It’s time for the latest installment of our “3 Questions” series, where we ask industry experts about their companies’ environmental programs, perspectives on environmental policy, and how they reduce their own environmental footprint.
This week we interviewed Abbie Webb, senior environmental analyst at Casella Waste Systems. In this role, Webb coordinates Casella’s carbon reduction initiatives, which entails conducting an annual greenhouse gas inventory and tracking the company’s sustainability performance. Webb joined Casella and its environmental compliance team six years ago. She holds a master of science in environmental planning and policy from Cornell University and a bachelor of science in environmental studies from Colgate University.
Q: Do you believe policy will help drive the green economy, or do you think the government should leave it up to private businesses and market demand?
All of the above. Amory Lovins’ book Reinventing Fire outlines beautifully the business case for leading the transition from fossil fuel to renewables, and he argues that we would save $5 trillion in the process and can get there without any legislative support from Congress. I would strongly encourage anyone in the field of corporate sustainability to read his book. Businesses can lead the way. With that said, I still believe government has an important role to play, and we would all benefit from a cohesive and enlightened national energy policy.
Q: In your opinion, which industry sector has the greatest opportunity to impact the future of sustainable business?
Every industrial sector has an opportunity to rethink its products and services, its inputs and outputs, and the way it does business to drive the transition to a sustainable economy. As a waste/resource management company, my company is well situated to help transform the entire materials economy. By returning discarded products and materials to productive use, we can help reduce extraction of natural resources and reliance on fossil fuels. By improving the sustainability of our business, we help improve the sustainability of any other sectors that currently consume natural resource inputs or dispose of waste outputs.
Q: How has your opinion on climate change and environmentalism shifted over the last decade?
Over the past decade I’ve developed a stronger sense of urgency for tackling the problem of global climate change, as well as a stronger appreciation for the many environmental solutions being implemented all around us. I try to live by the words of Donella Meadows, who when asked whether we have enough time to prevent environmental catastrophe said “we have exactly enough time – starting now.”