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Your Packaging Is the Problem

Caroline James ’22 , director of sustainability at Atlantic Packaging, says the current plastics recycling system is broken. She explains how new efforts by businesses and governments could move us toward a more sustainable and circular economy.

Bundles of crushed plastic containers
  • Where's the profit in nature?

    One study in 1997 estimated the value of all the functions performed by ecosystems at $33 trillion per year — substantially more than the entire world economy. But in most instances, functions such as purification of water and air, nutrient cycling in soil, or the resilience created by biodiversity don't have a clear economic value. A number of firms around the world see opportunity in monetizing those functions.

  • Is uniqueness sustainable?

    In an era when it's possible to surf in Phoenix and ski in Dubai, places are becoming interchangeable. Even areas with stunning natural resources can find themselves under pressure from this flattening effect. For communities, sustainability might mean strengthening their distinctive characteristics.

  • Where are the win-wins?

    A step as simple as reducing the time that trucks idle can save money and cut emissions. An environmental advocacy group and a private equity firm have teamed up to uncover the sorts of efficiencies that further both of their missions.

  • Does conservation make business sense?

    The global nature of environmental issues demands collaboration across borders and across sectors. Mark Tercek became the President and CEO of the Nature Conservancy in 2008 after 24 years at Goldman Sachs. He discusses how finding business solutions to environmental problems is essential.

  • Can the business of food impact climate change?

    It is hard to image that a healthy, home-cooked meal is contributing to climate change, but the food consumed annually by a family of four in the U.S. requires 970 gallons of gasoline to fertilize, produce, and transport. That's only slightly less than the 1070 gallons the average family uses in their cars. Helene York '88 talks about one food service company's goal of reducing its carbon footprint while still maintaining a successful bottom line.

  • Has globalization failed in Nigeria?

    Oil pumped from the Niger Delta is loaded on supertankers and shipped into the global market, accounting for 3% of world production and generating substantial revenues for the Nigerian government. What has this connection to the world economy done for Nigeria?

  • Can better financing make solar hot?

    Soltage is one company looking to finance the widespread adoption of clean, cheap solar power.

  • Is emission reduction a new capital?

    A firm of financiers, technologists, and policy mavens is bringing capital to bear on projects around the world that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They hope to help turn the tide against climate change — and make a healthy profit.