Review: Green Coffee at David’s Delicatessen & Coffee

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum hosted a Green Coffee gathering at David’s Delicatessen & Coffee on Wednesday, May 17.

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During the gathering, Forum members discussed the downtown development in New Buffalo and David’s involvement in the formation of the Downtown Development District, which will make the town more walkable & bike-able, as well as other sustainability efforts at David’s, and the need for an integrated composting program in the region.

Also, members & students of New Buffalo High School who attended the State Envirothon discussed their projects on mycelium filtration and the Aspen, Colorado delegation upcoming this summer, an outreach program offering a way to promote the triple bottom line to high schools.

 

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum Launches Recycling User Group

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum is launching a new recycling initiative designed to help local companies implement waste diversion programs and potentially establish zero waste to landfill goals.

The MGSSBF Zero Waste Initiative is based on a program that has helped Kent and Ottawa county organizations collaborate on shared challenges for recycling and waste diversion. Facilitated by Sustainable Research Group, which also facilitates the Grand Rapids program, the Zero Waste Initiative supports the efforts of Southwest Michigan businesses to keep waste from being sent to landfills. It will promote the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recovery hierarchy, helping to establish a circular economy in the region through education, evaluation, research and joint activities.

The initiative is led by a group of six founding sponsors: Brilliant General Maintenance, Jones Lang La Salle, Lakeland Hospital, Stryker Corporation, Western Michigan University, and Whirlpool. It will meet once per quarter, with educational opportunities and other support provided virtually in between meetings.

Formed in 2013, the Grand Rapids-based Zero Waste to Landfill User group assists local manufacturers in finding alternative disposal methods for troublesome waste products by working across multiple industries, combining small- and medium-sized manufacturers with the likes of Haworth and Herman Miller. Members of the original group already have had considerable success with developing internal recycling programs for materials such as paper, corrugated cardboard and food waste, and were looking to address the last 10 percent of or most difficult materials to recycle in their waste streams.   MGSSBF founder and Green Connection Inc. President Becky Kliss organized the Southwest Michigan group.

The Southwest Michigan group will focus on program implementation and infrastructure development, aligning with other waste reduction activities in the region, and benefit from the experience of the more established participants in the sister group.

Any organization with waste reduction needs may participate for an annual fee of $250 for up to two representatives per company. Organizations that are not members of MGSSBF will be asked to join the organization after one year or pay an increased annual fee.

Learn more at mgssbf.org/zero.

Review: Sustainability Issues Legislative Breakfast

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum hosted its 7th Annual Sustainability Issues Legislative Breakfast on Friday, April 21 at Lake Michigan College.

View photos of the event on our Facebook page.

Also, watch Fred Upton’s interview on the legislative event with WSBT 22.

The meeting included a panel discussion among local elected officials and experts on current issues relevant to sustainability locally and nationally, including conservation efforts and funding, clean energy, and environmental regulation in the Great Lakes, Michigan, and the United States.

Panelists included Fred Upton, U.S. Representative for Michigan’s 6th Congressional District; Kim LaSata, Representative for Michigan’s 79th House District; Liesl Clark, President, Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council; and Patty Birkholz, West Michigan Director, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, and Member, Great Lakes Advisory Board

Thank you again to Lake Michigan College for hosting and Whirlpool for sponsoring this month’s event.

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum presents Seventh Annual Sustainability Issues Legislative Breakfast

pptBvKFzJpLUznn-1600x900-noPadMichigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum will celebrate Earth Day this week with a panel discussion on Great Lakes conservation, clean energy and other topics at its Seventh Annual Sustainability Issues Legislative Breakfast on Friday, April 21 from 7:30 am – 9 am at the Hanson Technology Center at Lake Michigan College.

This year’s panel is headlined by Rep. Fred Upton, Southwest Michigan’s representative to Congress since 1987, and Rep. Kim LaSata, recently elected Representative for Michigan’s 79th House District, which includes St. Joseph, Benton Harbor and the surrounding areas. Other experts include Liesl Clark, President of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council and Patty Birkholz, West Michigan Director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, a former State Senator and current Member of the Great Lakes Advisory Board and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Board of Directors.

Panelists will discuss current issues relevant to sustainability locally and nationally, including Great Lakes conservation efforts and funding, clean energy, environmental regulation, and a selection of questions submitted by MGSSBF members prior to the event.

A hot breakfast will be provided. Event is $15 for MGSSBF members if paid online, $20 for non-members.  Learn more and register here.

Review: Greening Your Event

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum hosted a luncheon workshop for on green event organizing and recycling on Friday, February 24 at Western Michigan University’s Southwest Campus.

View photos of the event on our Facebook page.

The organization assembled a panel of experts that have led sustainability efforts at events and venues large and small, including corporate meetings and picnics, fairs and concerts, volunteer events, and weddings, throughout Michigan and the Midwest.

Presentation topics included recycling anecdotes from various outdoor events, green event coordination involving recycling/composting & water usage, sustainable wedding planning, and environmental organization event planning ranging from volunteer events to corporate luncheons.

Presentations from the meeting are available below:

Thank you again to Western Michigan University Southwest for hosting this month’s event.

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum Merges with West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum has completed a merger with West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum to create the largest regional organization for sustainable business practitioners in the Midwest.

The combined organization, headquartered in Grand Rapids, will serve 220 member organizations and the general community in a 10-county territory that stretches from Muskegon County to the Indiana border with a unified mission of promoting business practices that demonstrate environmental stewardship, economic vitality, and social responsibility.

The merger allows MGSSBF to share administrative costs with the larger program and invest more resources to its mission.  It is already bringing new programs to the Great Southwest, including a recycling user group based on a successful program in the Grand Rapids area, an initiative to help local events and fairs implement recycling and sustainability programs, and a program to capture unique waste materials for use by artists.

Continue reading Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum Merges with West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum

Forum to Host Green Event Workshop and Networking Event

BENTON HARBOR — FEBRUARY 15, 2017 — Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum will host a luncheon workshop for local businesses, event planners and other interested parties on green events and event recycling on Friday, February 24 at Western Michigan University’s Southwest Campus.

Implementing recycling and other sustainable practices at Southwest Michigan events is a consistent interest of Sustainable Business Forum members and a strategic priority for 2017. Through feedback captured at this event, MGSSBF will work to create a toolkit for local organizers. A committee recently launched to assist local cultural events with implementing recycling and other practices.

To begin this effort, the organization has assembled a panel of experts that have led sustainability efforts at events and venues large and small, including corporate meetings and picnics, fairs and concerts, volunteer events, and weddings, throughout Michigan and the Midwest. Presenters include:

Roger Cargill, Special Events Manager at Schupan Recycling leads a team that has provided recycling expertise to Michigan State University sports events, NASCAR, Common Ground in Lansing, Herman Miller company picnic, and the Green Street Fair in Plymouth, as well as many other sporting, music and community events.

Alyssa Ferguson, Principal of Fleurology Designs, is a floral designer, artist and consultant that has worked with wedding venues throughout Michigan.

Autumn Sands, Sustainability Manager for Barfly Ventures, has led sustainability efforts for a series of large-scale, multi-block events at various Hopcat locations throughout the Midwest, most notably Irish On Ionia, a zero-waste event that each year serves over 15,000 revelers in Grand Rapids.

Daniel Schoonmaker, Executive Director of West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum has organized over a hundred events on behalf of environmental organizations over the past decade, ranging from 1,000-person volunteer events to corporate luncheons. He has developed and tested protocols to help planners with incremental improvements on food sourcing, carbon offsets, recycling and general sustainability, and will speak on partner efforts underway in Grand Rapids to improve event recycling in downtown Grand Rapids.

The event includes lunch, networking, a panel presentation and will end with a facilitated discussion that will help local businesses, event organizers, volunteers and other interested parties develop recycling and sustainability plans for events. Lunch is $15 for MGSSBF members and $20 for prospective members if paid online.

Learn more and register here.

Review: Green Drinks at Watermark Brewing Company

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum hosted a Green Drinks gathering at Watermark Brewing Company on Wednesday, January 18.

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During the gathering, Forum members spoke about sustainable happenings in the region, as well as the direction the area’s sustainability community is taking this year and going forward.

Watermark is a central hub for conversation, laughter, storytelling and cultural arts within the downtown Stevensville corridor. Watermark offers not only a unique product, but also a memorable experience. Watermark clientele enjoy a comfortable meeting place where they can have a conversation with friends and family, and maybe meet some new ones. The taproom, covered patio, and bonfire in the beer garden are designed to feel just like home. Watermark is your oasis between the copious amounts of wineries, and the vast amount beaches. Watermark also collaborates in helping support other local community driven organizations.

Review: Green Coffee at The Mason Jar Cafe

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum hosted a Green Coffee gathering at The Mason Jar Cafe on Wednesday, November 16.

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During the gathering, Ben Baker of Wightman & Associates, Inc. discussed the firm’s use of gardening and small-scale agriculture as an alternative landscaping method. The company’s garden started in 2015 with 6 beds and 14 participants, and has grown to 12 beds with 24 gardeners today. During the garden’s evolution, inexperienced gardeners were paired with those more experienced to help facilitate growth and educate participants in small scale agriculture. The garden has helped to provide a connection to knowing where your food comes from, and offers a valuable outdoor resource during a busy or stressful day to go outside, tend your bed, collect your thoughts and get ready to tackle your next task.

Review: WWTP & The Livery Brewery Tours

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum hosted its signature event on Wednesday, October 19.

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The event included amazing behind the scene tours of the Benton Harbor/St. Joseph Joint Waste Water Treatment Plant and The Livery Brewery! The tour displayed how we are connected to the local cycle of water, and gave insight on where our water comes from, where it goes, how it is treated, and how a local brewery upholds its sustainability commitment.

This event was presented by Chemical Bank.