Episode 234: Circularity 20 highlights, talking green chemistry

Energy

Week in Review

Stories discussed this week (6:45).

Features

Mainstage highlights from Circularity 20 (19:10)

This week, GreenBiz hosted Circularity 20, the largest North American conference focused on circular economy issues. We’ll be posting videos for many systems in coming weeks. Meanwhile, here are highlights from four of our mainstage speakers. (A second batch is forthcoming next week.)

  • Dame Ellen MacArthur, founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which has been instrumental in catalyzing collective corporate action to address key circular economy issues such as plastics and food waste, kicked off the conference. This outtake feature her thoughts on systems change and the link between climate change and circularity.
  • Audrey Choi, chief marketing officer and chief sustainability officer of Morgan Stanley, gave a great presentation on ways to engage the C-suite about circular economy issues. “I can’t think of another instance in which it would be a smart business position to take a finite natural resource, turn it into a product we use on average for 12 minutes and throw it away,” she said, talking about single-use plastics. 
  • Ovie Mughelli, the former Atlanta Falcons fullback who has dedicated his voice and resources to environmental education for children, challenged the business community to work harder on including environmental justice considerations in their strategy.
  • Jasmine Crowe, founder and CEO of Goodr, addressed the persistent problem of food waste and made the case for why every company — no matter its industry — needs to be have a strategy for addressing it. 

Reflections on circular economy progress (34:00)

Lauren Phipps, director of the Circularity conference and senior analyst for GreenBiz, chats about the challenges — and opportunities — associated with taking the event online, the need to move from pilots into fully scaled projects and the imperative to prioritize concerns for equity and access in circular business processes.

Green chemistry pioneer goes corporate (44:05)

Chemist John Warner has joined materials company Zymergen as a research fellow, where he’ll focus on building the 12 principles of green chemistry into its work. Warner and Zymergen co-founder and CEO Josh Hoffman chat about their new mission.

*Music in this episode by Lee Rosevere: “Curiosity,” “Knowing the Truth,” “4th Avenue Walkup,” “Going for a Coffee,” “Here’s the Thing” and “And So Then”

*This episode was sponsored by WestRock

Resources galore

Greentech on the red sea. How do we innovate our way out of the climate crisis? Three professors from Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology discussing promising solutions in energy and water. Join the webcast at 1 p.m. EDT Sept. 8.

Today’s carbon-negative fuel. Exploring the potential for fleet emissions reductions through renewable natural gas. Register here for the discussion at 1 p.m. EDT Sept. 10.

ESG values and a sustainable future. Why placing environment, social and governance principles at the center of COVID-19 recovery places makes sense for resilience and the bottom line. Sign up for the interactive session at 1 p.m. EDT Sept. 15.

Inside The Climate Pledge. Senior executives from Amazon, Global Optimism and Verizon share insights on why collaborative corporate action on the climate crisis is more critical than ever. Join us during Climate Week at noon EDT Sept. 24.

State of the Profession. Our sixth report examining the evolving role of corporate sustainability leaders. Download it here.

The State of Green Business 2020. Our 13th annual analysis of key metrics and trends published here.

Do we have a newsletter for you! We produce six weekly newsletters: GreenBuzz by Executive Editor Joel Makower (Monday); Transport Weekly by Senior Writer and Analyst Katie Fehrenbacher (Tuesday); VERGE Weekly by Executive Director Shana Rappaport and Editorial Director Heather Clancy (Wednesday); Energy Weekly by Senior Energy Analyst Sarah Golden (Thursday); Food Weekly by Carbon and Food Analyst Jim Giles (Thursday); and Circular Weekly by Director and Senior Analyst Lauren Phipps (Friday). You must subscribe to each newsletter in order to receive it. Please visit this page to choose which you want to receive.

The GreenBiz Intelligence Panel is the survey body we poll regularly throughout the year on key trends and developments in sustainability. To become part of the panel, click here. Enrolling is free and should take two minutes.

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