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Thursday, 20 September 2012 18:30

Roxanne's Mankin Cason, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Cason Family Foundation, exclusive interview

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Roxanne Mankin Cason, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Cason Family Foundation, introduce CFF's  Annual Conference for the Informal Sector Recyclers among with CGI Commitment and new Foundation for Sustainable WasteResources.

Roxanne ManRoxanne Mankin Gasonkin Cason is collaborating with the Clinton Global Initiative to coordinate an innovative initiative to empower sustainable programs for women, waste, and scavenging in developing countries. She served as President of Kona Special Air, Hawaii and Texas, Trustee of Save The Children Federation, Incorporated ,Chief Executive Officer of Cason Family Foundation and Vice-Chair of Save the Children Education Leadership Council.

Next week, on September 21 and 22, you organize for the third time the Cason Conference for the Informal Sector Recyclers. This year the title is “ The Informal Waste Sector: Ways Forward in the Context of Globalization and Waste Management - Utilizing the Technology and Interconnectivity Potential”. Since the overall title is really promising and innovative for a waste conference, explain us what are the expectations from this conference  and what type of interventions are prepared.

Cason FoundationThe Cason Family Foundation hosts its third annual informal waste sector conference in New York City on September 21-22, 2012.The conference brings together three main sponsors. The Cason Family Foundation, Esri, and your organization, D-Waste. Each year, we look at some current issues, we highlight future trends as we see them. This year we have presentations on what we call Big Data and innovative approaches and platforms that we think we help meet waste challenges that are and will be present for municipalities, regional planning institutions and local citizens.
The platform data base which is being designed by D-waste and built and hosted by Esri, the foremost geographical information services company, will provide platforms and analytics to support decision makers related to enhanced waste management solutions.

We shall showcase some of these platforms and demonstrate how they can be used and discuss some innovations using mobile apps to enable citizens to actively advance awareness and action for better waste management.We hope to demonstrate to representatives of the World Bank, InterAmerican Development, UN, Gates and others the value of this innovative work. through the use of mobile apps which D-Waste is developing, we want to collect data, and enable citizens to be able to connect with those in municipal waste management.
Through data collection and subsequently developed data base, we expect to provide benchmarks and comparable information all in one data base thereby enabling developments banks that drive regional infrastructure to have more efficient processes as their need for data will be greatly facilitated.
Lastly, we want to advance our perspective that the informal waste sector is a valued partner in waste management irrespective of the immediate challenges claimed by some in working with the informal sector and we want to advance that the informal waste sector is an intricate and essential player in the supply chain. Our presenters have experience in many different aspects related to these issues. Some are advisors, some organizers and some are formal waste management. One of our speakers runs all waste management for the mega city, Rio de Janeiro. And we have a presence from the private sector as well.

Last years, there is a lot of research and several projects worldwide regarding the informal recyclers – still we are far away from saying that we have found ways to utilize their recycling contributions and integrate them in waste management. According your understanding and approach, is there a missing link or component to the current approaches or it is just a matter of time to get things more mature? We have heard you many times speaking about the importance of the linkages between informal recyclers and supply chains, can you provide more details about that?

This is a critical question and thank you for asking. My personal, and I emphasize, personal perspective is that there are basically three issues that require attention. Let's start with public policy. governments and policy makers as well as formal waste management need to agree to promote public policy that promotes the informal waste sector as important contributors to waste management;  to positive environmental impact; and a source of poverty reduction. brazil is exemplary in its approach. Different countries have various approaches some due to enlightened action, some due to legal challenges; some due to obvious need; some due to political pressure all for inclusion. Secondly, the informal sector is doing an excellent job of organizing. With the help of NGOs and other organizations including the World Bank and the IDB, NGOs such as WIEGO out of Harvard; Libby McDonald from MIT; AVINA; CEMPRE in Brazil; APE in Egypt; Chintan, India etc. much progress is underway. They are organizing, sharing best practices, coordinating their demands for inclusion, building their brand and creating a movement towards inclusion Lastly, i think there is an awareness, desire and need to capitalize on their entrepreneurial skills. This is the new frontier for the informal waste sector. How do they organize, develop enterprise, deliver consistently and at scale.
 Volume and consistency are critical components required to participate with the formal waste sector. As the demand side increases its requirements for secondary raw materials, the informal waste sector must be positioned to deliver to that market which is local but global.

You are very well known as a Clinton Global Initiative active member and we know that your last commitment was really appreciated by President Clinton. Please describe us how this commitment goes on and what was the added value it brought.

clinton foundationThe first CGI COMMITTMENT had three basic components. The first was to host an annual informal waste sector conference to bring the sectors together. The second was to build a knowledge hub to provide a platform for all sectors to share information and best practices.
The third component was to build awareness. I think the added value was the concerted focus we brought to the space on our perception regarding enterprise and best practice sharing of information. We introduced this sector to the membership Of CGI. The issue gained a platform outside of itself and broadened the general awareness of the conditions and the issues. I believe we have connected the dots in ways that have been useful to all
the players in the sector.

Last but not least, give us a broad overview of the new foundation you do prepare, its mission and vision as well as the partnerships involved. From what we have heard, it sounds very ambitious…
sustainable waste

We are launching a new foundation called The Foundation for Sustainable WasteResources. Our vision is to promulgate a view that waste is a resource and has value. As a way to understand this, we are developing platforms of data and attendant analytics to use this big data to enable better utilization of the waste. If we can count it, measure it, we can begin to evaluate what and how to do something about it. First, philosophically, we think waste management is a human right just like one's right to clean air and clean water. We have a right that our planet and our neighborhood are clear of waste. It's better for our health, it's better for our environment and it offers economically viable business opportunities. We expect to work with academic institutions, research centers and many organizations to promote safe waste management, solid innovations and to advance leapfrog possibilities for the sector. The mapping will be open source for a great deal of information. We plan to create customized platforms and layers of data to support solutions and innovations in addition to the garden variety waste management solutions which serve quite nicely. Our intent, however, is to evangelize new ideas to solve waste management challenges with approaches that are sustainable socially, environmentally and economically. Our research and data collection will allow us to provide benchmarking on waste management; index municipalities and their success in managing their waste and showcase best practices And partner to empower communities to find appropriate innovations and solutions. The foundation is supported by Esri, a foremost GIS provider; D-Waste, a digital waste management advisory group and The Cason Family Foundation. The CEO will be Jill Boughton, a seasoned executive with 24 years in product design and innovation at Proctor and Gamble. She joins the Foundation in January, 2013. We are excited with this group and have great expectations that we can bring new ideas and assist in driving solutions and a rethink to waste as a resource.

Read 18198 times Last modified on Monday, 15 October 2012 17:00
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