12th Annual WMSBF Outing August 8

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will host its 12th Annual Green Leaders Golf and River Outing on Tuesday, August 8 at The Meadows at Grand Valley State University.

Each summer WMSBF hosts a networking event and fundraiser that provides sustainable business leaders and their allies, friends and colleagues a chance to enjoy the natural resources they work to protect while raising funds to support programs that introduce emerging professionals to opportunities in waste diversion, climate action and corporate social responsibility.

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A golf outing for several years, the event was recently expanded to include a Grand River kayak expedition to accommodate changing recreational interests. Participants do not have to be a WMSBF member or sustainability professional to enjoy the event.

Proceeds from this year’s event will partially fund three fellowships for local students and recent graduates in 2018. WMSBF has long recognized the critical role emerging professionals play in forwarding corporate and community sustainability initiatives. It has supported these future green leaders with fellowships, internships and other financial support. The outing has allowed the organization to invest nearly $100,000 into the careers of emerging sustainable business professionals in West Michigan.

Past recipients of scholarships or fellowships are now in sustainability leadership positions at local companies, universities and non-profits.

Learn more and register here.

Member News, WMSBF News

WMSBF July Features John Ball Zoo and Founders Brewing

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will host a luncheon discussion next week highlighting recent sustainability initiatives at two high-profile local destinations: Founders Brewing and John Ball Zoo.

WMSBF hosts a monthly meeting of approximately 100 local sustainability professionals. This month’s event is Monday, July 17 from 12 to 2 pm at the Bissell Tree House at John Ball Zoo. It is open to the public.

Allmon Forrester, Director of Facilities, Planning and Sustainability at John Ball Zoo and John Ball Zoo CEO Peter D’Arienzo will discuss the zoo’s sustainability success stories, highlight its efforts in waste reduction, energy efficiency and sustainable development, highlighting the connection between animal conservation and sustainability. The meeting will also include an optional behind the scenes tour of the zoo’s exhibits.

John Ball Zoo inspires people to be active participants in the conservation of wildlife and our natural environment. John Ball Zoo houses 1,500 animals and serves a diverse audience of over 500,000 visitors annually. It is building a plan aimed to both educate and challenge the organization and its community partners about waste management, in hopes of achieving zero-waste in the years to come. Since launching a water conservation plan in 2002, it has saved 615-million gallons of water and cut usage by over two-thirds. Green roofs have been added on four buildings, several ‘live’ walls have been installed, and over 150 new trees have been planted in the last eight years.

Cody Green, the Environment, Health & Safety Specialist for Founders Brewing Company will share how its efforts to sustainably dispose of wastewater from brewing operations led to a partnership with City of Grand Rapids that will develop a city-operated biodigester.

Lunch is $15 for members, $20 for future members. Learn more and register at wmsbf.org/july2017.

Event Review

Review: Michael Brune Event

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum and the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter hosted a dialogue with Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune on June 9 at Rockford Construction.  Brune was in Grand Rapids to meet with WMSBF and local Sierra Club members en route to the Michigan chapter’s 50th Anniversary dinner in Ann Arbor the following night.

Read more about the event at mlive.com. 

Member News, WMSBF News

2017 President’s Award Winner: Jason Kehr

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will honor Jason Kehr as the 2017 President’s Award winner at its Annual Meeting this Monday.  The President’s Award recognizes a professional for his or her contributions to the growth and development of West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum.  It is given each year at the WMSBF Annual Meeting.  View past winners here.

Kehr is Managing Partner of Valley City Electronic Recycling. He is a founding member of the WMSBF Solid Waste Task Force and has served on the board of directors since 2015. A tireless advocate for the organization, Kehr is directly responsible for growing WMSBF membership by 5% during his time on the board. He was also a contributor to the Michigan Municipal Solid Waste Economic Valuation Study.

VCER is an R2 Certified electronic recycler and has been serving Grand Rapids and the state of Michigan since 2003.  Jason resides in Eastown with his wife, Marilyn, and their five children.


WMSBF Offering Make-Up Bottle Bill Tour

Back by popular demand, West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will host a tour of the Schupan Recycling Wyoming Facility on Tuesday, May 23 from 10 am to 11:30 am. WMSBF members and their guests are invited.

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.  
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.  Free program with registration. Limited to 15 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.

Learn more and register here.


WMSBF May: Sustainable Cleaning and Maintenance with Silicon Valley-based Experts

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will host a luncheon discussion on sustainable cleaning practices and technologies on May 8 at the West Michigan Works! Grand Rapids Service Center.

Featured speakers include Daniel H. Montes, Vice President of Business Operations for Brilliant General Maintenance, and Ron Segura, Founder and President of Segura & Associates. The two will share experiences creating and managing sustainable cleaning and maintenance programs for iconic technology and manufacturing brands in Silicon Valley and other markets in the Southwest and Michigan. Segura will also discuss common challenges to implementing sustainability programs with janitorial contractors and departments and how to get buy-in from internal and external providers.

Brilliant General Maintenance provides janitorial services to companies throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as throughout California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Michigan. It is a national leader in the development of sustainable cleaning solutions, at the forefront of efforts to improve building maintenance through thoughtful process improvement and innovative technology deployment. It has demonstrated how janitorial efforts can advance sustainability goals well beyond the use of green cleaning products, including water conservation, recycling, zero waste initiatives, and robotics.

Ron Segura has over 45 years of experience in all segments of the cleaning industry, including a decade overseeing the cleaning of 4.5 million square feet for the Walt Disney Company as Manager of Janitorial /Document Services for Walt Disney Pictures and Television. Through his consulting firm, he has assisted hundreds of organizations in the reengineering of their operations so that they are able to provide a high quality of service and still meet budgetary requirements.

Lunch provided by El Granjero Mexican Grill, recently named the West Michigan Hispanic Business of the year by the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.


Board of Directors Nominations Open

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 can be found here.   Applications due by April 21.


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.