WITA Webinar: Trade, Sustainability and a Circular Economy




On Thursday, July 29, we discussed one of the hottest topics at the intersection of climate change and business; the concept of a “circular economy,” where the core principle is to minimize waste in global value chains. Additionally we heard from key stakeholders in the circular economy, and examined how trade policy can be a tool to help improve sustainability.

This event was free to attend thanks to the support of our event and series sponsors 

WITA is grateful to our Event and Trade & Environment Series Sponsors:

WITA Event Featuring: 

Adina Renee Adler, Vice President of Advocacy, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) 

Jessica Bowman, Executive Director, Plants Based Products Council

Susannah Calvin, Lead, Closed Loop Initiative, Apple Inc.

Dr. Charlotte Sieber-Gasser, Senior Researcher and Lecturer at the Department of Public Law, University of Lucerne; Author, Is the Future of Preferential Trade in Sustainable Production Only?

Paul E. Hagen, Principal, Beveridge & Diamond PC; Co-Author, Proposals to Expand Basel Convention Controls on Circular Economy Trade

Aik Hoe Lim, Director, Trade and Environment Division, World Trade Organization (WTO)

Julian Lings, Senior Sustainability Manager, Outdoors Brands at VF Corporation

Moderator: Sarah V. Stewart, Executive Director, Silverado Policy Accelerator


Adina Renee Adler is the current Vice President of Advocacy at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI). In her role, Adler leads the development and implementation of association’s strategy for advancing ISRI’s advocacy agenda and priorities across all levels of government – state and local, federal and international – as well as with stakeholders throughout the recycling chain.   

Adina joined ISRI in December of 2016 to represent the industry in international negotiations and to advocate trade-expanding opportunities for the scrap recycling industry. Prior to ISRI, Adina was Director of Global Government Affairs for Alcoa and Arconic and International Government Relations Advisor for Shell Oil Company – both positions based in Washington – to advise business leaders on trends in U.S. trade and international policy. Adina also served in the U.S. Government as Director for South Asia in the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and International Trade Specialist at the U.S. Department of Commerce, both assignments responsible for U.S. commercial and trade policy with the countries of South Asia. Adina has a B.A. from The George Washington University and M.A. from The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and has lived in and traveled to more than 75 countries for business and pleasure.

Jessica Bowman serves as the Plant Based Products Council’s (PBPC) Executive Director. In her position, she leads PBPC’s efforts in advocating for using more renewable, plant-based materials and ensuring they become part of the circular bioeconomy.

Jessica joins PBPC from the American Chemistry Council, where she served as Executive Director of the FluoroCouncil, and previously as Senior Director of Environmental Affairs for the Airports Council International – North America. She holds a J.D. with a concentration in environmental law from University of Maryland School of Law and a B.S. in GeoEnvironmental Engineering from Penn State University.

Susannah Calvin leads Apple’s Closed Loop Initiative. She is responsible for transitioning all of Apple’s products to source recycled and renewable material. Susannah has spent the last 10 years identifying opportunities to embed environmental initiatives like Zero Waste, Clean

Energy, and now Circular Economy, into traditional Operations & Procurement practices. Susannah first joined Apple in Manufacturing Design, before transitioning to Environment & Supply Chain Innovation. Prior to joining Apple, Susannah worked in Procurement and Corporate Responsibility at Black Diamond, Inc. She is an alumna of the University of New Hampshire & Brigham Young University.

Dr. Charlotte Sieber-Gasser is PostDoc and Lecturer at the University of Lucerne since summer 2016. Aside from singular lectures in International Economic, International Investment and in EU Law, Charlotte teaches foremost in proseminars and tutorials in Swiss Public Law and in the course «Law of Sustainable Development». She was coach of the Lucerne team at the ELSA Moot Court in WTO-law in 2017/18.

Charlotte Sieber-Gasser studied law at the universities of Freiburg and Bern and development studies at the university of Manchester. She wrote her doctoral thesis at the World Trade Institute of the university of Bern as part of the NCCR international trade regulation. Her award-winning thesis “Developing Countries and Preferential Services Trade” (Prof. Walther Hug Prize 2017) was published by Cambridge University Press in 2016.

Before joining the university of Lucerne, Charlotte Sieber-Gasser was PostDoc Research Fellow of the World Trade Institute of the university of Bern and Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. She was a lecturer of the MAS European and Global Governance of the university of St. Gallen 2016-2019 and worked in 2019 for 7 months as Senior Research Fellow at the DCU Brexit Institute of the Dublin City University. 

Charlotte Sieber-Gasser’s research focus lies on Constitutional Law, International Economic Law, and on general European and Public International Law. Her habilitation (university of Bern) analyses the enforcement of political rights in Switzerland when dealing with external effects, such as globalization, the 4th industrial revolution, or the pandemic. Charlotte Sieber-Gasser is (Co-)Author in a number of studies and legal opinions dealing with various aspects of foreign trade policy in Switzerland and is consulted regularly by interest groups, political parties and offices of administration with regard to questions of constitutional law and of international trade regulation.

Paul E. Hagen serves as the Principal of Beveridge & Diamond PC, and is the Co-Author of Proposals to Expand Basel Convention Controls on Circular Economy Trade. In his role, he helps clients navigate increasingly complex environmental requirements governing products across their life-cycle.

He works with leading companies to anticipate and comply with product-related environmental requirements in the U.S. and in key markets worldwide. He has represented U.S. business interests in the negotiation and implementation of regional and global environmental agreements that drive national legislation and the circular economy.

Paul advises companies on compliance with expanding EPR laws governing the management of used and end-of-life electronic equipment, batteries, medical devices, unwanted pharmaceuticals, and plastic packaging in the U.S. and in other countries. He has advised clients on the successful launch of regional and global product take-back programs.

Paul serves as a strategic advisor to companies on new circular economy initiatives with a focus on reuse of products and materials recovery. He regularly advises on requirements governing transboundary shipments of electrical and electronic products for reuse, repair, and recycling. For more than two decades, he has represented clients on the negotiation and implementation of international waste shipment controls and trade bans arising under the Basel Convention, OECD Council Decision, and U.S. bilateral agreements.

Paul is active with many of the country’s leading conservation organizations. He serves on the board of the Conservation Fund which since its founding has protected over 8 million acres of natural lands and working landscapes. He is a former board chair of the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) and Chesapeake Conservancy. He has also served on the boards of the American Bird Conservancy and World Environment Center. Paul has advised non-profit clients on protecting whales, establishing nature reserves, global protections for albatrosses, and sustainable fisheries management. He also serves on the NatureServe strategic advisory council.

Aik Hoe Lim is Director of the Trade and Environment Division at the World Trade Organization and oversees its work on trade and environment, as well as on the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade. He joined the WTO in 1999 and served in the External Relations Division, the Director-General’s Office and the Trade in Services Division. He was previously Counsellor to two WTO Director-Generals, Adviser to the Director General’s Consultative Group, and Secretary to WTO committees, working groups and negotiating bodies on services trade and domestic regulation. Some of his publications include contributions to the; “Research Handbook on Climate Change and Trade Law” (2017); “Win-Win: How International Trade Can Help Meet the Sustainable Development Goals” (2017); and an edited volume, “WTO Domestic Regulation and Services Trade” (2014).

Julian Lings is the Senior Sustainability Manager for VF Corporation’s outdoor brands in Europe, Middle East and Africa, with responsibility for sustainability and responsibility. Prior to joining The North Face in 2015, Julian spent a considerable portion of his career with Tesco working across the business’ Communications, Government Affairs, and Sustainability functions. After three years in the global sustainability team based in the UK, Julian moved to Ireland to head up Tesco Ireland’s sustainability and corporate social responsibility programme. From there, he then moved to Switzerland to take on responsibility for The North Face’s sustainability and corporate social responsibility programmes in Europe, Middle East and Africa. With broad experience across the food and textile industries, Julian has a wealth of international experience of embedding sustainability into business.

Sarah V. Stewart is the Executive Director of the Silverado Policy Accelerator, a non-profit focused on advancing American prosperity and global leadership in the 21st century and beyond.  Prior to Silverado, Ms. Stewart led the public policy efforts at Amazon on US trade policy and export controls matters.  

Ms. Stewart worked for the Office of the United States Trade Representative from 2013 – 2018, with her most recent position being the Deputy Assistant United States Trade Representative for Environment and Natural Resources.  During her time at USTR, Ms. Stewart was the lead environment chapter negotiator for the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations with the European Union.  Prior to that, Ms. Stewart led USTR’s efforts on trade and environment issues in the Western Hemisphere.

Prior to joining USTR, Ms. Stewart served in different legal and policy roles at The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, including spearheading a first ever international legal group. Ms. Stewart began her career as a trade remedy lawyer at the Law Offices of Stewart and Stewart, where she worked for six years.

Ms. Stewart holds a Bachelor of Arts from Lehigh University and a Juris Doctor cum laude from the American University College of Law.  She lives in Maryland with her husband and two kids.