Cascade Alliance

Bethany’s Sustainability and Circular Economy Summit Update

Last week Terry McDonald, SVdP Executive Director, and I attended the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Sustainability and Circular Economy Summit in Washington D.C.  Thursday Terry presented on the real-world discussion of a nonprofit, foundations and businesses working together to turn sustainability goals into reality.

We both agreed that this was one of the best conferences we had attended recently. There was good takeaway from the sessions, a diverse attendee mix, and best of all, we observed and appreciated the change in language in how waste was discussed. I often hear Terry refer to waste as an opportunity or a resource, so it was inspiring to hear it described this way by attendees and speakers regardless of background.  The way we describe things is so important, and it was incredibly encouraging to hear individuals from the government, universities, nonprofits and corporations thoughtfully defining the materials we produce and consume. Waste diversion was described as value retention, capture percentage, resource management.

We left with the knowledge that the industry is finally moving forward more collectively instead of in silos. Big thank you to Stephanie Potter for putting this on, we look forward to next year.

While on the East Coast, we had a chance to connect with two of our state representatives to address affordable housing, homeless youth and community resiliency, as well as host an informational meeting at the United Way in Baltimore for several nonprofits and city staff interested in the Cascade Alliance.