Jaden Smith was thoughtful onstage Tuesday as he crafted his questions for a talk with Jay Lemery, who wrote the book “Enviromedics: The Impact of Climate Change on Human Health,” for which Smith wrote the afterword.
Smith was on hand at the Montage Beverly Hills as cohost for the Environmental Media Association’s Impact Summit, focused on various conversations around sustainability and the environment. It also drew speakers such as Lance Bass, Amber Valletta, Rosetta Getty and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
For Smith, who helped create the company ethically sourced, paper-based bottled water company Just Water, it’s all about education when it comes to sustainability in the future. Smith caught up with WWD during one of the conference’s breaks on his the environment, his projects and Al Gore.
WWD: So how did you get involved with the Environmental Media Association and why?
Jaden Smith: In 2016 they honored me for my work with Just Water and that’s when I found out about the Environmental Media Association. After that I was just so touched by what they were doing I decided that day I wanted to be on the board and I wanted to be part of the process of designing the events and making them more of something I envisioned. That’s why the stage over there [for the conference] is made out of 10,000 recycled bottles of Just Water.
So the very stage that we’re standing on, the very root of what we’re talking about, is the future technology of recycling and sustainability. Having a carbon-negative event starting with a carbon-negative stage and eventually setting the example of saying “Hey, a lot of people talk about the environment but we are standing on the future.”
We’re going to keep increasing, increasing, increasing, increasing until we’re the loudest voice and the furthest along in the science and until we are the most carbon negative out of any other organization. That’s my goal.
WWD: What do you hope is the main takeaway for attendees of this summit?
J.S.: This summit is a lot of people that are in the business so I hope that they take away that you can still have a profitable business as well as being green and doing something that’s better for the environment.
WWD: What do you think is the greatest challenge or barrier to why there isn’t greater adoption of sustainable practices or simply mindfulness of what’s being discussed at places such as this summit?
J.S.: I feel like they’re not educated on it and I feel like Al Gore educated so many people and that’s the only reason why we even have this audience [at the summit] now. We couldn’t even have this audience now if it wasn’t for Al Gore. Now I want to try and come out and release this short [documentary] series and get more people aware, people educated on it so that the audience continues to grow and grow.
WWD: How’s Just Water doing?
J.S.: We just launched our infused waters and we’re doing very well in Whole Foods right now. We’re in Ralphs as well. I’m very excited about what we’re doing. I’m also working on a documentary series that’s all about educating youth. So I’m just excited about what we’re doing because it’s just looking up.
WWD: With Just Water what’s the longer term vision there?
J.S.: Water was just the first thing that we tackled because it was where we could get rid of so much plastic because all the plastic I see on the street are all these water bottles. So that’s just where we’re starting, but eventually we want to go into foods, we want to go into eventually making soaps, making furniture, being an “impact” company, having a non-for-profit section. We want to move into building wells for people who don’t have water and creating canteens that are not single-use bottles. These are all the things that we want to do to perpetuate the brand.
We have trademarks and ideas and plans for expansion and we have since the beginning.
WWD: Are there sustainable companies or sustainable business people that you draw inspiration from?
J.S.: Al Gore is my number-one most inspiring person in my life besides my father and my mother. It goes my mom, my dad and Al Gore. Those are the most inspiring people in my life and I feel like I owe any success that comes to me through the environmental lens or any challenges that we can tackle like what we’re doing with Just. I owe all of this to Al Gore.
WWD: And your documentary series, can you provide a bit of an update on what’s happening there?
J.S.: We’re just in the editing process and we’re just finishing shooting the first episode. Each episode is about six minutes. They’re going to launch on YouTube and there’s about six episodes for the first season. That’s my solo documentary series and then I’m going to try and go and partner with a Nat Geo or a Netflix or Participant Media and create the next one.