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On Thursday, June 17, Axios' technology and business reporter Kia Kokalitcheva and climate and energy reporter Andrew Freedman hosted an Expert Voices roundtable on sustainability and the circular economy.

Katherine Lugar, President and CEO of the American Beverage Association, discussed cross-sector collaboration, and how the beverage industry is working to remake containers as a key part of their sustainability model.

  • "Real progress can be made when the private sector, NGOs, and government work together on meaningful solutions to societal challenges. The Every Bottle Back [program] really demonstrates our willingness to...help get our aluminum and plastic containers back and remake them into new ones."

Rep. Joseph Morelle, the representative for New York’s 25th congressional district, highlighted remanufacturing as part of a multi-pronged approach to dealing with the existential threat on climate change.

  • "[Remanufacturing] takes a product when it's at the end of its useful life cycle, rebuilds it, and restores it to like-new condition. It tends to be pretty labor-intensive, so you get great jobs, [it] saves energy and is good for the environment. If you can do it properly, it will allow a product's life cycle to be repeated over and over and over again."

Kevin Burns, Mayor of Geneva, Illinois, discussed recycling and circular economy applications at the local level, and how to introduce policies that will encourage constituent participation.

  • "Understanding what circular economy is all about is perhaps the biggest roadblock to a lot of small communities...Acting in legislative ways to either inspire or motivate people to participate is key...We don't oftentimes rely just on the state and federal levels. We take hold of these opportunities locally then we prove to the state and federal level that this can be done."

Keefe Harrison, founder and CEO of The Recycling Partnership identified key ways in which industry can start building for a sustainable future and the integration of data science into the design of goods for a circular economy.

  • "Our work will be done when there's such transparency into the very concept of designing something that, as a designer, if I even think about putting a product on the market...there is no option: it's going to be circular."

Sheila Bonini, SVP of Private Sector Engagement at World Wildlife Fund discussed how to create a structure of policies and incentives to have private-sector producers a part of the circular economy solution.

  • "We can't put the burden on the consumer...When it comes to is thinking about solutions and we think that extended producer responsibility is a really key part of the solution: creating both the incentive for producers to be [reducing] and [reusing] but also to create some of the important funding to go back into fixing what is a broken recycling and waste management system."

Thank you American Beverage Association for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Updated Sep 23, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on investing in advanced climate tech

On Thursday, September 23rd, Axios business editor Dan Primack and Axios Today host Niala Boodhoo explored how alternative energy investments toward climate solutions function in the private and public sector today, featuring Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Galvanize Climate Solutions co-founder Tom Steyer.

Sen. Ron Wyden explained his support for overhauling the existing tax code to incentivize companies to reduce their emissions, his belief that all Americans should pay their fair share of taxes, and Congressional efforts to increase electric vehicle usage.

  • On his support for modifying the tax code: “One of the little secrets about the tax code is that many billionaires pay little or no income taxes. The way they do that is they don’t take a wage, and so Americans have read all these stories about prominent billionaires paying virtually nothing in the way of income taxes for years and years on end. I don’t think that’s right.”
  • On the future trajectory of electric vehicles: “Getting a critical mass of these electric vehicles on the road is going to bring down costs. It’s going to be good for the environment, good for marketplace forces, and the American economy.”

Tom Steyer highlighted the importance of cleaning up electricity generation across the country, how the climate tech investment landscape has changed over the last decade, and what areas of climate tech he believes need more attention and investment.

  • On the future of the infrastructure and reconciliation bills: “I believe that the Democratic Party will come to a negotiated place which will include very important climate regulations, climate initiatives, and that specifically they will be encouraging the move to clean electricity generation across the United States during this decade.”
  • On the need for more tangible innovations in climate tech: “It’s going to be incredibly important for us too to do well in the businesses like manufacturing, where you can touch the product. We have dominated the kinds of businesses like software that you can’t touch.”

Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with HSBC’s Group Chief Sustainability Officer Celine Herweijer, who discussed how sustainability is moving to the forefront of many corporations’ long-term goals.

  • “We’ve committed to essentially have a net zero target across all of our finance commissions portfolio. So to be able to do that, that means fundamentally changing how we finance it, fundamentally changing our risk appetite, changing our culture, our policies, our processes of capability.”

Thank you HSBC for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper: Get smarter, faster on the growing field of climate tech with our free short course.

Updated 2 hours ago - Science

Nor'easter slams East Coast with flooding rain and powerful winds

A residential area in Middlesex County as floodwater from the nor'easter covers streets in New Jersey on Tuesday. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A monster storm was slamming the Northeast with record rainfall and powerful winds over Tuesday night — causing flash flooding that resulted in people having to be rescued in New Jersey and New York roads to close.

Threat level: All of southern New England westward to New York City and northern New Jersey was under the threat of flash flooding and coastal flooding from the nor'easter through Tuesday night into early Wednesday, per the National Weather Service.

2 hours ago - World

Blinken speaks with Sudan prime minister after his release

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok. Photo: Ebrahim Hamid/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Tony Blinken spoke on the phone on Tuesday evening with Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok after the military released him from custody.

Why it matters: Hamdok’s release was a result of pressure on Sudan’s military leader General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan from the U.S. and other countries but also from the different political parties in Sudan and massive protests in the streets.