Yes, you read that correctly. Eat more ice cream cones! While I strive to be environmentally conscious — sorting my recycling, conserving electricity, riding my bike instead of driving, etc. — this is a new act of environmentalism for me, but one that I can 100% get behind. Julio Álvarez, founder and CEO of PROMESA and Miller Center alum, introduced me to the idea. It goes like this… If you order your ice cream in a cup, then both the waxy cup and the plastic spoon are destined for the landfill. But if you order a cone, no trash! Even if you choose not to eat the cone (huh??), it’s still biodegradable waste.

I first met Julio when he attended Miller Center’s 2023 In-Residence in October. PROMESA is on a mission to minimize the environmental footprint in Mexico. The organization integrates its environmental education programs into educational institutions, aligns with the sustainability goals of companies, and encourages eco-friendly habits among Mexican households. Working with 400 schools, 40 companies, and over 2,400 households, PROMESA has already made a significant impact — recycling over 4 million kilos of solid waste, conserving 72 million liters of water, saving 17 million kWh of electricity, and safeguarding more than 60,000 trees.

Julio emphasizes, “We can no longer remain passive and wait for someone else to solve the enormous environmental challenges we face.” PROMESA actively collaborates with educational institutions, businesses, organizations, and individuals committed to adopting sustainable habits and contributing to living in harmony with the Earth.

During a visit to Mexico City with my husband in November, we had the pleasure of meeting Julio for dinner. It was here that I not only learned about the joys of sustainable ice cream eating but also delved deeper into Julio’s vision. We were joined by Julio’s friend, Emiliano Iturriaga, a fellow social entrepreneur and the co-founder and CEO of Rutopía. A certified B Corp, Rutopía plays a crucial role in connecting emerging ecotourism businesses in Mexico’s indigenous and rural villages to the global tourism market. By digitizing and professionalizing the tourism services of these communities, Rutopía ensures their businesses thrive, creating sustainable employment opportunities and building climate resilience through diversified income streams. I was thrilled to learn that Emiliano is joining Miller Center’s newest accelerator cohort this month.

Of course, we had to stop by the Someone Somewhere store in the trendy, tree-lined Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City. Miller Center alum Someone Somewhere is a lifestyle brand committed to helping lift rural artisans out of poverty. By combining traditional embroidery with fresh products aimed at the contemporary market, Someone Somewhere provides employment to artisans in Mexico’s poorest villages. The social enterprise shipped its millionth product in 2023.

Back to ice cream… Fortunately, there’s no shortage of ice cream in Mexico City. According to the New York Times, Mexico has a relatively short history with ice cream — only 80 years as compared with almost 250 years in the US and roughly 400 years in Europe. But they’ve more than made up for their late start with fantastic shops all over the city. Our favorite was the chocolate hazelnut at Cometa, a quaint shop tucked into a beautiful historic mansion in the Roma neighborhood.

Mexico City is a vibrant place with so much to offer — fascinating history, gorgeous architecture, world-class museums, beautiful neighborhoods, stunning parks, and an outstanding restaurant and bar scene. The city of over 9 million people — 22 million in the greater metro area — is the oldest capital in the Americas and one of only two founded by indigenous peoples. (The other is Quito, Ecuador.) It’s clean, safe, and full of life, not to mention home to some very cool, innovative social enterprises. I highly recommend a visit. And make sure to indulge in some ice cream…in a cone!