With the 2014 SPC Spring Conference just around the corner, March 25-27, everyone at GreenBlue is understandably busy, but nevertheless incredibly excited about what we have planned for our 10th annual event. We are thrilled to be heading to Seattle for the event, as the well-known green city will provide a perfect backdrop for an informational and productive gathering for the hundreds of packaging and sustainability professionals attending the conference.
I recently had the opportunity to talk with a few of our speakers about what they’re most looking forward to at #SPC2014 in Seattle. Here are some of their thoughts:
Our keynote speaker, Joel Makower, is no stranger to the sustainability field as chairman and executive editor of GreenBiz Group. Makower is an award-winning speaker, writer, strategist, and past GreenBlue board member who will be speaking on the current state of sustainability in the corporate world. Makower will provide an overview of his annual State of Green Business report, highlighting several sustainability trends including the importance of collaboration to ensure success and growing recognition that sustainability is not just about the environment, but also about human health and well-being. According to Makower, collaboration was a driving factor in choosing to attend the conference; he explained that “the SPC is about industry collaboration around sustainability goals… this is a critical activity that companies and sectors should be doing and SPC has been leading the way.”
Jeff Wooster of the Dow Chemical Company also spoke of SPC’s collaborative atmosphere. Dow has been leading the way in consumer research on sustainability, and Wooster will be sharing his knowledge of the challenges and opportunities that arise from consumer research. Wooster stated that sustainability “is a big puzzle to put together with a lot of pieces of information.” He encouraged us and the rest of the industry to always be on the look out for recurring themes and commonalities in order to complete this puzzle as efficiently as possible.
Two of our speakers work in the sustainability trenches for Seattle and were able to give us a preview of what we’ll learn about their sustainable city in March. Dick Lilly of Seattle Public Utilities is looking forward to sharing his city’s unique sustainability story, but he’s also excited to hear from many of the other speakers on what he called “the most important topics for the industry, today.” Some of the sessions he called out were those on extended producer responsibility, including Allen Langdon’s Evolution of EPR in Canada and Scott Cassel’s Sustainability in Harmony: Aligning Global Best Practices for Packaging EPR.
One of the things Lilly’s most excited to talk about is Seattle’s cutting-edge policies requiring food service packaging to either be recyclable or compostable. Along with stressing that they’ve learned “that it really is essential to move to compostable food packaging in order to reach zero waste,” Lilly will also be detailing Seattle’s green vehicle fleets, tree planting, and city light programs. Lilly was also instrumental in helping organize our tours to Cedar Grove’s Composting facility and the University of Washington’s Compostable Packaging Expo.
Speaking of zero waste and conference tours, Scott Jenkins, Vice President of Ballpark Operations for the Seattle Mariners will be giving attendees a behind the scenes look at the Mariners’ home stadium, Safeco Field. In the tour, Jenkins will show the group the stadium’s recycling center, the Zero Waste Station, and its solar panel installations. During his session, Jenkins will elaborate on how sustainable business practices have become a normal part of professional sports nowadays and how the Green Sports Alliance has helped teams in this process, and allowed Safeco Field to reach zero waste.
We’re looking forward to Seattle, and hope you’ll join us and our many speakers for the conference!