Sustainability Series Webinars

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), Pollution Prevention and Stewardship Unit, proudly presents this series of webinars produced in partnership with our voluntary partners. This series is intended to promote meaningful engagement with our current and future customers around the topic of business sustainability. 

The MDEQ Sustainability Series webinars have been awarded the 2016 most Valuable Pollution Prevention Award recently in the multi-media category by the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable. The multimedia awards are judged on five broad criteria: innovation, measurable results, transferability, commitment, and optimization of available project resources.   

Since 1995, The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR) has recognized the very best in Pollution Prevention with its annual awards.   The Most Valuable Pollution Prevention Awards (MVP2) recognize the P2 efforts of Local Government, State Government, Federal Government, Tribal, Not-for-profit and private industry and this year will also be recognizing education through our new educator and student of the year awards.

Do you have a specific sustainability topic or speaker you are interested in? Please feel free to contact us at or by phone at 800-662-9278 to provide your comments/suggestions including your contact information.  


Upcoming webinars in this series:



Note: If you have trouble viewing the webinar, try downloading the Go-To-Meeting codec at


Recorded webinars in this series:


The Business Rationale of the Circular Economy (recorded 4/20/17, 54 min)

A circular economy is one that is restorative and regenerative by design and aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times. This new economic model seeks to ultimately decouple global economic development from finite resource consumption. The circular economy could create tremendous opportunities for industrial renewal, regeneration, and innovation. In this session we’ll deep dive on the business rationale of the circular economy; what are the drivers for change, concrete business opportunities and what does circular economy look like when applied in the real world. The format will be interactive with room for exercises, questions and discussions.

Presenter: Maja Johannessen, Government & Cities Program Associate, Ellen MacArthur Foundation


March 30 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Rebuilding Customer Trust with Stronger Sustainability Communication (recording coming soon)


Customer and community trust in business, government, and other key institutions is in crisis around the world, according to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer. With the fall of trust, people now lack full belief that the overall system is working for them. In this climate, people’s societal and economic concerns, including globalization, the pace of innovation and eroding social values, turn into fears that degrade local communities.


To help rebuild trust and restore faith in the system, businesses must step outside of their traditional roles and work toward integrating sustainability and social responsibility internally while communicating these efforts in a truthful and transparent way. In this webinar, Mike Hower, a GreenBiz blogger and current communications strategist at Edelman, will discuss how companies can formulate effective strategies for engaging customers and local communities on sustainability — and how this can generate shared value that rebuilds trust while benefiting the bottom line.


Presenter:  Mike Hower, Edelman Business + Social Purpose Practice, San Francisco

With a diverse background in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, Mike is a sustainability strategist and storyteller focused on advancing purpose-driven businesses to improve social and environmental outcomes. With more than 7 years of experience on both sides of the communications podium – both as a journalist and strategic communicator – his unique perspective informs his ability to cultivate powerful narratives that effectively engage a variety of stakeholders in pursuit of the triple bottom line.


As a senior writer for GreenBiz, Sustainable Brands, and Triple Pundit, he covered every topic under the sustainability sun, including energy, cleantech, waste, supply chain, water, environmental policy, climate change, CSR reporting, and employee engagement, among others. At GreenBiz, Mike launched the City View column, which profiles cities around the world working to promote urban sustainability and resilience. He also is an alumni of the EDF Climate Corps program, where he worked with Pacific Gas & Electric Company to develop a strategic communication and public engagement plan for an on-bill finance program aimed at helping California homeowners to invest in energy upgrades.


At Edelman, Mike works on sustainability strategy and communication for HP, The North Face, and Kashi, among others.


February 16, 2017

Using Toxics Use Reduction Planning Techniques to Improve Efficiency and Promote a Safer Work Environment (recording coming soon)

In the past 25 years Massachusetts companies that use large quantities of toxic chemicals in their production processes have reduced their use by over 40%, and emissions to the environment by over 90%.  This was a result of employing specific planning techniques for identifying opportunities to improve efficiency and minimize chemical hazards in their work places. Examples of how these techniques have been effectively applied to both chemical and resource use will be presented.


Mark Myles is the Education Program Manager at the Toxics Use Reduction Institute. As such, he is responsible for developing training programs related to pollution prevention and implementation of the MA Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA), which includes educating Toxics Use Reduction Planners – certified professionals working throughout industry to implement the provisions of TURA. 

Pam Eliason is the Senior Associate Director and Industry Research Program Manager at the Toxics Use Reduction Institute.  Ms. Eliason was a lead researcher and author of the Institute’s Five Chemicals Alternatives Assessment Report commissioned by the Massachusetts Legislature to evaluate the availability of technically and economically feasible safer alternatives to five specified chemicals.  


Triple Bottom Line - DEQ Sustainability Series Webinar (recorded 1/12/17, 66 min)

Triple Bottom Line (TBL) is an accounting framework with three parts: social, environmental and financial. Many organizations have adopted the TBL framework to evaluate their performance in a broader perspective to create greater business value.  Dr. Steven Dunn provides a presentation on TBL, how your company can get started implementing a TBL framework and how you can improve your existing system. Dr. Dunn teaches in the University of Wisconsin Osh Kosh’s innovative Sustainability Management Minor and serves as Chair of the Finance and Business Law Department in the College of Business.


Green Infrastructure for Businesses: What it is, why you should consider it, and how to pay for it (recorded 11/22/16, 60 min)

Green infrastructure is a cost-effective way to manage storm water, improve water quality, while being beautiful and aesthetically pleasing, when it is professionally designed and correctly located. Utilizing green infrastructure is increasing across the country due to its significant socio-economic-environmental benefits, as well as its emerging relevance in regulatory compliance.  Sanjiv Sinha, Ph.D., P.E. and Rob Pettit with Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. (ECT) joined the MDEQ as presenters for this webinar.

International Standards - Environmental Management & Sustainability - DEQ Sustainability Series Webinar (recorded 10/20/16, 66 min)
Sustainability is a key component of the new International Standard for Environmental Management System (ISO 14001:2015). In order to achieve true sustainability, all three pillars of sustainability – economic, social, and environmental – must be balanced in equal harmony. Adherence to ISO 14001:2015 is critical to balancing the environmental pillar. This webinar focuses on how your organization can become more sustainable using ISO 14001:2015 and other environmental standards, including forestry certification, climate change initiatives, greenhouse gas validation, and electronic waste certification. Emerging trends associated with water sustainability and supply chain are also discussed in this webinar, in relation to balancing the three pillars. Speakers from NSF International join MDEQ for this webinar. NSF International has its global headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Engaging in Food Recovery (Recorded 9/22/16, 65 min)

Food scraps are the “final frontier” for organics recovery. Food is the most water, labor and nutrient intensive of the wastes we produce. And not all food that is wasted is unfit for a plate. Food recovery should come first. After that, diversion from landfills, then identifying the best options to recover what value we can from what we worked so hard to grow. Learn how your business or organization can avoid wasting this valuable resource. This webinar is geared towards any business or institution that generates food waste in a kitchen or cafeteria or through food processing, as well as anyone interested in learning more about food waste recovery.  Presented by Sally L. Brown, PhD, a Research Associate Professor at the University of Washington. She is a Fellow in the Soil Science Society of America, and was a member of the National Academy

of Science Committee on Soils. She writes a monthly column for Biocycle magazine and a blog for the Huffington Post.

Environmental Preferable Purchasing (Recorded 8/25/2016, 56 min)

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) means products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose. This applies to raw materials, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, use, reuse, operation, maintenance and disposal. This webinar will provide the basics on the Economy, Energy, and Environment Program (E3), electronics benefit calculator, and tips for businesses to become lean and green through EPP. Presenter: Christina Guthrie, Lead Environmental Protection Specialist at the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Introduction to Green Chemistry (Recorded 7/21/2016, 67 min)
Design for Environment (DfE) is the recognition that the environmental impacts of a product over its entire life cycle is largely determined at the design phase. DfE should form the foundation for a strong sustainability program, specifically for product stewardship. Green Chemistry, defined as a set of principles to minimize the use and generation of hazardous substances during the manufacture of product, is essentially the application of DfE at the molecular level. A central tenet of Green Chemistry is that hazard (i.e. negative impacts on human health and the environment) should be viewed as a design flaw.  

Green Chemistry is a transformational approach to pollution prevention that can make your business more sustainable and, when integrated into the material innovation & exploration stage of new product development, can further lead to business opportunities through innovative design of products and processes. This webinar will provide a basic primer of the principles of Green Chemistry and a discussion of how Green Chemistry can be incorporated into your sustainability strategy. Presented by Clinton S. Boyd, PhD, Principal-Green Chemistry & Sustainability for the Global Sustainability Initiatives team at Steelcase Inc.

Waste Reduction and Recycling - Making the Right Choices (Recorded 6/16/16, 61 min)
Recycling and waste reduction is not just about dumpster dives and weights anymore. The now “holistic approach” includes an assessment of the material stream. Programs are changing as material choices, commodity markets, goals and customer expectations are being challenged. A culture of sustainability is about the choices up front that influence the end result. How can “change” including a different way of thinking and collaborative solutions affect your recycling and waste program?

Presenter: Betsy Hernandez is an Environment Engineer in the Steelcase Global Environmental Performance Department. 

Optimizing Water Usage - Strategies to increase water efficiency and conservation (recorded 5/19/16, 65 min)

Water efficiency activities can be an important strategy to buffer the trend of rising utility costs and conserve our important water resources for other users and environmental services. This webinar will cover available resources to assist with auditing and retrofitting buildings to optimize water usage as well as a case study to showcase how water saving efforts can be accomplished.

Presenters: Cary McElhinney, US EPA and Aaron N. Durnbaugh, Loyola University Chicago

Energy Audits - Who? What? When? Why? How? (recorded 4/28/16, 48 min)
Michigan Energy Options has been serving Michigan residents for over 35 years. A large part of their role has been the development of energy audit markets in the state. This webinar will explore the reasons for energy audits, what different energy audit regimes can provide and how to choose the right energy audit for your needs. Presenters Ed Love and Scott Durrett with Michigan Energy Options.

Creating a Culture of Sustainability (recorded 3/17/16, 67 min)
Creating a culture of sustainability can seem like a daunting task. This webinar will offer a structure to integrate sustainability within your organization and a pathway to begin your journey towards sustainability or to further the efforts you already have in place. Topics include integration within your business plan and vision, the importance of goals and reporting, employee engagement, and accountability. Kris Spaulding from Brewery Vivant will share their secrets to successfully implementing the triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) into their business model.

The Business of Sustainability - DEQ Sustainability Series Webinars (recorded 2/18/16, 65 min.)
The Business of Sustainability webinar will explore the interrelationship between stakeholder preferences, business leadership and environmental regulations and how these drivers can affect sustainable business practices. Case studies and trends will be examined to illustrate how these factors are helping to advance society toward a safer and more sustainable future through business practices.  Presenters: Ms. Natalie Pryde, Principal Scientist leading the T&M Associates office in Novi, Michigan, and Ms. Maryann Sanders, Senior Regulatory Compliance Specialist at Haley & Aldrich, Inc.