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Staying Resilient in 2020

"We can recover from these challenging times, but only if we bridge the divide in our politics and work together to lay a foundation of high-road progressive policies and practices that take better care of our local businesses, workers, families and communities. Indeed, isn’t that what making the economy work for all is all about?" — John Imes

Here is a recap and highlights of WEI’s work in 2020:

Executive Director John Imes guest column: Making the Economy Work for All highlights WEI's work with the American Sustainable Business Council national working group to address COVID-19 and lay the groundwork for a stronger, more sustainable and resilient recovery. *See the group's report: From Crisis to Opportunity: Recommendations for State & Local Governments

WEI sponsored and helped organize the "Earth Day: The Next 50 Years" virtual event that featured remarks by Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change, and state Rep. Mike Kuglitsch, R-New Berlin, chair of the Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities, and a member of the task force. Executive Director John Imes joined the panel discussion focused on environmental, conservation, transportation, and business trends over the next 50 years. Watch the event.

WEI attended Green Biz 20, the premier annual event for sustainability leaders with 1,500 professionals representing leading companies, government, and NGOs to explore new directions, make connections, share successes and find more effective ways to advance policymaking and climate solutions. WisPolitics/WisBusiness highlighted John’s blog about the event for readers statewide.

"These are extraordinary times, the defining decade where we finally show a sense of urgency that “business as usual” is no longer an option. The world is demanding solutions to the climate crisis; our young people are demanding bold action...what will our answer be? Each of us has a role to play and a responsibility to act. What will your role be?" — John Imes

Executive Director John Imes spoke with students from the UW–Madison Ethical and Responsible Business Network – ERBN about Triple Bottom Line strategies and the need for a sense of urgency to change “business as usual” and “politics as usual”.

John is also a member of the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) Climate & Energy Working Group and attended the ASBC– Social Venture Circle Virtual Conference “Remaking & Revitalizing the Economy”. ASBC led a year-long effort to outline the major crises the nation now faces, from racism to climate meltdown, and prepared a 100-page blueprint (Creating an Economic System That Works For All) for business leaders and elected officials at all levels to learn from and implement.

“As we look to build back better in the wake of COVID-19, our racial reckoning and the need for solutions to address climate change, we have the opportunity and responsibility to advance public policies and find better ways to work together to create a more just, equitable, sustainable, inclusive and resilient future that works for all”. — John Imes

WEI Is Still All In: In the 5 years since the Paris Agreement was adopted, over 4,000 U.S. cities, states, tribal nations, businesses, and others have stepped up to keep our country advancing towards “Americas Pledge on Climate.” Now, it’s time to go all in.

“As we continue to deal with a public health crisis, a struggling economy and racial injustice, we must also look to the looming threat of the climate crisis,” said John Imes, Executive Director of WEI. “In our commitment to addressing climate, WEI is Still All In and we look forward to doing our part to push for bold action that includes supporting the Governor's Task Force on Climate Change Report and working to create an economy that works for all.”

The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) new scoring criteria for multifamily projects will increase the Green Built Home standard score from 150 to 200 points or more, increasing the positive economic, social and environmental impact of affordable housing projects statewide. Certified projects in 2020 totaled over 2,500 homes and WHEDA low-income housing units built or remodeled to WEI’s Green Built Home standards.

Our work with the UW Madison Morgridge Center for Public Service Badger Volunteers was limited in 2020 due to COVID-19, but we still managed to get out and volunteer for Monroe Street Green initiatives including the holiday decoration of over three dozen lamp posts along Monroe Street with evergreens, bows and festive solar light strings donated by WEI. Executive Director John Imes also serves on the Monroe Street Merchants Association Board.

WEI served on the planning committee for Wisconsin Business Leadership Roundtable 2020 — A visionary virtual conference to kickstart a dialogue about business leading on climate change in today’s transformative times. The event featured keynotes by Tom Boldt, CEO of the Boldt Company and Jeff Thompson, CEO Emeritus of Gundersen Health Systems, plus panel experts on navigating the way forward.

WEI social media posts reached over 220,000 people in 2020 with 26 posts resulting in over 20,000 link clicks or post engagements. Check out WEI’s Facebook page and be sure to "Like" and leave comments on our social media to let us know how we're doing.

Need a plug? Who doesn't these days? Pass along your news and updates here, so WEI can spread the word about your successes to our followers.

For more on WEI, please visit our website.

Want to support WEI? Please make a fully tax-deductible contribution as an individual donor or join WEI as a sponsor.

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

WEI 20th Anniversary Video


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