Sustainable Brands Day 3: Changing behaviors, Forever Chemicals and renewable energy

Sustainable Brands Day 3: Changing behaviors, Forever Chemicals and renewable energy
June 6, 2019 Natasha Blakely

“The American dream that we all have been aspiring to in the last century really has broken down and is not serving us individually or collectively.”

It was on that note that Sustainable Brands CEO KoAnn Skrzyniarz started off the morning keynote session.
Raphael Bemporad, co-founder of BBMG, continued that tone at Sustainable Brands conference’s third day in Detroit.
“Here we are a consumption economy that has us on a precipice,” he said in his keynote session speech, before he turned to talking about what companies can do to change things.

He brought up nine “sustainable behaviors” that companies can encourage consumers to adopt: eat more plants, go renewable, go durable, reduce food waste, go circular, go simple, support women and girls, expand equity and opportunity and show up.

Following that, on a panel addressing translating intent into action, Yumi Clevenger-Lee, the chief marketing officer of Nestlé Waters North America, pointed to collaboration as key when it comes to action.

“I no longer see everything as a win-lose zero sum,” she said. “I think the playing field is different, and I think the only way it’s zero sum is if we resist collaboration.”

Great Lakes Now screened its documentary on PFAS, “The Forever Chemicals,” as a special event during the afternoon breakout sessions. MLive reporters Garret Ellison and Paula Gardner answered audience questions about the documentary with Great Lakes Now Program Director Sandra Svoboda following the screening.

Watch the documentary:

What’s happened since the documentary first aired in March was one of the questions addressed by Ellison, who said that there’s been little change in the past couple of months.

Kevin Hagen, vice president of environment, social and governance strategy at Iron Mountain, tackled renewable energy and accountability in the data industry in the “Revolutionizing Access to Renewable Energy: Exploring the Potential of the Newly-Launched Green Power Pass” session.

“The challenge is that data centers use a lot of energy,” Hagen said. “Today there’s estimates that data centers use 3, 4 percent of the world’s energy, and it’s doubling every year.”

“The data industry, IT industry, now contributes more climate pollution than the airline industry,” he added.

The Sustainable Brands conference continues through Thursday. Here are Great Lakes Now’s stories from the event:

Day 1: Water Crises and Plastic Pollution
Day 2: The Plastic Problem


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