A Review of Sustainability Frameworks – Expanding Material Stewardship Potential
Thursday, April 18th from 10:00 – 11:30am (PST)
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) embody global aspirations for environmentally and socially equitable economic development. They offer a unifying lens for progress towards ecological, human, and material wellbeing. Yet, implementing the ambitions embodied in the SDGs across critical domains such as poverty, hunger, health, education, governance, biodiversity, and just economic development is a complex undertaking. At the same time, businesses, communities, governments, and academia rely on several different "sustainability" frameworks to organize, prioritize, and communicate their efforts. These sustainability frameworks, however, are typically focused on much narrower bands of activities than warranted to support the SDGs. Examples of sustainability frameworks include Pollution Prevention, Zero Waste, Circular Economy, and Sustainable Materials Management.
In this webinar, Maurie Cohen will provide an overview of the SDGs and cover the basic premise to set the context for the overall discussion. He will highlight the role of the SDGs in supporting the United Nations 2030 Agenda and discuss opportunities that exist for expanding their use in contemporary policy making, especially in terms of providing a more synthesized paradigm for advancing comprehensive conceptions of sustainability. Minal Mistry will then introduce each framework starting with their operating principles, strengths, and shortcomings. The discussion will include a review of each framework's activities in relation to the material life cycle – from resource extraction, manufacture, distribution, use and discard management. The life cycle overlay will provide an illustration of the gaps between the theoretical potential of each approach and the current state of engagement. The goal of the webinar is to illustrate how sustainability efforts as a whole could be made stronger by cooperative approaches that leverage existing learning in different domains, and support progress towards key aspects of the SDGs.
Panelist: Maurie Cohen is Director of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is also Editor of Sustainability: Science, Practice, and Policy (SSPP), Associate Editor of Environmental Innovation and Sustainability Transitions, and co-founder and co-coordinator of the Future Earth Knowledge-Action Network on Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production. His books include The Future of Consumer Society: Prospects for Sustainability in the New Economy, Social Change and the Coming of Post-consumer Society, Putting Sustainability into Practice: Applications and Advances in Research on Sustainable Consumption, Innovations in Sustainable Consumption: New Economics, Socio-technical Transitions and Social Practices, and Exploring Sustainable Consumption: Environmental Policy and the Social Sciences. He received his PhD. in regional science from the University of Pennsylvania.
Panelist: Minal Mistry is the business initiatives lead with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. He works with a wide range of entities to implement strategies for Oregon's 2050 Vision for Materials Management. His primary focus is on helping businesses produce and consume materials in more sustainable ways. Minal supports concept development, research, and capacity building in support of the Vision. His professional experiences include life cycle assessment, environmental testing, information services, technical training, and consulting for implementing Design for Environment (DfE) strategies for consumer-packaged goods. Minal is a biologist with experience in business, environmental NGOs and government.
Moderator: Babe O'Sullivan is a Sustainable Consumption Specialist with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Materials Management Program. She has worked as a consultant for the Urban Sustainability Directors' Network (USDN), leading the Sustainable Consumption in Cities project, a multi-year initiative exploring the role of cities in advancing sustainable consumption. She helped to design and launch the USDN Sustainable Consumption Toolkit providing guidance and resources to cities. Previously, Babe was the Sustainability Liaison for the City of Eugene, Oregon and a solid waste and recycling program coordinator for the City of Portland, Oregon. She holds an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Policy from the University of California, Davis.
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