Canada’s Top Sustainability Leaders Announced for 2022

By: Gavin Pitchford, Executive Director, Clean50 / CEO of Award Founder & Steward, Delta Management Group

Environment & Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and Montreal’s Mayor Valerie Plante top list drawn from over 1,000 nominees

Toronto, September 16, 2021 – The sixteen individual category leaders from this year’s Canada’s Clean50 Awards list were announced today, with honourees including Cabinet Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and his Chief of Staff, Marlo Raynolds, Mayor Valérie Plante of Montreal, several hot lithium-focused cleantech leaders including Amanda Hall of Summit Nanotech (Calgary), and the executive team from Li-Cycle: CEO and Cofounder Ajay Kochhar, Chairman & Cofounder Tim Johnston, Chief Commercial Officer Kunal Phalpher, and Chief Technical Officer Chris Biederman (Toronto/Kingston), green bus maker Fraser Atkinson of GreenPower Motors (Vancouver), and laundry soap industry disruptor, Brad Liski, CEO and founder of Tru Earth Environmental Products (Port Moody, BC). 

“It’s clear from the nominations we received that Canadians care very much about sustainability, climate action, and the environment” said the program’s Executive Director Gavin Pitchford. “Each year we have had an increasing number of nominees, but this year we went over the top, and weighed a new record of over 1,000 individuals, drawn from every province and territory, before determining these 16 individuals to be the leaders in each of their individual categories.” 

Amongst these remarkable honourees, Pitchford observed that the work of federal environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and his Chief of Staff Marlo Raynolds stood out.  “Over the past two years, for the first time, their leadership has placed Canada on a path to actually achieve our Paris commitment and go beyond it.”

Pitchford cited conclusions made in a recent, independent third-party assessment of federal climate plans conducted by Clean50 Alumnus and SFU Professor Mark Jaccard. “Jaccard’s analysis clearly demonstrates that the plan put forward by this team is both credible and achievable. While more needs to be done, we are on the right track to reach our increased Paris target.”

It is notable that several members of this year’s Clean16 were aided by federal government programs investing in clean tech companies and super clusters. For instance, the Ocean Super Cluster led by Angel category honouree Kendra MacDonald, based in St John’s NL, pulled together over 450 collaborators and investors, and enabled almost $300 million to be invested into 50 “blue tech” projects across Canada over the past 3 years. Pitchford concluded, “These are the investments we need to make today, to ensure Canada nurtures future world-scale tech leaders now, and so creates the conditions needed to keep these good jobs in our country.”

The list of Clean50 & Clean16 Award Honourees for 2022

(Presented alphabetically by Clean50 category)

Advocates & ENGOs:

Richard Florizone, Ph.D., President and CEO, IISD (Winnipeg MB)

Angels: Investors & Eco System Support:

Kendra MacDonald. FCPA, ICD.D, CEO, Canada’s Ocean Supercluster (St. Johns NL)

Building: Design, Development & Management:

Deborah Byrne, COO, Director, Passive House Design, Kearns Mancini Architects (Toronto)


Mayor Valérie Plante, Mayor, City of Montréal (Montreal QC)

Clean Technology:  (Li-Cycle Corp. Team)

Tim Johnston, CFA , Co-founder and Executive Chairman, Ajay Kochhar, President and CEO, Co-Founder, Kunal Phalpher, CCO, Chris Biederman, CTO  (Toronto, Kingston)

Consultants & Enablers:

Bruce Taylor. P. Eng. FCAE, President, Enviro-Stewards Inc. (Elmira ON)

Education & Thought Leadership:

Dr. Elena Bennett, Professor, McGill University  (Montreal QC)

Financial & Services Organizations: (BMO Financial Group Team, Toronto)

Kelly Deeton, P.Eng., Director, Environmental and Operational Sustainability &

Whitney McWade, Director, Sustainability Strategy, Disclosure and Impact

Manufacturing & Transportation:

Fraser Atkinson, CPA, CEO & Chairman, GreenPower Motor Company (Vancouver, BC)

Primary Resources:

Mark Thompson, CFA , EVP, Chief Strategy & Sustainability Officer, Nutrien (Saskatoon,SK)

Public Sector:  (Ministry of Environment & Climate Change team)

Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment & Climate Change (Vancouver)

Marlo Raynolds, Chief of Staff

Renewable Energy:

Grant Arnold, President and Chief Executive Officer, BluEarth Renewables Inc. (Calgary AB)

Research & Development:

Amanda Hall, P. Geoph, CEO & Founder, Summit Nanotech Corporation (Calgary, AB)

Retail & Consumer Products:

Brad Liski, CEO & Co-founder, Tru Earth Environmental Products Inc. (Port Moody BC)

Technology,  Telecom & Media:

Susan Uthayakumar, President, Sustainability Business Division, Schneider Electric (Toronto)

Traditional Energy & Generation:

Vinay Sharma, P.Eng., Ph.D., CEO, London Hydro Inc.  (London, ON)

Clean50 Backgrounder and Logistics

The Canada’s Clean50 award program and Summit were founded in 2011 by Canada’s leading clean tech and sustainability executive search firm, Delta Management Group, and CEO Gavin Pitchford, in response to a trend the firm noted when performing executive searches on behalf of clients.

While there was growing acknowledgement that climate change was real, and that broad solutions were needed, most were working exclusively within their own industry silos and not sharing information.  Having identified the issue, Delta created the Clean50 Awards as a way to identify leaders from every sector, and then hosted the Summit as a way to bring those same leaders together.

Each fall since 2011, the “Canada’s Clean50 list” has marked the accomplishments of 50 sustainability leaders in 16 categories.  Recently, the list has expanded to identify Emerging Leaders, Top Sustainability Projects, and to recognize Canadian business and climate heroes with Lifetime Achievement awards.  98% of each year’s honourees attend the Clean50 Summit in person, and numerous past winners come back to continue to play a role in deliberations, learn new things, and be inspired. 

The 34 remaining members of the Clean50, the 20 Emerging Leaders, the Top Project award winners, and 5 Lifetime Achievement Award winners will be made public between now and October 1st.  

Including small teams and Emerging Leaders, The Clean50 Award Alumni list now numbers over 700 of Canada’s climate-change-fighting rock stars, and the Summit has led to numerous cross-sector and intra-silo collaborations.  In addition, the Honourees’ stories have inspired hundreds of Canadians to do more, and in many instances, simply take the inspiration and build upon, and scale what the honourees had already proven could be done.

Most honourees have agreed to be interviewed, and the Clean50 team are pleased to facilitate this.

The underlying purpose of the award program was to identify, recognize and – most importantly – connect sustainability leaders from across Canada.  We believe a solution for climate change will take input from every sector of Canadian life, and that cross-sector collaboration will be critical to achieving any measurable success. The Summit was created to accelerate this process.  

All Clean50 Honourees are committed to attend the in-person Clean50 Summit 11.0 in Toronto on October 1, 2011 to tackle climate problems and identify out-of-the-box solutions, as well as find opportunities for future collaboration. With 30 Working sessions during the day, 3 different groups of 12 thought leader participants will propose and discuss transformational responses to 10 different climate change challenges.  Cross-sector collaboration in the implementation of innovative solutions is vital if Canada is achieve net zero carbon emissions in transportation, from buildings and by consumers, fast enough to save humanity. The Clean50 Summit provides both the inspiration and the forum. The work sessions are capped by an awards dinner. 

All Summit participants will comply with Ontario’s Covid regulations and will be fully vaccinated, have tested negative with a Covid PCR test in the prior 72 hours, and again passed a rapid test before entering the venue, as will 100% of venue and catering staff.  Every element of the event will be conducted in the most environmentally friendly and safest possible manner.