Last week Jonathan Cocker attended the International Bar Association’s African Regional Conference on the Environment in Cape Town, South Africa on November 28th-30th, 2018. Jonathan spoke on the panel, “Urban Waste Management: What Africa is Doing”, alongside fellow panelists Lloyd Christie (Director at ENSafrica), Richard Emery (Executive Associate, JG Afrika), Sally-Anne Kasner (Founder of Cirulcar Vision and Operations Manager of EcoStandard), and Richard Summers (Managing Director, Richard Summers Inc.)

The panel discussed the urban transformation and development of South Africa, and how increased urbanization is a catalyst for economic growth and human development. Importantly, the panel also discussed the logistical problems facing urban waste management in South Africa borne from increased urbanization. The group postulated on the necessary planning needed through legislature, policy, and technological innovation, and the inevitable mind-set change needed to view waste management as an opportunity for job creation and as a potential source of income. Through examining urban waste management policies and practice in several African cities, the panel discussed suitable interventions to ensure sustainable urban growth.


Jonathan D. Cocker heads Baker McKenzie’s Environmental Practice Group in Canada and is an active member of the firm's Global Consumer Goods & Retail and Energy, Mining and Infrastructure groups. Mr. Cocker provides advice and representation to multinational companies on a variety of environmental and product compliance matters, including extended producer responsibilities, dangerous goods transportation, GHS, regulated wastes, consumer product and food safety, and contaminated lands matters. He assisted in the founding of one of North America’s first Circular Economy Producer Responsibility Organizations and provides advice and representation to a number of domestic and international industry groups in respect of resource recovery obligations. Mr. Cocker was recently appointed the first Sustainability Officer of the International Bar Association Mr. Cocker is a frequent speaker and writer on environmental issues and has authored numerous publications including recent publications in the Environment and Climate Change Law Review, Detritus – the Official Journal of the International Waste Working Group, Chemical Watch, Circular Economy: Global Perspectives published by Springer, and in the upcoming Yale University Journal of Industrial Ecology’s special issue on Material Efficiency for Climate Change Mitigation. Mr. Cocker maintains a blog focused upon international resource recovery issues at