By Michelle Gibbs and Paul Lilly, Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute
Businesses are emerging as significant players in the environmental/social movement because of their opportunities to implement solutions while still following principled business methods.
Two upcoming events provide opportunities for businesses and community members to learn about ways to support the “triple bottom line” – the business approach that accounts for social, environmental and economic impacts.
First, the West Coast Chamber of Commerce will host a kick-off event for a new Sustainability Affinity Group at their office at 8 a.m. Monday, April 22. The goal of the event is to help businesses brainstorm about the role they can play in improving the social, economic and environmental well-being of our community. Registration information is available at the Chamber’s website at www.westcoastchamber.org.
Second, the Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore team will host an event on the “Economics of Sustainability” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23 at Herrick District Library.
The Living Sustainably team is partnering with Good for Michigan to pull together a panel of experts who will discuss why and how they have implemented environmentally and socially responsible business practices, while ultimately prioritizing the growth of their bottom line. Community members and business owners alike will have time to ask questions.
We will hear from representatives of: Local First West Michigan/Good for Michigan; the chair of the new Chamber Sustainability Affinity Group; Lakeshore Advantage; and local businesses like EcoBuns Baby + Co., Lemonjellos Coffee, and Goodwill Industries of West Michigan.
Good For Michigan recognizes companies across Michigan that are making a positive impact on their employees, their community, and the environment. Through collaboration across sectors, this initiative is designed to build the business community’s capacity to have measurable triple bottom line
impacts and foster a shared, durable prosperity for all.
Lakeshore Advantage’s SURGE program offers resources for early startups to achieve their next growth milestone.
Ecobuns Baby + Co. is a Holland-based business that is focused on being conscious of the overall environmental impact of the products they carry. The business provides a space for both education and a retail store that only carries products that families can feel good about using.
Lemonjellos has for many years led efforts among downtown businesses to have responsible recycling programs and waste minimization programs. “Sustainability, for me, has always just made sense,” said owner Matthew Scott. “At Lemonjellos, it’s a way of life that we choose and that we want to
make easy and accessible for folks in the community.”
Goodwill Industries of West Michigan is an example of how one organization can help other business be more sustainable and create a network of participants. Their program for recycling, under the direction of Dan Broersma, has opened an avenue to reduce the amount of material entering landfills.
These two events will help enhance development of a network of like-minded businesses that can be a powerful force in West Michigan for sustainability.
Check out Earth Day events
Earth Day, April 22, is right around the corner and the Holland area is offering lots of great opportunities to learn more about the earth and ways to help protect it. Check out the community calendar by clicking on the “events” tab at hope.edu/sustainability-institute to see all of the upcoming events.
Michelle Gibbs is the director for the Hope College Office of Sustainability and the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute (HHCSI). Paul Lilly is a long-time advocate for sustainability in the greater Holland community and sits on the Steering Committee for the HHCSI.
This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Economic Development: Businesses and the local consumers are driving engines that generate capital for growth and development. We want to be a location of choice for new business and industry.
ABOUT THIS SERIES
Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.