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The WI Sustainable Business Council is a network of Wisconsin businesses and organizations that are interested in, or actively responding to, the challenge of sustainability. Many businesses find themselves challenged by stakeholders to describe what they are doing in this field. The council is designed to bring businesses together and provide resources to help businesses on their path toward being more sustainable.


Interest in sustainability can be driven by crisis (i.e. the 2007 recession, a PR crisis, or a “crisis” created by regulatory pressure such as in the cap and trade area) or as a way to minimize risks. It is a need in the 21st Century Market and many businesses are unprepared to proactively respond with a plan on how to integrate sustainability into the business. Wisconsin is fortunate to have many businesses that have helped to blaze some of the sustainability trail and are leaders in Wisconsin, Nationally and some even internationally.


The Council seeks to create opportunities for businesses to learn from each other. By working together, the business climate is improved and the success of Wisconsin businesses is increased.


We are Wisconsin's go-to for sustainable business. 

We connect resources, tools and programs for businesses to cost effectively leverage and integrate sustainable solutions and strategies into their business. We do this through facilitating collaborations, events and trainings, consulting and with our signature assessment, recognition and certification tool, The Green Masters Program.


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. The economic health of the state is partly a function of the adaptability and progressiveness of the businesses here. We hope to mentor, recognize and support any businesses as they grow on their sustainability journies.





The Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council brings businesses from around the state together to learn from each other.  The first conference was held in December of 2008 and has become an annual event. The conference has been held in Madison, Milwaukee, Neenah, Dodgeville, Oshkosh and Onalaska.


The conference features business practitioners sharing their strategies, their tools, and their experiences. 

The conference has adopted a Sustainable Events policy and seeks to minimize the environmental footprint of the event. Stainless steel water bottles are provided in place of plastic water bottles, carbon offsets are purchased to offset the carbon footprint and vegetarian food is always served to demonstrate the ease of giving up meat for one meal a week.


The conference is held in December each year. Watch for information about this years conference on the About The Conference page.


Click here for more information on Sustainable Event Policy!


The 11th annual Wisconsin Sustainable Business Conference was held on December 13, 2018 at the Monona Terrace in Madison, WI. The event was hosted by WMEP, and brought speakers together to discuss sustainability ideas and strategies moving companies forward in Wisconsin. The conference highlighted the transition of the Council from Founding Director, Tom Eggert to WMEP and the new Managing Director Jessy Servi Ortiz. The Conference was designed to maximize interaction with the audience and continues to strive to be zero waste. 


The Forum

The WI Sustainable Business Council Forum is an annual panel discussion that breaks down the world of sustainability standards, as well as a presentation of the Sustainable Business Awards. The 2017 forum addressed the myriad of voluntary standards related to sustainability that the average Wisconsin business now needs to understand and possibly deal with. Many companies learn about these standards when they are brought to their attention either by a customer or by senior management that asks about the pros and cons of aligning with one of them.


We presented a panel that broke down the world of sustainability standards into:


  1. International certification standards 

  2. Financial and accounting disclosure standards 

  3. Customer driven performance reporting standards.


Lynn McIntosh (CNH) led a discussion on international certification standards.  Her presentation included a discussion about ISO standards (9000, 14000:2015 and 50000) as well as OHSAS 18000 (occupational health and safety assessment series), the International Water Stewardship Standard, SA8000 (social accountability) and FSSC 22000 (the Food Safety System Certification) standard.


Cora Lee Mooney (BrownFlynn) presented on financial and accounting disclosure standards that included information on SASB (sustainable accounting standards board), GRI (global reporting initiative), Dow Jones Sustainability Index, FTSE4GOOD and MSCI (originally Morgan Stanley Capital International).


Mark McDermid (WMEP) led a discussion on customer-driven performance reporting standards.  His presentation included information about reporting under CDP (carbon disclosure project), the role of HPDs (health product declarations) and EPDs (environmental product declarations), the Sustainability Consortium and SEDEX’s SMETA system (ethical trade audit).


June 1, 2018


Comer Center at Lands' End

5 Lands End Lane
Dodgeville, WI 53588

Sustainable Business Awards

Our awards ceremony, now in the 5th year, is widely recognized as the leading awards ceremony that benchmarks and rewards those businesses that are creating a more sustainable business. The awards will offer the prestige of being recognized by the Wisconsin business community, as well as a platform to share best practice techniques.

The Sustainable Business Awards celebrate recipients for challenging conventional business practices, and rewards them for being innovators in their industry and community. Offered for the first time in 2014, these awards honor businesses for their leadership in developing innovative products, processes, and business models while demonstrating that economic performance and environmental and social performance go hand-in-hand.

By recognizing WI companies with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability, the Sustainable Business Awards strengthen relationships with customers, employees, prospective employees and investors. Though environmental or sustainability managers may be the point person for these awards, marketing and public relations professionals will be great advocates for any company that chooses to apply.

Applications Open

August 1 - October 1

Winners Notified

Week of November 4

Awards Ceremony

Week of December 9


Milwaukee, WI

Click here to view past winners

What are we looking for?

We are looking to hear your story. Follow the links below to see the guidelines for each award. A company may apply for one, two, or all three of the awards. In addition, there will be small business and not small business recipients of each award, so that small businesses will only be competing against other small businesses. For additional information, please watch the educational video for instructions.

How we evaluate applicants

Applications will be divided by award and scored by members of the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council’s Board of Advisors. Only one award winner will be selected for each award category.

This year our judges are looking for stand-out projects that demonstrate impact, scalability, and innovation. There will be particular emphasis on metrics that can showcase a truly innovative and leading approach to mainstreaming sustainability. More detailed applications, with data to demonstrate the improvements in sustainability performance, have traditionally scored higher.



Nomination requirements

Self-nominations are encouraged and are in fact, the norm.  The deadline for nominations (October 1st) is absolutely the deadline, and we will close the application process at midnight.  Applications should include a description of the sustainable product, process or leader, and, if possible, a quantification of direct and indirect benefits of the innovation.  You will be applying on an electronic form that does not accept attachments.  If you wish to provide attachments, they can be sent to


We'd love to hear from you

735 N. Water Street,

Suite 1218

Milwaukee, WI 53202

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