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SMM Web Academy - Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) A Framework for the Future

Although resource efficiency and waste recycling are increasingly incorporated into production processes worldwide, the total amount of material used is still rising. Escalating population growth will put pressure on the world’s resources as consumption rates rise. This webinar presents an exciting opportunity to hear leading experts on developing a framework to ensure that material resources are managed sustainably and used efficiently through their life-cycle, promoting economic growth, environmental quality and sustainable development.

Sustainable materials management is a core element of EPA’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act’s resource conservation mandate. EPA is shifting from waste management to sustainable materials management approaches by taking a life-cycle approach to managing materials from how they are extracted, manufactured, distributed, used, reused, recycled and disposed.

Betsy Smidinger of the US Environmental Protection Agency will discuss her views on EPA’s evolving role, including collaboration with other stakeholders and employment of tools such as life-cycle-analyses. EPA’s document Sustainable Materials Management: the Road Ahead (PDF) (49 pp, 1.2MB, About PDF) provides an introduction to EPA’s thoughts in this area.     

Dr. Joseph Fiskel, Executive Director of the Center for Resilience at Ohio State University, will discuss useful methods for understanding global material flow patterns include material flow accounting, ecological footprint analysis, and life cycle assessment. He will present promising SMM strategies such as dematerialization (reduces material throughput), detoxification (reduces adverse impacts), and value recovery (increases waste reuse).

Peter Paul van de Wijs of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development will present its Vision 2050 study, which lays out a plan based on the resource limits of the planet by 2050. He will also discuss how businesses are joining together to rethink the roles they must play over the next few decades to move toward a sustainable society. The report Exit EPA was released at the 2010 World CEO Forum Exit EPA in New Delhi, India.

Speaker Bios

Betsy Smidinger is the Director of the Resource Conservation and Sustainability Division in the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery of the US Environmental Protection Agency.

EPA's Shift to Sustainable Materials Management (PDF) (6 pp, 224K, About PDF)

Dr. Joseph Fiksel, Executive Director of the Center for Resilience at the Ohio State University, is an internationally recognized expert on sustainable business practices, including design for environment, life cycle assessment, and supply chain management. He is currently on loan to the U.S. EPA as a Sustainability Advisor in the Office of Research and Development, and is based at the Andrew W. Breidenbach Environmental Research Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Dr. Fiksel was commissioned by the OECD to develop a position paper on Sustainable Materials Management. His presentation will be based on the opening keynote address that he delivered at the OECD Global Environmental Forum, held in September 2010 in Belgium.  Dr. Fiksel also recently authored an article urging EPA to adopt systems thinking.  See the news release on the article Exit EPA.

Sustainable Materials Management (PDF) (23 pp, 1.6MB, About PDF)

Peter Paul van de Wijs  is the Managing Director of Communications and Business Role Focus Area  at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Peter Paul is member of the Executive Team of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. He is responsible for the overall communications and the coordination of the advocacy efforts of the council. In October 2010 he was also named the Managing Director for the Business Role Focus Area; one of the four major work areas of the Council. The Business Role Focus Area addresses the questions around the role of business versus that of other stakeholders in society regarding  sustainability and resource challenges. Much of the work is built around the Vision 2050; WBCSD’s attempt to understand the impact of a world population set to grow to 9 billion by 2050 and to define what business can and should do to deal with this change.

Peter Paul joined the WBCSD in June 2010. Prior to that he held various positions in communications, sustainable development, government affairs and issues management at The Dow Chemical Company. Most recently he led the Global Water Strategy Team for Dow.

Vision 2050 and the Green Race Towards It (PDF) (18 pp, 511K, About PDF)

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