- The International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) recently signed a memorandum of understanding with R20 - Regions of Climate Action — a group founded by Arnold Schwarzenegger — to work together on fighting climate change, as reported by Waste Management World.
- The two groups plan to collaborate on achieving the U.N.'s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. According to ISWA's managing director, Herman Koller, this will include project identification, capacity building, knowledge sharing and fundraising, among other areas.
- This agreement was signed at the first-ever R20 Austrian World Summit, where Schwarzenegger spoke about the need for unity. "I am a Conservative, the Austrian Chancellor is a Socialist, the President is from the green party – but when it comes to the environment we are all working together," he said, according to a press release.
R20, founded in 2010, isn't often mentioned in the U.S. waste industry, even though according to its website the nonprofit is currently engaged in more than 150 waste-related projects around the world. This new partnership is a clear fit, as ISWA has been especially vocal about climate issues recently.
ISWA President Antonis Mavropoulos provided one of the more direct responses to President Trump's retreat from the Paris Agreement earlier this month and the organization has been active on a number of other fronts. They announced a new task force on marine litter at the U.N. Ocean Conference, continue to make progress on their dumpsite closure initiative and raised £42,500 for their global scholarship fund in the Netherlands. Preparations also continue for their 2017 World Congress in Baltimore this September in partnership with the Solid Waste Association of North America.
Many large companies in the U.S. waste industry are beginning to talk more about reducing greenhouse gas emissions through different technology and material diversion priorities. Yet compared to the responses from major executives in other sectors to Trump's climate policies and proposed Environmental Protection Agency budget cuts they have been essentially silent. As more big name leaders in the U.S. business and political space such as Schwarzenegger, Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates speak out, perhaps that will begin to change.