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2019 Award Recipients

The 2019 Sustainable Business Awards are designed to recognize Wisconsin businesses for their efforts in developing sustainable products and processes and to recognize some of the amazing business leaders in the state. Each award recognizes both a large and small organization that has stood out in their specific category.


On December 11th, 2019 the WI Sustainable Business Council presented the fifth annual Sustainable Business Awards. 2019's recognition event was held at the Global Water Center in Milwaukee. 


Many businesses play crucial roles in responding to social and environmental challenges, and WI businesses are no exception. We received fabulous and well-written applications this year, making the judges job much more difficult.


If you would like to view past winners, click here.



The 2019 winners are as follows:

Sustainable Product

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N1 Critical Technologies



N1 Critical Technologies’ new line of lithium-ion uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems saves energy and significantly reduces raw materials used to support backup power needs. Most traditional UPS systems use lead acid batteries, which include two toxic materials to provide stored energy — lead and sulfuric acid. They also typically need to be replaced every two to three years, sending tons of heavy metals, plastics and chemicals to landfills and recycling centers. The lithium-ion batteries found in N1 Critical Technologies’ UPS systems have a 15-year design life and are lighter and easier to transport. The lithium-ion systems have been shown to use significantly fewer watts/amps when operating normally.

Sustainability Champion

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Kimberly-Clark Corp.


Dr. Peggy Murphy


Murphy is an original sustainability person at Kimberly-Clark. She began by writing the company’s first sustainability report in 2004 and has had increasing responsibility in the sustainability space and now serves as sustainability strategy leader across Kimberly-Clark’s operations in North America. Murphy is regarded as a sustainability expert and is often asked to help mentor many new employees who have expressed an interest in sustainability.

Sustainable Process

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Executive Leader


Mercury Marine

Fon du Lac

Scott Louks

Mercury Marine's process for using aluminum in the making of its award-winning engine blocks realizes considerable energy savings in multiple ways. The process uses 100% recycled aluminum for the die-casting and manufacturing of the engine blocks. The energy required to melt and purify aluminum scrap is approximately only five percent of the energy required to create primary aluminum from bauxite ore. Heat exhaust generated by the furnace that melts scrap aluminum is redirected through a stack heating device to preheat solid aluminum scrap that is waiting to be melted in the furnace. This preheating process saves Mercury 20 percent of the natural gas it would otherwise use to melt scrap aluminum. Mercury Marine also employs highly sophisticated and world-renowned techniques in aluminum die-casting to create outboard engines using less raw material. Consequently, Mercury's newest generation of outboard engines are the lightest in their class and the most fuel-efficient, without sacrificing performance and durability.

Outpost Natural Foods Cooperative


Pam Mehnert


Sustainability is a framework through which all decisions are made at the co-op. Mehnert created a full-time Sustainability Manager position seven years ago which shows how central sustainability is to her personal core values and those of the business. Outpost produces an annual Sustainability Report, an in-depth look at 12 core metrics, including: organic and l and use practices; sourcing; distribution; energy use; climate change and air emissions; water use and Quality; and solid waste reduction.

Thomas L. Eggert Leadership Forward Award

Clay Nesler

VP Johnson Controls

Since joining Johnson Controls in 1983, Clay has held a variety of leadership positions in research, product development, marketing, strategy and corporate sustainability in both the United States and Europe.

He helped establish the UN Sustainable Energy for All Building Efficiency Accelerator and serves as chair of the Industrial Advisory Board of the US-China Clean Energy Research Center and is a member of the International Energy Agency Energy Efficiency Industry Advisory Board. Clay has previously served as vice-chair of the 

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World Environment Center and participated on the Wisconsin Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming, the Task Force on National Energy Policy and Midwestern Regional Competitiveness and the advisory boards of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of International Studies. 


A frequent international speaker, Clay has presented at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, Fortune Brainstorm Green, VERGE, Greenbuild, US-India Energy Partnership Summit, US-China Energy Efficiency Forum, International Conference on Green and Energy-Efficient Building, Asia-Pacific Clean Energy Summit, World Climate Summit, World Future Energy Summit, Abu Dhabi Ascent, Global Green Growth Forum, UN SE4ALL Forum, UN Climate Summit, Rio+20, Global Climate Action Summit and numerous green building conferences around the world.Nesler received BS and MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a co-inventor on sixteen patents. He is a winner of the 2005 Corenet Global Innovator’s Award, the 2012 VERGE 25 award, a 2015 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering and a 2017 leadership award from the U.S. Green Building Council.

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