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CGLI works on behalf of its members to provide an industry perspective in a wide variety of Great Lakes initiatives that advance sustainable development in the Great Lakes region. CGLI participates in roundtable discussions, stakeholder forums, and meetings with government agencies and environmental groups. CGLI reviews and (when possible) comments on policies, programs, and legislation that impacts Great Lakes industry. CGLI works with its members to develop policy statements on critical issues and develops strategies for industry to respond to and influence important regional initiatives. As a coordinated voice for industry in the binational Great Lakes basin, CGLI’s past activities have created opportunities for Great Lakes industries to:

  • contribute an industry perspective in government/NGO efforts to “virtually eliminate” certain  chemical substance in the Great Lakes through participation in the binational Virtual Elimination Task Force and the successful Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy
  • participate in the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Strategy and facilitate the multi-stakeholder economic analysis that led to major US federal investment in Great Lakes restoration
  • constructively influence  the review and outcome of the 2012 revisions to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement
  • re-direct water use policy from “locking up the resource in the name of protecting it” to “sustainable use and re-use” by industry and other water users, which led to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Water Resources Compact and Agreement.

CGLI convenes member work groups and initiatives to focus on specific aspects of Great Lakes sustainable development policy. In addition, CGLI leads outcome-based projects and studies. In 2007, CGLI partnered with the National Wildlife Federation and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Cities Initiative to produce America’s North Coast: A Benefit-Cost Analysis of a Program to Protect and Restore the Great Lakes, which led to the often quoted study entitled Healthy Waters, Strong Economy that was conducted by the Brookings Institution. These reports estimated the economic benefits of Great Lakes restoration and to support US federal funding of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. In 2017, CGLI partnered with the Great Lakes Commission to coordinate and oversee a project that is quantifying the economic impact of investments made under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.