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.  

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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!

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Event Review, Member News

Review: Schupan Recycling Tour

Schupan Recycling hosted WMSBF members to a tour of its bottle recycling facility last week.

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Photos from the event can be found at our Facebook page.

The program included a presentation on Schupan’s recycling efforts, a Q&A session, tutorials in their demo area, and a guided walk-through of the indoor & outdoor recycling areas.

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.

WMSBF is trying to find ways to offer more value to its members through member-only events and mixers such as this.  We hope that members will share these opportunities with their colleagues and network so that they might take advantage of these services as well.

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Event Review

December Meeting: Sustainability at Meijer; ReImagine Trash

The December membership meeting at Kendall College of Art and Design featured a presentation on a sustainability at Meijer, as well as Kent County’s ReImagine Trash campaign.

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

Erik Petrovskis, Director of Environmental Compliance and Sustainability, discussed Meijer’s approach to environmental management, including its compliance management system, sustainability plan, environmental footprint, and progress on sustainability initiatives.

Dar Baas, Director of Kent County Department of Public Works, also presented on the county’s recently finalized Landfill Reduction Plan: Strategy to ReImagine Trash.

Cheri Holman of US Green Building Council’s West Michigan chapter also spoke on Battle of the Buildings, an awards and recognition program for energy use reduction open to all Michigan area commercial & industrial buildings.

Presentations:

Due to company policy, we are not able to distribute the Meijer presentation.

Thank you again to Kendall College of Art and Design for hosting and Sustainable Research Group sponsoring this month’s meeting.  

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WMSBF News

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.

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Member News, Norman Christopher

Norman Christopher: Where is Sustainability Headed in the Future?

With all of the recent changes on the national political scene, many business and organization leaders have raised the question of where sustainability is headed in the future. There are expressed concerns about the continuing support for ongoing programs and initiatives, especially those around environmental sustainability. Some of those issue areas include protection of our natural environment and the watersheds here in West Michigan, as well as the ongoing work in climate impact, preparedness, and resiliency. To begin, there are no quick and easy answers! However, I do believe that a positive picture can be painted based on the approaches being taken here in West Michigan.

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January Review: Global Scale CSR & Business

The January membership meeting at Aquinas College featured a presentation on a corporate social responsibility on a global scale and business ethics.

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

Featured speaker 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, discussed the role corporate social responsibility and principles for responsible management education have in his work with the UN Global Compact.

Representatives from Steelcase discussed Steelcase’s sustainability initiatives, including its environmental performance and waste reduction program.  Steelcase was awarded the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum Champion Award earlier this year as a 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%.

Presentations:

This month’s membership meeting was presented by Creative Dining Services and Steelcase.

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WMSBF News

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%.

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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

November Member News Round-Up

Haris Alibašić has left his position as director of the office of sustainability and energy at City of Grand Rapids for a professorship at University of Western Florida. At his going-away party this week, WMSBF honored Haris with a plaque thanking him for his work on behalf or the city and the forum.

SpartanNash Corporate Responsibility Report is now available at SpartanNash.com/CR-Report. The report provides a timeline of SpartanNash’s corporate responsibility journey, as well as information on the company’s corporate giving, volunteer program, recycling efforts, improved transportation fleet efficiency and focus on local and organic products.

Aquinas College was featured in a GRBJ article recognizing last month’s Triple Bottom Line Bash Sustainable Business of the Year award.  Continue reading

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Norman Christopher

Sustaining Sustainability – An Easy or Difficult Task?

Over the recent past many companies, institutions, and organizations alike across the private, public, and academic sectors have been on a sustainability journey. This journey has taken everyone through the stages of creating awareness, developing understanding, applying best practices, tracking progress, determining value creation, and providing leadership and vision regarding sustainability initiatives, programs, and activities. One of the in-depth aspects of sustainability deals with the “triple bottom line” parameters and criteria for generating positive environmental, social, and economic impact.

Since sustainability is a journey and not a destination point, the challenge is to obtain the required financial and support resources necessary to build momentum and achieve progress. Key performance metrics (KPIs) are critically important to monitor and track baseline and annual progress. However, requesting required support resources through traditional budget cycles is a difficult task and may fall short of expectations and aspirations.  On the other hand, many successful sustainability initiatives are created, developed, and implemented by a “self-raising of the bar” and are not necessarily just focused on compliance and regulations. Continue reading