West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum will present its 2015 Fall Conference on Monday, October 19 at The Ballroom at City Flats in downtown Grand Rapids.  Featured speakers for the half-day event include Rob Kaplan, Managing Director of the Closed Loop Fund, Janelle Kearsley, Senior Director of Stakeholder Engagement for Walmart, Bill Stough of Sustainable Research Group, and Liese Dallbauman, former Director of Water Stewardship for PepsiCo. Presented by Amway.

Kearsley played a key role in launching Walmart’s sustainability initiative.  She will discuss the retailer’s approach to social and environmental sustainability, including case studies on food, energy, and waste.  Kaplan, until recently the Director of Product Sustainability for Walmart, will also share his perspective during a joint question and answer period.

Founded in 2014, Closed Loop Fund is a social impact investment fund that provides cities access to the capital required to build comprehensive recycling programs. The fund aims to invest $100 million by 2020 with the goal to create economic value for cities by increasing recycling rates in communities across America. Closed Loop Fund brings together the world’s largest consumer product, retail, and financial companies committed to finding a national solution to divert waste from landfills into the recycling stream in order to be used in the manufacturing supply chain. It was recently cited by the Harvard Business Review in its review of the 10 Most Important Sustainable Business Stories of 2014.

Key supporters include 3M, Coca-Cola, ColgatePalmolive, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies, Keurig Green Mountain, PepsiCo and the PepsiCo Foundation, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. A co-founder, Kaplan became managing director earlier this year.  This fall, the fund made its first significant funding announcement, a total investment of up to $25 million split between three projects, a plastics recovery facility (PRF) in Baltimore and two Midwest single-stream recycling collection programs.

Other presentations will discuss corporate water stewardship, the Kent County Zero Waste Feasibility Study and the Michigan Municipal Solid Waste Valuation Study.

Registration cost for members is just $35 if paid online by October 14, $45 for non-members.

Register here.

Exhibit tables: $300. Contact Daniel Schoonmaker at dschoonmaker@wmsbf.org to learn more.

WMSBF Fall Conference
Monday, October 19, 12 pm to 4:30 pm
The Ballroom at City Flats
77 Monroe Center St. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
$35 members online (by 10-14)
$45 non-members (by 10-14)

Tentative Agenda

11:30 am
Registration and Networking

12:00 pm

12:30 pm

12:45 pm
Janelle Kearsley, Senior Director of Stakeholder Engagement, Walmart Stores, Inc.

1:40 pm
Rob Kaplan, Managing Director, Closed Loop Fund

2:30 pm
Coffee Break

2:50 pm
Michigan Waste Research:  Michigan Waste Characterization and Valuation Study, Daniel Schoonmaker, WMSBF; Kent County Zero Waste Feasibility Study, Bill Stough, Sustainable Research Group

3:30 pm
Liese Dallbauman, former Director of Water Stewardship, PepsiCo

4:10 pm
Jeff Terry, Manager, Global Corporate Social Responsibility, Amway

4:30 pm
Closing Remarks


Janelle Kearsley is Senior Director of Stakeholder Engagement for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., a leader of the Strategy/Sustainability team established in 2005 as part of Wal-Mart’s drive to incorporate social and environmental sustainability into its business practices. In her role, Ms. Kearsley is charged with deriving economic value from improved environmental outcomes by: educating associates on how to incorporate sustainability into their businesses; creating tools to enhance network-to-network communications; and communicating the sustainability strategy to internal and external stakeholders.

Rob Kaplan proves that creating business value and passion for protecting the environment can peacefully co-exist. As Managing Director of the Closed Loop Fund, an innovative platform for impact investing, sustainability, and the circular economy, Rob oversees strategy and new business model development, as well as day-to-day operations. The Fund aims to scale recycling through zero interest loans to cities and investments in waste companies.Kaplan_Rob photo

Until recently, Liese Dallbauman was Director of Water Stewardship for PepsiCo’s global food and beverage businesses. Her responsibilities included in-plant water conservation training, water use analysis, and global water risk assessment and mitigation. These programs made major contributions to PepsiCo’s success in reducing its operational water use ratio by 20% from a 2006 baseline – four years ahead of the 2015 schedule. Before assuming her global role, she was a member of an interdisciplinary team focused on reducing energy and water used to manufacture PepsiCo’s Quaker, Gatorade, and Tropicana products.

Presented by Amway.