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A Conversation with Justin Williams, Executive Director - Morgan Stanley

What motivated your personal interest in sustainability and food waste reduction?

I lived in Asia for over 20 years and during that time I experienced the mass consumer demand with the disposable attitude of the early 1990’s. Among other things, this left us with beaches and seas full of waste causing us to go further afield to be able to find clean places just to go swimming. This encouraged me to participate in and drive recycling and waste reduction programs. I was personally thrilled when, years later, we were able to eliminate all disposables from our food services and pantries in offices across Asia. Now that I am in America, I am trying to move our services away from disposables and promote recycling, at the same time we continue to monitor and refine our food production to reduce waste.

I believe that it is important for you to be able to make an emotional connection with your audience as people are more responsive.

What change have you made personally to be more mindful?

Not over-shopping. We all can get carried away, especially when we are food shopping while hungry! I really think about the meals I am planning for, so that we don’t have food going to waste. It is easy to buy food on promotion, but if you aren’t going to be able to eat it all, you are just throwing money away.

What will it take for America to make food waste a priority?

Cost. Only when it hits people in the pocket will things change. That’s when it personally impacts them. It is too easy for people to turn a blind-eye to this or say it has no effect on their lives, but if there is a financial cost, people will take notice.

What is one small change every person can make in their daily lives to make a big difference?

Look for products that don’t use wasteful packaging and say no to disposables when you can. No to plastic bags, no to disposable cutlery with your take-out food. If you must use disposables, be sure to recycle them; it really isn’t that hard to find a recycle bin.