Upcoming Events

Help Clean Up at the Grand River GreenUp


WMEAC and the Grand Haven Area Jaycees will present the Fourth Annual Grand River GreenUp on Earth Day weekend, April 19th, 2014.  An estimated 400 volunteers are needed to help clean up the Grand River and its tributaries in Grand Haven and surrounding communities as part of West Michigan’s largest Earth Day service event.

The GreenUp is now the place to celebrate earth day on the lakeshore, covering clean-up sites from Grand Haven, to Spring Lake and Eastmanville. The GreenUp volunteers to date has pulled over 25,195 pounds of refuse from waterways in Grand Haven and Allendale townships.  Check-in and breakfast at Harbor Island fairgrounds at 9 a.m. Buses and walking groups depart for clean-up sites at 9:30 a.m., return at noon.  T-shirt and lunch provided.  All ages with parental supervision or permission slip.  Learn more and register at www.grandrivergreenup.com .

Volunteer groups and potential sponsors should contact Becky Brown at 616.451.3051 x 26 or bbrown@wmeac.org.


Upcoming Events

Barfly Presents NO FR@CKING WAY Collaboration Beer Thursday

Do you enjoy clean drinking water? How do you feel about beer? Wine? Local produce? How about bubble baths and hot showers? Or swimming, fishing, and boating in Michigan’s many lakes and rivers? Water is a beautiful thing and is worthy of protection. The best way to create change is to come together as a community.

Please join new WMSBF member Barfly for a Special Screening of GASLAND PART I and the very first release of the NO FR@CKING WAY Collaboration Beer Thursday, April 10 at Grand Rapids Brewing from 6 to 9 pm.

The Imperial IPA features all Michigan Hops and weighs in at 8.6% ABV and 86 IBUs.  For every pint sold, $1 will be donated to Kent County Water Conservation and Respectmyplanet.org. 

Learn more about the event on Facebook here.

Upcoming Events

Crowdfunding Conference at MAREC

Join advocates for community-funded sustainability and innovation for an exploration into Michigan’s local investing movement with the new Michigan Invests Locally Exemption (MILE ) Act. Learn about the elements required to build a high quality local investment market and how businesses and investors can connect with this new legislation.  The CrowdCon, Lakeshore Crowdfunding Conference is April 23 at MAREC from 8 am to 4:30 pm.

Keynote is Angela Barbash, speaking on Investment Based Crowdfunding.  Following the 2008 market correction Angela began to notice client and market trends that were pointing to a significant shift in the industry toward local investing, social entrepreneurship, and putting meaning back into money making. With this she saw a market opportunity and need to develop the Michigan ecosystem, launching Reconsider in April 2012 to do just that. Angela now primarily serves as a Principal and Investment Advisor at Reconsider’s sister company Revalue, a registered investment advisory firm.

Other topics include

  • Legal Considerations
  • The Backbone of Crowdfunding and the Role of Banks
  • Donation Based Crowdfunding
  • Fundraising Strategies and Crowdfunding
  • Online Community Building
  • Preparing a Crowdfunding Campaign
  • Community-based Solar
  • Accounting Considerations
  • The Investor’s Perspective
  • One-on-one Consulting Opportunities
  • Innovation After Hours 4:00-6:00 – Networking & Drinks

Cost to attend is $50.

Register here.

Download the event flier here.


Upcoming Events

GVSU Presents Sustainable Solutions Conference

Grand Valley State University is presenting a three-school conference on sustainability on Thursday, May 1, and Friday, May 2, featuring Stuart Hall, author of Capitalism at the Crossroads, and dozens of other local and national sustainability experts. Co-sponsored by the Seidman College of Business, Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies, College of Community and Public Service and Seymour and Esther Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, Sustainability Solutions Conference at the L. William Seidman Center in downtown Grand Rapids features tracks on Business, Public Administration/NGOs and Agriculture.

Other keynotes include Cascade Engineering CEO Fred Keller and Bob Willard, author of The NEW Sustainability Advantage. 

A complete agenda and registration info can be found here.

Cost to attend is $169, $149 if registered by April 15.

FYI, Member News

Future Green Leaders Finalists Announced


The Future Green Leaders Scholarship Competition will honor local students that have demonstrated innovative and inspirational approach to promoting sustainability within their organizations, families or peer groups. The three finalists will compete for the title of 2014 West Michigan Sustainable Business Fellow by defending their ideas to a panel of sustainability experts and forum members at the WMSBF Annual Meeting on Monday, April 14.

Each of the finalists will receive a $1,000 scholarship. The winner will receive an additional $3,000 scholarship.


Jamie Sansone
Aquinas College
Major: Sustainable Business

Jamie will share her experiences creating the Aquinas beekeeping club and educating the community about the importance of honey bees and their current vulnerabilities.

Kirk Rasmussen
Grand Valley State University
Majors: Documentary Film Production and Environmental Studies

Kirk will discuss how he intends to use his film production skills to promote sustainability issues.

Youssef Darwich
Grand Valley State University
Major: Natural Resource Management and Plant Biology

Youssef will share his experience creating a nursery as part the GVSU Sustainable Agriculture Project, and how sustainable landscapes draw people to sustainability.

Learn more about the WMSBF April Meeting here.


Upcoming Events, WMSBF Monthly Event

Help ArtPrize Become More Sustainable, See Green Leaders Finalists Compete

artprize logo

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will present a luncheon program featuring the Green Leaders Scholarship Competition Championship and the Greening of ArtPrize® on Monday, April 14, at Cheney Place from 12 to 2 pm.

The Future Green Leaders Scholarship Competition will honor local students that have demonstrated innovative and inspirational approach to promoting sustainability within their organizations, families or peer groups.  The three finalists will compete for the title of 2014 West Michigan Sustainable Business Fellow by defending their ideas to a panel of sustainability experts and forum members. The competition will award a total of $6,000 in scholarships.

The competition will be followed by the ArtPrize sustainability charrette, a work session for sustainable business leaders, educators, students and other attendees to help ArtPrize develop a framework for incorporating near and long term sustainability improvements into the West Michigan’s flagship event, and over time position it as a sustainability leader in its industry and in the West Michigan community.

The session will begin with a short presentation introducing participants to the tangible quantities of the event and sustainability work to date.  Participants will then break-up into small groups divided by topical area, with discussion facilitated by WMSBF representatives with support from ArtPrize staff and volunteers.

The meeting will also include an introduction to WMSBF board of director nominees and an update on forum business.

Presented by Odom RE-USE Co., The CarbonNeutral Company, and Busy Bea’s Services, Inc., with additional support from The Cheney Place.

Cost for lunch is $10 for WMSBF members, $15 for non-members.

Learn more and RSVP here.

FYI, Upcoming Events

WMSBF Members Invited to Launch of Michigan Farm to Institution Network

The WMSBF Food Committee is inviting interested members to join it at the Michigan Farm to Institution Network Launch event in Lansing on April 3.  

The day will begin with a general session with exciting speakers before a delicious lunch of local food. The afternoon will consist of two breakout sessions: the first session will focus on further developing Farm to Institution relationships, for both beginners and experienced practitioners and advocates; and the second session will help people from specific regions around the state connect and brainstorm food systems problem-solving in their areas. It will also unveil Cultivate Michigan, a local food purchasing initiative to help institutions ramp up local food purchases to meet the 20% by 2020 goal.

After the sessions close, regional conversations, as well as larger statewide discussions, can continue at the Michigan Farm to Institution Marketplace Reception from 4:30 – 6:30 pm. The reception will feature great tastes of Michigan (both food and drink) and will provide attendees a space to network with fellow chefs, food service directors and buyers, farmers, distributors and community organizations interested in supporting Farm to Institution efforts. Separate registration is available for those who wish to only attend the reception.

The event fee is $25 and includes the reception. Lunch will be provided during the event. Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS) Facilitation Team will facilitate this event.

Date: Thursday, April 3, 2014
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM, Michigan Farm to Institution Network Launch Event
4:30 PM, Farm to Institution Marketplace Reception
Location: Crowne Plaza Lansing West, 925 S. Creyts Road, Lansing, MI 48917
Fee: The fee for the launch event is $25 and includes admission to the reception. The fee is $10 to attend only the reception.

For more information and to register for the event, please visit: http://bit.ly/mfinlaunch.

Member News

Steelcase Goes 100% Renewable


WMSBF member Steelcase Inc. has announced the company’s renewable energy investment is equivalent to 100% of its global electricity consumption. This long-term commitment makes Steelcase the 15th largest 100% renewable energy purchaser in the United States according to the U.S. EPA’s Green Power Partnership. It reflects the company’s larger energy strategy which has, to date, resulted in a 60% reduction in energy use since the company began tracking its consumption in 2001.

Steelcase has chosen to purchase its renewable energy credits (RECs) from a portfolio that includes newer projects and non-emitting sources like wind and hydroelectric energy in North America and Europe. Steelcase is the first major company in its industry to purchase non-emitting renewable energy equivalent to 100 percent of its global electricity consumption.

“Our commitment to renewable energy is reflective of our passion for innovation and the environment. We’re helping grow an industry that will ultimately benefit the entire world,” said Jim Keane, President and CEO of Steelcase Inc., in a press release. “But as a reflection of our company values, we maintain a sense of urgency in limiting our use of fossil fuels. Steelcase remains focused on identifying innovative ways to build the energy efficiency of our operations, to reduce the embodied energy of our products, and to help our customers optimize their own real estate and energy use.”

“We congratulate Steelcase Inc. for using 100 percent renewable energy and taking a leadership position on the environment,” said Blaine Collison, Director of EPA’s Green Power Partnership. “The impressive green power commitment of Steelcase helps reduce carbon emissions and provides an excellent example for other organizations.”

In an effort to expand positive impact, Steelcase has created a one-of-a-kind program that will encourage the company’s suppliers to purchase clean RECs from new wind energy facilities that came online in 2011 or later. Those partners choosing to participate will benefit from Steelcase’s volume discount pricing.

“We see this program as both a business advantage and extension of the company’s long-term commitment to sustainability,” said Angela Nahikian, director of Global Environmental Sustainability for Steelcase. “As demand for fossil fuels begins to outpace global supply, we’ll know that we’ve played an important role in developing a market for clean energy. It’s exciting to be able to offer this great benefit to our trusted partners.”

For more information about Steelcase’s sustainability efforts, please visit www.steelcase.com/sustainability.

Member News, Upcoming Events, WMSBF News

WMSBF Membership Open House

Member_open_house copy

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum members will be hosting two open houses this month for potential and new members, and leadership candidates.

Learn about membership and leadership opportunities with WMSBF:

  • How WMSBF can help you achieve sustainability goals and reach new clients
  • Upcoming programs and new projects
  • Member benefits
  • Board and committee opportunities

Thursday, March 13, 4 to 6 pm
Colonial Clock Building
201 W Washington Ave, Zeeland
Drinks and refreshments

Friday, March 21, 1 to 3 p.m.
Kent County Recycling Center
977 Wealthy SW, Grand Rapids
Coffee and snacks

RSVP to Daniel Schoonmaker at dschoonmaker@wmsbf.org or 616.422.7963.


WMSBF Seeking Board Applicants for 2014-2016

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is now seeking candidates for nomination to its Board of
Directors for a two-year term.  The Board of Directors establishes policies for the care and conduct of the organization and its operations, including those that promote sound planning and fiscal responsibility.

The board meets six times per year.

Responsibilities include:

  • Establish policies for administering programs and services that are in harmony with the mission of the organization.  Refrain from becoming involved in operational or administrative detail.
  • Assure leadership of the organization’s fund development efforts.
  • Be a meaningful financial support of the organization at the appropriate level.
  • Mobilize volunteer and staff resource for active participation in funding efforts.
  • Monitor the financial affairs of the organization to assure that they are conducted on a responsible basis in accordance with established policy.
  • Monitor the stewardship of the property of the organization in order that it is protected and is properly maintained.
  • Plan for the future.

The application form is here.