Green Masters 2.0 FAQs
Written by Christa Kananen, Program Manager, WSBC and Sustainability Consultant, WMEP
Thank you to all of you who joined us at Lambeau Field for the 15th annual WSBC Conference! It was an exciting and informative meeting of community, business, academic, and thought leaders in sustainability (R)Evolution.
One example that was discussed during the conference is the evolution of the Green Master’s Program, currently being redeveloped on an all-new platform. The planned upgrades were demonstrated in information sessions throughout the day. Here’s a recap for those who missed it.
WSBC launched the Green Masters Program in 2010, as an action manager to help businesses measure, improve, and benchmark their sustainability progress, recognizing the top 20% of scorers as “Green Masters.” Also in 2010, WMEP Manufacturing Solutions launched their Profitable Sustainability Initiative (PSI), helping WI manufacturers improve their bottom line by implementing sustainable projects to improve operational efficiency. WSBC joined forces with WMEP in 2019, with a vision to expand the Green Masters Program and build on the accomplishments of both programs.
Launching in Spring 2023, the redeveloped Green Masters Program is a tool to prioritize, measure, and manage your company's sustainability performance. The virtual platform is purpose-built as a scalable standard for measuring and improving environmental, social, and governance (ESG) impacts material to your business. What makes the program unique is it wraps a support system (WSBC Membership) around certification, providing resources, education, and tools that meet your company where they are in its sustainability journey while recognizing and rewarding your achievements along the way. The new Green Masters Program starts with materiality, allowing a company to scope their response based on topics impactful to their organization. The tool then leads companies through the development and integration of systems related to their selected topics. It provides a framework to maintain and grow their program - a roadmap to advance in their evolving sustainability journey. Green Masters status is awarded to those companies achieving at least 75% of the available points for their selected topics.
Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about the new Green Masters Program (GMP):
Why start with materiality?
The materiality assessment process helps an organization determine the relative importance of an issue based on stakeholder and company interests. The GMP platform offers a tool for documenting the results of an organization’s materiality assessment, allowing an organization to prioritize and respond to topics that are meaningful to their business.
Can materiality results from the Green Masters Program be used for legal disclosure purposes?
The GMP materiality process results in a company-specific matrix that may be used in an organization’s public disclosure. However, the use of the tool does not replace the process of conducting a formal materiality assessment. The GMP allows for multiple approaches to the materiality assessment process; it is up to the reporting organization to determine the appropriate method for their organization and to conduct the process accordingly.
How many topics should be identified as material?
We recommend starting with three to five topics, but it is up to the reporting organization to determine which and how many topics to prioritize. Your priorities may change or grow as sustainability initiatives are integrated into your business model, progress is achieved, or stakeholder interests change. Companies that have a more mature sustainability program will tend to have more material topics.
How does scoring work and how are points assessed for each question?
Questions are divided into three categories: systems, best practices, and performance. Systems questions are worth 40% of available points for each topic. The remaining 60% of available points are split evenly between best practice and performance questions (30% each). Points for systems and best practice questions are assessed based on effort (difficulty + time required to implement) and expected impact; effort and impact are each assigned a value (1, 2, or 3) and multiplied together to calculate the number of points available for each question. Points for performance questions are assessed based on relative impact.
Can I take credit for actions implemented in prior years?
Responses should reflect the organization's current state during the reporting year, including any systems and best practices implemented in prior years, if those actions were still in use and impacting the organization’s current state relative to the established baseline during the reporting year.
If I am responding to the questionnaire for multiple facilities across my organization, may I take credit for actions taken at some facilities but not all?
If using the tool for multiple facilities, only actions that are implemented across all included facilities may be claimed. As an alternative, an organization may use the tool for individual locations separately.
Will I still be a “Green Master” in the new program?
The Green Masters Program originated as an action manager for sustainability, emphasizing the implementation of specific actions related to identified sustainability topics. The new Green Masters Program emphasizes the systemic integration of sustainability into business processes and the implementation of best practices to drive improved outcomes. While it is likely that many Green Masters companies will retain their status, these changes may impact the outcome for some users.
Can I still benchmark with other companies?
Benchmarking capabilities are still under development and will be available in future versions of the platform. WSBC will be expanding its awards program for 2023 to incorporate recognition based on peer performance.
Will my prior years’ scores be carried into the new platform for benchmarking purposes?
No. Benchmarking in the new program will start fresh with your first year using the new platform.
What prevents a reporting organization from “gaming the system” to achieve Green Masters status?
As with any self-certified disclosure, it is up to the reporting organization to conduct their disclosure with integrity. Third-party verification of Green Master status (“Certified Green Master”) is in development.
How is Green Masters different from Wisconsin DNR’s Green Tier program?
Green Tier is a state-wide initiative that complements DNR’s regulatory program by rewarding companies with regulatory flexibility for achieving superior environmental performance through the integration of an Environmental Management System.
The Green Masters Program is an ESG disclosure tool and recognition program that helps users prioritize, measure, and manage sustainability performance across a range of environmental, social, workforce, and governance topics.
To learn more about the Green Masters Program visit: https://www.wisconsinsustainability.com/greenmasters
For specific questions about the GMP Update email Christa Kananen at firstname.lastname@example.org