Event Review, WMSBF News

April Meeting: Circularity Lessons from Carpet and Cradle to Cradle

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum hosted its April education and networking program in Holland this Monday, featuring the sustainability lead for the world’s largest carpet manufacturer on circular economy issues and sustainability, Paul Murray of Shaw Industries, at Haworth Inn & Conference Center.

Photos of the event can be found on our Facebook page.

Paul Murray discussed Shaw’s approach to sustainability focuses including transparency, material health, material reutilization, efficient use of resources, and social responsibility. He shared 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 presenting at the meeting were Mark Theobald of Environmental Resources Management & Dan Nally of Holland Board of Public Works, who discussed their companies recent award winning work on the new Holland Energy Park.

Presentations:

Thank you again to the Holland-Hope Sustainability Institute for hosting and Environmental Resources Management for sponsoring this month’s meeting.  

WMSBF News

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 News

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.

Event Review, WMSBF News

March Meeting: WMSBF Annual Conference

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum hosted the West Michigan Sustainable Business Conference last Monday, March 13 at Davenport University.

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The annual half-day event brought 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.

Photos of the event can be found on our Facebook page.

Expert panelists offered unique perspectives on how organizations and communities can leverage circular design and waste diversion to unlock economic value, highlighted diverse approaches to clean energy investments and responses to climate change, and discussed how the private sector can take a leadership position on pressing social and environmental issues.

Member News, Resources, WMSBF News

Imagine Trash Partner Testimonial: Morgan & Morgan CPAs

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is still offering a waived co-pay promotion to members that sign up for the Imagine Trash Partner Program. WMSBF currently has 15 of the 50 promotional waste audit slots remaining, so the sooner you reach out the more likely the offering will still be available. The program includes a package of technical resources for small and medium sized organizations in the West Michigan region to improve their recycling efforts and potentially establish zero waste to landfill goals.  Now scheduling waste audits for February and March.

This week, WMSBF highlights Imagine Trash Partner Program participant Morgan & Morgan CPAs, an accounting and consulting firm focused on improving the financial and operational performance of small and medium-sized organizations, individuals and families through strategic tax and assurance services.

In response to the Imagine Trash waste audit performed onsite at Morgan & Morgan CPAs (M&M), members within the organization had a chance to assess its current waste stream and formulate a recycling program to align with recommendations provided in the audit findings. M&M plans to take initial actions including the installment of a waste diversion program that engages office, janitorial, and building staff in order to achieve their zero-waste-to-landfill goal. M&M plans to provide each office with its own recycling bin, as well as placing SORT recycling and composting bins in the common & kitchen areas. M&M will also place an Organicycle composting bin outdoors, and is currently working with the property manager regarding shared outdoor recycling dumpsters for paper and plastics. The company’s office administrator will work to train janitorial staff and new & existing employees on the installment of the recycling program, along with coordinating participation of these initiatives throughout the building in which they operate.

Learn more about the Imagine Trash initiative or request a waste audit at wmsbf.org/imagine.

WMSBF News

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.

Member News, WMSBF News

Imagine Trash Partner Testimonial: SME USA

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is still offering a waived co-pay promotion to members that sign up for the Imagine Trash Partner Program. WMSBF currently has 15 of the 50 promotional waste audit slots remaining, so the sooner you reach out the more likely the offering will still be available. The program includes a package of technical resources for small and medium sized organizations in the West Michigan region to improve their recycling efforts and potentially establish zero waste to landfill goals.  Now scheduling waste audits for January and February.
sme-logo-color
This week, WMSBF highlights Imagine Trash Partner Program participant SME USA, a leading Midwest consulting engineering firm with a track record of using big-picture approaches to deliver right-sized, sustainable solutions. SME experts help clients solve issues ranging from tough site development and redevelopment, facility rehabilitation and maintenance, and environmental challenges. With specialists in geotechnical engineering, environmental sciences, materials engineering and testing, and more, SME can deliver the innovative thinking and practical solutions businesses need to obtain real, sustainable success.

In response to the Imagine Trash waste audit performed onsite at SME USA, members within the organization had a chance to assess its current waste stream and formulate recycling program to align with recommendations provided in the audit findings. SME plans to take initial actions including the installment of a single-stream recycling dumpster from its current waste hauler, adding recycling containers in break room and lab/workroom areas, and the centralization of waste bins by removing from personal offices and only including in conference room, break room, and lab/workroom areas, with appropriate signage included. SME will also train and engage new employees & janitorial staff on the diversion programs new procedures to reduce waste and segregate recycling.

Learn more about the Imagine Trash initiative or request a waste audit at wmsbf.org/imagine.

Member News, WMSBF News

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum Merges with Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum has completed a merger with Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum to create the largest regional organization for sustainable business practitioners in the Midwest.

The combined organization, headquartered in Grand Rapids, will serve 220 member organizations and the general community in a 10-county territory that stretches from Muskegon County to the Indiana border with a unified mission of promoting business practices that demonstrate environmental stewardship, economic vitality, and social responsibility.

The merger now allows WMSBF & MGSSBF to share administrative costs and invest more resources to each organizations mission. It is already bringing new programs to the Great Southwest, including a recycling user group based on a successful program in the Grand Rapids area, an initiative to help local events and fairs implement recycling and sustainability programs, and a program to capture unique waste materials for use by artists. Continue reading

Event Review

February Meeting: West Michigan Climate Resiliency

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum presented on climate resilience in West Michigan during the monthly membership meeting on Monday, February 13 at the Grand Rapids Public Library.

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Photos of the event can be found on our Facebook page.

Dan Schoonmaker of WMSBF & Danny McGee of Sustainable Research Group introduced their recent work on climate resiliency with local organizations as part of the Climate Resiliency Framework Initiative. A partnership with the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Program, the project is developing resources for organizations to conduct vulnerability assessments informed by predicted industry impacts and localized historical climate data and projections, and to establish systems to monitor and respond to identified threats and opportunities.

Featured speaker Jeff Andresen, the principal investigator for the Great Lakes Sciences and Assessments Program which is funding the WMSBF project, discussed climate change in the Great Lakes and West Michigan, and why communities and organizations should consider adaptation within their response to climate change and environmental programs.

Presentations:

Thank you again to the Grand Rapids Public Library for hosting and the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences & Assessments Center for sponsoring this month’s meeting.  

Norman Christopher

Christopher: What are the “Soft” Skills that Help Land a Sustainability Job?

For many, having the opportunity to land a dream job in sustainability may seem like a challenging task that will require a herculean effort! Developing a prepared game plan for landing that job, along with specific milestones along the way, will help improve your chances and assist in differentiating you from other candidates. One of the first milestones is being able to obtain an in-depth interview with a respected company or organization in the field of sustainability. The second milestone is having a successful interview, and being asked back!

Continue reading