On May 14th, Racine, WI-based SC Johnson was honored by the World
Environment Center as the recipient of the 2015 Gold Medal for International
Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development.
This is a major award amongst large multi-national
companies, and only one company is recognized each year. SC Johnson became the second company to win
the award twice, after first receiving the award in 1994. Recipients from
recent years include Volkswagon Group, Unilever, IBM, and Wal-Mart Stores.
SC Johnson’s global renewable energy initiatives poster
With financial support from SC Johnson, I attended the event
in Washington, DC to help honor the company.
RENEW’s relationship with SC Johnson started about four years ago, when our
Program and Policy Director Michael Vickerman advised the company as it was
pursuing the installation of two wind turbines to help power Waxdale, one of
its major factories in Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin, near Racine.
CEO Fisk Johnson proudly supporting clean energy
Fisk Johnson, the 5th generation CEO of the family-owned
company, was on hand to receive the award.
“Reaching for that ideal of trust and goodwill is what motivates us at
SC Johnson, and it’s where we find our best answers and greatest
successes. This recognition today, which
I accept with great pride on behalf of all of the people in our company,
inspires us on even more.”
U.S. Representative Paul Ryan presented the award to Fisk
Johnson, and he highlighted their investment in renewable energy resources
including landfill gas and wind turbines. Ryan said, “If you drive by Waxdale,
you see a capped landfill with the methane running into the generators, along
with the two windmills, making sure that they are purely 100% sustainable for
their factory producing these wonderful products. That just shows you how committed this family
is, and this company is, to this mission.
It’s really impressive.”
To view (most of) Paul Ryan’s remarks, check out this video:
According to SC
Johnson, Waxdale produces an average of 100 percent of its electrical energy
onsite each year. Glade®,
Windex®, Pledge®, Scrubbing Bubbles®, Shout®, Raid® and OFF!®
are all among the trusted household products made at Waxdale.
Midwest Energy News interviews Dr. Jeff Thompson of Gundersen Health System. Dr. Thompson, who was a guest speaker at RENEW’s 2013 Policy Summit calls attention to the need to improve environmental health and sustainability in the healthcare sector.
By Bob Herman
Midwest Energy News: The White House event honored several diverse voices within healthcare sustainability. What were you able to learn from it?
Thompson: I was amazed by some of the stories that people had accomplished. Kizzy Charles-Guzman,
the young woman who is responsible for sustainability efforts in New
York City, came up to me and said, “It’s so amazing what you’ve done and
how close you are to your goals.” And I said, “Kizzy, I’m responsible
for a number of rural counties that have a population equal to one-tenth
of one of your boroughs!”
Even though we have accomplished a lot, I still learn from individuals like her. And I also enjoy working with Gary
and the Healthier Hospitals Initiative because of his ability to
encapsulate what the big picture is and where [healthcare] needs to go.
It is a great, free program for all hospitals that can give any
organization a starting point.
Gundersen’s plan to be energy independent in 2014 is one of
the most unique among U.S. hospitals and health systems. Can you give
some examples of how Gundersen is trying to reach this goal, and is it
saving your organization money along the way?
The first example I always use — because everyone worries it’s going
to take a huge amount of money — is conservation. Our first investment
was in conservation. I recommend all CEOs to go for this. In the first
year and a half, we spent $2 million. That’s a lot of money, but every
year thereafter, we’ve saved $1.2 million in energy expenditures related
to that activity. Right now, I don’t know anything in the organization
that can get that rate of return. When you say “conservation,” what did you and Gundersen focus on specifically?
We started with an energy audit. We looked around all the places
where we use energy — lights, motors, pumps, all the non-sexy things
people don’t think about when it comes to energy issues. For example,
there was a five-year-old, six-story outpatient building. It is very
busy during the days, but nobody is there at nights, weekends and
holidays. Its exhaust fans, though, were set to run 24/7/365. So we just
switched that to run only when people were in the building. We saved
$19,000 right there.
Cathy Stepp, Secretary, Department of Natural Resources, headed a ceremony to enroll Red Eye Brewing Co. brew pub and restaurant in the Wisconsin Green Tier program at the Tier 1 level last week Wednesday at Red Eye, Washington Street, Wausau. Red Eye has the distinction of becoming the first brew pub and restaurant in Wisconsin to achieve this status and the only Green Tier 1 business in Marathon County. Read last week’s press below and Cassandra Vinch’s article for WAOW to learn more.
To achieve enrollment, Red Eye had to demonstrate a satisfactory environmental record, commit to superior environmental performance and implement an Environmental Management System. Tier 1 is designed to encourage innovation, collaboration and new environmental goal setting.
According to Brett Danke, an owner, Red Eye has since it opened in May 2008 implemented an environmental policy and practiced sustainability efforts throughout its business operation. The company’s environmental record was documented in its Green Tier application. (Red Eye Environmental Policy follows).
According to the DNR, Green Tier Program legislation provides incentives such as regulatory flexibility and permit streamlining to environmentally responsible businesses. The law creates a program in which qualified businesses make legal commitments to superior environmental performance through contracts negotiated with the Department of Natural Resources. The businesses in exchange are allowed flexibility in how their environmental goals are achieved.
Ceremony in Shadow of Solar Panels
Sec. Stepp will present the Green Tier 1 enrollment certificate to Danke during ceremonies to be held in the shadow of the solar voltaic panels car port in the Red Eye parking lot. Alderperson Romey Wagner will speak on behalf of the City of Wausau. A reception and tour of Red Eye’s environmental business practices will follow.
Applications of its environmental policy most obvious to Red Eye visitors are the solar voltaic panels car port installed in June, solar water heating panels on the roof and waterless toilets in rest rooms. A conversion to all LED lighting was recently completed.
To reduce its carbon footprint, Red Eye purchases food ingredients locally and regionally, sends its spent brewing grains to local farmers for feed, uses recyclable containers for takeout foods, and serves beer only in glass mugs and glasses or refillable take away growlers. Excess baked goods are donated to a local food pantry.
Red Eye is located on a Metro Ride bus route. It promotes bicycle transportation by its guests. And it sponsors an adopt-a-highway cleanup effort.