Names in the News

Thai Union hooks a new CSO; Ford Foundation invests in Mission

Clockwise from left: Will Sarni, ImagineH20; Joseph Goffmann, Harvard Law School; Roy Swan, Ford Foundation; Roxanne Nanninga, Thai Union; John Tran, Pernod Ricard.

It may have been a rough year for environmental policy, but the sustainability field is fighting back with momentum. This month's Names in the News roundup showcases bold career leaps in seafood sustainability, impact investing and water conservation.

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Who's news

Roxanne Nanninga, Thai Union

Formerly a senior seafood markets specialist at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Roxanne Nanninga dives into corporate waters as director of sustainability at Thai Union Group, where she oversees strategies including traceability and consumer education for brands such as Chicken of the Sea.

At the EDF, Nanninga gained experience engaging the U.S. seafood supply chain to promote proper fisheries management. She came to EDF from the startup sector as co-founder and CEO of TRUFish, a seafood fraud-prevention program created in partnership with Duke University scientists and economists. She holds a master's degree in environmental management, economics and policy from Duke University with a concentration in marine fisheries management.

Roy Swan, Ford Foundation Impact Investments

The Ford Foundation appointed Roy Swan as director of its new Mission Investments team, managing its recently allocated $1 billion investment portfolio towards fighting poverty and injustice. The role begins in January.

Swan is both a corporate and social justice leader, including having been the founding chief investment officer of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, a federal program to aid urban communities, where he helped execute a $250 million fund that spurred Harlem’s economic rebirth.

He served previously as the managing director and co-head of global sustainable finance at Morgan Stanley. Swan's other corporate experience includes principal of mergers and acquisitions at JP Morgan Chase, financial management at Time Warner and corporate law at Skadden Arps.

John Tran, Pernod Ricard

Legacy sustainability expert John Tran comes to wine and spirits company Pernod Ricard as its director of sustainability and responsibility. At Unilever North America he was the manager of sustainable living, supported its zero-waste-to-landfill program and chaired Unilever PRIDE, an LGBTQ employee resource group.

Previously, Tran led sustainability and procurement at Campbell Soup Company, where he created a sustainability scorecard program to measure supplier risk associated with CSR issues. Prior to this role, as an engineer at Keystone Foods, he contributed to $5 million in global savings based on sustainability initiatives.

Jon Smieja, Andersen Corporation

As Andersen Corporation's new product sustainability manager, Jon Smieja is helping the company find new windows of opportunity to decrease environmental impact and improve performance.

After Smieja earned a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from UC San Diego in 2012, he and his wife traveled the Western United States in an electric Honda Fit. At Steelcase, he became its environmental chemist and later sustainable design and development leader, where he worked to assess chemicals of concern and implement Cradle to Cradle material lifecycle methodology.

Will Sarni, Water Foundry

Author and water strategy expert Will Sarni is now founder and CEO at Water Foundry, a water strategy firm that advises multinationals, NGOs and water technology companies. He is also a senior fellow at the World Resources Institute, supporting WRI's Aqueduct global strategy and partnership development. He is on the board of 101010 and ASSET, was a managing director and water strategy practice leader at Deloitte Consulting and an XPRIZE Bold Visioneer for 2016. 

Elaine Richards, Rubicon Global

Waste management and recycling company Rubicon Global hired Elaine Richards as president. She replaces co-founder Perry Moss, who will continue to serve Rubicon as chief advisor. In her previous role, Richards was executive vice president of business operations at Cars.com. 

Grant Collins, Closed Loop Oceans

New Vice President of Closed Loop Oceans Grant Collins will help develop a strategy for new sources of public and private investment in Southeast Asia's waste management and recycling programs, spurring funding to prevent ocean plastic waste that originates from five fast-growing Asian economies. Collins joins Closed Loop Partners from Charlotte Square Consulting. 

On the move

Joseph Goffman, a former Environmental Protection Agency attorney under the Obama administration, where he was one of the senior agency officials who designed the Clean Power Plan (PDF), has joined the Harvard Law School Environmental Law Program as executive director.

— Deborah McSkimmingWe Mean Business senior communications and media manager, has moved from her role amplifying the impact of corporate climate commitments to assist the Prince of Wales on communications for his sustainability agenda.

— Richard Liroff, founder and executive director of the Environmental Health Network (IEHN) and environmental activist who helped pass major corporate shareholder resolutions on chemical safety, is retiring. He is succeeded by Alexandra McPherson, cofounder of chemical footprint project Clean Production Action, which will become IEHN's parent organization. We applaud Liroff's longstanding contributions to the GreenBiz The Right Chemistry column.

— A new partnership between the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry (BCGC) and Costco, which studies the wholesaler's chemical management policy, will be headed by Executive Director Tom McKeag. The former BCGC executive director will manage project planning led by researchers Ann Blake and Sally Edwards.