During day one of the 2021 Waste Management Sustainability Forum, speakers from Project Drawdown, the National League of Cities, nongovernmental organizations, and corporate representatives spoke on the future of sustainability and the necessity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The first day of the Waste Management Sustainability Forum centered around the notion of emerging out of a global crisis—particularly the importance of maintaining empowerment through feelings of hopelessness. The panel discussed how cities, NGO’s and other large-scale companies can work together towards solving the climate crisis. Beginning with words from Executive Director of Project Drawdown, Dr. Jonathan Foley, panelists spoke about achieving Drawdown—which is a period of time in which greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop rising, and instead begin to consistently decline. Project Drawdown is a nonprofit organization that provides climate resources and solutions to anyone who needs them.
After touching on reducing emissions through twenty-first century technology—along with supporting nature and ecosystems that naturally reduce CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere—Dr. Foley reiterated that there is time to build a sustainable future. But even still, there’s also a dire need for more wide scale collaboration in order to address the urgency of climate change.
Since nearly 50% of greenhouse gas emissions come from electricity and food production, it’s crucial that all facets of consumerism collaborate globally to create a sustainable future.
Rachel Goldstein, the U.S. Public Policy Director of Mars, Inc., spoke on the importance of a sustainable supply chain regarding packaging and sourcing ingredients, like cocoa and palm, to cause less deforestation. The Chief Sustainability Officer and Vice President of Nestle Waters, David Tulauskas, noted that Nestle Waters provides each water bottle with a QR code that shares the story of the packaging, which incentivizes consumers to engage with the process of plastic production.
One of the largest takeaways from the discussion was the importance of federal policy in mediating the climate crisis. As witnessed in 2020, the planet struggled with hurricanes and fires that were damaging to communities across the globe. Without federal policy intervening in corporations, cities, and NGO’s, it’s hard to mitigate the consequences of pollution while also holding large corporations accountable for the pollutants they create.
The emphasis on large-scale collaboration is an important one, as the process of achieving Drawdown calls for an ‘all hands on deck’ approach. As the climate crisis is dangerously intertwined with racism, classism, and other socioeconomic factors, panel speakers emphasized that focusing on sustainability creates a space to confront other social issues too.
For more information, visit www.wm.com.