S³- Sustainable Strategies Segment: "Recycle, Regenerate, Restore & Renew"
It’s Spring!!! I am so enamored with the changing of the seasons. With every new season, there's a renewal of expectation and greater opportunities. In light of this month being Women's History Month, I wanted to gear the focus of my blog to acknowledge some of the work and conversations women across the global have had concerning sustainability and the value of a circular economy. This blog is perhaps a part 2 to my previous blog about the circular economy.
For thousands of years across the global women have been innovative. The idea of a circular economy truly is nothing new. When there are lack and scarcity, women, in particular, found creative ways to use and reuse anything they could get their hands on especially to sustain their family. From a seed to the fruit that it produced; the outer skin, the meat within, and re-planting that seed to start all over again… this is primarily how the circular economy works. Natural resources (raw materials) are extracted from the ground, made into durable goods and repurposed; having a continuous life cycle.
There are many women influencers of the circular economy and sustainability movement. One that I recently read about is the phenomenal work of Beatriz (Bea) Perez. Ms. Perez is the Chief Sustainability Officer at Coca-Cola and according to a 2015 news release by Public Relations Society of America, Inc. (PRSA) under her leadership, Cocoa-Cola has created a global sustainability strategy that has economically enriched 5 million women. Another innovative sustainable initiative of Coca-Cola is the PlantBottle™. This project was introduced in 2009 and Coca-Cola was the first company to unveil a completely recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle made partly from plant-based material. The packaging is up to 30 percent renewable materials from plants such as sugarcane. Ms. Perez reported, “since the launch of PlantBottle™, it has eliminated the equivalent of more than 315,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from our (Coca-Cola’s) polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles.” Coca-Cola contributes to the circular economy by using technology and innovation, another initiative being EKOCYCLE™. This project recycles PET bottles into sheets, mobile phone chargers, iPad covers, notebooks and jewelry that are produced by local communities in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Coca-Cola is impacting the lives of women around the world to become economically empowered by using recyclable products to generate income. To learn more about the incredible ways Ms. Perez is leading Coca-Cola in the circular economy please check out their website: www.coca-colacompany.com/coca-cola-unbottled/circular-economy-shaping-the-future-of-consumption.
Another visionary leader in the circular economy arena is Ellen MacArthur, founder of the MacArthur Foundation. This extraordinary woman has made tremendous strides as a global thought leader who believes “business innovation sits at the heart of economic transitions” and drives the idea that businesses, government, and organizations must re-think how they do business. The MacArthur Foundation works across the global and value chain encouraging organizations to take a systemic approach to transforming how materials such as plastics are used to scale the global circular economy. Re-thinking is shaped through learning, teaching, and training on the circular economy model.
Last but not least, I was listening to a podcast by Pro Journo: “World Resources Forum: Interview with Dr. Alice Kaudia and Dianne Dillon Ridgley.” These ladies discussed how women globally influence the circular economy. Ms. Ridgley expressed how women know how to reuse and take care of the natural resources. For centuries women learned which natural resources were good for medicine, good for food, and good to be planted by the water. Dr. Kaudia said that women are naturally good at managing natural resources. She also emphasized that to meet the sustainability development goals requires the involvement of women in leadership roles. The goals Dr. Kaudia was referring to are the UN Sustainable Development Goals of 2015, which consists of 17 transformational goals and action steps that have been adopted globally. These ambitious goals are to be completed in 15 years, by 2030 and include ending poverty, ending hunger, quality education, gender equality, the reduction of inequality and more.
A sustainable lifestyle involves recycling, regenerating, restoring and renewal. Our biggest challenge, however, is our mindset. Too often we are stuck in one-dimensional thinking; complacent with doing things the way they’ve always been done, even if it no longer works. If we want to leave a legacy for our children and extend life, that is the life cycle of our products and ourselves, we have to transform how we think and know that we Live 4 change.
I would love to hear from you. What are your thoughts about the circular economy? How can you participate? The opportunities are available.
Please share your thoughts.
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