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corporate social responsibilityMichael Jessen is the president of Zero Waste Solutions.

Zero Waste Solutions helps small and medium-sized businesses and communities align long-term business strategies with enhanced social and environmental performance.

Mr. Jessen started his first recycling project in Nelson in 1972, helped found the Recycling Council of BC in 1974, and served as the recycling and waste reduction co-ordinator for the Regional District of Central Kootenay from January 1990 until April 1999. Active in the Zero Waste Working Group (an RCBC committee), Michael is the author of "Discarding the Idea of Waste: The Need for a Zero Waste Policy Now!"

Michael served two years as a Nelson city councilor in 1973 and 1974. He also has experience in the field of community development, more specifically, skills development programs for persons with disabilities, strategic and business planning, and feasibility studies. In addition he has an in depth understanding of the issues confronting regional areas both in terms of economic development and employment creation and the need to link them to social and ecological issues and strategies.

While he has worked as an economic consultant, provincial government employee, and restaurant owner, Michael began his working life as a journalist and he continues to write regularly. He is the author of more than 400 articles about waste management, sustainability, composting, waste reduction, and simple living. Many of his articles are archived on the articles page of this web site.

Michael was born in Denmark, immigrated to Canada at age four, and became a Canadian citizen in 1967. He was educated at the University of British Columbia and graduated in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science. A member of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Michael is a graduate of SWANA's Certified Recycling Managers course.

Michael is the author of an early history of Nelson, originally published in the city's Diamond Jubilee booklet and available on the web site. He received a Certificate of Merit from the BC Ministry of Environment in 1995 for his contributions to the protection of the environment.

He has made the following keynote addresses: "Talkin' Trash" conference in Smithers (April, 2000), Annual General Meeting of the Recycling Council of Alberta in Edmonton (September 2001), By-Product Synergy conference in Castlegar (September 2001), The Sustainable Environment Network in Vernon (October 2001), and the Waste to Wealth Conference sponsored by the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology in Nelson (April 30, 2003).

A selection of the clients Michael Jessen has worked for include the Alberta Research Council, Career Development Services (Nelson), Footprint Environmental Consultants, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, Province of BC (Greening Communities Program), the Zero Waste New Zealand Trust, and the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Society.

"One person with a belief is equal to a force of ninety-nine with only interests."
John Stuart Mill

"The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as our culture has defined it."
David Orr

"Today's problems cannot be solved by thinking the way we thought when we created them."
Albert Einstein

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
Sir Winston Churchill

"I believe that, for the rest of the world contemporary America is an almost symbolic concentration of all the good and the bad of our civilization -- ranging from the fantastic development of science and technology generating more welfare and the profundity of civil liberty and strength of democratic institutions, to the blind cult of perpetual economic growth and never-ending consumption, no matter how detrimental to the environment, the dictates of materialism, consumerism and advertising, the voiding of human uniqueness and its replacement by the uniformity of the round-the-clock noise of TV banality. Who thinks today about future generations? Who is concerned about what people will eat, drink, breathe in one hundred years, where they will get energy when there are twice as many people living on this planet as today? Only an idealist, a dreamer, a genuinely spiritual person who, they say, is not modern enough. These dreamers, who are often at the margin of society, will find their way to the place they belong, among the politicians, only if the very spirit of politics changes towards deeper responsibility for the world."
Vaclav Havel, 1997

"I am frail and human. I am small and the universe is vast. But that should never stop you from trying to achieve."
Lesra Martin

"Anyone who isn't confused doesn't understand what's going on."
Dimitri Simes

Give your business a sustainable future. Contact Michael Jessen at Zero Waste Solutions: 250-229-5632 or

e-mail Zero Waste Solutions

"Things are too far gone for pessimism."
Dee Hock, founder and CEO emeritus VISA


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