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Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Revolutionary Evolution - going from a linear to circular economy

image from Sense of  Events Blog
Until relatively recent history a flat, linear and finite Earth was common belief. Although 6th century BC astronomer Pythagoras introduced the spherical Earth paradigm and third century BC Greek scholar Eratosthenes of Cyrene calculated the Earth's circumference, it took Christopher Columbus' 1492 Atlantic voyage to dispel the flat Earth myth. With the fear of "falling off the Earth" gone, a new world of possibilities and discoveries emerged.

Humanity is in the midst of a similar paradigm shift from a linear economy to a circular economy. The entrenched world economy is based on a linear mentality of produce, use and dispose without regard to nature's no waste systems. A circular economy is modeled after nature's perfection where systems flow in holographic patterns where all benefit and waste is nonexistent.

A  spiral is indicative of growth &
mirrors our DNA.
Image from Next Wave
In the Zero Waste in ACTION Blog posts, Perpetual Life Cycle System - simplicity is key and The Perpetual Spiral, the evolution from a zero waste focus to nature's no waste systems is introduced as an Elemental Impact platform. Here are several quotes from the posts:
In nature "waste" does not exist, rather a perpetual life cycle rearranges molecular structures so the finished product for one use is the basis for its next life. 
Remember death is always followed by birth - we are in the process of birthing a civilization where technology-based solutions mirror nature's perfect regeneration processes. 
Emerging from prominent publications - Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough & Michael Braungart  and Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature” by Janine Benyus as two examples - the circular economy platform is a major stride in moving away from linear production systems. As with nature, in a circular economy there is no waste generated and products are made for reuse, whether in their current form or as the raw material for another use. Renewable energy is integral to a successful circular economy.

For a circular economy to replace linear structures in-place, the WE Consciousness is a necessity within the economic culture. Ei introduces the WE Consciousness in the ZWA Blog post, Zero Waste is a Team Sport.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is at the helm of the economy's revolutionary evolution as the home to the Circular Economy 100, a platform to re-think the future. Committed to action, the CE100 is a global platform bringing together leading companies, emerging innovators and regions to accelerate the transition to a circular economy over a 1000-day (3 year) period. 

A CE100 overview presentation is available for download on the Ei Reference Materials & Tools page. The short video, What is the Circular Economy 100, is an excellent, interesting introduction.

At the foundation of the CE100 is the McKinsey & Company issued paper,Towards the Circular Economy: Economic and business rationale for an accelerated transition, commissioned by the EMFThe January 2012, paper quantifies the tremendous resource savings inherent in evolving from a linear to a circular economy along with other benefits.

Every six months the CE100 hosts two-day acceleration workshops that include core circular economy topics and elective sessions focused on common challenges, best practices, emerging trends and key learnings for circular economy innovation.

On June 19, the CE100 hosted their first annual summit in London with an impressive program consisting of three sessions: Macro Challenge and Opportunity,  Circular Economy - Solution Space and Rethinking Design with topics covered in a series of presentations. 

Wendy & Eric Schmidt w/ Ellen
photo from
In the evening the EMF hosted a Schmidt-MacArthur Public Lecture. Eric Schmidt - Google Executive Chair - was the keynote speaker and Dominic Waughray, World Economic Forum, chaired a stellar panel: Dayna Baumeister (Biomimicry 3.8), Professor Michael Braungart (Erasmus University),  William McDonough (McDonough Advisors), Jeremy Oppenheim (McKinsey & Company) and Professor Walter Stahel (Product Life Institute).

Taking our first global footsteps, Ei Chair Scott Seydel attended the summit as a CE100 guest.

Paradigms are shifting with a new world of possibilities ready to emerge. Like Columbus grounded the Earth as spherical, soon a major event will serve as a catapult  to shift humanity from a linear way of life to a circular economy.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Atlanta Sustainability Leaders Recognized

The Atlanta Business Chronicle published their inaugural Who's Who in Sustainability list on the 2013 Summer Solstice. Inherent within the publication is recognition of the important role sustainability plays in corporate, community and personal economic vitality. In the opening copy, the ABC states their commitment to including a broad spectrum of leaders:
In this section we highlight 50 men and women who are making strides in sustainability throughout metro Atlanta, including those working in the nonprofit, government, business, education and public-private partnership sectors.
It is important for main stream media, especially business-oriented outlets, to place sustainability among their top-tier topics. Astute business leaders know sustainability is integral to successful business practices. Beyond bottom line improvement, sustainable operating practices are often demanded by their customers and employees.

Holly & Laura
Photo courtesy of Leonardo Ruscitto
In addition to Elemental Impact founder Holly Elmore's listing, Ei relationships are intertwined among many of the featured leaders. Ei Environmental Adviser Laura Turner Seydel is listed for her work as the Captain Planet Foundation Chair along with co-founding Mothers & Others for Clean Air and the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper.  

Laura's prominent role in Atlanta's sustainability platform underlies several additional listings: Judy Adler & Michael Finley - The Turner Foundation and Sally Bethea - Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. In addition, Laura along with her husband Rutherford Seydel - eldest son of Ei Chair Scott Seydel - work closely with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and City of Atlanta director of sustainability Denise Quarles on the City's Power to Change program, a pathway for the Mayor's goal to make Atlanta a top-tier city for sustainability.

Sharon Douglas, Michael & Kyle Mastin
accepting 2012 ABC Enpact Award 
Atlanta is home to two of the three Sustainable Food Court Initiative Pilots - SFCI Atlanta Airport and SFCI Georgia Dome - and the leadership for each pilot is included in the list. Michael Cheyne, Atlanta Airport director of asset management and sustainability, was the driving force for the Atlanta Airport's groundbreaking compostable packaging concessionaire contract provision. The Zero Waste in ACTION Blog post, Atlanta Airport Makes Bold Sustainable Statement, announces the contract provision. For an SFCI Atlanta Airport Pilot update, read the ZWA Blog post, SFCI Atlanta Airport: ACTION Update.

Holly & Tim during a  GA Dome tour.
photo courtesy of Susan Montgomery
Tim Trefzer, Georgia World Congress Center Authority director of sustainability, is recognized for his stellar performance as chair of the 2013 Atlanta Final Four sustainability committee; the Georgia Dome hosted the games that brought over 100,000 fans to downtown Atlanta for games, concerts and events. To learn about the committee's success under Tim's leadership, read the ZWA Blog post, Final Four green footprints continue after the games.

Ei's close bond with Suzanne Burnes, Sustainable Atlanta executive director, is grounded in the Zero Waste Zones' early days when Suzanne was Georgia DNR Department of Sustainability assistant director. As an Ei Strategic Ally, Sustainable Atlanta serves on the Atlanta-based SFCI Pilot Teams and is integral to several soon-to-be announced food waste and recycling initiatives.

The maize of intertwining relationships among Atlanta's sustainability leadership exemplifies the WE Consciousness necessary for success is alive and healthy in our grand city.

Note: The WE Consciousness is introduced in the ZWA Blog post, Zero Waste is a Team Sport

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Another Yr, Another Great NRA Show

In mid-May Elemental Impact Partners gather in Chicago for the National Restaurant Association Show held at McCormick Place. Whether exhibitors, attendees or participants in NRA activities, the Show is always a powerful and fun experience.

Orwak Baler @ O'Hare
Ei founder Holly Elmore arrives in Chicago several days prior to the Show for tours, meetings and simple enjoyment of a grand city. Upon landing at Chicago O'Hare International Airport,  the 2013 Chicago sojourn started with a tour of Ei Partner HMSHost's loading dock area where an Orwak baler was delivered days prior. How fun to witness the first Starbucks' milk jug recycling bales!  In addition, Waste Management collects limited organics, mainly coffee grinds and fruit rinds.  

For more information on HMSHost's Starbucks milk jug recycling program, visit the Zero Waste in ACTION Blog post, Milk Jugs Recycled at Atlanta Airport.  In late 2011 the HMSHost - Atlanta Airport team developed an effective, efficient system to recycle their approximately 2,600 milk jugs generated weekly. Revenue from the milk jug bales essentially covers the baler rental, making the program cost-effective when landfill tipping fee reduction is added to the equation. HMSHost also recycles milk jugs at the Tampa Airport.

Chicago tulips
As in prior years, the Hotel Monaco served as Holly's Chicago home base - it is important to stay in a hotel with in-room recycling, great location and superb dining. Chicago tulips were at their prime and gone after the second day. Intertwined with business, Holly experienced Chicago via long walks, documenting the City's magnificence while discovering excellent eclectic dining. For a recap of Holly's Chicago experience, visit her personal FB albums, A Wonderful Spring Visit to Chicago and 2013 Chicago Tulip Extravaganza

First on the agenda upon arrival at the NRA Show was a tour of the Hyatt Regency McCormick Places' back-of-the-house cardboard baling operation. Ei Partner Tomra | Orwak orchestrated the Hyatt tour where their ten+ year old baler is the foundation for successful cardboard baling in limited space. The Hyatt's cardboard bales rank with the "prettiest" bales seen on Ei's many tours. The Ei FB album, Small Balers Increase Recycling, is a pictorial recap of the O'Hare and Hyatt Regency loading dock tours.

SFCI recycling station on
display at the CleanRiver booth
Walking the Show exhibitor hall is always full of unexpected encounters with long-time friends along with visits to Ei Partner booths. CleanRiver Recycling Solutions, Tomra | Orwak and Asean | Stalkmarket each had showroom booths. As a long-time exhibitor, Buzz Chandler of Asean served on the NRA Show 2013 Exhibitor Advisory Committee. CleanRiver showcased the Sustainable Food Court Initiative Recycling Center at their booth.

Ruth Watts of Ei Partner BASF attended the Show and kept a busy meeting schedule with her NRA ConSERVE program participation. SFCI Co-Chair Doug Kunnemann - NatureWorks  Global Segment Leader, Food Service - and Ei Partner Anslem Doering of EcoLogic Solutions made Show attendance a priority in their hectic schedules.

For a pictorial recap of Ei's NRA and Chicago experience, visit the Ei FB album, 05-13 The NRA Show, a wonderful Chicago visit.

Another year, another great National Restaurant Association Show experience!