Member News

WMSBF Annual Meeting to Feature Environmental Justice Forum

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will be hosting a forum on sustainable business and environmental justice as the featured program for its 24th Annual Meeting on Monday, June 18 at the Grand Rapids Kroc Center.

The forum will discuss how businesses and institutions can or should respond to economic and racial inequities of environmental outcomes, highlighting the recent work of the Michigan Environmental Justice Work Group and the Grand Rapids Environmental Justice Collaborative. Among other topics, it will examine how the working group recommendations are driving likely state and local policy changes meaningful to local businesses, as well as what opportunities there are for sustainable business practices to promote positive change.

Panelists include Jeremy DeRoo, Executive Director of LINC Up, Chris Kolb, President of the Michigan Environmental Council, Kaushik Nag, Director of Global Change Management, Talent Acquisition and Employee Engagement for Amway Corp., Guy Williams, President & CEO of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice and Anne Marie Hertl, West Michigan Regional Coordinator for Michigan League of Conservation Voters. Chad Rogers of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will be moderating the panel.

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is a regional network of business, government, non-profits and academia dedicated to promoting business practices that demonstrate environmental stewardship, economic vitality, and social responsibility.

Its annual meeting includes an update on the organization to its members, stakeholders and other interested parties, as well as the introduction of new board members and recognition of the 2018 President’s Award Winner, which honors professionals for contributions to the organization. This year’s honoree is David Rinard, recently retired Director of Global Environmental Performance for Steelcase Inc. David will be retiring from the WMSBF Board of Directors this month after 16 years of service.

The meeting is presented by The Rapid, Valley City Electronic Recycling, Thomas J. Newhouse Design, Steelcase, Experience Grand Rapids and Mercantile Bank.

Doors open for exhibits at 11 am, with the program beginning at 12:30 pm, ending at 2 pm. Lunch is $18 for members if paid online at wmsbf.org, $23 for non-members. All are welcome to attend.
More information available here.
Event Review

West Michigan Food Waste Summit at GRCC featuring JD Lindeberg

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum and partners hosted the West Michigan Food Waste Summit this week at the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College, the capstone event of the Western Michigan Food Recovery Council pilot project.

The half-day event provided an opportunity for businesses, institutions and other stakeholders to learn about food waste and discuss local challenges and opportunities for food rescue and recovery.

Keynote speaker JD Lindeberg of Resource Recycling Systems discussed the connection between food and soil, linking organics recovery and food production.

Additional speakers at the Summit included Janine Oberstadt of Creative Dining Services, Michael McFarlen of FireKeepers Casino & Hotel, Kate Binder of Bell’s Brewery, Adam Brent of Cocoa Corporation, Mallory Weber of Feeding America West Michigan, and Daniel Schoonmaker of West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum.

The West Michigan Food Waste Summit was presented by Creative Dining Services.

Event Review, Member News

WMSBF Hosts Forum on Building Material Reuse and Talent Retention & Development

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum hosted a luncheon discussion at Davenport University featuring seperate presentations on building material reuse and people focused solutions for talent development and retention for its April education and networking program.

See photos of the event on Facebook here.

Mike Bauer, Founder and CEO of Detroit Audio Lab and Chris Rutherford, Executive Director of Architectural Salvage Warehouse of Detroit, discussed how their organizations are leveraging building deconstruction to forward job creation and circular economy improvements in Detroit.

Milinda Ysasi, Executive Director of The Source shared insights on the need for comprehensive support structures to improve employee performance, retention and address structural inequities in the West Michigan economy.

Presentation available below:

The WMSBF April Forum was presented by Davenport University.

WMSBF News

WMSBF Board of Direct Nominations Now 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 supporter of the organization at the appropriate level.
  • Monitor the financial affairs of the organization to assure that they are conducted in a responsible fashion in accordance with established policy.
  • Monitor the stewardship of the property of the organization in order that it is protected and is properly maintained.
  • Promote the forum in business and the community.
  • Plan for the future.

The application form can be found here. Applications due by April 16.

WMSBF News

WMSBF April Features The Source, Building Material Reuse

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will meet on Monday, April 9 at Davenport University for an educational and networking luncheon program featuring seperate presentations on building material reuse and people focused solutions for talent development and retention.

Featured speakers are Milinda Ysasi, Executive Director of The Source, Mike Bauer, Founder and CEO of Detroit Audio Lab and Chris Rutherford, Executive Director of Architectural Salvage Warehouse of Detroit.

The SOURCE is a local not-for-profit employee support organization designed to help employees keep their jobs, receive training to enhance their employment, and help employees move into better positions within or across companies.  It accomplishes this by utilizing the best resources of the government, area non-profits, and private employers.

Ysasi is one of West Michigan’s leading voices for employee development, corporate social responsibility and community equity.  She will share insights on the need for comprehensive support structures to improve employee performance, retention and address structural inequities in the West Michigan economy.

In a related presentation, Bauer and Rutherford will discuss how their organizations are leveraging buiding deconstruction to forward job creation and circular economy improvements in Detroit.  Architectural Salvage Warehouse is a leading deconstruction firm in Southeast Michigan, salvaging valuable building materials from buildings, offices and industrial spaces for resale and reuse.  Detroit Audio Lab partners with ASW to salvage wood from blighted homes to build high-fidelity speakers, each dated with the address of the building from which it was salvaged.

The progam begins at 12 pm in Davenport University’s Sneden Auditorium. Lunch is $15 for members, $20 for non-members. Learn more and register here.

Event Review, WMSBF News

WMSBF Hosts Meet the Media Panel Forum

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum hosted a “Meet the Media” networking and education luncheon at West Michigan Works featuring representatives from local news outlets that cover topics surrounding sustainability, environmental issues, and social equity.

See photos of the event on Facebook here.

Video recording of the event is available here.

The panel shared observations regarding the state of sustainable business and sustainability in the region, how their organizations approach stories and determine news value, and discussed key local headlines from their coverage. The panel included Kiran Sood Patel, Managing Editor of The Rapidian, Garret Ellison, Environment Reporter for MLive.com & The Grand Rapids Press, Tim Gortsema, Managing Editor of Grand Rapids Business Journal, Mariano Avila, Inclusion Reporter for WGVU, and Shelley Irwin, Host and Producer for WGVU Morning Show and WGVU-TV.

This month’s meeting was presented by West Michigan Works!

WMSBS In The News

WMSBF Hosting “Meet the Media” Event for Sustainability Practitioners

unnamed (1)West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will host a Meet the Media event on Monday, March 12 at West Michigan Works! featuring representatives from local news outlets that cover topics surrounding sustainability, local business, environmental issues, and social equity.

The panel will share their observations about the state of sustainable business and sustainability in the region, how their organizations approach stories and determine news value, and discuss key local headlines from their coverage.

Current panelists include:

  • Lauren Fay Carlson, Managing Editor, Rapid Growth Media
  • Garret Ellison, Environment Reporter, MLive | Grand Rapids Press
  • Tim Gortsema, Managing Editor, Grand Rapids Business Journal
  • Shelley Irwin, Host and Producer, WGVU Morning Show and WGVU-TV

Additional media representatives will be added prior to the event.

Lunch is $15 for WMSBF members, $20 for non-members. Learn more and register at here.

WMSBF hosts a Membership Forum on the second or third Monday of most months. The monthly luncheon provides members of West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum and other stakeholders professional education from a combination of regional and national experts, and access to networking with hundreds of sustainabilty professionals and stakeholders throughout the 10-month series.

Event Review, WMSBF News

WMSBF Hosts February Forum on Water & Workforce Training

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum hosted a luncheon discussion at Amway World Headquarters featuring presentations on two critically important sustainabiliy issues – water and workforce training – for its February education and networking program.

Dr. Bill Pink, President of Grand Rapids Community College, discussed the connection between workforce training, community strength and sustainability.  His presentation is available below:

– Connecting Workforce Training to Community Strength & Sustainability

Dave Van Wylen, Dean for Natural and Applied Science at Hope College, discussed the myriad of international, domestic, and local problems created by humanity’s relationship with water.  His presentation and a video is available below:

– Water – Precious, Precarious, Problematic, Perplexing, Promising

The February Forum was presented by Amway.

WMSBF News

WMSBF Examines Water and Workforce Training in February

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ADA – February 6, 2018 – West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will meet next Monday, February 12 at Amway World Headquarters for a luncheon program featuring presentations on two critically important sustainabiliy issues: water and workforce training.

Featured speakers are Dr. Bill Pink, President of Grand Rapids Community College, and Dave Van Wylen, Dean for Natural and Applied Science at Hope College.

Van Wylen will discuss the myriad of international, domestic, and local problems created by humanity’s relationship with water. Van Wylen believes that Americans, especially, treat water in perplexing ways, mostly based on our perceptions that water is (or should be) abundant, accessible, and affordable….and that we are slowly waking up to the realization that is not the case. Pink will discuss the connection between workforce training and community strength and sustainability.

Van Wylen arrived at Hope College in 2015, after 21 years of faculty and administration at St. Olaf College. A physiologist by training, he developed an interest in water when he led a group of students to the Middle East for a study abroad semester.

Pink became the tenth president of Grand Rapids Community College. Dr. Pink was Vice President and Dean for Workforce Development at Grand Rapids Community College prior to becoming the president. He has been an educator for over 25 years, and prior to his tenure at GRCC, Dr. Pink served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Oklahoma State University- Oklahoma City. He is co-chair of Mayor Rosalynn Bliss’ Racial Equity Initiative, and on the boards of West Michigan Works!, The Employers’ Association, and The Right Place.

This month’s forum is sponsored by Amway.   Learn more and register here.

WMSBF News

WMSBF Seeks Two Interns for Winter 2018

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum is hiring two interns for the winter semester.  Both are paid positions.

The Sustainable Muskegon Intern will play a key role in developing sustainable business and sustainability capacity in Muskegon County and northern Ottawa County. Intern will manage media channels, research local stakeholders and issues, and provide local representation for the eight-county West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum. Intern will have the opportunity to work with leading companies and advocates for sustainability, social responsibility, the circular economy and climate action, while also supporting specific Sustainable Muskegon goals of brand awareness, sustainability for economic development, improved recycling access and efficiency, and recycling in public spaces.

Read the position description here:  Muskegon Sustainability Intern Ad

The Communications and Social Media Intern will play a key role in forwarding West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum initiatives through the use of digital media. An ideal opportunity for students interested in a career in communications or advocacy, intern will have the opportunity to work with industry-standard technology, interact with leading companies and other stakeholders, and be part of highly visible educational campaigns.

Read the position description here: Communications Intern