One Conference, Four Streams – ZWC 2016 Offers Cross-Disciplinary Insights

Closing the loop in a circular economy leads to a realization. Achieving a future without waste demands we recognize the interconnectedness of our efforts across disciplines. At Metro Vancouver’s 2016 Zero Waste Conference we will be looking at zero waste through the lens of four distinct sessions. This comprehensive approach not only promises ‘something for everyone’ – it also offers delegates a unique opportunity to understand how zero waste principles depend on holistic solutions.

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William McDonough named Keynote Speaker for 2015 Zero Waste Conference

William-McDonough_headshot_formal-200x300In the world of zero waste, the circular economy, and sustainable design, few people can match William McDonough’s accomplishments. We are proud to announce he will be the keynote speaker for the 2015 edition of Metro Vancouver’s  Zero Waste Conference.

Renowned as an architect, advisor, designer, and author, McDonough is widely considered one of the world’s leading thinkers on the topic of sustainability. Along with Michael Braungart, McDonough created the Cradle to Cradle product certification program in 2002, recognized globally as an effective framework for assessing the environmental impact of consumer products. In 1996, McDonough received the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development, and in 2003 he earned the first U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for his work with Shaw Industries. In 2004, he received the National Design Award for exemplary achievement in the field of environmental design. He is currently serving as the Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Meta-Council on Circular Economy.

McDonough’s sustainable architectural design work includes NASA’s Sustainability Base, the Ford Rouge truck plant in Dearborn, Michigan, the Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies at Oberlin College and most recently, the LEED Platinum Hero Motorcycles ‘garden’ factory in India.

NASA's Sustainability Base

NASA’s Sustainability Base

He is the co-author of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things and  The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability–Designing for Abundance (both with Michael Braungart) and promotes the cradle to cradle approach to a global audience ranging from TED talks to the political business leaders of the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland.

In a wide-ranging interview from 2014 with the online design journal Inhabit, McDonough explains how Cradle to Cradle works:

“Cradle to Cradle products Certification goes beyond the definition of a rating system or a binary pass/fail seal of approval. Cradle to Cradle is a process for managing the total quality of a product and an engine for business innovation, taking into consideration not only environmental impact but also safety, health and social responsibility. The certification is a continuous and rigorous process, and participating companies hope to move their Basic (CCPC certification level) products toward the achievement of Gold, Silver, or Platinum (levels). No single company product has yet achieved Platinum. Certification takes into account five dimensions: materials as nutrients for safe continuous cycling; development of systems to safely close the loop on our biological and technical nutrients; power all operations with 100% renewable energy; regard water as a precious resource; and finally respect for all people and natural systems.”

upcycle book coverThis holistic and ambitious approach to zero waste principles is a big reason why McDonough is in high demand to help governments and industry improve their environmental performance. His participation in the 2015 Zero Waste Conference promises to inspire and educate. If you are interested in understanding where we need to go and how to get there – to realize the potential for a truly circular economy and a thriving planet, you don’t want to miss this rare opportunity to hear William McDonough speak about his vision for an abundant, healthy world.

Stay up to date with all the speaker announcements and ZWC 2015 news by subscribing to our blog (top right corner). As we lead up to the conference we’ll keep you up-to-date as the program and participants are finalized.

ZWC 2014 – Plastics in Focus Panel

Plastic. It’s an integral part of our modern world. And more and more is recovered and recycled every year, as its impact on the environment and its value as a resource become more widely known.  But, the vast majority still remains in the garbage, or becomes litter in our communities and a toxic health hazard in our waterways. Leading the shift toward greater sustainability in the plastics realm are the three panelists for this wide-ranging discussion regarding plastics and the circular economy.

Moderated by Christina Seidel – Executive Director of the Recycling Council of Alberta, the Plastics in Focus panel features Germain Archambault – President of the Lavergne Group, Toby Reid – CEO of Solegear Bioplastics, and Mike Biddle – founder of MBA Polymers. Their expertise and experience provides valuable insights into the current state of plastics recycling and the future possibilities that are possible when zero waste principles are brought to bear on this ubiquitous material.

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ZWC 2014 Textiles in Focus – Making C2C a Must-Have Label in the Fashion World

In some industries, sustainability initiatives deliver long-lasting benefits, because products and production methods can be used over and over again. But the fashion industry is an ever-shifting landscape, as seasons change and styles fall in and out of favour with the consumer. That can bring big challenges to sustainability efforts. When it comes to bringing zero waste and cradle-to-cradle principles to the clothes we wear, a different approach is required.

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