Member News, WMSBF News

WMSBF Names BarFly Ventures Sustainable Business of the Year

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum has named BarFly Ventures the 2017 West Michigan Sustainable Business of the Year.  Local businesses Comfort Research, Cascade Engineering and Holland Board of Public Works were also honored.

BarFly Ventures is the parent company of HopCat, Stella’s Lounge, Grand Rapids Brewing Co. and The Waldron Public House. The company recycles or composts up to 90 percent of the waste it generates, occassionally serving as the first organization in a market to establish a zero waste to landfill goal. All of its food waste, spent grain, take-out containers, straws, disposable cups, and paper waste is currently composted as new soil for local farmers, 3,870 cubic yards in 2017.

It also provides health insurance to all full-time employees, and has donated funds, soil, and food products to over 170 nonprofits and local charities in surrounding communities, including local farmers, tree planters, soil rehabilitators, and local food banks.

The West Michigan Sustainable Business of the Year Award is selected annually by a vote of the WMSBF membership, honoring the local company that best represents the values of the triple-bottom line.  A total of 64 qualifying organizations voted for the award, representing a majority of sustainability leadership active in our region. An additional 74 votes were cast from other member employees and non-members.

“We are honored by the recognition and so grateful to be a part of the Forum, surrounded by the growing number of business and community leaders working tirelessly to make a positive impact within our community,” said Autumn Sands, Sustainability Manager for BarFly Ventures.

Other organizations vying for the award included Cataylst Partners, The Gluten Free Bar, Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids and Grand Valley State University.

Finalists are selected by a committee comprised of past honorees and former WMSBF board presidents: Bill Stough of Sustainable Research Group, Gabe Wing of Herman Miller, Jennifer Wammack of IDa Design, David Rinard of Steelcase, Gayle DeBruyn of Kendall College of Art & Design, designer Tom Newhouse, Kris Spaulding of Brewery Vivant, Jason Kehr of Valley City Electronic Recycling, Alison Sutter of City of Grand Rapids and WMSBF Executive Director Daniel Schoonmaker.

The award was announced at the Fourth Annual Triple Bottom Line Bash last week at the Peter M. Wege Theatre of the Grand Rapids Ballet. Three other businesses were also honored with Leadership Awards recognizing accomplishments in WMSBF strategic focus areas:

  • Comfort Research received the inaugural Circular Economy Award for efforts to promote waste diversion and the development of a circular economy in West Michigan through excellence of internal programs and practices or promotion of diversion within its clients or community.
  • Holland Board of Public Works received the inaugural Climate Leadership Award, which recognizes an organization that has adopted practices that demonstrate climate leadership locally and within its industry.
  • Cascade Engineering received the Social Responsibility Leadership Award, which honors an organization for successful efforts to promote corporate social responsibility, equity, empowerment and justice within its operations and the communities it serves.