WMSBF News

West Michigan Sustainable Business Conference Features Global Green Business Leaders in Half-Day Event

Kaplan_Rob photoWest Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will present its 2015 Fall Conference on Monday, October 19 from 12 pm to 4:30 pm at The Ballroom at City Flats in downtown Grand Rapids.

Featured speakers include Rob Kaplan, Managing Director of the Closed Loop Fund, Janelle Kearsley, Senior Director of Stakeholder Engagement for Walmart, Bill Stough, Founder and CEO of Sustainable Research Group, Jeff Terry, Manager of Global Corporate Social Responsibility for Amway, and Liese Dallbauman, former Director of Water Stewardship for PepsiCo. The event is sponsored by Amway.

Kearsley played a key role in launching Walmart’s sustainability initiative.  She will discuss the retailer’s approach to social and environmental sustainability, including case studies on food, energy, and waste. Kaplan, until recently the Director of Product Sustainability for Walmart, will also share his perspective during a joint question and answer period.

Founded in 2014, Closed Loop Fund is a social impact investment fund that provides cities access to the capital required to build comprehensive recycling programs. The fund aims to invest $100 million by 2020 with the goal to create economic value for cities by increasing recycling rates in communities across America. It brings together the world’s largest consumer product, retail, and financial companies committed to finding a national solution to divert waste from landfills into the recycling stream in order to be used in the manufacturing supply chain. It was recently cited by the Harvard Business Review in its review of the 10 Most Important Sustainable Business Stories of 2014. This fall, it made its first significant funding announcement, a total investment of up to $25 million split between three projects.

Until recently, Liese Dallbauman was Director of Water Stewardship for PepsiCo’s global food and beverage businesses. Her responsibilities included in-plant water conservation training, water use analysis, and global water risk assessment and mitigation. These programs made major contributions to PepsiCo’s success in reducing its operational water use ratio by 20% from a 2006 baseline – four years ahead of the 2015 schedule.

Also on the agenda is the announcement of results from the Michigan Municipal Solid Waste Characterization and Valuation Study and the Kent County Zero Waste Feasibility Study.

Registration cost for members is just $35 if paid online by October 15, $45 for non-members.  Learn more and register here.