Ushma Pandya shares a post from her company’s blog on what NYC schools are doing to move towards zero waste and what businesses can learn from them.

Tens of thousands of people representing many industries and sectors gathered for COP26 in Glasgow this fall 2021 to determine what it would take to accelerate climate action. While discussions and debates take place on global stages, other steps are being taken on a local level, including but not limited to grassroots environmental efforts, sustainability initiatives within institutions, and more. In New York City, we see a demonstrated commitment and interest among many stakeholders to become better stewards to the environment, starting with our schools.

Involving key stakeholders

When people think about key stakeholders in any educational institution, principals and teachers may be the first groups of people to come to mind. While they are important stakeholders, we also find that facilities and food service team members are essential partners in any zero waste effort.

This year, Think Zero collaborated with a school in Manhattan, NYC to engage their facilities and food service teams in a number of waste reduction trainings and help them realize the important role they play in keeping the school compliant with city and state waste regulations. We made a visit to the school to assess the waste infrastructure and understand their challenges and barriers to waste management on campus. After our data collection was collected, we developed tailored content for food services and facilities teams and delivered hands-on trainings and activities with each group. We also answered any questions they had regarding waste and recycling in school and in their everyday life.

Engaging key stakeholders in any setting is crucial to reaching ESG and zero waste goals. We often collaborate with cleaning and facilities teams, cafeteria and food service staff members, and other individuals to help our clients achieve their waste reduction and diversion goals.

Key points include:

  • Engaging future leaders
  • Implementing zero waste programs

  • Involving key stakeholders


Read the full article, What Are NYC Schools Doing to Go Zero Waste, on

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Nidhi Chadda with Enzo Advisors. Nidhi is a generalist growth investor and advisor across public and private markets. She is currently the Founder and CEO of Enzo Advisors, a global sustainability consulting firm focused on helping companies build best-in-class sustainable business models within an ESG construct and works closely with institutional investors to integrate ESG policies and frameworks across their investment processes.

Prior to launching Enzo Advisors, Nidhi was a portfolio manager at RBC Global Asset Management where she spearheaded the initiative to drive ESG integration across investment processes for her team managing $3 billion in assets under management in aggregate across 3 funds. Nidhi also serves on several advisory boards and investment committees at angel associations and venture funds. She is also a sector lead at Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of Greater NY and a mentor at various tech accelerators (e.g., ERA, XRC Labs, NY Fashion Tech Lab, Endless Frontier Labs). Nidhi has hosted numerous webinars related to ESG – related topics and has been featured across a number of media engagements including CNBC, the Women in Asset Management Summit, ESG Clarity magazine, Women’s Wear Daily (WWD), ESG Today, and Venture Capital Journal.

Nidhi has 20+ years of experience as an investment banker, strategic consultant and investor. She earned her MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Nidhi is happy to collaborate on all ESG advisory projects as it pertains to corporations and investors looking to establish any aspect of their ESG roadmap including benchmarking and materiality assessment, reporting against key ESG standards and frameworks, communicating that message to investors through CSR reports / website content, developing a strategy to achieve net zero, and tracking progress on diversity and inclusion initiatives through customized scorecards.

Umbrex is pleased to welcome Brent Packer with Brent is a former Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company. During his 5+ years at the Firm, he worked with Fortune 500, public sector, and nonprofit clients while specializing in digital/analytics/product and sustainability (recognized as 1 of 16 manager-level experts globally).

He has also worked with multiple startups and founded two social ventures, including an open-source zero-electricity structure that filters, cools, and dispenses water to help eliminate plastic waste.

Brent now has his own freelance consulting firm with work authorization in both the USA and Canada.


Ushma Pandya shares a blog post from his company’s website that highlights key statistics on the use and recycling of plastic and how a new act will affect your life. 

In March of 2021, a new version of the 2020 Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act was reintroduced into Congress. The federal bill, which is sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA) will be the most extensive set of policy solutions to the plastic pollution crisis ever introduced in Congress. In the rest of this article, I will explain: How we got to this point, what the BFFPPA hopes to achieve, how it will affect you, and how you can help get it passed.  

Plastic and the overall pollution that comes with it is one of the largest existential crises we are facing today. Here are some quick facts about plastic and why it has become such a huge problem. 

91% of plastic is never recycled – 

More than 350 million metric tons of plastic are produced each year – 

The United States generates more plastic waste than any other country in the world – 

10 million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans annually – 

50% of all plastic produced (380 million tons per year) is for single use purposes only – 

World plastic production has increased exponentially from 2.1 million tonnes in 1950 to 147 million in 1993 to 406 million by 2015 – National Geographic 

There will be more plastic in our oceans than fish by 2050 – The Ellen MacArthur Foundation 


Key points include:

  • The BFFPPA
  • How the BFFPPA will affect your life
  • How to get involved


Read the full article, Break Free from Plastic Pollution, on


Umbrex is pleased to welcome Matthew James with Materia Consultancy Ltd.  Matt was an Engagement Manager the McKinsey London office from ’98 to ’02 before joining the Mining & Metal industry in Australia, growing Lynas Corporation from a start-up to a $3 billion market cap ASX 100 company. In 2014 Matt returned to the UK and started Materia Consultancy Limited and worked as a freelance consultant, with a focus on industrial growth strategy projects, programme management and due diligence studies.

In 2017 Matt joined the global Executive Leadership Team of Harsco Corporation to implement the Environmental Services division growth strategy designed by Materia Consultancy. As VP Strategy, Business Development and Innovation, Matt was responsible for divisional strategy, acquisitions, strategic investments, and development of an innovation team.

Matt lives in Guildford, just outside London and has two children just starting high school.


Keeping the resolution to be healthier, fitter, and more environmentally conscious is made easy in Supriya Prakash Sen’s vision for cities of the future. Strap up your boots and take a leap of faith towards a brighter future.

Walkability can be a financially savvy strategy! Research has shown that designing a city for Walkability yields benefits in terms of the environment, social cohesiveness, health benefits for an ageing society- but what is new is that it can also be an economically astute strategy. Knowledge workers want to live, work and play downtown, where they can raise families in healthy environments and maximize their creativity. Financing tools like value capture finance and yield cos can help engineer this change by providing a structure that will draw investors, corporations and private partners into the project in a cohesive way. This week, in Hong Kong’s Walk 21 conference, I had opportunity to describe some tools and frameworks that can be useful for doing this. But as I emphasized – there’s more to it than this.

While innovative financial tools and public private partnerships are important to make sure that the right infrastructure is implemented, social change needs more than a set of financial tools and techniques bolted on to a fundamentally warped way of thinking that doesn’t fit the new reality. In other words, engendering large-scale behavior change in our societies will also need a bottom-up, paradigm shift in mindsets. It’s such a waste of potential if the cities of developing Asia continue to be strangled by the self-serving, bureaucracy-led, corruption-ridden real estate development methods which have brought them to their present sad state of affairs.


Key points include:

  • Zero-carbon cities
  • Efficient, equitable and enduring cities of tomorrow
  • Hong Kong Walk 21


Read the full article, Walkability as the new source of competitive advantage for cities, on LinkedIn.



Supriya Prakash Sen takes a look ahead at one industry that is growing fast in the face of a heating planet, and how we can address and reconcile the needs of both the consumer and the environment. 

Last week, I wrote this article about the worrying prospects if governments, policy makers, corporations and the public at large, fail to prioritize the climate in the hurry to get things “back to normal”. Except that this is a new normal – and there is no “going back” to the old, if humanity is to survive/thrive beyond 2050. The gravity of the problem is well stated elsewhere, so I would refrain from repeating it here. But we should be ambitious when building back after this crisis, to build back better.

Many industries stand to benefit from the transition to a new, sustainable, low-carbon normal. As we fundamentally rethink things, it is possible to design for sustainability while still generating plenty of new local jobs. One such industry is the rather overlooked $134 billion p.a Cooling industry.

Global lockdowns have fundamentally changed the structure of energy demand. Right now, offices and commercial buildings are mostly shut or sparsely populated, but distributed cooling devices are working overtime, with a sharp rise in the use of building air conditioners, domestic fridges/ freezers. Meanwhile, there is also ramped up demand for cooling from agri & medical cold- chains, healthcare facilities, data centres etc.


Points covered in this article include:

  • Devoting resources to intelligent energy system design
  • Insisting on better designed buildings and precincts
  • Driving locally-adapted innovative solutions in devices and materials


Read the full article, Post-Covid19, the New “Cool”​ on LinkedIn.



Natalie Ceeney provides a grim view, but a much needed voice, calling on business to take on the challenge of climate change.

Whether prompted by the flurry of recent announcements from government and Bank of England or by the rise in protests, it’s hard to avoid the climate change debate. Whatever our personal beliefs, its impact on the business agenda is becoming increasingly clear. 

This is no longer a ‘tomorrow’ issue. Last year, California experienced its worst wildfires in a century, not just burning over 750,000 hectares, but pushing the State’s largest investor-owned utility into bankruptcy and two others “just one fire away from insolvency”. Munich Re, the world’s largest re-insurer, estimated that global losses in 2018 as a result of natural disasters totalled $160bn, making it the most expensive year to-date for insurers. But the real cost was far higher, as under half of losses were insured. The rise in premiums likely from climate change may price many households out of insurance completely. In the UK, the 2018 ‘Beast from the East’, an extreme cold weather front, caused losses of around £1bn per day to the economy.


Read the full article, As the World Gets Hotter, the Heat Is on Business to Deliver Real Change, on LinkedIn.