Meet A Nature's Path Team Member: Josephine Poon

“It’s sunny over here, which is all we need to be happy.” That is how my conversations with Josephine Poon began, setting the tone for a woman who moves through her work and personal life in a proactive and positive manner. Josephine moved to Vancouver from Hong Kong 25 years ago after her parents came to Canada as tourists and loved it. Her father declared it, “the place,” which was great news for the future of Nature’s Path who later invested in Josephine’s entrepreneurial spirit. We spoke with her about the impact of reducing what is under your desk, how she engineered a waste reduction initiative in the Nature’s Path head office and the people who inspire her to stay environmentally conscious.

 

Congratulations on receiving the Nature’s Path “Sustainability and Socially Conscious” award! Time to humble brag: how did you get recognized?

 

We had a sustainability week last year. There was a company that does recycling for us and they showed us what they do. It was exciting to see that this company could help us recycle or reuse the products that we have in this office.

Our goal as a company is to have zero waste. A few of us got very excited to achieve this. The first thing we did was to ask people to volunteer to give up their waste bins. We got 50% of the staff members to give up their waste bins. We have two areas in the office for compost, recycling, etc. We ask people to walk over to this area and put it in the right bin. We found all sort of things that could be recycled. People would forget that a plastic cup could be recycled out of convenience. We have recycling for chopsticks, batteries, pens, and Styrofoam, and more.

 

Josephine_Poon

 

Amazing that there are recycling options for Styrofoam!

 

Urban impact is able to collect Styrofoam separately. You can take it in personally. Styrofoam is the worst! It can be here forever.

 

How did you get interested in environmental concerns?

 

I was always very conscious about recycling. After joining this company, it reinforced my belief that it is very important. There are more resources out there than ever!

 

How does someone get started if they are just beginning to get the message?

 

It is important for people to know that every single gesture helps. The first thing would be to set up your waste area to be labelled clearly so that you know exactly where to put things. It is also important for company owners to understand the benefits. It helps if it comes from the top, but employees can always contribute if that is what they want to do. Having a zero waste goal might not be the situation in your company but you can get together with other employees: change can come from the top down or from grassroots.

 

How do you stay motivated to stay on the sustainable course?

 

Recently I have seen videos about how many plastic bags are in the ocean. The amount of plastic is an island in the ocean. That really makes me feel like I have to do something about it. I am also doing it for my children. I want to make sure that we leave a beautiful world for them that they can still enjoy, rather than having to solve the problems that we have created.

We have created this industrial revolution. Everything is so convenient but the price we are paying is way too high. Just having the convenience is costing the earth so much.

 

Has being a sustainability warrior at work bled into your home life?

 

Absolutely! We recycle at home. We have compost. I not only teach my family, I remind them every time. We all can get into the mode of what is the most convenient way. If we all paid a little more attention to our habits, we can become better collectively.

 

Woman carrying recycle bin

 

Do you have anyone in your life who inspires you to be socially conscious?

 

Everyone in our company! Everyone at Nature’s Path is dedicated to keeping our world clean. Our motto is “Leaving our world better than we found it.” It is our company goal. Our founder Arran Stephens lives by it.

 

Finally, how does it feel to win the award and be recognized by your peers?

 

It feels really good. I feel like what I have done has contributed to a positive move towards a cleaner environment. Not only was I able to help with zero waste, but I also created this model to reduce the cardboard in our display racks. I have the cardboard box transform into the display rather than having the display come in a box. A lot of our retailers are very conscious about how much of a footprint we leave. It is a matter of shifting mindset.

 

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