In recognition of World Water Day 2024, the Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR) network is excited to announce the founding corporate partners of the Great Lakes Water Innovation and Stewardship Exchange, or Great Lakes WISE. Founding corporate partners include A.O. Smith Corporation, Sloan, Veolia North America, Watts Water Technologies, and BlueTriton Brands.

Great Lakes WISE, administered by the CGLR Foundation in the United States and the CGLR Canada Foundation and supported by The Water Council, a Milwaukee-based global water hub, is a forum for accelerating corporate sustainability performance, advancing water innovation, and strengthening water stewardship across the region, North America’s economic engine and the guardian of 20% of the planet’s surface freshwater as well as a vast but finite supply of water in underground reservoirs.

The water challenges and opportunities facing every sector in the Great Lakes region are unique. Great Lakes WISE is dedicated to identifying best practices and solutions to the enterprise water risks faced by businesses, universities, utilities, and other stakeholders on both sides of the national border. It is also bringing these interests together to help address the watershed protection challenges we face in a region increasingly impacted by a rapidly changing climate, development, and the loss of nature.

Partners and collaborators of Great Lakes WISE share a vision that the region continues to thrive, with clean, resilient, and plentiful fresh water that sustains its people, its businesses, and its natural heritage, and that fresh water is used responsibly with forward-looking management that strengthens the region’s economy, supports sustainable business, and ensures the Great Lakes and their watersheds are protected.

Great Lakes WISE is linking local and regional water issues and solutions to global conversations. Any business, university or utility headquartered or operating in the bi-national Great Lakes economic region that shares this vision and sense of responsibility towards the Great Lakes is invited to engage and join Great Lakes WISE in its efforts.

Quotes: “While vast, the Great Lakes freshwater system is a finite resource, and the region’s other water resources are equally precious. The region’s future, as a result, depends on the smart and thoughtful management of its water resources,” said Lora Shrake, Senior Program Director, Business and Sustainability, CGLR Foundation. “CGLR is proud to be working with the enterprising business leaders and cross-sector stakeholders of Great Lakes WISE to facilitate knowledge exchange and collective action in advancing effective water sustainability solutions that will help conserve and safeguard freshwater in the region for future generations.”

“As climate change impacts regional water challenges like quality, runoff and aging infrastructure, our freshwater resources become even more precious to all sectors of society,” said Dean Amhaus, President and CEO, The Water Council. “We are excited to be part of a group of visionary organizations committed to protecting the Great Lakes through stewardship and sustainable practices that focus on the unique attributes of these water bodies.”

Noelle Brigham, ESG Director, A.O. Smith Corporation said, “As an innovative water technology company headquartered in the Great Lakes Region, A. O. Smith is committed to understanding and addressing water risks and challenges. As such, it is critical that we work closely with like-minded companies to be a powerful thought leader and change maker around water stewardship.”

“Water stewardship and sustainability are at the foundation of everything we do at Sloan,” said Paul Sambanis, Vice President of Sustainability, Sloan. “We are proud to be a founding member of the Great Lakes Water Innovation and Stewardship Exchange to continue these efforts, and look forward to working with our fellow partners to raise awareness about freshwater, reduce water footprints, and ensure clean and reliable water for the Great Lakes and surrounding communities.”

“We are excited to continue our water stewardship journey as founding corporate partner of WISE especially as we have expanded our presence in the Great Lakes region with our recent acquisitions of Bradley Corporation and Josam,” said Kenneth R. Lepage, General Counsel and Chief Sustainability Officer, Watts Water Technologies.

“Veolia works in numerous communities on the shores of the Great Lakes, and across the region, to ensure the sustainability of water resources for millions of people. The Council of the Great Lakes Region does vital work to advance this goal and it is a privilege to support this project,” said Brian Bruce, president of Veolia’s Central Region municipal water business. “The health of the Great Lakes is absolutely critical to the vitality of the whole region, and Veolia is committed to our role as a partner in this mission.”

“BlueTriton Brands is proud to be a founding member of Great Lakes WISE,” said Ed Ferguson, Chief Sustainability Officer, BlueTriton Brands. “Every day we are working to protect drinking water to help make sure it’s safe and available through water stewardship, monitoring, and investing in water infrastructure. As a member, we are excited to build upon our long legacy of partnering with local communities who share our passion for water and stewardship.”

About the Council of the Great Lakes Region:
CGLR is a network of organizations comprising the CGLR Foundation, CGLR USA, CGLR Canada, and CGLR Canada Foundation that is accelerating the regional transition to a sustainable future by uniquely bringing diverse perspectives and interests together to explore and solve our socioeconomic and environmental challenges as one North American Great Lakes region in order to create the first sustainable region in North America and the world. Learn more at Contact: Lora Shrake, Senior Program Director, Business and Sustainability, Council of the Great Lakes Region,