For the past decade, the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council has been dedicated to bringing businesses together and providing resources to assist companies on the path toward being more sustainable in their operations.
Those efforts are being bolstered as the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council joins forces with the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership as an affiliate group, effective Jan. 1.
An agreement has been reached to provide continuity of the council and its services and activities following the planned retirement of Thomas Eggert, the current WSBC executive director. Eggert founded the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council in 2008. The organization has operated out of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where Eggert has served as a senior lecturer. Eggert will assist in the transition.
The council, which will operate as an independent division of the WMEP, is a network of Wisconsin businesses and organizations that are interested in, or actively engaged in, the challenge of sustainability. It provides businesses with the tools they need to understand their sustainability progress and help them strive for continuous improvement.
“The WMEP is committed to assuring the legacy of the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council as it continues to grow and thrive, and we are honored to have been selected by the WSBC to carry this legacy forward,” WMEP Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Tim Wiora said. “The WMEP has been a national leader in developing profitable sustainability solutions for manufacturers, and we look forward to the expansion of the council and the sustainability ecosystem in Wisconsin.”
Eggert will be succeeded by Jessy Servi Ortiz, who will serve as managing director of the council. Servi Ortiz most recently served as sustainability manager at Outpost Natural Foods Cooperative. She will be based at the WMEP’s office in downtown Milwaukee. WSBC’s Advisory Committee, drawing from top-tier Wisconsin companies, will continue to oversee the work of the WSBC.
“I’m extremely passionate about helping businesses be more sustainable,” Servi Ortiz said. “My vision is that all businesses in Wisconsin will have some sort of positive impact on their communities. There should be some level of sustainability woven into all businesses.”
The council works to increase awareness about sustainability through education, networking, mentoring opportunities and an annual conference.
With direction from the business community, the council developed and oversees the Green Masters Program, the state’s largest and most visible sustainability assessment and recognition program. Each year, nearly 200 businesses apply to the Green Masters program and the top scoring businesses are recognized at the WSBC annual conference.
The partnership with the WMEP is mutually beneficial.
Since 2010, the WMEP has been the leading provider of comprehensive sustainability services to Wisconsin manufacturers through its Profitable Sustainability Initiative, which assists manufacturers in cutting costs while enhancing the resource efficiency of their supply chains, and the Milwaukee E3 Initiative, a program designed to cut manufacturer operating costs by reducing natural resource and material use, reducing waste, and increasing efficiency. The WMEP partners with and sponsors the Milwaukee Sustainability Roundtable and the Wisconsin Sustainability Business Council’s annual conference.
In 2015, the WMEP established a unique partnership with the Water Council to establish the North American hub for the Alliance for Water Stewardship in Milwaukee. The WMEP was the first organization in North America with staff certified to train and assist companies in implementing the Alliance for Water Stewardship standard, and WMEP is the only organization in the state with The Sustainability Consortium-certified service providers on staff.
“We are firmly committed to maintaining and building on the mission, vision and values of the council, expanding the council’s services and network, and growing its presence in the state and nationally,” said Randy Bertram, director of sustainability and operational excellence services at the WMEP.
For more information on sustainability programs and other offerings from the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership, go to www.wmep.org. To learn more about the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council, go to www.wisconsinsustainability.com.