Article Written By:  Monica Kreiger| Marketing Team Leader | Mercantile Bank of Michigan

Sustainability. We’ve all heard this buzz word but what does it really mean to businesses in West Michigan? That was the topic at Mercantile’s recent luncheon on a beautiful spring afternoon at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Special guest speaker Norman Christopher, Executive Director of Sustainability at Grand Valley State University and author of Sustainability Demystified spoke on the topic and led a panel discussion of local government and business leaders including  Mayor George Heartwell, Kurt Hassberger of Rockford Construction and Kerri Miller of Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber Inc.

Sustainability best practices such as assessment and planning, clean technologies, Green/LEED building and waste minimization were some of the ideas presented as ways for businesses to gain a competitive advantage and improve financial performance in today’s changing markets. Sustainability plays an important role in the growth of business in West Michigan and Grand Rapids has embraced it. Grand Rapids has been recognized by the United Nations as a “Regional Center of Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development” and in 2010 the US Chamber of Commerce gave our city the “Nation’s Most Sustainable City” award.

Thank you to Mr. Christopher and our distinguished panel for an afternoon of engaging and thought provoking conversation.