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About WEI

In January 1996, a diverse group of leaders came together to formally launch a new organization.  Bringing together business, government, and citizen groups to improve Wisconsin’s environment, economy and quality of life — Wisconsin Environmental Initiative was born.

The founders recognized that state and local governments, businesses, and environmental advocates often have more in common than in conflict. By bringing these groups together in programs, policy forums, and learning events, WEI focused on common values and ways to improve Wisconsin’s environment and economy.

Led by an energetic board and dedicated staff, the organization has held many policy forums over the years, covering diverse topics such as Doing Well by Doing Good, Green & Growing Strategies, Green Tier Advantage, WI Bioindustry, Quality Urban Development, Animal Agriculture, Energy and Environmental Policy, Shoreland Development, Green Building and Profit-Driven Environmental Management. World class speakers including, renowned architect Bill McDonough, Ray Anderson, CEO of Interface and green business guru Joel Makower have keynoted WEI's events and brought national and global perspectives to state concerns.

WEI's nationally recognized Green Built Home program, Main Street Green, and our work to develop sustainable tourism initiatives demonstrate that market based, affordable programs can help stakeholders evaluate their operations, set goals, and take specific actions towards environmental, social and economic sustainability.


WEI's Bold Year in 2017

Wisconsin needs a solid new direction — a green growth strategy that respects our heritage and tradition of environmental stewardship while embracing a more collaborative, practical and effective way forward. Here’s a recap and highlights of WEI’s work in 2017:

  • WEI Executive Director John Imes attended the GreenBiz Verge event to explore innovative clean energy policies, models, technologies, and infrastructure, and to identify actions needed to deliver on ambitious renewable energy goals. John also led a working group at the event’s Sustainable Tourism Summit for select stakeholders in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry.
  • John participated on a Climate Forward Update panel with colleagues from RENEW Wisconsin, Wisconsin Energy Institute, and WECC: Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation at The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters news and community event to highlight the latest about Wisconsin's gains, setbacks, and opportunities for a low carbon future. Visit here to see WisconsinEye coverage of the event.
  • WEI also serves on the Wisconsin Academy committee that convened a Local Government Summit held in Fond du Lac to share practical resources and explore emerging issues in local energy planning and resilience in Wisconsin communities. For more on this year’s Summit to be held April 23-24, 2018 in the Davies Center at UW-Eau Claire, please visit here.
  • John’s guest column: “Wisconsin needs to take the high road on Foxconn plan” was published in the Sunday WI State Journal, Milwaukee Business Journal and WisPolitics and WisBusiness news sources. The column generated significant social media coverage and was highlighted by the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) in Washington, DC for citing ASBC’S High Road Principles as a guide for employers who want to operate responsibly and “take care of their own.”
  • Working with Badger Volunteers from the Morgridge Center for Public Service, WEI developed and proposed a flexible parking design with removable bollards on Monroe Street. The concept was successfully piloted on Park(ing) Day at the 40th Annual Monroe Street Festival. The Monroe Street Green Meet N’ Eat display featured an innovative use of public space with temporary pop-up parks, innovative “green” street design and outside dining areas.
  • As a member of the Engagement Resource Team (ERT), WEI also worked with stakeholders to engage business focus groups, and identify pedestrian, bike, transit and green infrastructure opportunities for the proposed reconstruction of Monroe Street. The Greening of the Monroe Street effort is a way to showcase the potential of “green urbanism” and “green infrastructure” approaches in our community.
  • WHEDA awarded Low Income Housing Tax Credits to 26 multi-family projects with1,367 units statewide that will be built or remodeled to WEI's Green Built Home standards.
  • Executive Director, John Imes was appointed to A Greater Madison Vision, comprised of leaders in business, government, and non-profits from across the region.
  • John also participated in a panel featuring business and community perspectives, including representatives from Alliant Energy, Reynolds Transfer and Storage, Trek and Sand County Foundation. The forum on conservation issues was held by the Wisconsin Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology and sponsored by Sustain Dane.
  • For more on WEI, please visit our new website at The site features newly updated content and more responsive design for ease of navigation.
  • Want to support WEI? Make a fully tax-deductible contribution as an individual donor or join WEI as a sponsor. Also, be sure to "Like" and leave comments on our social media to let us know how we're doing.

Thanks to all of our partners and sponsors for another great year!


WEI 20th Anniversary Videos

WEI 20th Anniversary Video


Video of the WEI 20th Anniversary event at the Wisconsin Union Theater

See the Facebook photo album of the event, here.

Annual Reports


© 2018-12-10, All Rights Reserved.
Wisconsin Environmental Initiative

Wisconsin Environmental Initiative
16 North Carroll Street, Suite 840
Madison, WI 53703

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