The Crystal Sustainability Series: San Francisco’s Melanie Nutter & Climate Group CEO Mark Kenber

Filmed at the C40 and Siemens City Climate Leadership Awards event in September 2013, “The Crystal Sustainability Series” chronicles several cities’ stories through interviews with mayors and leading experts.

Last week saw the launch of the series and publication of our interview with former Lord Mayor of Copenhagen Ritt Bjerregaard. Today, the series continues with input from Melanie Nutter – Director of the Department of the Environment in the City and County of San Francisco - and Mark Kenber – CEO of the Climate Group.

Melanie Nutter – San Francisco

Fresh from winning the City Climate Leadership Award for Waste Management, Melanie Nutter spoke about San Francisco’s zero waste ambitions, and the changes enacted to reach that goal. 

In the interview, Melanie Nutter remarked:

“Cities are responsible for 70% or more of carbon emissions around the world yet comprise 2% of the world’s landmass. Right there, you can see that cities are part of the problem, but have to be part of the solution."

She also spoke about San Francisco’s success in striving for zero waste:

“As of 2010 we had achieved 80% diversion rate, getting very close to our zero waste goal. Having an officially adopted city goal that we wanted to achieve zero waste has really helped drive that progress.”

And on engaging the city’s population to help reach zero waste, Melanie Nutter noted:

“In San Francisco we have a system called ‘pay as you throw’. The more you recycle in compost the lower your garbage bill. So there is a direct incentive for residents and businesses to participate in the program as they get a financial benefit.” 

Mark Kenber, The Climate Group

The Crystal Sustainability Series continues with CEO of the Climate Group Mark Kenber discussing how cities are the heart of the solution to sustainability issues, and how knowledge sharing between cities across the globe is an integral part of any sustainability solution.

In the interview, Mark Kenber said:

“Cities and some national governments around the world have an incredibly important role in showing national policy makers and those negotiating international agreements what is possible. Not only what is possible in terms of reducing emissions, but in terms of creating low carbon prosperity.”

He also spoke about the importance of citizen buy-in:

“Getting people to change: Yes, prices, policies and other government initiatives are important. But it’s also presenting people with a vision they can buy into, that they understand, that they make an emotional connection with. And often, this comes back to the cities and local government that have a much closer relationship with their citizens.”

Stayed tuned in coming weeks as we present additional installments of The Crystal Sustainability Series.