Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events at this time. 

Past Events

May 9th: Great Southwest Clean Water Summit

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum, Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, and Berrien County Drain Commission will host a summit event intended to educate local decision-makers on the use of sustainable design practices to protect local water resources.  Municipal staff and officials, professional engineers/planners, representatives from watershed groups, leaders from local businesses and institutions, and citizen stakeholders are encouraged to attend.

Weko Beach House
5301 Lake Street, Bridgman, MI 49106
10:30 am to 4 p.m.

$15 online / $20 at event Members
$20 online / $25 at event Non-members

Register here.

Agenda here.

Speaker information here.

November 8: First Annual Great Green Gala

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum will present the First Annual Great Green Gala on Wednesday, November 8 at Shadowland Ballroom at Silver Beach.

Created to fill the need for a flagship sustainability networking and awards function in Southwest Michigan, the Great Green Gala is an opportunity to spotlight local organizations and professionals that are driving positive outcomes for their environment, community and economy.

This year’s event will feature a roast of Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum 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.

The program will also feature the Sustainable Business and Professional of the Year Awards, as well as dinner, drinks, and door prizes.  Sponsorships available and encouraged.  Download sponsorship solicitation.

Purchase tickets or nominate a company or professional for an award.


October 9: Circular Economy Workshop

A Wealth of Flows: Circular Economy Workshop for Leaders of Design, Manufacturing and Sustainability will provide a comprehensive introduction to the circular economy movement and its potential to reinvent West Michigan industry. Featuring a livestream with Ken Webster, Head of Innovation at The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the workshop will feature local and national leaders in design and manufacturing outlining a path for purposeful decisions and collaboration. A circular economy is a regenerative system in which resource input and waste, emission, and energy leakage are minimized by slowing, closing, and narrowing material and energy loops. Popularized by The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the concept is rapidly emerging as one of the most important trends in design, manufacturing and sustainability. Keynote speakers include Ken Webster, Head of Innovation at The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, author of The Circular Economy: A Wealth of Flows, and Nathan Shedroff , Associate Professor, Industrial Design at California College of the Arts.

Networking reception will follow the program.

A Wealth of Flows: Circular Economy Workshop for
Leaders of Design, Manufacturing and Sustainability
Monday, October 9
11:30 am to 4:30 p.m.
The Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University
50 Front Ave SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

$25 per person, includes lunch and reception

Presented by Grand Rapids Community Sustainability Partnership and West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum with
additional support from Grand Valley State University, Kendall College of Art & Design, and other partners.

Learn more and register at wmsbf.org/ceworkshop.


September 13: Northwest Ottawa County Sustainability Coalition Meeting

September 13, 2017 

11:45 am  - 1:00 p.m.

Location:  The New Spring Lake Fire Station at M104 & Fruitport Rd


Agenda for the Mtg:  Bring your Lunch

            11:45 – 11:50 am – Introductions

            11:50 – 12:00 p.m. – John – our growing plastic problem

            12:00 – 12:10 p.m. – Elaine Sterrett Isley – Valuing Michigan’s Coast Dunes

            12:10 – 12:20 p.m. – John – Concerns about potential Marijuana Proposal

            12:20 – 12:35 p.m. – Time to share and ask questions

            12:35 – 12:50 p.m. – Tour of our LEED Fire Station

            12:50 – 1:00 p.m. – leave early or catch agenda up on time J

Please RSVP – [email protected] if you plan to attend the mtg


Important Mtg: Army Corps of Eng. – Asian Carp Barriers to Great Lakes Info Mtg

Sept. 14th, 3:30 – 6:30 p.m. in the Muskegon Comm. College – Collegiate Hall

August 16: Green Coffee at Clifford's Coffee Cana

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum will host Green Coffee at Clifford's Coffee Canal on Wednesday, August 16 from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

Join us for conversation about business and environment. All are welcome! Beverages and delicious treats will be available for purchase.

Jill Adams, Environmental Property Manager for Berrien County Parks & Recreation Department and consultant J.B. Hoyt will host a comprehensive review & discussion of MGSSBF stakeholder efforts to pilot outdoor event recycling at the Krasl Art Fair and at St. Joseph parks and beaches during the Fourth of July week.

Wednesday, August 16
7:30 am – 8:30 am
Clifford’s Coffee Canal
619 W. Main St.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Free to attend

Green Coffee

July 19: Green Drinks at Haymarket Brewery

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum will host Green Drinks at Haymarket Brewery on Wednesday, July 19 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Green Drinks is an informal gathering of local environmental and sustainability professionals and other interested parties.  All are welcome.  Free to attend.

SBF Green Drinks
Wednesday, July 19
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Haymarket Brewery
9301 Red Arrow Hwy
Bridgman, MI 49106
Free to attend


Green Drinks

Fourth of July & Art Fair Recycling in Southwest Michigan

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum, City of St. Joseph & Krasl Art Center Partner on Summer Recycling 
The City of St. Joseph and the Krasl Art Center are jointly working to provide recycling in St. Joseph over the 4th of July holiday and through the Annual Art Fair. Both parties have discussed recycling previously and now see an opportunity to partner in this effort. This year these events will take place back-to-back in early July, therefore providing an opportunity to initiate a recycling campaign.
The city will place approximately 35 recycling containers throughout downtown and Bluff Park from Saturday, July 1 until the beginning of the Art Fair. The containers will be moved to the bluff area as the Art Fair sets up and remain there through the close of the Art Fair on July 9. Both partners expect to learn more about how residents and visitors utilize recycling containers from this first in-depth recycling effort. The initial focus will be on bottles, cans and cardboard.
John Hodgson, City Manager, says, "For several years we have discussed the possibility of adding recycling containers in the downtown and in our parks and beaches. This test is an opportunity to learn how our residents and visitors might take advantage of recycling opportunities and how we could best provide this service."
Krasl Executive Director Julia Gourley indicated, "The Art Fair brings in approximately 50,000 visitors each year. We believe that recycling is very consistent with the values of our attendees. We hope to make this an ongoing part of our Fair and to expand it to even more materials in future years."
Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum is assisting the City and Art Center in this effort. Lyn Wolf, Forum board member and SW Michigan lead for the Forum is excited about this project. "We believe that this will demonstrate that residents and visitors in Michigan's Great Southwest are very interested in recycling. We greatly appreciate the interest and support from both the City of St. Joseph and the Krasl and look forward to making this happen.” The Forum expects to have a detailed report by mid-August on what types of materials and how much of each was recycled.

For additional information:
     City of St. Joseph — Susan Solon: 269-983-5541
     Krasl Art Fair — Corrie Wolosin: 269-983-0271
     Michigan's Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum — J.B. Hoyt: 269-921-5471


SBF Luncheon: Creating a Sustainable Local Food System

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum will host a networking and education luncheon for local professionals interested in advancing a more sustainable local food system. Our panel of experts will discuss trends and issues related to sustainability of food purchasing and production in Michigan’s Great Southwest, with lessons for any organization that buys or sells food, and any professional or community member that eats locally.

Speakers include:

  • Heather Cole, Director, Be Healthy Berrien
  • Brendan Molony, Sustainability Coordinator, Bronson Healthcare
  • Janine Oberstadt, LEED Green Associate, Operations Director & Director Corporate Sustainability, Creative Dining Services
  • Garrett Ziegler, Extension Educator, Community Food Systems, MSU Extension Greening Michigan Institute

This event is co-promoted with the Southwest Michigan Local Food Council.

MGSSBF Signature Event: Sustainable Food Systems
Wednesday, June 7
11:30 am to 1:30 p.m.
Berrien County Conference Center
2149 E Napier Ave, Benton Harbor, MI 49022
(Adjacent to the new Health Department building)
$15 online / $20 at event Members
$20 online / $25 at event Non-members


SBF Green Drinks at 221 Main House

SBF Green Drinks

Wednesday, March 22
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
221 Main
221 Main St
St Joseph, MI 49085
Free to attend

About 221 Main: it is a steakhouse & seafood restaurant serving downtown St. Joseph / Berrien County communities, providing a friendly and comfortable atmosphere.

221 Main House Restaurant

Greening Your Event: Luncheon Workshop

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum will host a luncheon workshop on green events and event recycling. This luncheon will feature panelists that have led sustainability efforts at events throughout the Midwest, including Autumn Sands, Sustainability Manager for Barfly Ventures, Roger Cargill, Special Events Manager at Schupan Recycling, and Daniel Schoonmaker, Executive Director of West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum. Click here to RSVP. Click here for detailed information and tentative agenda!

Save the Date: 

Signature Event: Greening Your Event
Friday, February 24
11:30 Am to 1:30 p.m.
Western Michigan University Southwest Campus
Bronco Room
2785 E Napier Ave
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
$15 online / $20 at event Members
$20 online / $25 at event Non-members

Recycling at Events

MASC Monthly Information Sharing Gathering

Muskegon Area Sustainability Coalition’s (MASC) next Monthly Information Sharing Gathering is Monday, February 20th. Our feature speaker is Whitehall Middle School’s Coral Keepers, who will be talking about their team’s Lexus Eco Challenge projects and how they enhance the 3 core principals of sustainability in our community. Time will also be allotted for attendees to share something that is happening in their business or field.

Monthly Information Sharing Gathering

Monday, February 20th, 12:00-1:30 p.m.

Muskegon Community College Stevenson Center, Rm 1228

Monthly Information Sharing Gathering

SBF Green Coffee at the Watermark Brewing Company 

Join us for conversation about sustainable business and the environment. All are welcome! Beverages will be available for purchase.

Wednesday, January 18
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Watermark Brewing Company
5781 St Joseph Ave
Stevensville, MI 49127
Free to attend

Watermark GBF

SBF Green Coffee at The Mason Jar Cafe

Join us for conversation about sustainable business and the environment. Ben Baker of Wightman & Associates will discuss the firm's use of gardening and small-scale agriculture as an alternative landscaping method, as well as their sustainability efforts.  

Wednesday, November 16
7:30 am – 8:30 am
The Mason Jar Cafe
210 Water St
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Free to attend


SBF Green Coffee Event

Wastewater Treatment Plant Tour

  • October 19 2016 - St. Joseph Wastewater Treatment Plant Tour, 269 Anchors Way, St. Joseph

This tour will emphasize how we are connected to the local cycle of water. Learn where your water comes from, where it goes, how it is treated, and how a local brewery makes great beer, and its sustainability efforts. 

Space is limited. Payment and registration is required by October 17.

Register for the tours here.

MGSSBF Signature 2016 Event: Poop Tour
Wednesday, October 19, 4:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Cost: $10 for members; $15 for non-members (includes 2 tours & 1 craft beer)

4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
St. Joseph Wastewater Treatment Plant Tour
269 Anchors Way, St Joseph, MI 49085

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
The Livery Brewery Tour
190 5th St, Benton Harbor, MI 49022

SBF Green Coffee: Clifford's Coffee Canal 

Michigan’s Great Southwest Sustainable Business Forum will host Green Coffee Event 

Wednesday, September 21 at Clifford’s Coffee Canal from 7:30 am - 8:30 a.m.

Attend to join the conversation about business and environment!

Clifford’s Coffee Canal
619 W. Main St.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Free to attend

SBF Green Coffee Event

2016 Michigan Sustainability Conference (MISCON)

Learn more about MISCON

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Eberhard Center
(616) 331-6700
301 W. Fulton Street
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49504-6495

SBF Green Drinks

 Green Drinks at North Pier Brewing Company

Sunset Coast Green Drinks
Wednesday, August 17
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
North Pier Brewing Company
670 North Shore Dr.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Free to attend

Webinar Series: Helping your community adapt to climate change

SESSION 1 (July 6): Climate Science for Poets featuring Dr. Scott Denning, Colorado State University, who will cover the basics of climate change science as applicable at the local level.

SESSION 2 (July 12): Climate Attitudes and Communications Best Practices featuring Cara Pike, Climate Access, who will present communications and framing recommendations based on the latest polling, social science research, and best practices in the field.

SESSION 3 (July 19): Whole Community Solutions featuring Dr. Marni Koopman, ClimateWise, who will explore concepts of mitigation and adaptation from a whole community approach, and discuss some potential pitfalls in the planning process.

Sign Up


West Michigan Community Sustainability Partners present Ignite 2016! 
The Path to 2030: Getting There Together  

May 17, 2016

1:17 p.m. – 5:17 p.m. TEDx presentations
5:17 p.m. – 7:17 p.m. Snacks and Chats

Location: The Eberhard Center

Cost: $20

Register Now

Apply to Present

Current Speakers (more coming soon)

Watch the Promo!

Ignite Cancelled

ignite map


August 9-12th: RCE Conference of the Americas Grand Rapids

The UNU RCE of Grand Rapids, Michigan USA seeks to create a virtual conference for the world’s next leaders to dialogue around the regional and universal issues facing their communities as it relates to sustainability.

The world’s dilemmas of tomorrow will be faced by the youth of today and it is imperative that we equip them with the tools to communicate, collaborate, innovate, and problem-solve in order to begin to address these complex issues of sustainability with regard to water, energy, food, etc.

This project seeks to give students and community organizers the perspective and practice of a global dialogue, in hopes that they will better understand the unique dilemmas facing the regions of the world and in turn reveal and embrace the universal themes of sustainable evolution through dialogue, empathy, and collaboration.

By working collaboratively with academic systems, our local communities, and activists across the globe, the Grand Rapids RCE strives to make a positive lasting change in our community and yours.

For more information visit: https://www.rcegrandrapids.org/

RCE members infront of DJ Angus boat

May 18, 2015

West Michigan Community Sustainability Partnerships Ignite 
The Community Sustainability Partnerships of West Michigan, which include Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Spring Lake/Grand Haven, Holland, Kalamazoo and Benton Harbor/St. Joseph hosted their IGNITE event on May 18th at the GVSU Eberhard Center. Twelve presentations inspired the audience to ignite and amplify the environmental, social and economic nexus of sustainability. The event showcased some of West Michigan’s best practices and ideas.

Line-up of speakers and entertainment:
Bob Willard
Matt VanSweden
Ruth Bloomquist
Norman Christopher
Carlos Daniels
Hannah Fernando
Krik Latimer & Gabriel Giron
Kris Spaulding and Brian Wolters
Kristopher Larson
Brett Kosmicki
Scott Pellegrom and Kevin Kozel
Bob Teasley
Ann Marie Hertl
Karen Warner
Mayor George Heartwell

Full schedule available here 

Ignite Event Video

Ignite Event Video



May 11, 2015: Green Labs Workshop in Grand Rapids - more info


May 5: MLCV

Michigan League of Conservation Voters first major fundraising event in West Michigan, 7:30 to 9:30 am at Frederik Meijer Gardens.

MLCV is the leading non-partisan political voice for protecting Michigan’s land, air and water.

They use their influence and power to elect and hold accountable public officials to ensure the right policies are enacted to protect our families' - and future generations' - health, economic well-being, and ability to enjoy the pure beauty of our state.

The money raised is used to track how elected officials vote on land, air and water issues via, among other things, an Environmental Scorecard which is available on their web site, Michiganlcv.org

Gene Karpinski, President of the National LCV, will be the keynote speaker and West Michigan legislators Winnie Brinks (D) and Rob Verheulen (R) will be invited to participate.


April 23: Wege Aquinas Speaker Series

This year’s speaker is Edward Mazria, architect, author and educator and founder of Architecture 2030, an organization committed to protecting our global environment by using innovation and common sense to develop and quickly implement bold solutions to global warming. He is the architect of the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s Resolution #50 adopting the 2030 Challenge as a means of dramatically reducing building sector greenhouse gas emissions. 

2030 Districts are unique public-private partnerships bringing property owners and builders together with local governments, businesses, and community stakeholders to provide a business model for sustainability for energy, water and transportation emissions reduction targets.

To date, 2030 Districts have been established in eight cities throughout the U.S. (Seattle, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, LA, Denver, Stamford, Dallas, San Francisco). Our hope is that while Edward is in town, we can hold additional dialogues with builders and developers re: the possibility of setting up 2030 District in Grand Rapids.



Page last modified July 22, 2019