, community organizations, and more. We ushered the group through a truly collaborative process of drafting a legislative report—including multiple in-person discussions and a virtual writing processAll stakeholders had the power to dissent and withhold support, and no one stakeholder had more decision-making power than another. Ultimately, we brought about 75 stakeholders to consensus around final recommendations.

Outcome and Value Created

The legislative report that we delivered contained a set of recommendations for increasing diversity in the energy utility sector’s workforce and supplier chain. In addition, our meeting facilitation brought stakeholders together to spark new relationships and partnerships. Using the process and the final report as a launchpad, this stakeholder group has continued discussing to identify solutions and methods for change.