Global Green Room Interview: Jaime Nack
As the Founder and President of the environmental consulting firm Three Squares Inc., Jaime Nack had already worked on countless green events when she noticed a shortage of women speaking at the podium at conferences. That’s when she started the Women in Green Forum in 2009. Below, she answers questions for our Global Green Room Interview. How did you become environmentally conscious?
My grandmother grew up in the Great Depression and talked about how she fed her five brothers with one potato. When I visited, she showed me how to reuse and bottle things in glass -- efficiency was part of her nature and that's ingrained in me. We don't have to be wasteful and we can find ways to make resources last longer. Career-wise, one of my first positions was working for the City of Santa Monica and I ran Coastal Cleanup Day, working with Heal the Bay for five years. We recruited volunteers and worked with community groups and I realized the impact of being able to educate people through an event. I saw the impact and I wanted to commit my career to more environmental education.
How have you worked with Global Green?
When starting the Women in Green Forum and thinking who would be good for our board of advisors, I thought immediately of Mary Luevano from Global Green.
What would surprise us about your work?
I think one thing is we do work all over the globe, with projects in Uruguay, Argentina, London, Montreal, China. We have had sustainable standards translated in 13 languages, ranging from Icelandic to Korean. The people who we are working with are all joined by a common thread of wanting to do something better with a lesser impact on the environment. It's positively mind-boggling.
What has been a recent success?
We recently produced an event in Montreal called the Sustainable Meeting Conference and we worked to be in compliance with three different sustainability standards. A third party auditor checked and we had a 91% waste diversion rate from the hotel -- and we got awarded the highest points for any multi-day conference.
What about a failure or challenge?
We come across challenges almost daily in implementing strategies with new venues and host cities and that keeps us on our toes and forces us to think differently. Recently, implementing a compost system was a challenge when the janitorial crew said they didn’t want to use compost bio bags bags because they'd break. We still wanted to compost and went back to the compost facility and asked, What else can we do? We proposed clear plastic liners to collect compost waste and marked them with tape so event staff knew not to dump them and then we delivered them to the facility. It was a compromise, but it worked.
If you had the power to make one global and green change, what would it be?
It would have something to do with coal-fired plants, maybe zapping all coal so it's not an option and will force people to see the potential in renewables. As long as cheap fossil fuels exist, it's a go-to and business as usual -- it's hard to make people change behaviors. The other thing is figuring out a way to remove disposable plastics from everyday life. Because cheap plastic is so easy for food and beverage items, it will continue to be wasteful.