Stakeholder Spotlight: Travis LoopJuly 22, 2021 | BIER
Welcome to our series aimed at spotlighting the individual leaders within BIER member companies and stakeholder organizations. Learn how these practitioners and their companies are addressing pressing challenges around water, energy, agriculture, climate change, and what inspires each of them to advance environmental sustainability in the beverage sector and collectively, overall.
Briefly describe your role and responsibilities and how long you have worked with your organization.
I’m the founder, producer, and host of the platform waterloop, a nonprofit media outlet that officially launched about a year ago. It presents podcasts, videos, and social media on a wide range of water issues, and specifically with a laser focus on solutions. It’s common to hear so much about the doom and gloom and problems and challenges around water, and it’s definitely important to be aware of them. However, I think it’s important to focus on the solutions that are available and the progress that’s being made with a sincere effort to share so others can model the approaches.
The waterloop podcast covers a real wide range of issues including the health of waterways, how communities have benefited from water projects, addressing environmental justice and water equity, building climate resilience, and responding to water scarcity and shortages. Sometimes the episodes are guests from just one organization and they’re talking about things that they have done, or sometimes there are multiple guests from different organizations talking about collaboration. There are also several examples of collaborative work that involve non-government organizations (NGOs), the private sector, and government all collaborating and working together on shared water challenges.
How has the organization’s sustainability initiatives evolved over the years and what are your priorities for 2021?
Although the drought and the situation in the West have been long-running, it is increasingly getting worse. As a result, I’ve put more emphasis on water in the West and what’s happening in the Colorado River Basin, including in California.
I have also increased the emphasis on environmental justice and water equity issues on the podcast to reflect the explosion and interest in inequality in the country over the past year. With everything that’s happened, there has been a real rise in interest in those types of issues and that content has been popular with the waterloop audience. Water equity involves how communities of color or low-income communities often have lower-quality drinking water and more polluted waterways.
Another area where I’ve shifted the podcast is in water data and information management. The advancement of technology provides us all with so many more capabilities; specifically, to improve water management and advance innovation.
What are your impressions of BIER and what do you feel has been the group’s impact on private sector environmental sustainability?
When discussing the world’s environmental problems, I have long believed that it’s great that we have so many non-profits. It’s encouraging that governments are taking action. All of those activities are necessary. However, the private sector has just as much, if not more, power and reach. And if more companies were to actively work to advance environmental issues and sustainability, it would radically transform our world.
When I see an organization like BIER that has the global leaders in the beverage industry working on these issues, that is really encouraging to me. We’re not going to get to a sustainable planet without the biggest companies driving us there. I am encouraged by the collective knowledge that this organization taps into and its members’ commitment to providing real results while also continuing to push the bar higher, so to speak. The collaborative effort seems sincere and provides tangible work compared to appearances of greenwashing that you might hear about in the private sector. That’s critical.
What is one specific area (e.g., topic, work product, etc…) where BIER got your attention and why?
What really gets my attention is that the BIER members are competitors, yet they collaborate on the global corporate stage on water solutions. They’re not just kind of part of this trade group so to speak; they have collaborated, partnered, and cooperated, on large-scale projects. I’m especially captivated by the Charco Bendito watershed project in Jalisco, Mexico. My understanding is that it is a “first of its kind” collaboration with a large group of companies collaborating on watershed challenges within a shared and competitive local market.
Another key observation of BIER is that the members are not solely focused on their own company’s internal water efficiency and operations, but they are working outward within the watersheds where they have facilities and business operations to practice stewardship in the communities. That is equally important.
Share a recent accomplishment of your organization’s sustainability initiatives/achievements you are most proud of and why.
I’m proud to share that as a testament to waterloop, that I have received support from the Walton Family Foundation. They share my heightened interest in Colorado River basin and Mississippi River basin issues.
I also have informal collaborative relationships with a number of leading universities around the country where we are collaborating on content. This includes the Water Center at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Arizona, Louisiana State University (LSU), Duke University, Stanford University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I enjoy working with these universities regularly because of their exciting work on research and projects. I also enjoy interviewing the professors and featuring them on the podcast and in our videos. Overall, the most exciting accomplishments are the collaborations that are forming because people see the value of communicating about water.
If you had one superpower that could be used to radically accelerate and scale sustainable best practices, which one would it be and how would you use it?
I like the idea of using the power of mental telepathy to spread knowledge about the importance of addressing these water problems. More specifically, I would really use the superpower to raise the awareness in everyone’s minds that we have got to take care of our water resources and to have a deeper understanding of how water is foundational to our society in every way. I would use mental telepathy to beam that information out there to everybody. But along with those messages, again, include the solutions aspect – that there are solutions available and to encourage others to be part of scaling solutions and making progress happen. In a nutshell, I’d like to kind of invade everybody’s brains with those messages.
While not necessarily a superpower but one that contributes to the solution is a role as a mega collaborator. I really have an open door as far as making connections with people and ideas for guests and projects and issues to highlight.
BIER Publications referenced in this interview
A Model of Industry Collaboration: An Inside Look at the Beverage Industry Environmental Round Table (BIER)
The Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) is a technical coalition of leading global beverage companies working together to advance environmental sustainability within the beverage sector.
By BIER [crp]