Green Masters: A key to sustainability at Lawton

The Green Masters Program was created by the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council to challenge participating businesses to continuously improve their sustainability efforts. Continuous improvement is already a large part of the culture at The C.A. Lawton Co., and through the Green Masters Program, sustainability will be, too.

Participating Wisconsin companies fill out a questionnaire that covers nine areas, such as water conservation, utility conservation, community service, waste management and employee involvement in sustainability. The Wisconsin Sustainability Council uses this data to rank and classify these businesses. There are three classifications: the lowest tier is called Green Apprentice, the middle tier is Green Professional, and the top tier is Green Masters. Lawton is currently ranked at the Green Professional level.

The Green Masters program demonstrates the value a company places on the environment and sustainability to customers, employees, and other stakeholders. Each year, companies are challenged to work on additional initiatives to maintain or improve their rank and classification. Because the program’s criteria become harder to meet each year, businesses need to continually build on past efforts.

Companies participating in the Green Masters program are also classified and ranked within each industry. This means Lawton is compared to other industrial manufacturers. Other categories include services and restaurants. 

As a small company, initiatives such as installing charging stations for electric cars aren’t practical, but there are many other things we are doing to improve our sustainability and become Green Masters.

For example, we offer and promote carpooling options. We offer educational resources and training to help employees maximize their recycling efforts at work and at home. We ensure that employees know what can and can’t be recycled by frequently displaying recycling guides for their reference.

In addition, Lawton participates in the Adopt-a-Highway program, where employees get involved through cleaning up a section of state highway three times a year. Additionally, each year at our company picnic, employees are able to bring in old electronics such as televisions, phones, computers, and other e-waste, and Lawton pays to dispose of them correctly through an electronics recycler. This program keeps electronics containing mercury, copper, and other heavy metals from contaminating local landfills.

Lawton also uses an IMS or Integrated Management System that incorporates our environmental efforts with health, safety and quality because of the strong relationship between these variables. Each discipline is critical for an organization focused on sustainability.  

Lawton also participates in a program called beneficial reuse. This program allows our foundry to divert excess system sand from the landfill to DNR-approved fill projects. Examples of past projects include the use of excess sand as fill in the construction of the I-90 interchange, and to convert a pond into a parking lot for a local park. Our current project is using the excess sand as sub-fill for a farm expansion in Brown County.  We’re glad to be recycling this by-product of our production process and eliminating waste.

Other Lawton sustainability efforts include purchasing biodegradable plasticware for picnics and celebrations, and replacing Styrofoam coffee cups with ceramic coffee mugs. We are also evaluating the possibility of converting to compostable or recycled paper and plastic products within the company. Sustainability is defined as meeting present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Although it is a new concept at Lawton, our Lean culture, which focuses on eliminating waste, will guide our sustainability journey.

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