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KI In The News

Area Businesses Named Green Masters

Green Bay Press-Gazette January 28, 2016

Eleven Northeastern Wisconsin companies have been named “Green Masters” for their continuing efforts to embrace sustainability.

Now in its fourth year, the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council's Green Masters Program offers companies an objective, points-based system by which to gauge their sustainability efforts. The top 20 percent of companies that apply to the program earn the designation.

Three Green Bay area organizations--Green Bay Packaging Inc., KI and  Northeast Wisconsin Technical College--earned the Green Master designation for their efforts to embrace sustainability across 10 different categories that include carbon emissions, water use, energy, transportation, supply chain, waste management, workforce, governance and educational outreach.

KI Sustainability Manager Lisa Evenson said the Green Masters program helps the company gauge its sustainability efforts while also providing KI with new ideas and initiatives to continue improving in various segments.

“If you're a company and you're not sure where you fall, just fill out the application,” Evenson said. “It brings out new ideas. All of a sudden, you see more suggestions about what you could be doing in your company. And you can benchmark yourself every year to see how you're doing against other companies.”

Five Appleton area organizations--Appleton Coated (Combined Locks), Appvion, Milk Source (Freedom), Secura Insurance and ThedaCare--were named Green Masters when the Sustainable Business Council met in December.

Other Northeastern Wisconsin companies that made the list include Neenah's Menasha Corp., Fond du Lac's Mercury Marine, and Oshkosh Corp.

Evenson said KI has embraced a variety of sustainability initiatives in recent years as the commercial furniture manufacturer looks to retain its designation. She said the company has instituted a car pool program, expanded a workplace garden plot and added an on-site wellness center.

"Every year, when I go to the (council's) conference, I talk to other participants and they all increase their scores," Evenson said. "You want to stay up there as well."

The region's 11 companies account for 32 percent of the 34 total companies recognized as 2015 Green Masters. Most of them have earned the Green Master designation for several years in a row.

Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council Executive Director Tom Eggert said Northeastern Wisconsin companies' participation continues to grow at an impressive rate.

“The percentage of New North companies qualifying as 'Green Masters' has continued to be higher than predicted even as the minimum qualifying score to achieve 'Green Masters' status has increased significantly over the last several years,” Eggert said. “We clearly see sustainability leadership from within New North, particularly in the areas of governance, workforce and community engagement.”

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