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Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production
Circularity and Zero Waste: Transdisciplinary Perspectives
Future Earth

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Circularity and Zero Waste: Transdisciplinary Perspectives

Date: March 29, 2024

Time: 08:00 EDT | 13:00 CET | 21:00 JST

Platform: ZOOM LINK

Speakers:  Isa Olalekan Elegbede, KC Morris, Michael Timko

Moderator: Joseph Sarkis


The United Nations General Assembly at its seventy-seventh session proclaimed 30 March as International Day of Zero Waste.  In observance of this day, Future Earth’s Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SSCP) Knowledge Action Network Circular Economy Working Group will offer a 29 March webinar with transdisciplinary experts speaking on circular economy and zero waste.

The webinar will include a panel and discussion including a variety of perspectives including governmental, civil society, technological, biological, and social science perspectives.  The panel to be moderated by Joseph Sarkis, Professor of Business and Sustainability, and will include panelists Dr. Isa Elegbede, Ms. KC Morris from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Dr. Michael Timko, Professor of Chemical Engineering. The panelists wear multiple hats that cross disciplines and sectors.  They will provide insights into social, economic, technological, and environmental concerns that support or limit zero waste goals and circularity principles. Needed actions and future directions for collaboration and co-creation of solutions will be discussed. The panel will tap into years of research and development expertise in addition to various activities related to standards setting, inclusiveness, and technological development studies to support a more sustainable world.

Speaker BIO

Dr. Isa Olalekan Elegbede has a doctorate in Environmental Science from the Brandenburg University of Technology (BTU), Germany. His contributions have been pivotal in advancing the field of Blue Economy and Circular Economy.  He also works with the Department of Environmental Sciences, National Open University of Nigeria, and the Fisheries Department, Lagos State University. At BTU, Germany, he has lectured on marine sustainability. He has been a Visiting Fellow and Scholar at the Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI) and the Robin Rigby Trust (RRT), supported by the Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR) at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada.  He has served as co-chair of the GEO BON Blue Planet Fisheries Working Group.  Deputy Chair of the IUCN/CEESP/TGER, Switzerland. Fellow of the Future Earth Coast (FEC).  He co-leads the African Network of Deep-water Researchers of Challenger 150.  He serves as Co-ordinator of the West and Central African Regional Early Career Ocean Professional (ECOP).  His work has been by the NSF, USA, European Union, and GIZ, Germany.  Dr. Elegbede leverages his interdisciplinary background in data innovations and management. Recognizing the imperative need for knowledge dissemination in Africa, he has worked as a diaspora expert with prominent German institutions: the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the German Federal Employment Agency.  He is an honorary member of the Indigenous and Community Conserved Area (ICCAs). Dr. Isa Olalekan Elegbede’s contributions are helping to shape a brighter, more sustainable future for our blue planet.

Speaker BIO

KC Morris leads the Life Cycle Engineering Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  She applies her background in computer science, information modeling, and knowledge representation to solve industrial challenges in the manufacturing sector while ensuring that new practices lead to more competitive and sustainable manufacturing. Building on a 30+ year career contributing to research and standards for manufacturing systems integration, she currently leads the effort towards standards for transitioning manufacturing to a circular economy.  KC’s earlier work contributed foundational standards for sharing product designs followed by leadership in smart and sustainable manufacturing.  She serves on the executive committee of ASTM International’s E60 Committee on Sustainability, as vice-chair of ASTM E60.13 on Sustainable Manufacturing, member of the US TAG for ISO 323 on Circular Economy, a technical expert to ISO TC 184 on Automation systems and integration, and President for SME’s North American Manufacturing Research Institute (NAMRI).  KC served as an ASME Congressional Fellow during the 116th Congress (2018-2020) where she focused on US manufacturing policy while supporting the US Congressional House Manufacturing Caucus.  KC is a Fellow of SME and AAAS.

Speaker BIO

Prof. Michael Timko is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). Dr. Timko’s main research interests involve the study of new technologies for production of sustainable fuels, chemicals, and materials. He is author of more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s CAREER award and the American Chemical Society’s Glenn Research Award. Prof. Timko is on the editorial boards of Sustainable Chemistry and Global Challenges and a member of AIChE’s Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Diversity Task Force. His work has been featured in The Boston Herald, The Worcester Telegram, the Biofuels Digest, WGBH’s All Things Considered, and NBC 10 News, among other outlets. In summer 2022, he was a visiting researcher at the Institute for Condensed Materials Chemistry in Bordeaux France, which was supported by the Fulbright Foundation. He is co-PI of an NSF Research Training Grant on the combination of chemical sciences, data sciences, and social sciences. He is co-founder of River Otter Renewables, a 2023 startup that has received many accolades including recognition by Mass Econ as one of the Commonwealth’s new businesses of the year. Prior to joining WPI, Dr. Timko was a Principal Engineer at Aerodyne Research Inc. and a Research Engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His training is in chemical engineering and chemical physics at The Ohio State University (B.S.), MIT (M.S. and Ph.D.), and Harvard University (post-doc).

Moderator BIO

Joseph Sarkis is a Management professor within the Business School at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).  He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Buffalo. His scholarly interests include Environmental Sustainability, Technology, Operations and Supply Chain Management. Dr. Sarkis has authored over 500 publications appearing in a wide variety of outlets. Editorial positions include many leading journals in Operations, Transportation, Supply Chain, and Sustainability Management. Prof. Sarkis has been recognized as a Highly Cited Researcher for each year from 2015-2022 by Web-of-Science. He is also an international program coordinator for the Greening of Industry Network along with the Springer-Nature Greening of Industry Networks book series co-editor. He is co-chair of the Future Earth Circular Economy Working Group. Joe has been recognized as one of the most influential global scholars in general business and management—as well as the fields of supply chain management, corporate sustainability, operations research, and sustainable supply chains.

Hosted by the Future Earth Knowledge-Action Network on Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production Circular Economy Working Group