MGSSBF Honors Recent Sustainability Projects at Inaugural Great Green Gala

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum celebrated sustainability in the region last week at the Inaugural Great Green Gala on Wednesday, November 8 at Shadowland on Silver Beach.

See photos of the Gala on Facebook.

MGSSBF honored four organizations with its inaugural Sustainable Business Forum Leadership Awards, which recognizes meaningful efforts toward helping our community more equally value environmental stewardship, social responsibility and economic growth. Information on this year’s winners is included below:
Continue reading MGSSBF Honors Recent Sustainability Projects at Inaugural Great Green Gala

Review: Inaugural Great Green Gala

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum celebrated sustainability in the region last week at the Inaugural Great Green Gala on Wednesday, November 8 at Shadowland on Silver Beach.

See photos of the Gala on Facebook.

This year’s event featured a roast of MGSSBF Founder Becky Kliss, remarks from St. Joseph Mayor Michael Garey on the City of St. Joseph’s sustainability initiatives, and the honoring of four organizations with its inaugural Sustainable Business Forum Leadership Awards. This year’s winners included:

Indiana Michigan Power was recognized for its new Watervliet solar power plant.
Krasl Art Center piloted a recycling effort at its annual art fair.
Lakeland Health completed a major efficiency investment to modernize its main campus in St. Joseph.
– Village of Paw Paw was honored for work to improve water quality in its community.

Thank you again to our sponsors, volunteers, and honorees.

Great Green Gala Sponsors: Indiana Michigan Power, Wightman & Associates, Chemical Bank, Lakeland Health, Whirlpool Corporation, Four Elements Energy, Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, & Stryker Corporation.

 

MGSSBF to Honor Kliss, Recent Sustainability Projects at Inaugural Great Green Gala

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum will celebrate sustainability in the region next week at the Inaugural Great Green Gala on Wednesday, November 8 at Shadowland Ballroom at Silver Beach.

This year’s event will feature a roast of MGSSBF Founder Becky Kliss, president of Green Connection Inc. and most recently, circular economy boutique Re*Imagine. A tireless advocate for sustainability in the region, Kliss is responsible for introducing the concept to countless local organizations and professionals.

Comedian and writer Dave Dyer of “The Bob and Tom Show” will kick off the event with a performance, followed by roasters from the local and national sustainability community, including Chris Brayak, Ron Segura, Marilyn Havenga and J.B. Hoyt. St. Joseph Mayor Michael Garey will also be making remarks.

MGSSBF will also honor four organizations with its inaugural Sustainability Leadership Awards, which recognizes meaningful efforts toward helping our community more equally value environmental stewardship, social responsibility and economic growth. This year’s winners include:

  • Indiana Michigan Power – AEP is being recognized for its new Watervliet solar power plant.
  • Krasl Art Center piloted a recycling effort at its annual art fair.
  • Lakeland Health completed a major efficiency investment.
  • Village of Paw Paw is being honored for work to improve water quality in its community.

Tickets are $65 and still available at mgssbf.org/greatgreengala. The event also includes dinner, drinks, prizes and networking.

 

img_9519
MGSSBF Founder Becky Kliss

MGSSBF Hosting Food Waste Council

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum parent organization West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum has received a seed grant from the Michigan Local Food Council Network to promote food recovery among local businesses and institutions through the creation of a new multidisciplinary council of food waste stakeholders.

The Western Michigan Food Recovery Council will serve commercial and industrial markets in West and Southwest Michigan, with a particular emphasis on large grocery operations and the commercial and institutional food service operations that account for an estimated 48% of food waste landfilled in Michigan, according to the Food Waste Reduction Alliance.  The council will provide access to peer-to-peer education, multidisciplinary networking, technical resources, and opportunities for collaboration.

“There is an enormous economic and environmental value lost to waste within local food systems that could be retained with efforts to promote less-wasteful, money-saving practices among businesses and institutions,” said Daniel Schoonmaker, Executive Director of West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum. “We can retain value through reuse options that feed the hungry or animals, through waste minimization, and the creation of marketable compost products and services.”

A recent WMSBF study found that Michigan disposes of an estimated 1.1 million tons of food waste through its municipal waste stream each year, the single largest source of material disposed in the state’s landfills and waste-to-energy facilities. West Michigan disposes of an estimated 132,000 tons of food waste, while Southwest Michigan disposes of an estimated 106,000 tons of food waste. Nationally, the USDA estimates that as much as 40% of food purchased is waste.   Business and institutions generate a slight majority of food waste, according to the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, and offer the most opportunity for recovery improvement.

Founding Southwest Michigan council members include Meijer, Bells Brewery, Gordon Food Service, Creative Dining Services, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and Lake Michigan College, Lakeland Health.

Local organizations interested in participating should contact Daniel Schoonmaker at dschoonmaker@wmsbf.org.

The Michigan Local Food Council Network is a program of the Center for Regional Food Systems (CRFS) at Michigan State University.  It has provided support for a dozen county local food councils across Michigan over the past year.  WMFRC is the first council in the network organized around a specific issue, and will collaborate with other network councils in Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon, Kalamazoo and Berrien counties.

“Our goal is to strengthen the network of food councils across Michigan, and the WMFRC will fill a unique space in the state’s food council landscape,” said Liz Gensler, co-coordinator of the Michigan Local Food Council Network and Outreach Specialist at CRFS. “We see great potential for WMRFC to impact food recovery innovation both locally as they work alongside councils in West Michigan and across Michigan as they share learnings and the tools they develop through the network.”

Review: Green Coffee at Clifford’s Coffee Canal

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum hosted a Green Coffee gathering at Clifford’s Coffee Canal on Wednesday, August 16.

See photos of the event on Facebook here.

During the gathering, Forum members discussed the encouraging partnership among MGSSBSF, The City of St. Joseph, Krasl Art Center, and Berrien County Parks, which allowed for public space recycling in St. Joseph, MI this summer. This partnership marks the debut of recycling at the Krasl Art Fair in St. Joseph, which draws an estimated 50,000 visitors each year.  Approximately 500 pounds of material (plastic bottles, glass bottles, cardboard and plastic wrap) was diverted from the landfill over the 3 day event.  This summer marks the 2nd year recycling has been in place at Silver Beach County Park, located in St. Joseph.  From May through September, bins for the collection of cans and bottles are placed around the park, and cardboard from internal park operations is collection for recycling, as well.  In 2016, approximately 12% of the waste generated at the Park was diverted from landfills into the recycling stream.  The City of St. Joseph placed recycling bins around town and at city beaches during the 10 day Fourth of July holiday, which preceded the Krasl Art Fair.  More than 12,000 water bottles were collected during this trial run.

 

Review: Green Drinks at Haymarket Brewery

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum hosted a Green Drinks gathering at Haymarket Brewery on Wednesday, July 19.

See photos of the event on Facebook here.

During the gathering, Forum members spoke about upcoming events with the organization, including the September Green Office Buildings Luncheon, as well the Inaugural MGSSBF Awards Ceremony & Gala in November.

Specializing in classic Belgian and contemporary American beer styles, Haymarket produces an array of brews for every beer palette. Its highly decorated brewer has won over 50 local, national and international awards for his brewing creations including medals from the World Beer Cup®, Great American Beer Festival® and Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer. Varieties range from refreshing Pilsners to hoppy ales to rich Imperial Stouts aged in bourbon barrels in our own cellar, a brewing technique that has put Crowley on the national beer map for his pioneering work with the specialty. Its impressive array of 32 tap handles behind the bar feature more than 10 house brewed varieties with space to offer other craft beer selections as well.

Review: Sustainable Local Food Systems

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum hosted a networking and education luncheon for local professionals interested in advancing a more sustainable local food system this Wednesday at the Berrien County Conference Center. The event was co-promoted with the Southwest Michigan Local Food Council.

View photos of the event on our Facebook page.

The Sustainable Local Food Systems Luncheon included a panel of experts who discussed trends and issues related to sustainability of food purchasing and production in Michigan’s Great Southwest, offering guidance to any organization that buys or sells food, and any professional or community member that eats locally.

Speakers included Heather Cole, Director of Be Healthy Berrien; Brendan Molony, Sustainability Coordinator at Bronson Healthcare; Janine Oberstadt, LEED Green Associate, Operations Director & Director Corporate Sustainability at Creative Dining Services; and Garrett Ziegler, Extension Educator – Community Food Systems atMSU Extension Greening Michigan Institute.

Thank you again to Berrien County Conference Center for hosting this month’s event.

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.

IMG_0445[1]

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.