Entrepreneurship: The Key to the Circular Economy?
Ecovative Design, LLC
Donna Costa is responsible for Corporate Strategy at Ecovative Design, LLC. Ecovative is a New York-based biotech company developing sustainable materials with its proprietary mycelium biofabrication platform. The company collaborates with its partners to create biodegradable packaging, animal-free leather, meat alternatives and more. In addition to her role at Ecovative, Donna serves on the Board of Directors of MicroSintesis LLC, a Canada-based biotech company using innovative technology to develop postbiotics and new anti-infectives for animals and humans. Until April 2018, Donna was Executive Officer of Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation in Japan, as well as the President of Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings America, Inc. and the President and Managing Director of Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Europe GmbH. She has over twenty years of experience in the chemicals, plastics, functional materials and life sciences sectors, working across diverse cultures, industries and functions.
Mike Newman is the CEO of Returnity Innovations, the pioneer in the elimination of single use shipping packaging. Mike has worked at the intersection of supply chain and sustainability for over 20 years. After directing the Sierra Club's political operations in 20 states, he received his MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. As Sales and Marketing Vice President for ReCellular, he built ewaste programs for Verizon, AT&T, Walmart, Best Buy and more, saving millions of used cell phones from landfills. Through his leadership at Returnity, reusable packaging will replace the use of over 1 million cardboard boxes and poly mailer bags in 2019. Mike has been featured on The Today Show, the New York Times, NPR and more.
Chief Sustainability and People Officer,
Freya joined LanzaTech in 2007 and has worked in various roles throughout the company. Freya is deeply committed to LanzaTech’s mission of creating a carbon smart future. She is a board member of the Low Carbon Fuels Coalition and with LanzaTech is a founding member of below50, the low carbon fuels initiative of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Freya oversees Government Relations, Communications and HR at LanzaTech. She holds an MA from Cambridge University.
Baldor Specialty Foods
Delaney Sondag is a passionate sustainability professional who specializes in food waste reduction strategies across the agricultural supply chain.
In her current role as Sustainability Coordinator at Baldor Specialty Foods, one of the largest produce and specialty food distributors in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, she works on a variety of projects to eliminate waste within Baldor’s operations, such as implementing a companywide composting program to divert post-consumer food waste from landfill. Additionally, Delaney focuses on reducing food loss on farms and changing cultural norms around what is considered ‘sellable’ food. This focus resulted in Baldor’s Imperfect Produce program, a partnership with local farms to glean otherwise wasted fruit and vegetables and sell this product to chefs at a reduced market price.
Building on her professional work, Delaney promotes the adoption of a ‘zero waste’ mindset and has worked with non-profits to incorporate zero waste principles into the planning of fundraising events. Delaney has a Bachelor’s Degree from Emory University in Environmental Science and Anthropology and enjoys hiking, climbing, and cooking vegetarian food.