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.

The event 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.
  • Finding Value and Motivation in Clean Energy and Climate Action highlights diverse approaches to clean energy investments and responses to climate change.
  • 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.

Registration is closed.  Please register at event.

West Michigan Sustainable Business Conference
Monday, March 13
12 pm to 4:30 pm
Davenport University
W.A. Lettinga Main Campus
6191 Kraft Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49512

$25 for members until March 6, $35 after.
$30 for non-members until March 6, $45 after.

Non-member Green Teams of 2 or more: $25 each before March 6.
Students of member organizations: $15 each (inquire for discount code at student@wmsbf.org)

Registration is closed.  Please register at event.

Sponsorships and exhibit opportunities available.  Contact Daniel Schoonmaker at dschoonmaker@wmsbf.org.


Lunch and Networking
Presented by Midwest Energy Group
12 pm to 12:40 pm

Coffee and Networking Breaks
Presented by The Building Performance Team Inc.
2 pm to 2:15 pm
3:15 pm to 3:30 pm

Adjourn and Door Prizes
Presented by Sustainable Research Group and Michigan Recycling Coalition
4:30 pm

Creating a Circular Economy
Presented by Republic Services
12:50 to 2 pm

Moderator Matt Flechter, Recycling Market Development Specialist for Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, will facilitate the discussion and introduce Michigan’s efforts to improve recycling performance and develop recycling markets.

Dar Baas, Director of Kent County Department of Public Works, will introduce efforts to reduce landfill receipts in Kent County by 90 percent and create a circular local economy.

Kelly Domino, Project Analyst at Resource Recycling Systems, will present efforts to develop innovative regional public-private partnerships strengthen local communities, improve ecosystems, and stimulate business growth and innovation.

Bill Gurn, Manager of Maintenance for Haworth and Chair of the Board of Directors for the Michigan Recycling Coalition, will challenge organizations to implement zero waste to landfill goals and demonstrate that such efforts can become a profit center for an organization if thoughtfully and aggressively implemented.

Susan Vescovi, Environmental Engineer at the United States Environmental Protection Agency, will share how the federal government is working to support and encourage stakeholders to increase recycling and reuse in the Midwest.

Finding  Value and Motivation for Clean Energy and Climate Action
Presented by Solar Winds Power Systems
2:15 pm to 3:15 pm

Moderator Mark LaCroix, Executive Vice President, Americas, for Natural Capital Partners, will facilitate the discussion and highlight how business is taking the lead on climate action as public sector efforts are being scaled down post-election.

Erin Augustine, Sustainability Manager for Kellogg Company, will discuss the company’s use of science-based targets to set goals for greenhouse gas reduction, and how it is taking steps to achieve those goals.

Mike Byrne, Director of External Affairs for the Michigan Energy Agency, will provide an update on Michigan’s no-regrets policy for affordable and reliable clean energy.

Mark Huizenga, Mayor of the City of Walker, Partner of Key Green Solutions and leadership team member for the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum, will discuss how conservative principles should encourage investments in clean energy and energy efficiency.

Anne Saliers, Community Energy Services Manager, Holland Board of Public Works, will discuss how the utility and community are investing in strategies for cleaner, reliable, affordable energy, guided by Holland’s comprehensive plan to lower costs and emissions through smart technology, waste energy capture and energy waste reduction.

The Role of Business in 2017
3:30 pm to 4:30 pm
Presented by Intertek

John Kinch, Executive Director of Michigan Energy Options, will facilitate the discussion and highlight the historical role business has played in promoting sustainability outcomes.

Linda Brand, Executive Director of Herman Miller Cares, will demonstrate the importance of private-sector leadership and community support, such as the company’s recent investment in revitalization efforts in Flint and the company’s opposition to the refugee travel ban.

Mark Sellers, Founder and Owner of BarFly Ventures, will discuss why his organization is committed to supporting clean water initiatives, including being Founding Members of The Great Lakes Business Network and calling for the decommissioning of the Line 5 pipeline.

Darel Ross II, co-director of Start Garden, will challenge the business community to assume responsibility for addressing racial, economic and environmental justice disparities in West Michigan.

Caitlin Townsend Lamb, Manager of Cascade Enterprise System, will highlight how the manufacturer is working to create a more inclusive economy by providing opportunities to formerly-incarcerated returning citizens and offering on-site benefits that have helped hundreds of employees transition off of social support.