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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

Member News, WMSBF News

Study Finds Recycling Michigan Garbage Potential $399 Million Economic Impact


Food waste and cardboard among top materials sampled from state’s landfills 

  • Study sampled waste from eight sites across Michigan, sorting approximately 10 tons of material
  • Michigan garbage contains an estimated $368 million of recyclable material
  • Capturing this material would have a $399 million economic impact, or an estimated 2,619 jobs
  • West Michigan garbage contains an estimated $52 million of recyclable material
  • In communities with recycling programs, 42% of garbage is “easily recyclable”
  • Food waste accounted for 13.6% of garbage, the largest source of divertible material
  • Corrugated cardboard a “high-volume, high-value opportunity” material at 8.4%, but more prevalent in commercial waste (10.5% commercial to 5.8% residential)

Continue reading

Member News

WMSBF Board Applications Open

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is now seeking applicants for its 2016 to 2018 board of directors term.  Candidates should be willing and able to lend their vision and leadership to enhancing the direction of the forum over the next two years. You will find a summary of the responsibilities of board membership here and any further detail will be available upon request.

A slate of eight candidates selected by the nominating committee will be presented for a vote of the full membership in May.   We are anticipating five returning board members and three open seats.  Our bylaws require at least two directors rotate off each year.

The 2016-2017 Board of Directors will be presented to the membership at the Annual Meeting on Monday, June 20.  Retiring board members will be honored at the time as well, along with the 2016 Recipient of the WMSBF President’s Award.

Current vice president of the board Alison Sutter, manager of corporate responsibility for SpartanNash, is President-Elect.

Interested parties can apply by completing the Board Application Form here.  Deadline for applications is April 15th.

Contact Daniel Schoonmaker at dschoonmaker@wmsbf.org for further details.

Event Review, WMSBF News

2016 Conference Review

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West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum hosted more than 140 sustainability practitioners and other professionals at its fourth annual conference earlier this month at Cathedral Square Conference Center in downtown Grand Rapids.

Presentations can be found below:

Flint Recycling Potential:  Presentation Slides (PDF)
Matt Flechter, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Roger Cargill, Schupan Recycling

Moving Flint Forward: Presentation Slides (PDF)
Kristina Johnston, Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce

Keynote: Pashon Murray, Detroit Dirt Presentation Slides (PDF)

Electronic Recycling in Michigan: Presentation Slides (PDF)
Steve Noble, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Nick Carlson, Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids

The Lowell Energy Anaerobic Digester: Presentation Slides (PDF)
Greg Northrup, Sustainable Partners LLC

Resilient Landscapes Through Agriculture: Presentation Slides (PDF)
Levi Gardner, Urban Roots
Youssef Darwich, Grand Valley State University

Integrating Local Food Into Your Workplace: Presentation Slides (PDF)
Garrett Ziegler, MSU Extension

Keynote: Dar Baas, Kent County Presentation Slides (PDF)

This year’s conference presented by Valley City Electronic Recycling, Herman Miller and Kent County Department of Public Works.

Exhibit sponsors included Advanced Technology Recycling, Clothing MattersFlint & Genesee Chamber of CommerceLiveRoof and LiveWall, West Michigan Environmental Action Council.


Pashon Murray to Keynote Spring Conference

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Pashon Murray

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will host Detroit Dirt founder Pashon Murray as the keynote speaker at its fourth annual West Michigan Sustainable Business Conference on Monday, March 14 at Cathedral Square Conference Center in downtown Grand Rapids from 12 pm to 4:30 pm.

The half-day event will bring together regional sustainability practitioners from business, government, non-profits and academia to learn about timely issues, share best practice, and network. This year’s event will focus on zero waste and sustainable agriculture for the non-food business.

One of the nation’s rising circular economy stars, Murray has an unrelenting drive for waste reduction, recycling, and reuse of materials. She is helping to change the carbon footprint of Detroit through revitalizing neighborhoods, finding solutions for everyday waste, and eliminating trips to the landfill. In 2010 Murray co-founded Detroit Dirt, a local composting and biomass collection company that specializes in providing compost and biomass solutions for the metro Detroit community. Detroit Dirt’s closed-loop model process was designed by Murray to help revitalize Detroit. In 2015 she founded International Dirt whose primary focus is to create programs, tools and consult on strategies that will integrate zero waste practices.

She is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab Fellow, that has received recognition from Modern Farmer magazine, Martha Stewart American Made, as one of 10 women to watch by the United Nations Foundation Global Accelerator’s Inaugural Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, as one of Food & Wine’s Most Innovative Women, and one of Newsweek’s “13 Women in Business to Bet On.”
Baas will share his call to action for making West Michigan a future zero-landfill community.

A list of current speakers can be found on the conference site here.

Early-bird registration is only $35 for WMSBF members, $45 for non-members.