WMSBF April: Circular Economy at World’s Largest Carpet Manufacturer, Plus Sustainable Features at Holland Energy Park

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will host its April education and networking program in Holland this month, featuring the sustainability lead for the world’s largest carpet manufacturer on circular economy issues and sustainability, plus a spotlight on sustainable design features at the new Holland Energy Park. The luncheon is Monday, April 10 from 12 to 2 pm at Hope College Schaap Science Center Atrium.

Paul Murray is Vice President of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs at Shaw Industries. Guided by Cradle to Cradle, Shaw’s approach to sustainability focuses on transparency, material health, material reutilization, efficient use of resources, and social responsibility. Shaw has led the establishment of a national infrastructure to reclaim and recycle as much end-of-life carpet as possible. Shaw has reclaimed and recycled more than 900 million pounds of post-consumer carpet since 2006. He will share his unique outlook on holistic approaches to sustainability and the circular economy, as well as his teams role in helping Bill McDonough create and maintain the Cradle to Cradle model for product certification and integrate it into a company’s culture.

Also on the agenda: Environmental Resources Management was recently recognized in the Natural World category of the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure’s Envision Platinum Award for its work on the new Holland Energy Park. The project is the first power plant and park project to receive an Envision award, the third-party project verification and award program created by the Institute of Sustainable Infrastructure to recognize projects that have achieved higher levels of sustainability using Envision, their sustainable infrastructure rating system.

Murray joined Shaw, one of the largest flooring manufacturers in the world producing carpet and other floor coverings for the home and office, in February 2011 after more than 22 years at Herman Miller. He was recently named a finalist in the 2016 International Circulars Awards.

This month’s meeting is presented by Environmental Resources Management in partnership with the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Initiative.

Learn more and register here.


Speakers Announced for West Michigan Sustainable Business Conference

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will host the West Michigan Sustainable Business Conference on Monday, March 13 at Davenport University.

The annual half-day event will bring together sustainability practitioners and stakeholders from business, government, non-profits and academia to discuss business practices that promote climate and energy resiliency, social responsibility, and a circular economy.  It will feature three forum discussions focused on the most pressing issues to sustainable business in 2017:

Creating a Circular Economy features experts from different scales of the material value chain, public and private, who will offer unique perspectives on how organizations and their local and national communities can leverage circular design and waste diversion unlock economic value. Panelists include Moderator Matt Flechter, Recycling Market Development Specialist for Michigan Department of Environmental Quality; Dar Baas, Director of Kent County Department of Public Works; Kelly Domino, Project Analyst at Resource Recycling Systems; Bill Gurn, Manager of Maintenance for Haworth and Chair of the Board of Directors for the Michigan Recycling Coalition; and Susan Vescovi, Environmental Engineer at the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Finding Value and Motivation in Clean Energy and Climate Action highlights diverse approaches to clean energy investments and responses to climate change. Panelists include Moderator Mark LaCroix, Executive Vice President, Americas, for Natural Capital Partners; Erin Augustine, Sustainability Manager for Kellogg Company; Mike Byrne, Director of External Affairs for the Michigan Energy Agency;  Mark Huizenga, Mayor of the City of Walker, Partner of Key Green Solutions and leadership team member for the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum; and Anne Saliers, Community Energy Services Manager, Holland Board of Public Works.

The Role of Business in 2017 explores how the private sector can take a leadership position on pressing social and environmental issues, featuring leaders from organizations that are aggressively working to address systemic or divisive issues. Panelists include John Kinch, Executive Director of Michigan Energy Options; Linda Brand, Executive Director of Herman Miller Cares; Mark Sellers, Founder and Owner of BarFly Ventures; Darel Ross II, co executive director of LINC Community Revitalization and co-director of Start Garden; and Caitlin Townsend Lamb, Manager of Cascade Enterprise System.

Learn more about the speakers and register for the event here.


Learn About Bottle Bill Recycling at WMSBF Tour

The State of Michigan recycles 96 percent of the carbonated beverages containers recycled under Michigan’s Bottle Bill law at just two facilities in Wixom and Wyoming.  WMSBF members and their guests are invited to a special tour of the Schupan Recycling Wyoming Facility on Thursday, January 26 from 12 to 1:30 pm.

The 55,000-square foot facility processes 45,000 tons of material each year, including most Michigan deposit containers collected west of US-27, and miscellaneous other items, such as commodity material collected from events and full-product destruction.

The program will include a presentation addressing frequently asked questions about the Bottle Bill. Lunch will be provided. Free program with registration. Limited to 30 participants.

All attendees must wear closed-toe shoes suitable for walking in an industrial facility with stairs and an occasionally sticky floor. Glasses, ear protection and safety vests will be provided.

Registration required.  No walk-ins will be accepted.

Register here.


January Meeting: Peace Through Commerce…Can You Do Well by Doing Good? A Global Perspective on Corporate Social Responsibility

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will host a luncheon examining global corporate social responsibility and other topics on Monday, January 9 at Aquinas College.

This month’s featured speaker is Oliver Williams, Associate Professor of Management at the University of Notre Dame and Director of the Center for Ethics and Religious Values in Business in the Mendoza College of Business. He is a member of the three-person Board of Directors at the United Nations Global Compact Foundation. He will be joined on the agenda by Steelcase Environmental Engineer Betsy Hernandez, who will speak on the company’s environmental performance and waste reduction efforts.

This month’s meeting sponsored by Creative Dining Services and Steelcase.

Steelcase was awarded the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum Champion Award earlier this year as local organization with a legacy of sustainable business leadership that has helped define our region as a center of sustainability expertise and accomplishment. Since 2010, it has successfully reduced emissions by 75%, water use by 9% and waste output by 44%.


Williams will speak on the UN Global Compact, corporate social responsibility, and principles for responsible management education, as well as recent developments that are making religion more relevant in business ethics, such as Pope Francis’ recent encyclical on climate change.

Over recent decades, escalating social and environmental concerns have prompted increasingly urgent calls for corporations to confirm their commitment to go beyond self-interest and to actively support solutions to our global challenges: climate change, ecological destruction, economic instability and the plight of the world’s poor.
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Member News, WMSBF News

Meijer Sustainability Lead to Discuss Company’s Efforts at Next Event

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will host a luncheon examining sustainability efforts at one of West Michigan’s leading brands on Monday, December 12 at Kendall College of Art & Design.

Erik Petrovskis, Director of Environmental Compliance and Sustainability, will present Meijer’s approach to environmental management, including its compliance management system, Sustainability Plan, environmental footprint, and progress on sustainability initiatives.ms-2014-08-erik-175

Petrovskis has 20 years of experience as an environmental consultant, where he also maintained an active applied research program in bioremediation. He is responsible for due diligence, remediation, compliance, and sustainability at Meijer, with particular focus on stormwater management and food

Also on the agenda is Dar Baas, Director of Kent County Department of Public Works, who will discuss the county’s recently finalized Landfill Reduction Plan: Strategy to ReImagine Trash.

The event begins with networking and lunch at 12 pm, with presentations from 12:30 to 2 pm. Learn more and register for the event at at wmsbf.org/december2016. Register by Friday, December 9.

Member News, WMSBF News

Aquinas College Named West Michigan Sustainable Business of the Year

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. – October 13, 2016 – West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum named Aquinas College its 2016 West Michigan Sustainable Business at its Third Annual Triple Bottom Line Bash.

The 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. Continue reading


WMSBF Names Bazzani, Steketee, DeBruyn To Hall of Fame

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will celebrate its work and honor local sustainable business leaders at The Third Annual Triple Bottom Line Bash next Wednesday, October 12 at Studio D2D.

One of the first organizations of its kind in the world, West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum has served as a support network for two generations of triple-bottom-line practitioners, playing a critical role in distinguishing West Michigan as the nation’s unofficial capital of sustainable business, helping to popularize green building, sustainable product design, beyond-compliance practices and savings-driven sustainability.

Each year, WMSBF honors the sustainable business practitioners that have made the greatest contribution to sustainable business in West Michigan over the course of their careers. This year’s class includes Guy Bazzani, President & CEO, Bazzani Associates, and founder of Local First of West Michigan; Deb Steketee, Professor of Sustainable Business at Aquinas College; and Gayle DeBruyn, Associate Professor & Chief Sustainability Officer at Kendall College of Art and Design. Continue reading

Member News, WMSBF News

WMSBF to Host Program on HR and Sustainability

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will present a luncheon examining the triple-bottom-line impacts of employee development and advancement on Monday, July 11 at the Grand Rapids Community College Applied Technology Center from 12 to 2 pm.

Featured speaker is Kenyatta Brame, Executive Vice President of Cascade Engineering, who will discuss the critical importance of worker opportunity and equity to an organization’s sustainability strategy, its long-term profitability, and community prosperity. West Michigan Works! and GRCC Workforce Training will also present on available resources and financial incentives for employee training and development. Continue reading

Event Review

May Review: SpartanNash and Plaster Creek

The May membership meeting at Calvin College featured a presentation on sustainability efforts at SpartanNash and an introduction to water quality issues in Plaster Creek.

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SpartanNash is a food distributor and grocery retailer headquartered in the Grand Rapids area.  It is also the largest distributor of military commissaries in the United States.  Speakers were Meredith Gremel, VP, Corporate Affairs & Communications and Executive Director of the SpartanNash Foundation, Alison Sutter, Manager of Corporate Responsibility for SpartanNash Continue reading