UW Credit Union Attains Green Master Status for 4th Consecutive Year
Landfill waste reduction and geothermal technology energy savings among 2020 milestones
The Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council has named UW Credit Union a Green Master Level within its Green Masters Program for the fourth consecutive year. Recognizing sustainable actions by businesses across Wisconsin, the Green Masters program works to identify businesses that have taken at least one action within each of the nine pillars of sustainability.
2020 marks the first calendar year following the introduction of top-of-the-line geothermal technology in UW Credit Union’s Excelsior administration building and Fish Hatchery branch location. To date, the new system is creating an energy savings of 35 percent. Additional 2020 highlights include adding integrated on-demand water heaters to new branch locations, increasing carbon offset through local partnerships, and diverting approximately 50 percent of waste from landfills through expanded composting and recycling efforts.
UW Credit Union’s 20-person Green Team encourages sustainable behavior throughout the organization and the community. Since the inception of its Green Team in 2008, UW Credit Union has taken several steps to curb its carbon footprint, including purchasing renewable energy credits from Midwest companies that generate power from solar, wind and biomass. The local lender is also active with Madison BCycle and Milwaukee’s Bublr Bikes, offering free annual membership for employees and discounted rates to members. In just the second quarter of 2020, UW Credit Union’s B Cycle sponsorship resulted in more than 9,366 lbs. of carbon offset. UW Credit Union also continues to redirect water runoff from roofs and parking lots to bio-retention basins and subterranean infiltration beds, reducing the need for irrigation.
“Being recognized as one of Wisconsin’s sustainability leaders is no small feat, said Paul Kundert, president and CEO at UW Credit Union. “This distinction is a testament to our amazing Green Team, as well as 700-plus employees who help us achieve ambitious sustainability goals every year. From small steps, like recycling office supplies and supporting our recent switch to organic, fair-trade coffee to larger undertakings, like opting for green transportation or donating to advocacy organizations like Milwaukee Riverkeeper, this is a shared win.”
As the ongoing pandemic prompts an extended work-from-home status for many, UW Credit Union’s Green Team continues to get creative when identifying new ways to engage employees. In addition to hosting four adopt-a-highway volunteer events, a series of “Shred It” events enabled the team to divert 6,500 lbs. of paper, the equivalent of saving approximately 60 trees, from local landfills this year. The team also participated in a variety of virtual Sustain Dane events and hosted a virtual lunch and learn with Madison Gas and Electric on their shared solar program.
The Green Masters Program is an objective, points-based recognition, assessment and certification program that enables Wisconsin businesses of all sizes and from any sector to join a group of like-minded companies working towards sustainability. The program has established three levels of participation: Green Apprentice, Green Professional, and Green Master. UW Credit Union joined the program as a Green Master in 2017. Each year at the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council Conference, the current top 20 percent of companies that applied during the calendar year are identified and recognized as the Green Masters level companies.
UW Credit Union also partnered with the Ethical and Responsible Business Network this year to review current sustainability efforts (e.g., recycling, energy efficiency, renewable power, water and paper reduction, composting, etc.). and provide guidance for enhanced engagement.
About UW Credit Union
UW Credit Union is a growing, federally insured financial institution and a leading provider of a full range of financial services to University of Wisconsin communities. UW Credit Union's over 730 employees serve the financial needs of more than 275,000 members through world-class technology systems, and through a convenient network of 28 branch locations and over 100 ATMs. With assets exceeding $4 billion, UW Credit Union is ranked nationally among the leading credit unions. Founded 89 years ago by members of the University of Wisconsin community, UW Credit Union continues to operate as a not-for-profit, member-owned financial cooperative with locations in the Madison, Milwaukee, Stevens Point, Green Bay, Oshkosh, Whitewater and La Crosse areas.
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