Dec 24, 2013

34 Wisconsin businesses honored in growing 'green masters' program

JSOnlineWhether they refer to it as building their triple bottom line or just plain going green, Wisconsin businesses are increasingly focused on sustainability.

A record 167 businesses participated this year in the "green masters" program coordinated by the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. That's up 46% from last year.

The council honored the program's 34 top performers — green masters — at its annual conference in Dodgeville earlier this month, which was attended by more than 300.

"That shows me the interest in sustainability within the business community just continues to increase," said Tom Eggert, council executive director.

The program is designed to recognize businesses but "also to give them ideas on what else that they could be doing, and what other companies are doing in the sustainability area," said Eggert.

The "green masters" program is a recognition program that Wisconsin companies participate in by submitting information on the steps they've taken to use less energy, cut waste and take other steps to become more sustainable in their operations. Companies are evaluated in nine distinct areas, from climate change and energy to governance and workforce to community relations and supply chain.

In the green masters program, businesses matriculate through three levels based on how active they are on sustainability issues. Based on their scores, businesses are rated as either a "green apprentice," "green professional" or "green master" — an honor for the top 20%.

"It's been incredibly encouraging to see all of the amazing initiatives companies throughout the state are implementing Рfrom LEED certification to community gardens to landfill gas-to-energy projects," said Marcus Cederström, Green Masters Program director.

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