While the first day of the Zero Waste East Conference was focused on driving investments into waste from Wall Street investors, Wednesday’s educational sessions focused on renewable energy and the clean energy transition. Featuring discussions from key players in the industry — including NRG Energy, Blue Planet Foundation, American Sustainable Business Council, Covanta and others — they stressed the setting aggressive goals, public policy, strategies for driving change, and the next steps for zero waste.
“Strategies for Transforming the Economy” featured a “fireside chat” with David Levine and Thomas Oppel from the American Sustainable Business Council discussing the changes in federal policy and the goals for setting the framework that is needed, while a working lunch roundtable continued the discussion by bringing a few attendees from the audience to get their perspective on what is happening and what the future holds. In addition, a panel on solar panels covered what was working and what needed to be changed with regards to laws and regulations and incorporating them into other energy sources. Final sessions included a talk on smart city solutions and maximizing the benefits of a circular economy.
Overall, the Zero Waste Conference offered excellent content and took into consideration every point of view in the process from waste to renewable energy. Many of the speakers on both days stressed the importance of listening and understanding both sides of the argument as well as educating people of all ages, whether it is children or CEOs of corporations — the message can be tailored to focus on the group to which you are speaking.
Scott Donachie, CEO of Companies for Zero Waste was very pleased with the attendance and looks forward to seeing how the industry progresses: “I founded Companies for Zero Waste in January 2019 in order to shake things up in the waste industry and be the central hub for policy changes, innovation and strategic investments. Our research showed experienced professionals were frustrated with the inability to achieve rapid progress or even keep pace with global changes in waste management. Our mission for the Zero Waste East Summit is to drive investments into waste innovation by bringing together policymakers, corporations, waste experts and investors. In January 2019 it seemed like a daunting task. The amount of interest from international investors and experts globally far exceeded my expectations. The end goal is for everyone to recognize the tremendous ROI in the waste industry post-National Sword. A key takeaway after the Zero Waste East Summit was that investors were able to learn from the top thought leaders in the waste industry. Our motto at Companies for Zero Waste is “Words are good, Actions are better.”
Tom Szaky, CEO of TerraCycle was a Keynote Speaker on the first day of the conference and found the information presented in other sessions valuable as well, “Zero Waste East has emerged at the right place at the right time as we need to seriously re-imagine our relationship with waste. It brings together all of the right people with topical conversations that will leave you inspired and ready to change the world.”
We look forward to attending next year’s conference!