Big problems require big solutions.
The 2020 Zero Waste Conference brings together three influential leaders â€“ each with a unique perspective â€“ to a keynote conversation on solving the plastic pollution crisis.
Walmart: A Retail Sea-Change
The Zero Waste Conference is pleased to welcome Horacio Barbeito, President and CEO of Walmart Canada to the Solving the Plastics Challenge in One Generation session.
As one of the worldâ€™s largest corporations, Walmart has a major role to play in the transition to a circular economy. With their market position, buying power and influence, Walmart is in a prime position to lead a sea-change among retailers to curb plastic pollution.
Recently, the retail giant stepped up with commitments to reach zero emissions by 2040 and to protect or restore one million square miles of ocean by 2030 as part of a goal to become a regenerative company. Theyâ€™ve also taken steps to avoid unnecessary plastic packaging, such as eliminating plastic wrap from banana bunches and single peppers and increasing post-consumer recycled content in the packaging of baked goods.
Cutting Edge Ocean Plastics Science
Chelsea Rochman, Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto and Scientific Advisor to Ocean Conservancy, is one of Canadaâ€™s leading ocean plastics scientists. Her team continues to expand our understanding of the extent of the plastics problem. Their recent study estimates thatÂ 24 to 34 million metric tonnes of plastics enter aquatic ecosystems every year.
Dr. Rochmanâ€™s work doesnâ€™t just focus on the problem â€“ her team proposes solutions like harmonizing global production standards and investing in circular economy businesses:
â€œThe global community must co-ordinate a fundamental transformation of the plastics economy, one that reduces the amount of virgin plastic production and reimagines how we make use and dispose of plastic materials.â€
Government of Canada Taking Action
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson is Canadaâ€™s Minister of Environment and Climate Change. His government made headlines around the world this month announcing a Canada-wide ban on six common single use plastic items, as a step toward the goal of achieving zero plastic waste by 2030.
As Wilkinson explained in a recent op-ed:
â€œPlastic pollution is harmful to our environment and the transition to a more circular economy â€” where we reuse materials rather than simply throwing them away â€” is an economic opportunity that we can, and must, capitalize on.â€
Three Leading Voices
Solving a problem as pervasive as plastic pollution will take global collaboration across all sectors â€“ the 2020 Zero Waste Conference brings together leaders representing science, government and business for a solutions-focused keynote conversation about what we must do to create an environment and economy thatâ€™s free of plastic waste.