WMSBF Hosts Discussion on Autonomous Vehicles, Other Emerging Tech

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will host a luncheon forum on the sustainability impact of autonomous vehicles, LED lights and other emerging technologies on Monday, July 16 at the Meijer Heritage Center.

The featured speaker is Gregory Keoleian, Peter M. Wege Endowed Professor of Sustainable Systems and Director of the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan. Keoleian recently led a team of researchers in partnership with Ford Motor Company on an evaluation of the sustainability and environmental benefits of autonomous vehicles.  Highlights of the study included a lifecycle assessment of the sensing and computing systems, a comparison of electric and combustion engine-powered vehicles, and an evaluation of how autonomous vehicles could impact traffic flow.  He will also discuss the potential impacts of LED lights and other emering technologies.

This month’s forum is presented by Meijer. Following Keoleian’s presentation, Meijer will introduce a new exhibit at the center, “Earth Day Every Day: Meijer and Environmental Sustainability,” which traces the company’s practices and initiatives from the 1970s through the present day with artifacts from the Meijer archives and departments across the company.

The event is $15 for members if paid online, $20 for non-members. Lunch is included.

Learn more here.


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 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!

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 Examines Water and Workforce Training in February


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 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

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.

Member News, WMSBF News

WMSBF to Honor Comfort Research with Circular Economy Leadership Award

West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will recognize Comfort Research with the inaugural Circular Economy Leadership Award on Wednesday, October 25 at the Grand Rapids Ballet’s Peter M. Wege Theatre.

The Circular Economy Leadership Award honors an organization for successful efforts to promote waste diversion and the development of a circular economy in West Michigan through excellence of internal programs and practices or promotion of diversion within its clients or community. It is one three new awards WMSBF has created as part of its annual Sustainable Business of the Year Awards.

Some of Comfort Research accomplishments include:

  • Becoming zero-waste to landfill.
  • Strategically placed recycling bins with simple, easy to understand labels allows everyone to quickly know what bin their waste can be processed in.
  • Recycling 100% of internally generated production waste
  • Recycling all shipping skids, cardboard, foam, and beans
  • Recycling 97% of all office waste including food, paper, metal and electronics.
  • Developed long lasting UltimaX beans from 80% post-consumer recycled content, UltimaX fiber from recycled soda bottles in our pet bed lines, and use 100% post-consumer shredded polyethene foam in the Fuf seating line – All which are 100% recyclable.
  • 42,000 LBS. of organic compost that is turned into rich fertile soil.
  • 150,000 LITERS of water processed via our water fill stations.
  • 397,916 LBS. of recycled waste. This includes items such as plastics, cardboard, eps and metal. Thats the same weight as over 89,000 Big Joe Dorm chairs.

The Triple Bottom Line Bash is the signature function for local sustainable business professionals. This year’s sold-out event is presented by Consumers Energy.