On January 30 the Middlesex 3 Coalition (M3) held a breakfast learning event on the topic of “What’s Happening in Middlesex 3 – E ink and the United Nations Global Compact.” The event was hosted by E ink at their headquarters in Billerica and sponsored by ahp Architects of Lowell.
Stephanie Cronin, Executive Director, M3, kicked off the meeting with welcomes to all the members and guests and provided brief updates on current and planned M3 initiatives and future meetings.
E ink – A Unique Technology Company in our Area
E ink representatives then presented an overview of E ink’s evolution over the past 20 years. With roots in the MIT Media Lab and located in Cambridge for 15 years, the company moved to Billerica in 2013. To help retain their staff during this move, E ink, with assistance from M3, implemented a shuttle bus service between Alewife Station and the new headquarters location in Technology Park. This successful shuttle service proved to be an excellent model for a variety of other shuttle buses among M3 members as well as the recently launched, M3 managed, shuttle informally known as the “Restaurant Shuttle.” The shuttle helps bridge the labor pool of Lowell to the job opportunities in the Burlington area. In addition to the E ink groundbreaking technology that drives low power displays such as the Amazon Kindle, numerous new applications were noted including dynamic but very low power signage for transportation such as a pilot project on the MBTA providing real-time operational updates for riders at several Greenline stations in the Newton area and a wide variety of other innovative signage / display related applications. E ink headquarters contains a fascinating display of the company’s technology evolution from the late 1990s to the present.
United Nations Global Compact – An Exciting Opportunity for Local Businesses
Rick Pearl, Chair, and Adam Gordon, Engagement Director, both of the United Nations (UN) Global Compact Network USA (Network USA) https://www.globalcompactusa.org were then introduced to explain Network USA and review opportunities for M3 members to join this UN-based initiative. The parent global compact https://www.unglobalcompact.org/what-is-gc, founded by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in 1999, has over 10,000 member companies in over 160 countries. Network USA currently has 586 members with 112 added last year alone. Pearl and Gordon reviewed the history and charter of the Compact and its 10 guiding principles in four key areas: human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. In 2015 the UN adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that help guide member companies to focus their efforts to advance the guiding principles. https://www.unglobalcompact.org/sdgs/17-global-goals. These SDGs include a broad cross-section of topics including responsible consumption and production, industry innovation and infrastructure, sustainable cities and communities, climate action, and gender equality. Joining Network USA provides corporations an opportunity to exhibit their commitment to these values and benefit from the vast experience of other Network USA members as well as the worldwide network of parent Global Network member entities.
E ink, a member of Network USA, reviewed the various focused initiatives and successes their company and employees have achieved. For example, energy-saving updates to their various heating and ventilation systems, implementation of extensive LED lighting updates to drive down energy consumption, and removing significant volume from their trash refuse stream with the elimination of throw away utensils and cups and deploying composting bins with increased compostable service items.
E ink also participates in the UN Global Network Young Innovators Program providing opportunities for staff and capturing the energy of employee commitment to sustainable goals. Participants in this 10-month program help drive innovative solutions to deliver on their company’s sustainability objectives. https://www.unglobalcompact.org/sdgs/young-sdg-innovators
About the UN Global Compact Cities Programme
There was clearly excitement in the room among the various attendees on the possibilities for their organizations to join this network. There is also a related “Cities Programme” for municipalities to join that may present exciting sustainable advancement opportunities for Bedford and the other member towns of the M3 organization. https://citiesprogramme.org/who-we-are/
For those readers who want to get started on following this major global initiative, you can even download an app “United Nations Global Compact” to help you develop and sustain progress in key areas under this initiative.
About Middlesex 3
M3 https://www.middlesex3.com/ is comprised of ten communities in the Route 3 corridor: Bedford, Billerica, Burlington, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Lexington, Lowell, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, and Westford. These participating communities share a common goal of fostering economic development, job growth and retention, diversification of the tax base, and enhancement of quality of life. M3 members include stakeholders in local government, business, finance, education, and development who have the combined resources to constructively develop and implement many regional transportation improvement opportunities.