Fortune 500 companies are taking ambitious steps to reduce pollution, buy more renewable energy and invest in conservation, according to a recent study by several environmental groups and an investment house that also highlighted four Minnesota companies.

"Corporate commitment to energy efficiency and renewable energy is an accelerating trend that illustrates broader recognition within the business community of the importance of clean energy and the financial benefits it can yield," said Stu Dahleim, a vice president with Calvert Research, in a press release. "Many of the largest companies in the U.S. are achieving significant cost savings through clean energy programs and mitigating longer-term risks [of] energy price volatility."

Sixty-three percent of Fortune 100 companies have set one or more clean energy targets, according to the report by money-manager Calvert, Ceres, Worldlife Fund and CDP, an international nonprofit that cajoles companies and governments to get greener and protect water and forests internationally. Some companies even have set up to 100 percent renewable-energy goals and science-based green house gas-reduction targets that align with the Paris accords of limiting global temperature rise.

Four Minnesota Fortune 500 companies–Target, Best Buy, 3M and General Mills–are highlighted in the report for their efforts with alternatives and efficiency.

The CEO of Xcel Energy, the nation's largest buyer of wind power, said recently that wind is often the cheapest form of energy, including the cleanest.

And Minnesota, Iowa and the Dakotas last year generated 17 percent to 35 percent of their electricity from wind power, according to The American Wind Energy Association, also an employment driver.

"American businesses are leading the transition to a clean economy because it's smart business and it's what their customers want," said Marty Spitzer, World Wildlife Funds, director of climate and renewable energy. "Clean energy is fueling economic opportunity from coast to coast without regard for party line. Washington policies may slow this boom, but these companies are making it very clear that a transition to a low-carbon economy is inevitable."

The report is available at: