In late May, several Coalition member leaders from Ever-Green Energy, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota and Uponor shared their leadership stories for a Webinar: Coalition Circularity Leadership in this Moment. As businesses, community leaders and as global citizens, we are all facing unprecedented challenges right now, but we are also seeing new opportunities and new ways of thinking. It was wonderful to hear how our members are role modeling to advance circularity and how companies are putting in meaningful sustainability work today to advance a better tomorrow.
Our presenters for the webinar were Ken Smith, President and CEO of Every-Green Energy; Bridget Callaghan, Public Affairs and Civic Engagement Specialist for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota; Ingrid Mattsson, Director of Brand and Sustainability at Uponor; and Erin Woodward, Manager of Brand & Corporate Responsibility at Uponor.
While each company works in a vastly different spaces and industries, they all shared that COVID-19 has given them an opportunity as an organization to pause and examine what “business as usual” may look like into the future, where we can act now, and how we can we slow down to better evaluate and act on solutions we’re putting in place. What’s evident is that as thought leaders and innovators, we are voices for systemic change—used to overcoming challenges and leading, even in difficult times. From advancing equity in our work to raising up communities and economies toward a better tomorrow through sustainability, it’s critical that our leaders take real action, especially in this moment.
From Ever-Green Energy advancing projects moving us toward a carbon free future to Blue Cross Blue Shield of MN leading in the space of public equity and social determinants of health to Uponor elevating their sustainability work to the C-Suite level, COVID-19 has brought opportunities, along with challenges, that are showcasing the leadership of Coalition members and demonstrating how we can all lead.
This webinar about circularity leadership provided just a few examples of how our members are blazing new paths toward a thriving, circular economy. The Coalition is helping coordinate and connect our members across industries and sectors, and those connections are allowing us to march forward in our mission around clean energy, water and materials. Through systems change and public-private partnerships, this webinar demonstrated how as a Coalition we can go faster and farther together, advancing circularity in the moment which will help build a stronger, more resilient economy that benefits people, communities and businesses, as well as elevates voices from various viewpoints, persons of color and those impacted most by environmental challenges.
Finally, as we look to inspire change, I want to share this amazing poem from Ingrid Mattsson about circularity leadership in these times. She shared it with us at the webinar, and we were all blown away!
Words matter, or so they say
And there are many interesting words in the landscape today.
There’s Covid and Corona, pandemic and vaccine,
And let’s not forget sanitizer, fear, TP and quarantine.
Mother Earth has spoken, her message is clear.
It’s time to get serious people; the need is more urgent, not left for next year.
The carbon keeps climbing, the oceans are groaning, the fires are raging and the people… now moaning.
Suddenly, a “circle” seems to make more sense than a “line”…
But can governments and businesses and consumers understand this in time?
So what is our role, us soothsayers of sustainability?
For quite some time we’ve glimpsed into the future; been warned of things to come,
Only to be met with cries of profitability, earnings, the need for more malls or “that’s just dumb.”
Let’s not be deterred, distracted or downtrodden.
There’s opportunity now; a Phoenix must rise to provide hope, direction and draw recognition.
Rise it will – perhaps straight from the Sustainable Growth Coalition.
So you see, my friends,
Words matter, it’s true,
But actions matter more,
And for that we need you.
Together, we will see the change, be the change and effect the change
And when history is read, and Covid is dead, it surely will be said,
That folks with hearts of color green
We’re some of the best hope this world has ever seen!
– Poem written by Ingrid Mattsson