Sustainable Business Council: Earth Day Sustainable Business Awards

Contact: Executive Director Tom Eggert

[email protected]


Wauwatosa, WI – Today, the WI Sustainable Business Council, in partnership with Cool Choices and the WI Manufacturing Extension Partnership presented the Earth Day Sustainable Business awards at Briggs & Stratton in Wauwatosa.

Since the founding of Earth Day in 1970, sustainability leadership has increasingly moved from the public sector to the private sector. Today, many businesses play crucial roles in responding to social and environmental challenges, and WI businesses are no exception. Tom Eggert, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council says of the large number of high quality applications received, “We received 38 applications this year, almost twice as many as we received last year. There is a growing interest in sustainability credentials for many WI businesses.” These awards are designed to recognize businesses for their efforts in developing sustainable products, processes and business models.

The winners of this year’s Earth Day Awards are as follows:

Sustainable Leadership

Small organization: Will Allen, CEO of Growing Power (Milwaukee):

Will Allen is regarded as an international leader in the “Good Food Revolution,” an effort to bring greater sustainability to food systems while enhancing security and alleviating issues such as diabetes and malnutrition. He has been an innovator in urban agriculture by developing and promoting community scale composting systems, aquaponic systems, vertical farming and more across the nation.

Large organization: Matt Levatich, CEO of Harley-Davidson (Milwaukee):

Under Matt Levatich’s leadership, Harley-Davidson has included sustainability within its foundational focus. He put into place a comprehensive baseline assessment of Harley-Davidson’s environmental impacts, and created the vision that resulted in initiatives such as Project LiveWire, the first all electric motorcycle in company history.

Sustainable Product

Small organization: Spring Green Timber Growers (Spring Green):

Spring Green is a vertically integrated forest products company. They harvest dead or unfit trees from a family farm and turn them into hardwood flooring and other finished wood products. They practice sustainable forestry, and have established a model for how to capture more value from timber.

Large organization: Appleton Coated (Combined Locks):

Appleton Coated responded to a customer request for book quality paper that would be produced with at least 50 percent post-consumer recycled fiber. Their success in meeting this need led to a new line of book quality paper that is appropriately called “Green Book 50% PCW”. This new line replaces a previous line made from 10 percent post-consumer recycled fiber and has significant environmental advantages .

Sustainable Process

Small organization: New Glarus Brewing Company (New Glarus):

As New Glarus continues to grow, new demands are put on their existing refrigeration system. By redesigning the refrigeration control system and switching from an open loop to a closed loop system, and adding heat exchangers and new energy efficient equipment such as a variable speed ammonia compressor, New Glarus realized significant energy efficiencies. Their energy usage for refrigeration dropped from 30% to 23% as a result of these initiatives.

Large organization: BRP Evinrude (Sturtevant):

BRP Evinrude designed a closed loop water system for testing and validating marine outboard engines, saving over 22 million gallons of water annually. An advanced water filtration system was installed as well, allowing BRP to meet the most stringent of water quality requirements, and to dramatically reduce their water usage and consumption.

The WI Sustainable Business Council is a network of Wisconsin businesses that are committed to operating in a sustainable/responsible way. The council works to educate businesses about sustainability, recognize businesses for their accomplishments, and bring companies together to learn from each other. For more information on the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council, visit