“We’ve committed ourselves to highly ambitious projects others have shied away from, but we did it because no one told us we couldn’t.”
What is your role at The Sustainability Consortium (TSC)?
I manage the graduate students, the research associates, the external contracts and the volunteers for the Home and Personal Care; Electronics; and Toys Sector Working Groups. My primary responsibility is making sure research goals are being met and deliverables are at a high quality and on time.
What does your day-to-day look like?
Today we were disassembling air freshener housings with hammer and chisel. As a part of my work you have to understand the products you are working with, and taking them apart is one of the best ways to gain that information. On a more routine day, I manage the planning and execution of experiments with the graduate students, meet with collaborators regarding our external contracted projects as well as students and volunteers on the progress of the Sustainability Measurement and Reporting System deliverables and related research projects and coordinate with Christy Slay to make sure we are on the same page.
What is your favorite part of your role at TSC?
Working with the students and research staff, followed closely by the collaborations I have underway around the Electronics End-of-Life Innovation Project that I run.
Can you expand on the E-waste project?
This is the first innovation project that has launched out of the electronics sector. We started the project when we found a large knowledge gap about how to dispose of electronics during our notebook computer analysis. We’ve now built a research program to assess the effectiveness of take back programs, so that program operators can assess and communicate the success of their efforts in a way that is common across multiple types of programs. There is not a lot of information and very little data currently available.
What is one wish you have for your line of business in the future?
I really want to build-up the innovation work that we are doing. The projects that focus on going beyond what the situation is today and focusing on what we can do to improve the situation for tomorrow. I would also like to build on any end-of-life electronics work and to develop it into an internationally recognized research program.
In your words, how is TSC different then other similar initiatives?
We are different in the fact that we have the commitment to science. We have the luxury of being able to step back and get out of the emotional issues and enable the use of the best-known scientific information and data to inform and shape our work. The academic grounding is the core of the difference. Beyond just being neutral – being perceived as neutral.
What is one thing that the people at TSC don’t know about you?
I was part of a team that disassembled, moved and reassembled full-sized replica skeletons of a Mastodon and a Mammoth at the Arizona Museum of Natural History.
About The Sustainability Consortium
The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) is an independent organization of diverse global participants that work collaboratively to build a scientific foundation that drives innovation to improve consumer product sustainability. TSC develops transparent methodologies, tools, and strategies to drive a new generation of products and supply networks that address environmental, social, and economic imperatives. The Sustainability Consortium advocates for a credible, scalable, and transparent process and system. The organization boasts over 90 members from all corners of business employing over 57 million people and whose combined revenues total over $1.5 Trillion. The Sustainability Consortium is jointly administered by Arizona State University and University of Arkansas with additional operations at Wageningen University in The Netherlands and has recently launched an office in China. Learn more at www.sustainabilityconsortium.org.
Elizabeth Kessler, Marketing Coordinator
The Sustainability Consortium
Arizona State University
Elizabeth.Kessler.firstname.lastname@example.org | 480.965.3810