October 8, around 130 people from around West Michigan gathered at Amway Corporation to hear corporate philosophies, candid insights and creative examples of local CSR projects, practices, and partnerships.
The event was hosted by Amway Corporation, Cascade Engineering, Community Sustainability Partnership, and West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum.
Following welcomes from the hosts, Mayor George Heartwell offered opening reflections. Jim Musial, Vice President of CSR for Wolverine Worldwide, presented on Linking the (WWW) CSR Strategies of Tomorrow to the Legacy of our Past. Throughout the day, participants were challenged to expand their understandings of the Ethical and strategic meanings of Shared Value; evaluate their own Corporate Citizenship; pursue Partnerships for Social Impact; and address the Wicked nature of the CSR-related problems we all face.
In fact, Wicked Problems, raised by Kyle Whyte, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at MSU, became the buzz phrase of the day; referring to serious, observable, persistent problems that are difficult to clearly define, predict, measure, or address, much less find consensus on. All the more reason for commanding our most focused, visionnary, and respectful attention.
Neil Hawkin, Vice President Sustainability & EH&S, Dow Chemical, presented on The Science of Shared Value and Dow’s Four Pillars of Sustainability. Panels addressed social entrepreneurship, water and carbon management, and leveraging core competencies in your business to positively impact human health and well-being and the natural environmental. Dr. Thomas Haas, GVSU President, offered some closing reflections.
We want to express special thanks to our sponsors who all contributed to make this such a successful event: Brewery Vivant, Fifth Third Bank, Lambert, Edwards & Associates, MiBiz & The Right Place. Special thanks also to Amway for providing a wonderful setting and luncheon.
The conversations and charge for new creative initiatives will continue. We’ll keep you informed and engaged in this community challenge.