Social Media Recap from Yale University

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From Waste to Opportunity: Over 20 Companies Launch New Project to Scale Up Material Reuse across US Facilities

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Online marketplace allows companies to exchange underutilized materials, turning one company’s waste into raw material for the other.

Geneva, San Francisco, Austin, July 8, 2015: The National Materials Marketplace is a new joint pilot project led by the Corporate Eco Forum (CEF), US Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD), and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Bringing together more than 20 major companies with operations in the United States, the project will help participants identify ways to reuse or exchange undervalued materials via an online database, and establish new circular supply chains.

“The increasing pressure on our natural resources sends a clear message: we need to find value in discarded materials. Growing cross-industry collaboration for the efficient use of our resources is promising. This opens up new business opportunities while creating economic, environmental, and societal benefits,” says Andrew Mangan, Executive Director of US BCSD.

“The Materials Marketplace project is a key step towards the shift to a circular economy – one where waste becomes the new engine for creating value,” says Peter Bakker, President and CEO of the WBCSD.

“Unlocking business-to-business reuse opportunities ensure effective waste management and deliver integrated benefits.”

The potential benefits of matching material and by-product waste streams with opportunities for reuse are massive. In recent years, General Motors has generated nearly $1 billion in annual revenue through reusing and recycling its by-products. By finding reuse and recycling options for this material, GM avoided over 10 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions in 2014.

“Material management is a business opportunity, not just a cost-reduction strategy,” adds John Bradburn, GM’s Global Manager of Waste Reduction. “We have to reach the stage where by-products are viewed the same way we view product development – part of constant improvement and innovation.”

The Marketplace is a unique collaboration among the three business associations. Originally conceived at a CEF member meeting, the idea gained momentum with the support of early advocates including GM and Nike. The national pilot builds upon a similar regional project in Austin, Texas, as well as other “by-product synergy” projects in North America, China and the United Kingdom over the past 20 years.

Amy O’Meara, Director of the Corporate Eco Forum explains: “US BCSD’s expertise and software were exactly what our members were looking for. And joining forces with US BCSD and WBCSD was a natural fit, given the significant complementarity of our memberships. By leveraging each of our organizations’ strengths, we can deliver increased value to participating companies.”

By joining the pilot, participating businesses benefit from:

  • Lower operational costs due to cheaper feedstock and reduced waste disposal costs
  • Reduced carbon footprint owing to major cuts in energy use and GHG emissions
  • Reduced environmental footprint by avoiding waste disposal and raw material purchase
  • Enhanced social and economic impact through new business opportunities and jobs
  • Improved corporate reputation through the reporting of reuse activities and diversion of waste streams for productive purposes
  • A collaborative and dynamic business network allowing for exploration of new pathways for materials with other like-minded colleagues.

Lessons learned from the pilot will be used to scale up materials reuse projects worldwide, notably through the WBCSD’s Global Network of national business councils.

Participating companies include: 3M; Armstrong World Industries; CH2M; Eastman Chemical; Essroc – Italcementi Group; Holcim-Geocycle; Goodyear; Fairmount Santrol; General Motors; Nike; Novelis – Aditya Birla Group; The Dow Chemical Company; Tetra Pak Inc.; Swisstrax; Systech; and many others.


 

About the US BCSD
The US BCSD is an action oriented and member-led business association that harnesses the power of collaborative projects, platforms and partnerships to develop, deploy and scale solutions to ecosystems, energy, materials and water challenges. US BCSD activities are designed to generate economic returns and address environmental and societal challenges. The US Business Council is one of 70 national councils worldwide associated with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a network of 200 companies with members drawn from 30 countries and 20 major industrial sectors. http://usbcsd.org

About CEF
The Corporate Eco Forum (CEF) is an elite, invitation-only membership organization comprised mainly of Fortune and Global 500 companies from 18 industries with combined revenues of over $3 trillion. CEF provides a year-round safe, neutral space for influential executives to exchange best practice, collaborate, and innovate. Participants are almost exclusively VP and C-level executives across multiple business functions including CSOs, CTOs, CIOs, CFOs, CMO, and VPs for Supply Chain. The diversity of executives, coupled with the cross-industry nature of CEF, creates a world-class platform to accelerate sustainable business problem solving and innovation. http://corporateecoforum.com

About the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), a CEO-led organization of some 200 forward-thinking global companies, is committed to galvanizing the global business community to create a sustainable future for business, society and the environment. Together with its members, the Council applies its respected thought leadership and effective advocacy to generate constructive solutions and take shared action. Leveraging its strong relationships with stakeholders as the leading advocate for business, the Council helps drive debate and policy change in favor of sustainable development solutions.

The WBCSD provides a forum for its member companies – who represent all business sectors, all continents and a combined revenue of more than $8.5 trillion, 19 million employees – to share best practices on sustainable development issues and to develop innovative tools that change the status quo. The Council also benefits from a network of 70 national and regional business councils and partner organizations, a majority of which are based in developing countries. http://wbcsd.org

Pope Francis Embraces Circular Economy

By Maclain Pinkerton, US BCSD Summer Intern

The circular economy now has the backing of a papal mandate, thanks to Pope Francis’s June 18th encyclical letter (“Laudato Si”) concerning the environment. In only 2 years of papacy, Pope Francis has made headlines for his many progressive (and at times controversial) opinions regarding poverty, homosexuality, and interfaith dialogue. His newest focus is on the environment, decrying wasteful use of materials and endorsing the science behind human-driven climate change.

Stating that “Mother Earth… cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her,” Pope Francis acknowledges the negative impacts of unsustainable economic practices. His request for ecological reform heavily promotes the transition to a circular economy, demonstrated by his views that “our industrial system, at the end of its cycle of production and consumption, has not developed the capacity to absorb and reuse waste and by-products. We have not yet managed to adopt a circular model of production capable of preserving resources… while limiting as much as possible the use of non-renewable resources, moderating their consumption, maximizing their efficient use, reusing and recycling them.”

He also stresses the importance of action vs. attitude by saying that “people may well have a growing ecological sensitivity but it has not succeeded in changing their harmful habits of consumption.” He isn’t speaking just to Catholics, but to everyone, saying “Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production, and consumption.”

Pope Francis chose his name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, patron saint of the environment. He reflects this with his groundbreaking opinions on environmental reform, the full text of which can be found here. Perhaps this new Catholic doctrine will give zero-waste initiatives around the world a much-needed dose of divine intervention.

Maclain Pinkerton

James Maclain Pinkerton is a UT Advertising Student and word enthusiast. He is focused on general communications work for the Business Council, and in his spare time is a tree-climber and avid film-watcher.

 

What new approaches are opening up access to funding for sustainability projects?

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This July 16-17 at Yale University, we’ll be asking you for your input on how financing can help scale up our collaborative sustainability projects and initiatives. We’ve assembles a small group of experts from finance and investment institutions, as well as government-funded green banks, to work with you on July 17th and respond to your experiences related to financial opportunities and barriers to scaling sustainability initiatives. We’ll discuss developments in debt, equity and unconventional financing tools.

The agenda for the two day event will also include discussions on a range of other US BCSD, WBCSD and Yale University projects and initiatives – view the full agenda and register at http://usbcsd.org/blog/events.

Collaborating to Achieve Scale: this July 16-17 at Yale University

July 16th and 17th – Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Can business make real progress on global environmental and social issues? Can businesses positively influence environmental and social trends while strengthening their own resilience to issues like climate change and resource scarcity? We think so – but we have to work together to get there.

The WBCSD, US BCSD, and Yale University are walking the talk. We’ve engaged in new organizational collaborations that will help scale up impact by joining forces and leveraging our collective capabilities. For example, the US BCSD and WBCSD have engaged in a new level of collaboration to connect the WBCSD’s thought leadership, breakthrough ideas, and realistic business approaches to the US BCSD’s action-oriented project proving ground and implementation platform.

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In this context of organizational collaboration, we invite US BCSD and WBCSD members, other businesses, Yale and Global Network for Advanced Management faculty and staff, and colleagues in our network to join us on July 16th and 17th at Yale University. Together we’ll explore existing and emerging projects that demonstrate how these collaborations work in practice; discuss what’s needed for scale in the context of finance, communications and technology; and create opportunities for peers across sectors to learn and gain from one another.

The agenda for these two days includes:

  • Hands on work sessions to scale existing projects focused on the circular economy, collaborative water strategies, energy efficiency in buildings and others.
  • Work sessions on emerging projects, including climate smart agriculture and coastal resiliency.
  • An exploration of emerging tools and approaches to address the barriers to scaling up impact, including finance, communications and technology.

Add the event to your calendar using the buttons below, and watch our website and twitter account for registration details.

ROC Detroit Wraps Up Second Working Meeting

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The Reuse Opportunity Collaboratory (ROC) Detroit held its second working meeting on April 8th at the General Motors Renaissance Center. The meeting attracted wonderful turnout from Detroit industries, institutions, small and medium sized businesses, and entrepreneurs looking to unlock how to transform waste into new products and new business opportunities. Keep an eye out here, and on rocdetroit.org, for a meeting summary and new project developments.

Scott Nadler joins the US BCSD as Program Director

Nadler SAF 2014The United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD) is pleased to announce that Scott Nadler is joining the Council as Program Director. Scott joins US BCSD to provide support in a number of areas including project coordination, membership development, and increased collaboration with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

The US BCSD is an action oriented and member-led nonprofit business association that harnesses the power of collaborative projects, platforms and partnerships to develop, deploy and scale solutions to ecosystems, energy, materials and water challenges.

Scott brings a broad range of experience, including 20 years in environment and sustainability consulting to business with ERM, a leading global provider of environmental, health, safety, risk and sustainability services. Prior to ERM, Scott spent 15 years in industry and 5 years in state government. He has worked closely with the US BCSD for several years, including serving as a member of US BCSD’s Executive Committee.

“Over more than two decades, the US BCSD has created a unique organization and role in business sustainability”, said US BCSD Executive Director Andrew Mangan. “The Business Council focuses on projects rather than policy. We concentrate on turning great ideas into great actions. Increasingly, business sustainability efforts globally are turning to actions as well. The biggest challenge is to scale up those actions so business can have more meaningful impact on the world’s sustainability challenges. I’m delighted to have Scott join us to work in that effort.”

Scott will work with the US BCSD on a part-time basis. He remains a Partner with ERM.

Industrial Materials Reuse in Tennessee

On March 27th we presented a new initiative to engage Tennessee-based companies of all sizes to create closed-loop systems in which one company’s waste is another company’s raw material. As we ended the presentation, we put out a call to action for Tennessee businesses and organizations interested in the project to get in touch – if this means you, fill out this form!

During this hour long session, representatives from General Motors, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conversation and the US Business Council for Sustainable Development (US BCSD) presented on:

  • The concept and implementation of business-to-business material reuse and the plethora of business opportunities that can be uncovered.
  • The US BCSD’s Materials Marketplace, a new tool being used in Austin and other regions around the US to help companies easily post materials available or desired, identify reuse opportunities, and exchange underutilized materials.
  • Our next steps and plan to engage with Tennessee automotive businesses and manufacturers to facilitate and launch a materials reuse network in the state.

Waste is just a resource out of place – lets work together to keep these high value resources out of the landfill and put them back into the hands of the Tennessee businesses that can use them best.

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