The Green ($) in Green

Had an opportunity along with several of our staff to attend the third annual Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council conference last week. It was held at Miron Construction in Neenah, and while it was just one day, it packed a pretty powerful learning punch.

We had the opportunity to hear from several Wisconsin companies that day about their approach to sustainability and what has driven them to pursue a wide range of “green” efforts. Companies like Johnson Controls, MillerCoors, SC Johnson, Briggs and Stratton, Lands End, Bassett Mechanical, and others. One company talked about installing hand dryers in the restrooms and saving $12,000/year on paper towels.  Another mentioned simple sanitation policies/practices that reduced sick time in their workforce by half.

They all, in one way or another, talked about the 3 Ps as drivers for sustainability efforts:  Payback, People, and Planet, and for organizations such as this, clearly in that order.  Regardless of what one’s personal view or values may be in this arena, these drivers make perfect sense for companies and organizations like ours.  There needs to be a return on investment (or payback) for these initiatives to fly; secondly, they are paying attention to the overall health of people–both employees and consumers; and as they put it, if in the end it’s a good thing for the environment (planet), great!

At this conference, I was very honored to accept on behalf of Fox Valley Technical College, the Council’s “Green Masters” award.  As the first college to receive this distinction, it is a testament to the wide range of sustainability efforts being undertaken by our staff.  It is those efforts that contributed to this recognition.  Fourteen Wisconsin companies earned the Green Masters designation in 2010 and FVTC was among them.  I’m certainly proud of the efforts of our staff and hope you are as well.

I would love to hear about other sustainable initiatives or paybacks on what others are doing in the way of sustainability. Anyone care to share?

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