Keep America Beautiful, a community improvement nonprofit organization, honors the American Chemistry Council (ACC) as the 2019 Vision for America Award recipient for championing innovation across the plastics value chain and for their role in forming the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW). ACC President and CEO Cal Dooley accepted the award on behalf of ACC at the annual gala award dinner of Keep America Beautiful on Tuesday, Oct. 29, in New York City.
Dooley, who will be retiring at the end of 2019, helped bring together CEOs from leading global companies to form the AEPW. The Alliance – which today has more than 40 member companies – was publicly launched earlier this year with a goal of investing $1.5 billion over five years as a first step toward developing, accelerating and bringing to scale offerings to minimize and manage plastic waste, catalyze investment, engage communities and promote solutions to help end plastic waste in the environment with specific, on-the-ground projects.
The AEPW was borne out of a belief that chemical and plastic makers share an imperative to combat the spread of mismanaged plastic waste around the globe. Research shows that most ocean plastic starts out on land, primarily – but not exclusively – from places lacking formal waste management systems. Investments in developing infrastructure will help abate litter, which is the foundation of Keep America Beautiful.
Keep America Beautiful, reportedly the primary nonprofit researching litter and its attendant costs to waterways and the environment, will be conducting a national litter study in 2020. ACC announced at the gala that it will make a $100,000 donation to support the Keep America Beautiful Litter Study, which will update the nonprofit’s landmark 2009 “Litter in America” research, the only national scale research on the quantity of waste and its improper disposal in public spaces.
“Cal Dooley and the American Chemistry Council have been instrumental in gaining commitments to pursue ending plastic waste in the environment through the Alliance to End Plastic Waste,” says Keep America Beautiful President and CEO Helen Lowman. “To solve this crisis, the scientific community, government agencies, conservation groups, corporations and individuals will have to work together to pursue innovative yet workable solutions. A better understanding of the how, why and where these land-based litter challenges arise through our research will help shape intervention strategies that can help address the marine debris issue.”
Dooley notes that addressing this issue will require innovation and thought leadership throughout the value chain, including making changes to how we collect, sort and process used plastics; changes in product design; more and better recycling capabilities; and new business models to repurpose plastics.
“Although plastics provide important benefits to society, plastics and other trash don’t belong in our waterways or the environment,” Dooley says. “That belief is what drove several leading CEOs to dedicate a significant portion of their time and resources to resolving this critical and complex problem.
Dooley acknowledges that diverse and sometimes opposing viewpoints exist on how best to address plastic waste. “We will succeed by building a foundation of trust and mutual respect with all stakeholders who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work,” Dooley adds. “That’s why we believe in Keep America Beautiful and we encourage it to keep doing the hard work of bringing people together to build the future we all want to share through collaboration and partnerships that will move us forward.”
Keep America Beautiful also presented the Keep America Beautiful Leadership & Innovation Award to Circulate Capital, which launched, along with SecondMuse, The Incubator Network to develop and promote technologies and business models that help prevent ocean plastic waste and improve waste management.
Since 1986, Keep America Beautiful has presented the Vision for America Award annually to a corporation whose commitment to corporate social responsibility and sustainability has significantly enhanced civic, environmental and social stewardship. Past recipients of the Vision for America Award, which has been awarded annually since 1986, include Delta Air Lines, Caterpillar, Dell, Honeywell, Nestlé Waters North America, PepsiCo, UPS, Xerox and most recently, O-I.
For more information, visit: www.americanchemistry.com