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.

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!

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.

Event Review, WMSBF News

December Membership Meeting

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum hosted a luncheon discussion at Kendall College of Art and Design, featuring presentations from Perrigo and Grand Rapids Whitewater for its December education and networking program.

Photos of the event are available on our Facebook page.

Matt Chapman, Project Coordinator for Grand Rapids Whitewater (GRWW), provided an update on plans to remove dams and restore the rapids to the Grand River. The presentation illustrated historical uses of the Grand River, showcased the complexities of the project, provided a current project update, and explored the environmental, economic, and social benefits associated with a revitalized Grand River system.

Steve Ramus, Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Perrigo Company plc, discussed the company’s environmental and social initiatives, including its Environmental Stewardship program, Ethical and Social Compliance in the Supply Chain, annual CSR report, and compliance with the many different customer sustainability/CSR requirements.

Presentations available below:

– Grand River Revitalization & Rapids Restoration
– Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability at Perrigo

Thank you again to Kendall College of Art & Design for hosting this month’s meeting, and to the Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds for sponsoring.

Event Review, WMSBF News

Review: A Wealth of Flows – A Circular Economy Workshop

The workshop featured local and national leaders in design and manufacturing that outlined a path for purposeful decisions and collaboration.

Keynote speakers included Ken Webster, Head of Innovation at The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, author of The Circular Economy: A Wealth of Flows, and Nathan Shedroff, Associate Professor, Industrial Design at California College of the Arts.

Presented by Grand Rapids Community Sustainability Partnership and West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum with additional support from Grand Valley State University, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, Steelcase, and other partners.

Event Review, WMSBF News

Review: September Meeting at Aquinas College

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum hosted a luncheon dialogue reflecting on the importance of internal and external partnerships, collaboration and diversity in moving forward elite sustainability initiatives this week at Aquinas College.

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

Featured speakers included the husband-and-wife partnership of Sean Ansett, a veteran of multi-stakeholder collaborations on behalf of major brands and civil society such as the Bangladesh Safety Accord, and Paloma Lopez, Global Director of Sustainability Activation for The Kellogg Company, responsible for embedding sustainability into the company’s business.

Lopez highlighted the necessity of working with people from different backgrounds, skillsets and perspectives when initiating sustainability programs, demonstrating the need for integrated sustainability functions and to be fluent in the many languages of business found throughout an organization.

Ansett shared his experiences working on behalf of corporate and social enterprises within multi-stakeholder partnerships to facilitate environmental, labor and economic outcomes.

Thank you again to Aquinas College for hosting this month’s Meeting.

Event Review, WMSBF News

Review: Green Leaders Golf & River Outing

WMSBF hosted the 12th Annual Future Green Leaders Golf & River Outing at The Meadows at Grand Valley State University. The outing serves as 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.

See photos on Facebook here.

Golfers enjoyed friendly competition on the links, with various team and individual awards to swing for. Meanwhile, kayakers launched from the GVSU Boathouse for a float down the Grand River. The event capped off with a reception hour, including hors d’oeuvres, Brewery Vivant beer, and the outing awards ceremony.

A special thank you to all those who participated in this year’s golf & river outing, provided door prizes, and sponsored. Many thanks to our door prize donors Long Road Distillers, Founders Brewing Co.Crystal Mountain, Experience Grand RapidsEssence Restaurant GroupGrand Valley State UniversityFrederik Meijer GardensGrand Rapids Art MuseumGrand Rapids Public Museum, Gerald R. Ford MuseumGraydon’s Crossing, Brewery Vivant, and Marie Catrib’s.

Also, thank you especially to sponsors AmwayPadnosExperience Grand RapidsThomas J. Newhouse DesignREHAU, and Brewery Vivant.

Thank you again and please plan to attend our next Membership Meeting at Aquinas College on September 11.

Event Review, WMSBF News

Review: July Meeting at John Ball Zoo

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum hosted a luncheon discussing recent sustainability initiatives at John Ball Zoo and Founders Brewing Co. for its July membership meeting at the Bissell Tree House at John Ball Zoo.

View event photos on our Facebook page.

Allmon Forrester, Director of Facilities, Planning and Sustainability at John Ball Zoo and John Ball Zoo CEO Peter D’Arienzo discussed the zoo’s sustainability success stories, highlighting its efforts in waste reduction, energy efficiency and sustainable development, including the connection between animal conservation and sustainability.

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


The gathering also included a tour of the John Ball Zoo Sustainability Assets and Exhibits, which are aimed to both educate and challenge the organization and its community partners to participate in and learn about waste management, in hopes of achieving zero-waste in the years to come.

Thank you again to John Ball Zoo for hosting and sponsoring this month’s meeting.