Sustainable Event Policy
 The Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council annual conference welcomes the Wisconsin business community to a direct business-to-business exchange of sustainability experiences, challenges, tools, solutions and ideas. We bring businesses together to  share resources, experiences and strategies that help businesses become more sustainable.

Through making our Sustainable Event Policy public, we are striving to be a leader in sustainable event practices, to have transparency in our actions, and to encourage others to follow in our footsteps.

Conference Mission

The Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council annual conference welcomes the Wisconsin business community to a direct business-to-business exchange of sustainability experiences, challenges, tools, strategies and ideas. The conference is designed to bring businesses together to share resources that help businesses on their path toward sustainability.

The conference is organized, planned, and managed by University of Wisconsin-Madison students, and helps them understand and apply sustainable business practices in the conference planning process.

Our goal is to establish Wisconsin not only as a destination for “sustainable businesses”, but as a home for businesses from all sectors with an interest in sustainability.

We hope to mentor, recognize and support any businesses with an interest in sustainability. We also announce and recognize Green Masters level companies.  These companies have scored in the top 20% of all applicants to the Green Master’s Program and are leading our state in the area of sustainable business practices.

Our Values:

  • Diversity – Variety in size, location and sector of companies represented at the conference mirrors our desired diversity for participants along lines of gender, race, sexual orientation, age, color, culture, national origin, income, disability, or any other form of diversity.
  • Transparency – We strive to be transparent about decisions and activities that affect society, the economy and the environment, including criteria for choosing the venue of our conferences, and are willing to communicate these in a clear, accurate, timely, honest, and complete manner.
  • Continuous improvement – Sustainability is a path, it is not the destination.  Just as we ask our participants to improve each year, we strive to make each year’s conference better than the previous one.
  • Integrity – The conference is held to the highest level of integrity in event production and content. Conference dealings are without bias and conducted with the highest standard of ethical consideration.

Commitment to sustainable development

The Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council with the support and encouragement of Cool Choices integrates principles of sustainability into each conference. Our event uses the Triple Bottom Line (Economic, Social, and Environmental performance) to develop a definition of sustainability that we can work with.

$10 from each ticket is used for carbon off-sets, and we ask attendees to minimize the carbon footprint of their travel choices. Stainless steel water bottles are used to replace plastic water bottles and a vegetarian lunch is served. We compost all food waste and have set a zero waste goal. We are committed to sourcing materials locally and ensuring that all people in our supply chain are treated fairly.  In short, we will ensure that each conference walks the sustainability talk.

Through making our Sustainable Event Policy public, we are striving to be a leader in sustainable event practices, to have transparency in our actions, and to encourage others to follow in our footsteps. We embrace the philosophy of inclusivity, integrity, stewardship and continuous improvement as outlined by the ISO 20121 framework.

Stakeholder Engagement and Inclusivity

The annual conference is designed to meet the needs of our stakeholders:

  • C Suite Officers, Board Members, Senior Managers
  • Small Business Owners, Plant Managers, Sustainability Coordinators
  • Green Teams
  • Students Interested in Sustainability
  • Other Stakeholders

The annual conference brings outstanding speakers together in a design that maximizes interaction with the audience and facilitates networking. We commit to making the investment of time by attendees productive and memorable. Conference topics are carefully selected through our conference survey, student recommendations of current issues, and steering committee recommendations.

Potentially interested parties in the conference and its production are identified, and their input is used in the planning of the event.

Objectives / Targets/ Measures


Energy conservation will be employed through selecting venues that have energy conservation programs in place. Attendee travel impacts will be minimized through promoting carpooling and use of public transport.  Choosing a vegetarian menu reduces the carbon footprint. $10 from each registration is used to purchase carbon offsets through Native Energy, Terra Pass, Atmosfair, The Carbon Neutral Company and Climate Care.


Reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Targets: reduce total GHG from attendee transport by 25% (as compared to an average conference)

Target: reduce total venue GHG emissions for the conference by 25% (as compared to an average conference)

Target: Increase numbers of attendees that carpool, ride a bike, walk, or use public transportation to attend conference by 10%


The conference is designed to minimize all waste associated with the event. Promotional printed materials advertising the conference are minimized, no direct mailing is done and “swag” at the event is minimized.  Only carefully selected, durable premiums will be provided to attendees.  Our goal is to work toward achieving zero waste.


Reduce solid waste created

Target: Reduce total waste to landfill by 75% (as compared to an average conference)

Target: Compost 100% of food waste (pre and post consumer).

Target: Recycle 100% of recyclable waste (paper, metal, cardboard, etc)


Local sourcing for food, labor, and other services will be employed when feasible. Preference will be given to suppliers and venues that adhere to the principles of sustainable development and meet our event sourcing criteria.

“Food miles” will be considered in choosing a menu and vendors.


Water conservation efforts will be promoted and followed at the conference. Venues will be selected that have “water filling stations” available. Each attendee will receive a stainless steel water bottle for use at the event. Attendees will be able to fill their water bottle for personal use, thus eliminating excess water drawn for pitchers and no plastic water bottles will be available.

Event Legacy: Attendees will learn about the benefits of not using bottled water at the conference and will have the opportunity to sign a no bottled water pledge. After attendees leave the conference we want to encourage positive change into the future.

Objective: Reduce attendee use of bottled water

Target: Get 25% of attendees to sign the no bottled water pledge




Social Justice and Human Rights

The Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council believes everyone should enjoy equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities.  We support the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights, fair labor, and safe working conditions through our event production, sourcing and venue selection processes. The following practices are in place for the annual conference:

Pricing for the event is tiered to help enable students to attend.

Accessibility issues, including access for the disabled and elderly are part of the venue selection process.

Food leftover from the event will be donated to a local charity or food bank.

Proceeds from the event are used to support graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Event Follow-up and Continuous Improvement Process

The Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council is committed to the continuous improvement process to ensure each year’s conference improves our sustainability performance and meets our attendee’s expectations.  We pledge to take the following actions annually to focus upon improving our event:

  • Conduct periodic internal audits to ensure compliance with Sustainable Event Policy
  • Review and share our performance on all targets
  • Review and report on survey/feedback results
  • Annually update sustainable event policy to incorporate key improvement opportunities

This review process will be led by the students with guidance from the steering committee.

This report was produced by Sustainable Insights LLC for the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council and follows the ISO 20121 framework. Contact: Joanne Gorski, President, at Joanne.Gorski@sustainableinsightsllc.com or visit www.sustainableinsightsllc.com

Tune in to Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) this Saturday to hear Tom Eggert, the executive director of the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council, discuss business, sustainability, and the upcoming 2016 Wisconsin Sustainable Business Conference.

Eggert was interviewed for “Newsmakers,” which is a weekly news talk show produced by WPR’s La Crose News Bureau. The segment will be re-broadcasted on La Crosse’s 88.9 WLSU on Saturday at 5 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Click here to listen and read the article.



rich-jeff_20150522_02Jeff is responsible for developing Gundersen’s Envision program, which includes a portfolio of renewable energy projects and energy service offerings. In addition, his team supports sustainability efforts within Gundersen Health System involving energy conservation, waste management, and sustainable design. He serves as an advocate for energy and environmental improvement within the healthcare sector.

In October 2006, Jeff joined Gundersen to lead the Efficiency Improvement department. Prior to joining Gundersen, he was for 10 years with American Standard – Trane, where he held a variety of quality engineering, Lean Six-Sigma and engineering management positions. Jeff was also employed for six years with the John Deere Waterloo Works Drive Train Division as an industrial engineer and quality engineer.

Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and is a certified Lean-Six Sigma master black belt.

mick-schwedlerMick has been involved in the development and support of HVAC systems for Trane since 1982. As manager of applications engineering his areas of expertise include system optimization (in which he holds patents) and chilled water system design. His primary activities include assisting designers in proper application of Trane products and systems in buildings, and writing system application manuals and newsletters. In addition, he has presented technical information to tens of thousands of engineers through Trane’s Engineers Newsletter Live series, and ASHRAE webcasts. Mick has given technical seminars throughout North America, as well as in the Far East and South America, and published a number of articles within the industry. Prior to his work with Trane, Mick received his MSME from the University of Wisconsin Solar Energy Laboratory and BSME from Northwestern University.

An ASHRAE Fellow and recipient of ASHRAE’s Exceptional Service, Distinguished Service, and Standards Achievement Awards, Mick presently serves on the Board of Directors and was Chair of SSPC 90.1 (responsible for 90.1-2010). From an environmental perspective, Mick has served on several USGBC technical and education groups and chairs the LEED Technical Committee. He also autbertram-tiehored portions of the ASHRAE Green Building Guide and has served on technical groups for the New Buildings Institute.


Randy joined the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP) in 2006. He currently serves as the Director of Sustainability Services. In this role he serves as Program Manager for the Wisconsin Profitable Sustainability Initiative (PSI) and the Milwaukee E3 Initiative (ME3). Both programs have been highly effective at helping manufacturers realize improved business and environmental outcomes. Since 2010 WMEP, through the PSI and ME3 programs have assisted more than 200 Wisconsin Manufacturers increase revenue, lower cost, and significantly reduce their environmental footprint. He has more than 35 years manufacturing experience. He is a graduate of Moraine Park Technical College and Cardinal Stritch University.

Jim is an Eau Clairjim-vaudreuile native and is a 1980 graduate UW Eau Claire where he majored in Accounting and minored in Philosophy. He is President and CEO of Huebsch Services, a family owned, Eau Claire based, textile services company founded by his great-grandfather in 1891. Jim is been active with many non-profit, civic, and industry organizations and recently served as the chairman of the United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley.

Inspired by The Natural Step, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating businesses and communities about green solutions, and coached by Gunnar Andréen of Malmö, Sweden, Huebsch Services set up the Index 100 measurement system to manage our improvement process. Index 100 is the starting point from which goals are set and progress is tracked. It starts with educating our employees about various green solutions and getting them to look for ways to improve. It also involves capturing accurate and useful data, and determining a common denominator (ex. tracking water consumption in gallons/pound of soiled product processed). Huebsch Services is constantly striving to find ways to improve our planet through green solutions that will make a difference.

Huebsch Services has achieved Textile Rental Services Association (TRSA) Clean Green Certification. This program recognizes industrial laundry companies that demonstrate responsible leadership in sustainability and conservation to protect the environment. The certification acknowledges the company’s continuing commitment to best environmental practices by improving efficiencies in water and energy conservation, and its adoption of best management practices for reusing, reclaiming and recycling resources.

This week several of our conference speakers were featured in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in an article discussing the leadership role businesses have taken in Wisconsin around sustainability.

Tom Eggert, the executive director of the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council, spoke about why multinational businesses are pledging themselves to meeting science-based emissions reduction targets. He says, “They’re doing it because they can save money, they’re doing it to reduce risk, they’re doing it because customers are asking about what they’re doing to be green, and they’re doing it because investors are asking them and because their employees want to feel good about their business.”

Kathy Kuntz of Cool Choices also adds that “[a]n increasing number of companies are starting to see climate change as a risk to their operations, whether it’s about their supply chain, specific resource issues or whatever.” In addition to meeting market demand coming from employees and consumers, businesses must also adapt their business models for pure survival reasons.

Jack Wilson from Box Latch Products, who was also interviewed, spoke about sustainability in the export market. Compared to other countries, the United States is behind on implementing sustainable business practices. While this at first may be somewhat disconcerting, in reality, this creates room for significant innovation and creativity in the future.

For example, Box Latch Products has demonstrated the viability of sustainable business. By replacing tape with box latches, companies using these latches can reduce their cost while simultaneously maximizing environmental benefits by encouraging the reuse versus the recycle of boxes.

Click here to read the full article.

Hope to see you at the 2016 Wisconsin Sustainable Business Conference!

Wisconsin Sustainable Business Conference: A Solution for Everyone



Join us on December 8th to learn from and speak with these four women involved in sustainability across Wisconsin!

thurman_majo-196x300Majo Thurman

Ms. Majo Thurman is the Director Environmental, Health and Safety at Rockwell Automation based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  As Director, she is responsible for global EHS compliance and performance.  The headquarters team, currently 23 global professionals, provides strategy and drives implementation of common program. The HQ EHS team also conducts compliance audits globally.

Majo has a strong background in management systems, and she is the project lead for producing the Rockwell Automation Corporate Responsibility Report.

In addition, Majo holds a leadership role with the Professional Women’s Council, an internal employee resource group with a mission to assist Rockwell women achieve their own career goals.

Majo earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Notre Dame, and a Masters of Science degree in environmental engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

Kim Floodkimberly-r-flood_headshot_compressed-200x300

Kimberly has 15 years of experience consulting across corporate, government, and non-profit clients. She helps organizations increase their effectiveness, drive sustainability, and navigate transformational change. At UL Environment, Kimberly is currently providing clients guidance on self-declared environmental claims and client programs that recognize products with environmental improvement innovations. Previously, Kimberly led Accenture’s North American Environmental Corporate Social Responsibility program while also leading change management consulting projects. She received her BA in Psychology with an Environmental Studies Certificate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with Honors in the Liberal Arts.


untitled-21-200x300Leah Samson

Leah Samson has been passionate about sustainability since her formative years in Minnesota. Ms. Samson earned her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Environmental Science at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently Leah is Interim Executive Director at WasteCap Resource Solutions, a non-profit organization transforming waste into resources. She is a LEED Accredited Professional in Building Design + Construction as well as Operations + Maintenance. Previously, she worked in process engineering and was owner and president of Madison Environmental Group, providing service-oriented consulting, greenhouse gas emission assessments, and sustainability planning to a variety of clients for six years. Volunteering is central to Leah’s passion and dedication. She has formed strong ties with the following organizations: International  Facility Management Association-Madison (IFMA-Madison; past president), U.S. Green Building Council-Wisconsin, and the Living Building Challenge. In her downtime, Leah enjoys spending time with her children, friends and family as well as exploring wild Wisconsin.


Mandy Goetschprofile-jan-2016-2-2-275x300

Amanda graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Master’s degree focused on sustainable business, systematic ecological conservation and social responsibility.  Soon after, she landed a unique opportunity working in the private sector as a sustainability leader, focusing on responsible business innovation and improvement.  Over the last almost four years under a collaborative attitude Inpro has become a true thought leader in their industry when it comes to creating a more resilient future for the business itself as well as its customers and surrounding community.

profile-jan-2016-2-2Amanda graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Master’s degree focused on sustainable business, systematic ecological conservation and social responsibility.  Soon after, she landed a unique opportunity working in the private sector as a sustainability leader, focusing on responsible business innovation and improvement.  Over the last almost four years under a collaborative attitude Inpro has become a true thought leader in their industry when it comes to creating a more resilient future for the business itself as well as its customers and surrounding community.


Barbara Nick joined Dairyland Power Cooperative in December 2014 as President and CEO and has over 35 years in the energy industry.

Under her leadership, Dairyland Power Cooperative has focused on resource diversification and sustainability. Dairyland’s recent solar investment will nearly double the solar generation in Wisconsin and the cooperative has also announced a 98 MW wind power project.

As an advocate of strong and principled leadership, Nick is the author and editor of Lenses of Leadership, A Call to Action.

An engaged community member, she has over 25 years of board service. In September 2015, Nick was appointed for a six-year term to the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB), which includes oversight of state funds valued at over $100 billion.

Nick and her husband live in La Crosse and are proud parents and grandparents.  They share a hobby of teaching children about literacy and science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) through their books and activities.

Nick earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Business from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and has completed Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

We are excited to announce that Kellen Frable, from Cool Choices, will be moderating the Employee Engagement breakout session featuring Maximilian Christman from UW Health, Chris Drees from Mercury Marine, and Jessy Ortiz from Outpost Foods. Read on to learn more about the speakers of this session, and join us on December 8th to hear more about the work that is being done in Wisconsin to further the conversation around business sustainability.



kellen-frable-headshotKellen Frable has been passionate about sustainability since her formative years in Illinois. Ms. Frable earned her B.S. in Environmental Science and African Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently she is the Engagement Coordinator at Cool Choices, a Wisconsin-based nonprofit that inspires individuals, businesses, and communities to actively participate in addressing climate change. Cool Choices partners with workplaces to engage employees around sustainability through a game-based online platform. In her free time, Ms. Frable enjoys volunteering with youth in the surrounding Madison suburbs and being active in the great Wisconsin outdoors.




While originally from Madison, Maximilian Christman left to study sustainability in Arizona and North Carolina before returning home to Wisconsin to work for UW Health. With a background in business sustainability and corporate social responsibility focusing on sustainable energy, Maximilian works on all aspects of sustainability for the UW Health system which includes 6 hospitals and over 80 clinics in south central Wisconsin and Rockford, Illinois. Sustainability at UW Health revolves around a long standing commitment to advancing health without compromise through social responsibility. Recent energy successes include retro-commissioning projects at University Hospital and 3 other large UW Health clinics which collectively save UW Health over $650,000 annually while never impacting patient care. One of Maximilian’s biggest goals is the promotion of positive, sustainable action within UW Health and the subsequent marketing of sustainability success to the greater community and UW Health’s stakeholders.


chris-drees-headshotChris Drees is Vice President of Global Operations for Mercury Marine. He has worked within various divisions of Mercury marine since 1998 with his previous 7 years as the President of Attwood Corporation. Over the last 6 years he sat on the Board of Directors for the National Marine Manufacturers Association in addition to the Accessories Manufacturers Division Board. Mercury currently operates 9 manufacturing facilities across the U.S. and the world and is committed to developing cleaner running engines in a sustainable way. Chris holds a BBA through the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire and an MBA through Marquette University.


jessy-ortiz-headshotJessy Ortiz  is the Sustainability Manager for Outpost Natural Foods, the fourth largest consumer food cooperative in the US.  Leveraging a diverse background in design, education, business, project management, and permaculture, Jessy brings ecological and social awareness to the business arena, promoting a triple bottom line strategy.  Jessy is responsible for companywide sustainability programing; including metrics tracking, data analysis, goal setting and ongoing process improvements in the following areas: organics and land use practices, distribution and sourcing, energy use, climate change and air emissions, water use and quality, solid waste reduction, packaging and marketing materials, labor, animal care, sustainability education, and, governance and community engagement. She manages green teams at all Outpost locations and is responsible for both internal and external communication of sustainability at Outpost. She earned her MBA from Alverno College with a focus on sustainable business management, is a founding member of the Milwaukee chapter of Conscious Capitalism and a 2014 fellow in the New Leaders Council.






Tim Kabat was elected the 42nd Mayor of La Crosse in April 2013.

Mayor Kabat serves as the Chief Executive Officer for city operations, including oversight and management of the city’s 17 departments and 520 employee workforce. He develops and manages the $71 million annual operating budget, long-term borrowing, and debt service for the city.

Prior to becoming Mayor, Tim’s work experience included Executive Director of Downtown Main Street Inc., 2010 to 2013; Associate Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse in Microeconomics & Public Policy, 2011 to 2012; City of La Crosse Planning and Development Administrator, 2003 to 2010; Agency Relations Director for The Nature Conservancy in Madison, 2002 to 2003; Senior Planner for the City of Madison, 2000 to 2002; Sauk County Planning and Zoning Administrator, 1995 to 2000.

Mayor Kabat is a graduate from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. He attended graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, graduating with a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning.