Kevin J. Fay – 2019 William K. Reilly Award for Environmental Leadership Winner


Well, it’s a fascinating story I
was going to law school at night at American University and was working for
the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute and the industry was just
starting to deal with energy efficiency issues and then there was this ozone
depletion issue just beginning to come up in the conversation. The Alliance
founding meeting was September 6, 1980 and the idea came up to form this
coalition and it turns out it’s one of the first ever multi industry coalitions
organized around an environment issue. So the alliance was meant to bring
expertise but also to find the right way to move forward we asked the companies
to come to the table with their parochial interests in mind but be
willing to step back one step and ask what’s the right way to manage this
what’s the right way to move forward. The challenges have been many obviously
tremendous advances in scientific understanding and dealing with
environment issues – number one. Number two, social and economic terms of both
continued rapid growth with the economies of the developed world but
also the very significant growth taking place in developing countries. And then
at the same time trying to find a way – a big part of what makes the Montreal
Protocol success has been its focus on sustainability also ensuring that the
technologies which have great societal benefits are available to these
countries whose economies are rapidly expanding. So that’s been quite an
accomplishment and owes itself to important actors from governments,
important actors from the NGO community, and important actors from the private
sector. And it truly has been a decades-long partnership of these
entities in terms of making these transitions happen.
I think it provides us a good lesson of success and that success is possible.
It requires a level of communication that I don’t think we’ve quite achieved
in the climate area yet. And in fact there seems to be
some confusion of my work on this with private sector. Most of the private
sector has said yes for a long time when they’re willing to deal with the issue and
it’s important that the policy process find a way of establishing a path
forward that works for everybody.

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