John Gertsakis, Chief Sustainability Officer of Global Product Stewardship Council Corporate Member Infoactiv, has been named as a ‘Resources and Waste Leader’ in the 2013 WME Leaders List. This acknowledgement resulted from over 100 nominations and more than 1500 public votes. The GlobalPSC is pleased to have supported John’s nomination and see this recognition as further proof of the emergence of product stewardship.
The WME Leaders List is an annual event focused on recognising individuals and their leadership qualities. It is judged by industry experts and the WME readership, and highlights outstanding individual achievements that advance sustainability.
There is movement across the Asia Pacific region for increased e-waste recycling of unwanted electrical and electronic products, including televisions, computers, printers, appliances and batteries. In Australia, the scale of the problem is significant with an estimated 106,000 tonnes of televisions and computers (16.8 million units) reaching end-of-life in recent years, and the numbers are growing. The National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme is leading the way with various industry organisations rolling out collection and recycling services across urban and regional areas.
John was involved from the outset in 2000 with early calls to establish a national approach to industry-funded e-waste recycling. Underpinned by relentless advocacy, his collaborative approach with government, industry and NGOs played a critical role in realising the Commonwealth Product Stewardship Act 2011.
As part of a specialist team at Infoactiv, John’s work on e-waste recycling is now expanding into new sectors, and is aimed at helping organisations minimise business risk and environmental harm from a hybrid of products and related waste such as laptops, appliances, batteries, commercial furniture and polystyrene.
Infoactiv’s Managing Director, Helen Jarman noted that:
“John’s knowledge, history and action on product sustainability is comprehensive, and spans over a decade of consulting to brands, OEMs, industry associations and governments in Australia and New Zealand. John’s WME accolade further accentuates the quality of commitment and expertise fostered at Infoactiv in pursuit of exceeding customer expectations.”
John’s commitment to ensuring long term solutions to e-waste recycling began in 1996 with Australia’s first comprehensive report on e-waste titled ‘Short Circuiting Waste from Electrical and Electronic Products’, published by RMIT University. He also advised the consumer electronics industry on the development of TV recycling in Australia.
John’s work on environmental stewardship has been further highlighted through his appointment to the Australian Government’s Product Stewardship Advisory Group, where his experience is directly relevant to recommending new products and wastes that could be addressed under the Product Stewardship Act.
In response to the Leaders List accolade, John said that:
“Being a WME Resources and Waste Leader is a wonderful honour and I feel truly humbled. More importantly it keeps product stewardship and e-waste recycling on the agenda. It also demonstrates that our customers and their investment in product recovery results in broader social, economic and environmental benefit.”
Global Product Stewardship Council CEO Russ Martin, nominated by peers to the Leaders List in the same category and also serving on the Product Stewardship Advisory Group, supported John’s win, saying,
“I have had the good fortune to work closely with John over the years, and was honoured to be nominated in the same category. John has long been a leader in product stewardship and is truly deserving of this broader recognition. We benefit from having strong GlobalPSC members such as John and Infoactiv, and we look forward to their ongoing contributions in our field.”