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WEI 2022 Recap

WEI in 2022: A Defining Year Focused on Climate Change and Democracy

“We can have a clean economy that works for everyone, invests in innovation and rewards those who lead on creating a more just and sustainable world. By investing in clean energy, clean transportation, clean manufacturing, and natural carbon solutions while we green our infrastructure and electrify our building stock, we can address climate change and create a more resilient, vibrant, and thriving Wisconsin.”

“Each of us has a role to play to ensure free and fair elections. Anti-democracy efforts that weaken voting rights will only lead to a more extremely partisan and autocratic one-party rule that favors special interests at the expense of local businesses, workers, families, communities, and our environment.”

Here is a recap and highlights of WEI’s work in 2022:

A Defining Moment in the Fight Against Climate Change

WEI Co-founder & Director John Imes attended COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt as an NGO observer and delegate with the American Sustainable Business Network (ASBN). COP27 is the biggest climate event of the year and represents a defining moment in the fight against climate change. See John’s blog that was highlighted by WisPolitics/WisOpinion and ASBN.

Climate Fast Forward!

WEI worked with the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters and other climate and energy leaders to plan and organize Climate Fast Forward, a statewide event that brought together four hundred stakeholders to create the best solutions for Wisconsin. John and WEI Board member Tom Eggert led the Green Jobs & The New Economy Track that produced a background white paper  and guest column, New Wisconsin Economy Will Create Green Jobs published in The Capital Times, Wisconsin Examiner,,, and other media sources. Watch for the full Climate Fast Forward conference report early in 2023!

Climate Tech on The Road to COP 27

WEI attended a great VERGE 22 climate tech event as a follow up to Climate Fast Forward on the road to COP 27. Thousands of leaders — from business, government, NGOs, and startups — came together to address climate solutions across six strategic areas including clean energy, sustainable transportation, carbon removal, regenerative food systems, net-zero buildings, and tech entrepreneurship. See John’s recap.

A Big (Freaking) Green Deal!

This changes everything! The *Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will invest $369 billion in energy security and climate programs over the next ten years! “The time is right for Wisconsin to advance a more sustainable economy that works for all,” said WEI Co-founder & Director John Imes. “This historic climate legislation will make investments in energy security, such as wind, solar, and carbon reduction projects that provide multiple benefits, including clean energy generation/battery storage, emission reductions, plus deficit reduction and thousands of green jobs – the kind of family-supporting jobs that once anchored the American middle class.”

*WEI applauds the American Sustainable Business Network's efforts in support of the historic Inflation Reduction Act and advocacy on behalf of American businesses that support building a more sustainable, equitable, and inclusive economy. WEI Co-founder & Director John Imes serves on the ASBN Climate & Energy Working Group.

Wisconsin Clean Energy Plan!

John attended a great “Evening of Renewable Energy” event for Governor Tony Evers who announced the release of the first State of Wisconsin Clean Energy Plan. The state-wide plan provides a roadmap to transition Wisconsin to a clean energy economy that:

  • Achieves 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050
  • Creates more than 40,000 jobs by 2030
  • Meets the Paris Agreement Goals
  • Protects human and environmental health and ensures environmental justice

Read the Wisconsin Clean Energy Plan. “The Clean Energy Plan will help strengthen the middle class by creating family-supporting jobs in clean energy manufacturing while also reducing burdensome energy costs,” said John Imes, Co-founder and Director of Wisconsin Environmental Initiative. “We can move beyond our dependence on fossil fuels to reduce the power and influence of global oil markets, address climate change and create a more resilient and sustainable economy that works for all.”

Artful, Urban, Green-Built Community!

John joined Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) CEO Elmer Moore Jr., Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, former Council President Syed Mustajab Abbas, and other community members at the ribbon-cutting for Ella Apartments, a new landmark affordable housing community at the old site of Ella’s Deli in Madison. Congrats to New Year Investments for another great Green Built certified project!

Grun auf Deutsch

WEI co-sponsored a great Madison Freiburg Sister City event at Monona Terrace to welcome the Mayor of Freiburg, Germany, and his delegation to Madison. -- Freiburg is recognized as an international leading green city. In her welcome address, Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said that "This visit is an opportunity for us to exchange ideas and innovations for the benefit, not just of our cities, but of our planet as well."

As part of a state delegation to Germany in 2004, WEI led a group to Freiburg to see first-hand innovative solar housing developments and green infrastructure projects. See John Imes recap of the trip.

Badger Bounce Back!

John joined Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary-designee Kathy Koltin Blumenfeld, Wisconsin State Representative Shelia Stubbs, leaders from the City of Madison, Wisconsin State Government, and Monroe Street Merchants Association members to hear heartfelt stories from business owners about the challenges they faced during the pandemic and how state Badger Bounce Back grants helped them survive and recover!

Business for Democracy!

John joined business organizations and individuals, including Camille Carter of the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce, Mathias Lemos Castillo of the Latino Professionals Association, Inc., Dan Guerra Jr. of Altus Campus, and others to elevate the issue of democracy and the need to pass voting reforms in Congress to protect both our democracy and economy! See John’s guest column, "Thriving economy, improved environment need well-functioning democracy."

Lake Wingra Watershed Gathering!

WEI helped organize the Lake Wingra Watershed Gathering at Vilas Park featuring watershed presentations, family-friendly activities, and water stewardship practices that all could learn from! Thanks to the WATER Team and all the sponsors for pulling together a great community event!

Clean Energy Infrastructure for the 21st Century!

WEI attended a great Wisconsin Technology Council event highlighting NextGen Highways Coalition's effort to combine electric vehicle charging, broadband, and buried high-voltage DC transmission along highway rights-of-way to advance a 21st-century clean energy economy. Wisconsin is well positioned to lead the way with its regulatory siting and $7 billion in clean energy development planned over the next decade.

Leadership Needed to Expand EV Charging Network

Another Wisconsin Technology Council event featured the electric vehicle industry and related infrastructure. There, John highlighted the Wisconsin opportunity for first-mover, competitive advantage that benefits the state’s green economy, including our Travel Wisconsin "Green" brand, enhanced ability to attract and retain talent, and create jobs and investment within the emerging Wisconsin clean energy supply chain.

GreenBiz 22

WEI attended *GreenBiz 22 the premier event for sustainable business leaders, with more than 1,200 professionals, safe protocols, valuable connections, and over 60+ sessions including GreenBiz guru Joel Makower and Paul Polman (Net-Positive strategies), ESG and sustainable finance, climate policy making, regenerative agriculture, diversity, equity and inclusion and more!

*Special thanks to Wisconsin based SC Johnson for hosting and inviting John Imes to join an intimate evening discussion on the evolution of the sustainability agenda, with chief sustainability officers and executives from General Motors, Starbucks, Ocean Conservancy, Tyson Foods, GlobalScan, Persefoni, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and Forum for the Future.

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law!

WEI attended the *Infrastructure event featuring Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, DOT Secretary Craig Thompson, Jeff Stone (MMSD) discussing the potential to boost the trades, roads/bridges, water, transit, rail, green infrastructure, and clean energy manufacturing.

*Wisconsin should leverage its industrial heritage and manufacturing might to get a meaningful slice of the $8.6 billion in funding for clean energy manufacturing and workforce development under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law!

Badger Volunteers!

Many thanks to the Morgridge Center for Public Service Badger Volunteers for their great work with WEI in 2022 including a Wingra Boats tour of Lake Mendota shoreland best practices, visiting green infrastructure sites, touring the Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood Nature and History Trail, Green Built project certification site visits, solar light-string decorating of street lamp posts and learning opportunities along Monroe Street, plus visits to Bayview Foundation Inc., Garver Feed Mill, and Madison College built “right-sized” Tiny Homes.

WEI social media posts reached over 90,000 people in 2022 with 22 posts resulting in over 11,000 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.

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!

Annual Reports


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.

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