Clean50 Response to Open Letter

By: Gavin Pitchford, Executive Director

We are in receipt of a letter from Mr. Lindsay, a Project Manager at the Town of Richmond Hill, demanding changes to the Clean50 Award program.

During a conversation with Mr. Lindsay, we heard his concerns, and immediately agreed to address his first concern: Some wording around our headshots requirements, which, taken out of the intended context, unintentionally created for Mr. Lindsay the feeling that his response to his Clean50 nomination would not be welcome.  Nothing, in fact, could have been further from the truth and we’re very sorry for having inadvertently conveyed that feeling.

Upon hearing his perspective, we immediately understood his concern and apologized to him – and do so again here, as well as to anyone else who felt the same way.  We committed to making a change to the wording – and then did so on the website and in our internal paperwork, all within an hour. We will ensure we do better in the future. We thank Mr. Lindsay for bringing that concern to our attention.

Mr. Lindsay also demanded a number of other changes to our program.  A number of the concerns he expressed we believe are based on misunderstandings on his part of how our programs actually work in practice, and thus, in our estimation, are essentially moot.  (Please see our FAQ to clarify our actual process / policies). Others of his expressed concerns had already been addressed, but not in such a way that he would have necessarily been aware of those efforts, as they apply primarily to nominees working in much smaller organizations than his, (i.e. ENGOs) and so his misunderstanding is understandable.

He did, however, point out a number of concerns that are very valid, and which were, quite frankly, in our blind spot, and so we thank him for those insights. 

We are examining those demands closely to identify ways that we might best address them, starting by, immediately, pulling together a diverse group of advisors who have better perspectives into the specific challenges than we do, and whom we believe can help us address those valid concerns in the most inclusive and equitable fashion possible. 

We are committed to then taking that input and those recommendations, and acting upon them as quickly as possible, and in time for the next nomination cycle. 

If any of our policies or processes have unintentionally negatively impacted you, we’re genuinely sorry – and would welcome hearing from you so we can better understand how – and what we can do to make the program better.

Please stay tuned: As we get further along in our process, we will provide more details in a completely transparent fashion. 

In the spirit of that transparency, we must also point out that nominations for the 2022 Clean50 closed on Canada Day a week ago, final responses from recent nominees are being made, and assessments of the majority of expected submissions has already begun, all with very tight deadlines, so some of those changes we expect to make simply cannot be implemented in time to impact the current cycle in any meaningful way.    But thanks to outreach initiatives we implemented at the beginning of this nomination cycle, specifically targeted at connecting with members of the BIPOC community, we have high hopes that our 2022 list will indeed include more members of the BIPOC community than in prior years. 

Our founder and Executive Director, Gavin Pitchford, would be happy to take calls to explain further, and welcomes suggestions from any interested and / or impacted party.  Please feel free to reach out via the “Contact” option.