Upcoming Events

WMSBF Co-Presenting WMAWMA Spring Conference


The Business of Sustainability: Driving Growth by Managing Regulation, Risk and Resources

WMSBF is co-presenting the Spring Conference of the West Michigan Chapter of the Air and Waste Management Association.  A cross-section of forum members and other sustainable business experts will share insight on how to drive business value with strong sustainability programs, featuring leaders from Amway, Aquinas College, Brewery Vivant, Holland Board of Public Works, General Motors, Goodwill Industries, and Steelcase, among others.

Keynote speaker is Susan Hedman, EPA Region 5 Administrator.

Learn more and register here.


ATR Attempting Guinness Record for E-Waste

Advanced Technology Recycling (ATR) will be attempting to break a new world record in celebration of Earth Day 2015.

“One Million Pound Challenge” will focus on keeping over one million pounds of electronics out of landfills. ATR will be partnering with businesses and municipalities to host Electronic Recycling Drives for residents to bring out their old electronics for recycling. The attempt will kick off on Saturday April 18 and run till Saturday April 25 at 6:00pm.  The One Million Pound Challenge will take place across ATR’s six facilities: Pontiac & Peoria IL, Grand Rapids, San Antonio, Birmingham, AL, and Buffalo.

ATR will be using the Guinness World Records to officiate the attempt to break the world record.  The current record for “most consumer electronics recycled in one week at multiple locations is 474,227 kg (1045,491 lb 10.505 oz) and was achieved by TechCollect / ANZRP Ltd (Australia) at five locations in Australia, on 6 May 2013” states Amanda Mochan from the Guinness World Record (GWR) team in New York. On April 25 at 6:00 pm there will be a ruling from an official Guinness World Records judge located at the company’s corporate headquarters in Pontiac, IL.

“Consumer Electronics or e-Waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world and technology hungry countries like the US are among the largest contributors” said Brodie Ehresman, National Business Development Manager for ATR.  Earth Day is very important, because it offers the chance for all people from different walks of life to help keep the Earth Beautiful.

For more information on how you can participate or bring electronics to an event please contact us at clientsales@atrecycle.com (616)452-7779.


Grand Rapids 2030 District Exploratory Committee

The Institute for Energy Innovation, West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum, the West Michigan Chapter of the U.S. Green Buildings Council and City of Grand Rapids held a kickoff event on March 27 for the establishment of a Grand Rapids 2030 District last Friday at Rockford Construction in downtown Grand Rapids. Private and public sector leaders are joining forefront cities across the nation through an attempt to launch the Grand Rapids 2030 District, an initiative that engages property managers and community professionals to sign on to voluntary goals including improving the energy efficiency of commercial buildings and reducing water use and greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.

2030 Districts, initiated by the non-profit research organization Architecture 2030, are unique private and public partnerships bringing together property owners and managers to meet energy and resource reduction targets set by the 2030 Challenge for Planning. The 2030 District is a part of a larger national collaboration of cities including Seattle, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Denver, Los Angeles, Stamford, Toronto, San Francisco and Dallas. Grand Rapids could be the 10th city to establish a 2030 district, and is planning on achieving this status by the end of the year in accordance with Mayor Heartwell’s environmental commitments that were addressed at the State of the City address in January.​

“Grand Rapids is already a recognized sustainability leader in the nation; our building owners understand the importance of protecting and enhancing assets. The Grand Rapids 2030 District will allow the sustainability movement in Grand Rapids to advance its momentum, bringing together private sector pioneers to further reduce energy use, water use, and transportation emissions,” shared Daniel Schoonmaker, Director of WMSBF. Through collaboration and shared resources the proposed GR2030 District hopes to benchmark, develop and implement creative strategies and best practices towards a shared district goal. “This initiative will further strengthen Grand Rapids to combat the effects of climate change, making it more resilient in the long run,” mentioned Dr. Haris Alibašić, Director of the Office of Energy and Sustainability at the City of Grand Rapids.

The GR 2030 District will also create synergies with other community efforts including the Battle of the Buildings, which in its first year enrolled more than 11 million square feet of commercial office space in Grand Rapids. “We are excited to encourage and support the establishment of a Grand Rapids 2030 district,” stated Cheri Holman, Executive Director of the USGBC-WM. “The USGBC-WM chapter mission of transforming the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated in a way that improves the quality of life in West Michigan fits perfectly with the Architecture 2030 program. Grand Rapids business leaders know the importance of providing our residents with buildings and communities where they are safe and proud to live, work and play.” As with Battle of Buildings, participants will track and communicate performance data to a central source, using Portfolio Manager on EPA’s ENERGY STAR web site.

“It is inspiring to witness a strong endorsement for the establishment of a 2030 District in Grand Rapids,” said Dan Scripps, President of the Institute of Energy Innovation, to the more than 50 people community leaders who attended the event. Scripps and others have spent months organizing around the 2030 concept, and added, “we look forward to continuing this dialogue and convening a private led exploratory committee to develop district goals and solutions for achieving these ambitious, yet attainable goals.”

In the following weeks, the exploratory committee will be building momentum for the GR 2030 District, establishing a District boundary, and responding to any concerns and questions from potential participants. The effort also expects to get a boost with the upcoming visit of Ed Mazria, Architecture 2030 Founder and CEO, who will be in Grand Rapids next month for the 19th Annual Wege Lecture. Over the next few months the District will focus efforts on establishing a series of goals to advance the District agenda and to become a recognized, established 2030 District by the end of the year.

For more information on the Grand Rapids 2030 District, please contact Dan Scripps of the Institute of Energy Innovation at dan@mieibc.org.

Upcoming Events, WMSBF Monthly Event

April Membership Meeting Looks at Corporate Water Stewardship, Community Solar

D.-Phenicie-Head-ShotWest Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will present a luncheon on corporate water stewardship and community solar at its Monday, April 13 membership meeting at Grand Rapids Public Library.  This month’s meeting sponsored by Consumers Energy, Steelcase, and Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds.

Through a series of field tests, a Council of Great Lakes Industries project team has demonstrated that water stewardship tools can be valuable to industries interested in such initiatives, but that companies vary dramatically on whether and how they see a business case for focusing on water stewardship in the Great Lakes.  CGLI Technical and Projects Director Dale Phenicie will discuss findings and ongoing efforts to develop a business case for corporate water stewardship in the Great Lakes.

Also on the agenda is Nancy Popa, Manager of Renewable Resources & Distributed Generation for Consumers Energy, which will talk about the company’s new Solar Parks community solar program.

CGLI is a tax-exempt organization representing the common interests of U.S. and Canadian industries in the manufacturing, utilities, transportation, communications, financial services and trade sectors that have significant assets in the Great Lakes basin. It works to ensure that industry is a substantive partner in the public policy development process in the Great Lakes region.

Phenicie has served and represented industrial organizations on environmental matters throughout his working career. He served on a U.S. EPA task force that developed the Great Lakes Initiative amendments to the Clean Water Act, the International Joint Commission’s Virtual Elimination Task Force that developed persistent bioaccumulating toxic policy guidance for the Great Lakes, has organized and chaired several industry-oriented committees and working groups on Great Lakes matters, coordinated industry participation in the Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy, and has been a member of the State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference (SOLEC) Steering Committee since 1994.

Lunch is $15 for WMSBF members online, $20 for non-members.

Learn more and RSVP here.

Member News

Member Companies Honored by DEQ

Several WMSBF member companies were represented among the 20 facilities in the inaugural class of the Michigan Environmental Leaders. The program recognizes companies that demonstrate outstanding, voluntary environmental stewardship, community partnering and mentoring.

The Michigan DEQ created the program in hopes of encouraging more voluntary participation in green projects that engage local communities. It is designed to share success stories with other businesses and communities across Michigan, and remind companies that participation in community life is not difficult.

  • ADAC Automotive 36th Street, in Grand Rapids, is partnering with Muskegon Conservation District on a Johnny O. Harris park cleanup.
  • ADAC Automotive Keating, in Muskegon, partnered with St. John’s Home on a tree planting project.
  • ADAC Automotive Port City, in Muskegon, is investigating potential for solar energy utilization at the facility.
  • ADAC Automotive Saranac, in Saranac, created an extensive recycling program resulting in more than $100,000 in savings.
  • Cascade Engineering, in Grand Rapids, obtained silver certification promoting bicycle commuting and bicycling between buildings.
  • Herman Miller 171st, in Spring Lake, is striving toward a zero operational footprint and partnering with local boys and girls clubs.
  • Herman Miller GreenHouse, in Holland, supported an e-waste collection event by providing a trailer and transportation.
  • Herman Miller Hickory, in Spring Lake, is partnering with the Tri-Cities Habitat for Humanity on construction of a house.
  • Herman Miller Midwest Distribution, in Holland, is partnering with the West Michigan Environmental Action Council in local classrooms and streams.
  • Herman Miller Zeeland Main, in Zeeland, is focusing on a new “Earthright” strategy that emphasizes positive transparency, products as living things and becoming greener together.

Companies received recognition after completing an Environmental Stewardship Partners Annual Performance Report, which provides an opportunity to share environmental stewardship efforts, community partnering activities and related mentoring successes.


Call for Board Member Candidates

The time to elect new directors for our board is upon us. Candidates should be willing and able to lend their vision and leadership to enhancing the direction of the forum over the next two years. A summary of the responsibilities of board membership here and any further detail will be available upon request.  There are four open spots.

Once nominations are received and reviewed by the nominating committee, a slate of candidates will be presented for a vote of the full membership in April. The results will be announced the following month with newly elected directors beginning their terms in June.

WMSBF has grown significantly in the last year, not only with membership but in the scope and diversification of projects and partnerships. The continued leadership of its members and willingness to challenge one another drives the success of our strategic plan and allows growth to continue.

You can apply by completing the Board Application Form here.  Deadline for applications April 2.

Member News, Upcoming Events, WMSBF Monthly Event, WMSBF News

WMSBF March Meeting: Greening the Office

Greening the Office-01 (2)

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will present a Green Office Expo on Monday, March 9 at Davenport University from 11:30 to 2 pm. The event will feature exhibitions, speakers and a sustainable lunch for those interested.

Exhibits will introduce attendees to the various ways office managers and workers can make their workplaces and operations more sustainable through recycling, composting, energy efficiency, green cleaning, purchasing, food preparation, waste minimization, employee education, clothing, volunteerism and more.

Featured speaker is Kirby Watson of Direct Trade Coffee Club, who will discuss the triple bottom line impacts of workplace coffee. Other speakers will share knowledge on composting, office machines and green cleaning, including Renae Hesselink, Vice President of Sustainability for Nichols, Joann Kaluza, Print Technology Optimization Specialist for Ricoh, and Davenport University’s Scott VanDerra.

Current exhibitors include US Green Building Council West Michigan Chapter, Sustainable Research Group, Direct Trade Coffee Club, Rapid Green Group, Nichols, Busy Beas Cleaning Services, LEDGreenLight, Coffman Electrical Equipment, Ricoh, Clothing Matters, Valley City Electronics Recycling, Recycle Box Bin, Michigan Works! Kent, Allegan & Barry Counties, Kent County Department of Public Works, CBI Telecommunications Consultants, Michigan Saves, MSU Extension/West Michigan Growers Group, New Soil, Organicycle, AL&S Solutions LLC, Solar Winds Power Systems, Greater Grand Rapids Bicycling Coalition, Advanced Technology Recycling, West Michigan Clean Air Coalition and West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum.

Exhibits are free and open to all. Lunch is $15 for WMSBF members online, $20 for non-members.

Learn more and RSVP here.


Montcalm County Establishes PACE District

The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners voted 11-0 on Monday to approve a county-wide PACE district with Levin Energy Partners as the administrator. This makes Montcalm County the 10th county and 13th local government to join Lean & Green Michigan.

Commercial, industrial, multifamily, non-profit and faith-based property owners throughout Montcalm County can now take advantage of Lean & Green Michigan PACE, which offers long-term, fixed-rate financing solutions for energy efficiency, water efficiency and renewable energy upgrades. The savings generated from such projects exceed the PACE loan repayments, thereby generating immediate positive cash flow for property owners.

To learn more or get started, visit www.leanandgreenmi.com or send an email toinfo@levinenergypartners.com.

FYI, Upcoming Events, WMSBF News

Volunteer with WMSBF at Winter Beer Fest


West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is partnering with the Sweaty Mouse Green Team to help make the 2015 Winter Beer Festival a zero waste event.  Volunteers willing to work a four-hour shift on Friday, February 27 or Saturday, February 28 will get a free ticket and drink tokens for use on the day they are not volunteering, and/or the remainder of the day they are volunteering.  Saturday is currently sold out.

The 2015 Winter Beer Festival features more than 100 Michigan breweries and over 1,000 different craft beers. Guests will enjoy fine music from local bands and other fun entertainment to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of this popular event. A selection of tasty food will be available for purchase at the festival.

The Michigan Brewers Guild has made it part of their mission to leave no trace at the events and festivals they present throughout our state. On average 90-95% of all waste is diverted into compost and recycling. To achieve this, investments have been made in compostable products that include all beer sampling cups, food vendor and hospitality service wares and festival program guides/maps. In addition, all participating breweries must use compostable and/or recyclable products for back of house operations during the festivals.

The Sweaty Mouse Green Team presents opportunities for guests to learn about ZeroWaste while winning prizes donated from breweries at each festival. Volunteers work to welcome guests and “award” them with compostable “good green deed” slips. These slips can be returned to the Green Team booth and submitted as an entry for drawings that take place throughout the day. Prizes range from t-shirts and hats to gift cards that can be used at the guild’s main merchandise booth. In addition to helping with the incentive portion of our efforts, volunteers learn which elements of the waste stream go into compost, recycling or landfill. Once trained, volunteers will help monitor compost/recycling stations and report to Sweaty Mouse staff when they need to be changed out.

We are seeking volunteer crews to fill the following shifts:

  • Friday February 27th 1 pm-5 pm
  • Friday February 27th 5 pm-9 pm
  • Saturday February 28th 11 am-3 pm
  • Saturday February 28th 3 pm-7 pm

Contact Daniel Schoonmaker at dschoonmaker@wmsbf.org to sign up by Thursday, February 26 at 10 am.

During volunteer shifts light snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are provided throughout the day at the Green Team Booth.


Register Now For the Next Lean & Green Michigan Contractor Training!  

Lean and Green Michigan and the Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association are partnering to provide a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) contractor training on March 11, 2015 in Williamston, Michigan from 10am to 2pm. Attendees will receive live training on how to maximize the benefits of Lean & Green PACE financing for their business, a light lunch, a PACE training manual (electronic and paper), and marketing materials that can be used to incorporate PACE financing in project proposals. 

The cost of the training is $150 per person for non-MEECA members and $125 for MEECA members. These payments can be made via Paypal. For non-MEECA members, the $150 Lean & Green Michigan registration fee can be applied toward becoming a MEECA member. For more information regarding MEECA membership, please visit www.meeca.info or email Brindley Byrd atbrindley@meeca.info.

Attendance at a Lean & Green Michigan training seminar and registration with Michigan Saves are required to be listed on the Lean & Green Michigan website as a registered PACE contractor. To learn more or to register for a training, visit www.leanandgreenmi.com or email to info@levinenergypartners.com.

Training Details: 
Lean & Green Michigan and Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association Training
Wednesday, March 11, 2015, 10:00am – 2:00pm
Keller Plaza – Energy Cafe
120 East Grand River* 
Williamston, Michigan

*Please note: This venue is located in downtown Williamston on the southeast corner of Putnam and Grand River. Google Maps will take you to the wrong location if you only search for “120 E. Grand River.”