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Ford exec makes business case for sustainability
Ford Motor Co.’s global director of sustainability will visit Grand Rapids next week to discuss making the business case for sustainability at every level of a company — including product development, manufacturing, purchasing, human resources and more — to build support throughout the ranks.
John Viera will speak during the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum luncheon on Monday, June 23, from noon-2 p.m.
The luncheon will be held at the University Club of Grand Rapids.
The forum said Viera has helped to bring a whole new view of sustainability to Ford in the past five years.
Before he was promoted to his current position, Viera said many people at Ford saw sustainability as more of a philanthropic venture than a business factor — and the sustainability director position was viewed mainly as a public relations role.
Under his tenure, Ford has created a long-term product strategy based on stabilizing its carbon dioxide emissions, increased its use of recycled materials in its vehicles and created the first human rights code in the auto industry, which specifies working conditions — such as temperatures and fair wages — for its employees.
Troy Cummings, a partner at the law firm Warner Norcross & Judd, will also speak during the luncheon.
Cummings will discuss Michigan House bills 5400-5402, or the proposed Beneficial Use Reform Act.
If passed, the legislation will amend the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act in an effort to promote the use of beneficial use byproducts, such as power plant ash, foundry sand and pulp and paper mill residuals.
Advocates for the law believe that encouraging the responsible reuse of low-hazard materials will reduce disposal costs for manufacturers and provide financial savings over other raw materials that would otherwise be needed, extend the capacity of landfills and conserve resources.
The cost for the lunch is $10 for forum members and $15 for non-members.