Employees, Customers and Communities

Twenty-five years ago, a small, informal group of MGE employees concerned about the environment laid the groundwork for something much greater. Their efforts evolved into a successful companywide effort to make environmentally responsible choices at work. From establishing a vehicle idling policy to expanding recycling efforts, MGE's employee-led Green Team has helped the company achieve milestones in corporate sustainability and responsibility.

Sustainability Steering Team

Today, our Green Team remains active and strong with a new structure and focus on advancing our history of sustainable practices.

In 2018, MGE formed a Sustainability Steering Team. The goal is to ensure we are taking a more global approach in proactively growing our culture of sustainability throughout MGE.

The Sustainability Steering Team will oversee our Environmental Management System (EMS). It also will support external sustainability engagement and benchmarking such as our participation in the Green Tier and Green Masters programs. And, having team members from departments across the company will be a more efficient way to gather data for our voluntary sustainability reporting efforts.

Continuous Improvement Sustainability Teams

The Sustainability Steering Team will review, evaluate and prioritize continuous improvement opportunities. The group also will commission continuous improvement teams to take on specific improvement initiatives and tasks.

First team making progress

The first Continuous Improvement Sustainability Team is charged with overseeing the expansion of our EMS to cover all of MGE's operations. Currently, the EMS focuses only on Blount Generating Station.

Building and implementing an expanded EMS is a major undertaking that requires a great deal of up-front documentation. The team is making great progress on the required documentation for the EMS and has identified an environmental risk assessment process.

The team also proposed improvements to our environmental policy. A new, updated version of our companywide Environmental and Sustainability policy is available on the main page of this report.

Wisconsin Monarch Collaborative

Monarch butterflies face many risks that are causing a serious decline in their populations. According to the Wisconsin Monarch Collaborative, in the last 20 years, the eastern North American monarch butterfly population has declined by 90%.


One of the biggest impacts on the monarch population is the loss of habitat for breeding, migrating and overwintering. Pesticides used to control insects and weeds also have harmful consequences for monarchs. The loss of habitat is forcing changes in migratory patterns.

Created in 2017, the Wisconsin Monarch Collaborative is working to create and implement a statewide monarch conservation strategy that covers habitat creation and enhancement, education and outreach, and research and monitoring. MGE is proud to be a part of the Wisconsin Monarch Collaborative.

Importance of pollinators

In addition to monarchs, MGE also is working to help protect pollinators. pollinators play an important role in ensuring that the fruits, vegetables and other plant products we eat make it to our tables. One out of every three bites of food we eat is because of pollinators.

Pollinating animals travel from plant to plant carrying pollen on their bodies in a vital interaction that allows plants to create fruit, nuts and other edible parts. The vast majority of pollinators in the United States are insects such as bees, butterflies, moths, beetles and even some wasps. Other pollinators include birds, bats and other small mammals.

Support for pollinator habitat

Utilities are in a unique position to help support pollinator habitat. They can protect existing habitat and create new habitat along rights-of-way and on other owned facilities. MGE's large-scale solar projects in development will host pollinator habitat.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently working with utilities to draft conservation agreements to protect the monarch butterfly. These conservation agreements would help the monarch and other pollinator species while allowing utilities to continue to maintain and upgrade their facilities.

We are exploring how a conservation agreement might fit at MGE. We already actively protect the rusty patched bumble bee by supporting the replacement of habitat when we install and maintain our electric and gas lines.

National Pollinator Week at MGE


MGE employees helped celebrate National Pollinator Week by planting wildflowers in two flower beds at our downtown Madison campus. We worked with the University of Wisconsin-Extension to plant native wildflowers that will help attract bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects.

At a pollinator open house, employees had a chance to win a mason bee home built by one of their coworkers, get gardening tips, see and learn about a monarch caterpillar and take home some butterfly weed seeds. Butterfly weed plants provide critical habitat for monarch butterflies.

The buzz about mason bees

group gathered for bees

Mason bees have pollinator power with a 95% pollination rate versus a 5% pollination rate for honeybees. Mason bees are very solitary and do not live in hives or swarm.

Compared to other bees, mason bees rarely sting, making them a great addition to garden areas. MGE will have two mason bee homes near the wildflower pollinator gardens planted by employees.

Employee engagement and development

The energy world is ever-changing. We believe it is important to engage our employees as our industry evolves. MGE is committed to sustainable workforce practices such as career development and training.

Professional development opportunities

MGE offers all employees the opportunity to learn and grow–whether it is to become more proficient in their job, improve decision-making skills or prepare for a move to another role. Our employees have the tools available to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to grow and to be successful.

MGE Learning Center

The Learning Center is an online resource available to all MGE employees. Launched in 2017, this cloud-based tool contains a vast library of courses for online learning. It recommends training courses for employees based on the courses they've already taken and subjects in which they have shown interest, and it provides a transcript of courses they have taken in The Learning Center as well as corporate training they attend.

The Learning Center is constantly updated with courses relevant to MGE employees. This helps ensure employees are equipped with the knowledge and skills to effectively navigate our changing industry.

Informational sessions for employees

Informational brown bags, or lunch-and-learn types of sessions, are one of the ways MGE employees are informed of industry trends and changes and the impacts these may have on MGE.

Three to four times a year, members of MGE's executive team host informal employee discussion sessions. These "brown bag" sessions are designed for the executive management to provide company and industry updates to employees and to answer employee questions on topics relating to the business or industry. These sessions also provide the executives with an opportunity to ask employees questions about their experiences and get direct insights into issues facing the company and industry. These engagement opportunities are held in multiple locations with employees in both our corporate office and field reporting sites.

Other informational sessions for employees take place throughout the year on a variety of topics, often organized by different departments. For example, each spring and fall MGE's Energy Supply and Trading department hosts an Energy Marketplace Update session for interested employees. The one-hour events provide seasonal updates on what is happening in the energy marketplace. They examine the current supply/demand fundamentals and how those may impact energy prices.

Customer engagement

As your community energy company, we seek to engage all our customers in many different ways. MGE values the diversity of perspectives across our service territory. We are committed to deepening our engagement efforts to reach shared energy goals and to improve the health and vitality of our community.

Supporting our neighborhoods

Vibrant neighborhoods–and the active neighborhood associations that serve them–contribute to the quality of life in our community. Throughout the Madison area, festivals and community activities like concerts, picnics and potlucks help neighborhood associations raise funds for important local projects and provide community-driven, family-friendly activities.

Jillian Page showing off EV

MGE has been a longtime partner to many of the neighborhood associations across our service territory. Sponsoring events and staffing booths with our energy experts allow us to meet customers where they are to provide energy efficiency tips and information on driving and charging electric vehicles and to discuss how programs such as Green Power Tomorrow and Shared Solar are convenient and effective ways for customers to support the growth of clean energy.

Engaging customers through workshops

In fall 2018, as winter heating season approached, MGE conducted a targeted engagement effort to help educate customers about managing their energy use and to make them aware of energy assistance resources.

Working with community centers, churches and nonprofits, our energy experts visited neighborhoods to talk one-on-one with customers to learn about their needs. From there, we set up workshops for residents. At the workshops, MGE and a local nonprofit provided tips and strategies for conserving energy, helped attendees navigate our websites to find conservation information and connect to local resources, and gave attendees free kits from Focus on Energy, Wisconsin's statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program.

Madison Night Market

Madison night market EV

In keeping with our approach of "meeting customers where they are," MGE supports and sponsors many community events, which give us an opportunity to connect with customers and serve as a community energy resource.

In 2019, the Madison Night Market returned for a third year with help from MGE. The popular summertime, open-air market features food, live music, local arts and fresh produce.

Members of MGE's Residential and Community Services and Commercial and Industrial Marketing teams were on hand at the markets scheduled between May and September, bringing our all-electric Chevy Bolt and a display about electric vehicles (EVs). Customers are able to learn about the environmental benefits of EVs and how MGE can help them charge an EV using clean energy.

Día de Fútbol

Dia de Futbol

Día de Fútbol has become an annual event each fall at Madison's Breese Stevens Field. The partnership among MGE, the Madison Mallards organization, Forward Madison FC and La Movida Radio provides the community a chance to enjoy free youth soccer clinics and scrimmages, food, music and information from MGE's energy experts. From electric and natural gas safety to energy efficiency tips and EVs, families have an opportunity to interact face-to-face with our energy experts and get answers to their energy-related questions.

Giving back to our community

MGE's commitment to those we serve extends far beyond reliable energy. We are committed to helping to improve the quality of life for all of those we serve. We contribute to and help to better our community in three different ways.

The MGE Foundation

Established in 1967, the MGE Foundation is our philanthropic arm. Support from the Foundation helps our local organizations improve lives today and the lives of future generations by working to preserve long-term health and vitality of our community. In the last five years, the Foundation has given more than $5.2 million to more than 400 community organizations. In 2018 alone, the Foundation contributed to more than 175 local organizations. This charitable giving includes support for local organizations dedicated to environmental initiatives.

MGE corporate giving

YWCA goals

MGE collaborates and works together with hundreds of organizations to provide service, help improve lives, tackle challenges and seize opportunities facing our community. We partner with local stakeholders in a variety of ways to advance shared goals and initiatives.

Our employees' volunteerism and service

Our dedicated employees embody what it means to serve as your community energy company. Outside of their jobs at MGE, they play active roles in helping improve our community. Many of our more than 700 employees volunteer on local boards and committees and as members of economic development and nonprofit organizations.

MGE Annual Report on Giving

MGE publishes an Annual Report on Giving, which highlights some of the ways in which we give, partner and work to support the communities we are privileged to serve. Our full report on annual giving is available at mge.com/Foundation.


For the third year in a row in 2019, MGE hosted about 50 middle school students participating in STEAM Camp activities. STEAM Camp is a weeklong event held at sites across Madison to help raise awareness of educational pathways that lead to careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM).


MGE employees helped STEAM Camp participants learn how MGE uses the sun to make electricity and how we keep the lights on and the gas flowing. They also got an up-close look at EV charging technology and learned about STEAM careers in the utility industry.

Strang Architects of Madison partners with the Urban League of Greater Madison to bring STEAM Camp to MGE and other local organizations.

MGE Career Ambassadors

Career Ambassadors

Eight Madison high school students spent six weeks at MGE over summer 2019 as the fourth class of students in MGE's Career Ambassador Program. MGE partners with the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County, Centro Hispano, 100 Black Men of Madison and the Urban League of Greater Madison to host the student interns. The students learn about the utility business and utility-related career opportunities. They also gain experience in interpersonal and professional skills.

KidWind Challenge

Kid Wind

MGE sponsored the second annual Wisconsin KidWind Challenge in 2019. Teams of middle and high school students from throughout the state competed in a hands-on wind turbine design competition for a chance to compete in a national competition. Students designed, built and tested a functional, creative wind turbine. They also documented and presented their design and construction process. The highlight of the event was testing their turbines in a powerful 4-foot-tall wind tunnel.

United Way

United Way
Employee-led activities like the bake sale contribute to MGE's support of the United Way organization.

MGE is a longtime supporter of the United Way of Dane County. Its extensive reach helps our customers and broader community. The United Way works toward lasting change, sharing MGE's goal of making our community a better place to live, work and enjoy.

MGE consistently ranks among the top 10 companies in total donations to the United Way. In 2018, our generous employees and retirees gave more than $163,000 to the Dane County campaign. We were recognized for our 2018 campaign efforts with a United Way Community Impact Award. This award honors MGE and its employees for their commitment to building a strong community where everyone can succeed in school, work and life.

MGE employees also serve on various United Way boards, committees and Leadership Giving groups, helping to set the direction and address the needs facing the community.

Madison becomes a "Kiva City"

A healthy economy contributes to a healthy community.

In early 2019, Kiva Greater Madison launched. MGE, the City of Madison, Doyenne, an organization that supports female entrepreneurs, and the Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation partnered to bring a local chapter of the international non-profit organization to the Madison area. Known globally, Kiva has been empowering entrepreneurs through crowd-funded microloans since 2005.

Kiva is an option for those with less access to a traditional bank loan due to lower credit scores, lack of credit history or loan amounts that are too small for a bank to consider. A majority of Kiva loans go to women, people of color, immigrants, veterans and lower-income individuals.

We see Kiva as a way to support underserved entrepreneurs in the Madison area. This unique program enables entrepreneurs and small businesses that would otherwise be excluded from traditional financial capital to move their business idea forward and start down a path of self-sustainability.

The MGE Foundation contributed to a three-year pilot project to make the Madison area a Kiva City.

Support for biotech start-ups

MGE and its philanthropic arm, the MGE Foundation, are helping to advance the next generation of innovation by supporting Forward BIOLABS.

With the goal of helping life science start-up companies succeed, the incubator provides fully equipped and supported lab space. The model eliminates the need for these emerging companies to lease, equip and operate their own labs.


Forward BIOLABS also facilitates interactions among members, lab service providers, investors, industry and academia.

A longtime partner in advancing innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the Madison area, MGE in 1989 partnered with University of Wisconsin-Madison affiliate University Research Park, where Forward BIOLABS is now located, to establish the MGE Innovation Center. The Center helps early-stage companies cultivate their technologies for real-world applications. Today, it is a hub for Wisconsin's thriving biohealth industry, which is responsible for an estimated $48 billion in economic output and more than 100,000 jobs created in the state.

In addition to our support for incubators and sponsorships of network building events, MGE also supports our service territory's economic development and entrepreneurial growth through our expertise and resources.

Falcon restoration

Since 2009, peregrine falcons have nested at our Blount Generating Station in downtown Madison, Wis. Man-made nesting boxes at power plants have proven ideal homes for the birds of prey, which are an endangered species in Wisconsin. The use of DDT pesticide beginning in the 1940s eradicated them.

MGE annually hosts a naming and banding ceremony for our falcon chicks at Blount Generating Station.

Falcons were reintroduced to Wisconsin in the 1980s and have made a slow, steady comeback due to statewide efforts and nesting boxes like the one at Blount. The original nesting box at Blount was installed in 1999. It was built by an MGE employee and his son. In fall 2018, due to renovations at Blount, employees built a new falcon box and moved it to a new location at the plant, which the falcons used in 2019 for nesting.

falcons falcons
In 2019, the chicks' names were inspired by wildflowers in recognition of the important role wildflowers play in providing habitat for pollinators.

MGE has seen 42 falcons hatch at Blount, including the 2019 chicks. Falcon expert Greg Septon visits Blount every spring for our naming ceremony during which the chicks also are banded for tracking throughout their lifetimes. For more information on MGE's falcons, visit mge.com/falcons.

MGE is proud to support the ongoing recovery of these raptors through our nesting box and support from the MGE Foundation for Hoo's Woods Raptor Center, a local nonprofit dedicated to the rehabilitation of birds of prey and the preservation of their ecosystems.