EGLE Sustainability Series (Webinars)

Sustainability Series Webinars

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) presented this award-winning webinar focused upon the topic of business sustainability.

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Recorded webinars in this series:


Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – how will they impact your business? (Recorded 2/22/2018, 61 min)
With 193 governments agreeing to deliver 17 goals tackling major world issues by 2030, change lies ahead for business, not only to rethink strategy and business behavior to align with the goals, but also to assess and evidence their impact. In this webinar attendees learn more about - Current business communication on the SDGs; Business and citizen's priorities on SDG reporting practices ; and PwC's support with the UN Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, and GRI, the world’s leading organization for sustainability reporting, to create a mechanism to help businesses prioritize and report on the SDGs.

Presenter: Jessica Gehl, Manager, Sustainability Services and Risk Management at PwC.


Can the Green Chemistry Enterprise Connect with Social and Environmental Justice? (Recorded 10/19/2017)
Green Chemistry is the science of making smart choices in how we design, make, use, and dispose of chemicals and chemical products. However, chemists also need to be aware of the potential unintended consequences of hazardous chemicals that may disproportionally impact children and adults in low income, minority neighborhoods. This violates our definition of social and environmental justice where all people, regardless of race or economic status, have the right to live, work, play, and learn in healthy, safe environments. The goal of this webinar is to explore some of these disparities and discuss opportunities for collaboration between the social sciences and the green chemistry enterprise, to better educate the public on the role of chemicals in their daily lives, and understand how the field of green chemistry might offer practical solutions to these disparities.


Life Cycle Assessments (Recorded June 22, 2017)
Join us for a discussion with Rich Helling, Director of Sustainable Chemistry at the Dow Chemical Company, to learn more about Life Cycle Assessments (LCA), including the value proposition of LCA and the first steps to incorporate LCA into your business.  The LCA process assesses the potential environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product's life, and it can be used to help critique product designs and production operations. LCA can help avoid a narrow outlook on environmental concerns by:

  • Compiling an inventory of relevant energy and material inputs and environmental releases.
  • Evaluating the potential impacts associated with identified inputs and releases.
  • Interpreting the results to help make better informed decisions.

Presenter: Rich Helling, Director of Sustainable Chemistry, Dow Chemical Company. Dr. Rich Helling is the Director of Sustainable Chemistry for The Dow Chemical Company, located in Midland, Michigan. Rich has been with Dow for 30 years, in a variety of technical and managerial roles in research and development, and manufacturing and sustainability. Rich holds a bachelors' degree from Harvey Mudd College with majors in engineering and history, a masters' degree in chemical engineering practice from MIT, and a doctorate in chemical engineering, also from MIT. He is a LCA Certified Professional.


The Ins and Outs of B Corps (Recorded 5/25/2017)
Many businesses are pursuing objectives beyond profit maximization, and as a result, new types of business organizations are becoming more popular. “B Corps” and “Benefit Corporations” both focus on using business for good, but there are some important differences between them. To learn more about B-Corps and Benefit Corporations, the current legal status of Benefit Corporations in Michigan, how becoming a B-Corp can help advance your sustainability goals, and some actionable steps that you can take now.

Presenter: Elissa Hillary from Local First


The Business Rational of the Circular Economy (Recorded 4/20/2017, 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


Rebuilding Customer Trust with Stronger Sustainability Communication (Recorded 3/30/2017)
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. Mr. Hower is 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 Edelman, Mr. Hower works on sustainability strategy and communication for HP, The North Face, and Kashi, among others.


Using Toxics Use Reduction (TUR) Planning Techniques to Improve Efficiency and Promote a Safer Work Environment (Recorded 2/16/2017)
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.

Presenters: Mark Myles and Pam Eliason. Mr. Myles is the Education Program Manager at the Toxics Use Reduction Institute. Ms. Eliason is the Senior Associate Director and Industry Research Program Manager at the Toxics Use Reduction Institute.    


Triple Bottom Line (Recorded 1/12/2017, 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.  

Presenter: 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 Oshkosh’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 11/22/2016, 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. 

Presenters: 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 (Recorded 10/20/2016, 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 joined MDEQ for this webinar. NSF International has its global headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Engaging in Food Recovery (Recorded 9/22/2016, 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 6/16/2016, 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 5/19/2016, 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 4/28/2016, 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 3/17/2016, 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.

Presenter: 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 (Recorded 2/18/2016, 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.