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How to apply to become a Green Tier participant

Interested in applying for Green Tier? Green Tier offers three options for participation. All three options focus on using a systematic approach to achieving superior environmental performance. Participants can be individual businesses, or groups such as trade associations, or communities with common goals. Below you will find more information about different ways to participate. We encourage you to look through the descriptions to explore which option seems right for you.

Before you formally apply, let's talk through your goals and how we can assist you with the application process. When you are ready, please reach out to DNRGreenTier@wisconsin.gov to connect with a Green Tier project coordinator.

Tier 1 might be for you if you are looking to develop or utilize a system to improve your environmental footprint, become more sustainable and engage with the department. Tier 1 participants commit to having an environmental management system (EMS) in place within one year of joining Green Tier and annually auditing that system, including an external audit every third year.

Tier 2 is for companies that are actively driving their sustainability efforts with an environmental management system. Tier 2 participation provides additional opportunities for regulatory flexibilities and incentives, which are laid out in a participation contract with the DNR. Tier 2 participants must have an integrated EMS in place and commit to auditing that system annually with an external audit.

Charters provide a framework for groups with similar interests to work collaboratively with the department to address environmental issues and opportunities and further environmental goals. Charter participants can be businesses, supply chains, industry sectors, public sector entities or other groups. If you, or a group you're involved with would like to collaborate, a Green Tier Charter may be the fit for you.

Tier 1

Tier 1 is designed for companies who are looking to become more sustainable and manage their environmental footprint through an environmental management system (EMS). Participation in Tier 1 has many benefits, including:

  • A DNR hosted webpage, where your Green Tier documents, annual reports and sustainability successes are shared throughout your time in the program.
  • Matching with a Single Point of Contact from DNR who will help you work more efficiently with the department and improve your environmental footprint.
  • Use of the Green Tier logo in marketing efforts.
  • Deferred civil enforcement and the lowest allowable inspection frequency.
Eligibility

Tier 1 applicants must not have any convictions or criminal violations from the Wisconsin Department of Justice. This includes the following enforcement issues against the applicant, any managing operator of the applicant, or any person with a 25% or more ownership interest in the applicant:

  • Within 60 months before the application date no judgement of conviction was entered for criminal violations involving a covered facility or activity that resulted in substantial harm to public health or the environment or that presented an imminent threat to public health or the environment.
  • Within 36 months before the date of application no civil judgement was entered for a violation involving a covered facility or activity that resulted in substantial harm to public health or the environment.
  • Within 24 months before the date of application the Department of Justice has not filed a suit to enforce an environmental requirement, and the Department of Natural Resources has not issued a citation to enforce an environmental requirement because of a violation involving a covered facility or activity.

For more information on Green Tier applicant eligibility, check the "Tier 1" tab on the Green Tier frequently asked questions.

If you are unsure or want to better understand your compliance status, we have a program for participants to voluntary bring in a third-party to conduct an assessment. Although not a requirement of Green Tier participation, Enviro-Check helps businesses proactively verify they are meeting environmental requirements, while limiting liability for those working in good faith to investigate and correct violations.

Tier 1 application process

If you feel that you would make a good Tier 1 participant, please continue below for more information on the Tier 1 application process.

  • Talk with us – to determine if Tier 1 is the right fit for you! Please email us at DNRGreenTier@wisconsin.gov to connect with a Green Tier project coordinator.
  • Application Instructions - Use the application instructions (CO-501) to learn how to complete the required submittals.
  • Application Form – The Green Tier Application is easy to complete and includes templates for the required attachments. To complete the fillable PDFs, you must first download the files (found below) and save them to your computer. Then open the files with Adobe Reader. Please note that some web browsers do not download PDF files on their own. Internet Explorer is recommended. For more assistance with PDFs, see the DNR's PDF help page.
  • Attachments – Complete the attachments that are required to be submitted with the base application form (4800-022).
  • Submit – Send the completed documents to DNRGreenTier@Wisconsin.gov.
  • Public Comment Period - The DNR puts out a news release announcing a 30-day comment period for the public to give input about your application for Tier 1.

Once accepted into the program, you will work with the DNR to decide how you would like to celebrate joining Green Tier. Participants often times host an event at their facility celebrating their entrance into the program and commitment to continuous environmental improvements!

For even more information on Green Tier participation, check the Green Tier frequently asked questions.

Tier 2

Tier 2 participants represent the truly exceptional companies that are committed to going above and beyond with their environmental performance. Tier 2 is designed for companies with an integrated environmental management system and have demonstrated a track record of environmental achievements. Tier 2 participants are committed to achieving superior environmental performance by meeting environmental goals and objectives described in a participation contract with the DNR. The contract offers opportunities for additional flexibilities and incentives that are proportional to their environmental achievements. . In addition, Tier 2 participants commit to externally auditing their EMS every year.

Participation in Tier 2 has many benefits, including:

  • A DNR hosted webpage, where your company's Green Tier documents, Annual Reports and sustainability successes are shared throughout your time in the program.
  • Matching with a Single Point of Contact from DNR who will help you work more efficiently with the department and improve your environmental footprint.
  • Use of the Green Tier logo in marketing efforts.
  • Deferred civil enforcement and the lowest allowable inspection frequency.
  • Regulatory flexibilities and incentives proportional to the environmental goals and objectives met in your participation contract with the DNR.
Eligibility

Tier 2 applicants must not have any convictions or criminal violations from the Wisconsin Department of Justice. This includes the following enforcement issues against the applicant, any managing operator of the applicant, or any person with a 25% or more ownership interest in the applicant:

  • Within 120 months before the application date no judgement of conviction was entered for criminal violations involving a covered facility or activity that resulted in substantial harm to public health or the environment or that presented an imminent threat to public health or the environment.
  • Within 60 months before the date of application no civil judgement was entered for a violation involving a covered facility or activity that resulted in substantial harm to public health or the environment.
  • Within 24 months before the date of application the Department of Justice has not filed a suit to enforce an environmental requirement, and the Department of Natural Resources has not issued a citation to enforce an environmental requirement because of a violation involving a covered facility or activity.

For more information on Green Tier applicant eligibility, check the "Tier 2" tab on the Green Tier frequently asked questions.

If you are unsure or want to better understand your compliance status, we have a program for participants to voluntary bring in a third-party to conduct an assessment. Though not a requirement of Green Tier participation, Enviro-Check helps businesses proactively verify they are meeting environmental requirements, while limiting liability for those working in good faith to investigate and correct violations.

Tier 2 application process

If you feel that you would make a good Tier 2 participant, please continue below for more information on the application process.

  • Talk with us – to determine if Tier 2 is the right fit for you! Please email us at DNRGreenTier@wisconsin.gov to connect with a Green Tier project coordinator.
  • Submit a Letter of Intent - To apply for Tier 2 participation, you first submit a letter of intent to the Department. In addition to all necessary application documents, a complete letter of intent needs to include:
    • a list of stakeholders interested in your environmental performance;
    • an outline of the regulatory flexibilities you are seeking through a Tier 2 contract; and,
    • an outline of the environmental goals you will achieve in exchange for those regulatory flexibilities.
  • Application Instructions - Use the application instructions (CO-501) to learn how to complete the required submittals.
  • Application Form - The Green Tier Application is easy to complete and includes templates for the required attachments. To complete the fillable PDFs, you must first download the files (found below) and save them to your computer. Then open the files with Adobe Reader. Please note that some web browsers do not download PDF files on their own. Internet Explorer is recommended. For more assistance with PDFs, see the DNR's PDF help page.
  • Attachments - Complete the attachments that are required with the base application form (4800-022).
  • Submit – Send the completed documents to DNRGreenTier@Wisconsin.gov.
  • First Comment Period - The DNR puts out a news release announcing a 30-day comment period for the public to give input about your letter of intent to join Tier 2.
  • Draft Participation Contract – We work with you to draft your participation contract for Tier 2. This is where you can leverage regulatory flexibilities, or utilize special permitting, like the ROP-G.
  • Second Comment Period - When the contract is written, the contract will be noticed for another 30-day public comment period. During this time, public informational meetings may take place and any comments received are considered in the acceptance decision.

Once accepted into the program, you will work with the DNR to decide how you would like to celebrate joining Green Tier. Participants often times host an event at their facility celebrating their entrance into the program and commitment to continuous environmental improvements!

For even more information on Green Tier participation, check the Green Tier frequently asked questions.

Charter

Looking to work collaboratively with the Department and other stakeholders to address environmental issues and opportunities? A Green Tier Charter may be the fit for you!

Charters provide a framework for groups with similar interests, businesses, supply chains, industry sectors, public sector entities or other groups to work collaboratively with the Department to address environmental issues and opportunities and further environmental goals.

If this sounds like you or organizations you work with, see below for more information on existing Green Tier Charters, or the process for creating a new Green Tier Charter.

Existing Charters

There are currently several Green Tier Charters. Charters vary amongst industry sectors and sustainability opportunities. If you are looking to collaborate with the Department and industry leaders across the state, these Green Tier Charters may be of interest to you:

Are you a municipality or county? Green Tier Legacy Communities Charter exists to help municipalities and counties go further and faster towards their sustainability goals.

Are you a building contractor? Clear Waters Charter assists contractors in achieving best management practices with runoff and erosion control.

Do you work in the wood products or forestry industry? There are several forestry and wood products charters that may interest you. Check out the Wisconsin Urban Wood, Wisconsin Consulting Foresters and Wisconsin Master Logger Charters.

Are you in the Printing Sector? The Printing Industry Charter helps printers minimize their environmental footprint and maximize their green bottom line.

If you do not see yourself fitting any of these descriptions, perhaps forming a new Green Tier Charter is the path for you.

New Charters

Groups of organizations looking to formalize their efforts around an environmental issue or opportunity may create a new Green Tier Charter. If you'd like to talk to someone about the possibilities that Green Tier participation holds for you, please send an email to GreenTier@wisconsin.gov.

More information on current applicants is available.