Climate Action: The Next Generation – Part 4 of 6

By: Gavin Pitchford

These days, finding the silver lining is the name of the game. It’s tough, but moving towards a brighter future is far from impossible and we want to appreciate the individuals who are helping us move ahead. Today, we are recognizing 8 Emerging Leaders living in Canada who are fighting climate change and advancing sustainability at home and around the world! The next generation of climate leaders are taking action and inspiring all of us to join them.

Every year the Clean50 recognizes 10-20 Emerging Leaders, honouring individuals 35 or under (at the time of their accomplishments) who are driving sustainability in Canada and globally. This year, we’ve had the honour of receiving more than 45 strong nominations for our Emerging Leader award – far more than we can recognize in a single year!

As nominees, these individuals are eligible for both the main Clean50 list and an Emerging Leader award, but given the sheer volume of nominees we’ve received this year, we can’t guarantee they’ll win either award. So we’ve decided to run a spotlight on each of our Emerging Leader nominees over the course of six weeks, to give recognition to all of our inspiring young leaders even if we can’t award them, and provide some good news in difficult times.

This is the fourth week in this six part series, and we’re spotlighting our next eight nominees: Julia Levin to Liz O’Connell!

Julia Levin

Julia Levin (36) – Environmental Defence Canada – Toronto, ON

Julia is mobilizing hundreds of organizations and thousands of people all over Canada to secure climate commitments from the federal government. Amongst the campaigns she has coordinated, EDC has led the charge to end the mining and export of thermal coal by 2030, prevent fossil fuel expansion projects, and challenge the oil and gas sector’s misleading climate solutions. Specifically, her work has resulted in crown corporations committing to phasing out their fossil funding, the abandonment of the largest proposed oil sands mine – Teck’s Frontier Mine – and disputed climate solutions such as fossil hydrogen and permitting oil recovery under the guise of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS).

Justine Lemoine

Justine Lemoine (34) – University of Ottawa – Ottawa, ON

Curating niche opportunities for the University of Ottawa community to truly reduce, recycle, and reuse, Justine has helped set up a series of bespoke campus-wide recycling programs for furniture, personal protective equipment (PPE), and plastic bottles, and also helped run a “Free Store” for other miscellaneous items where everything from frying pans to lamps to get a second or extended life. Through these programs over 100 tons of waste have been diverted from landfill since 2008 and just for the year 2021-2022 9.5 tons of furniture have been granted a second life. Not only is Justine’s work reducing waste on an institutional level, but also helping the students at the University of Ottawa’s students save money on furnishing and other goods needed for schooling.  

Pierre-Laurent Macridis

Pierre-Laurent Macridis (28) – Fondaction – Montreal, QC

On behalf of Fondaction’s 200,000+ Quebecois contributors, Pierre-Laurent has contributed to the firm’s effort to shift a significant portion of its $3 billion sustainable fund towards impact investments. His efforts have helped Fondaction mobilize hundreds of millions of dollars towards impact investments with a goal to triple the fund’s allocation towards impact between 2020 and 2025. In parallel, he has played a role in the design, launch and management of five innovative impact funds totaling over $350 million in assets.

Taylor McCarten

Taylor McCarten (31) – BinBreeze – Abbotsford, BC

Composting at home can be challenging, but at BinBreeze, Taylor is making it easy-breezy with a composting powder that removes odors and emissions, naturally dehydrates organics, and eliminates fruit flies, all while creating a better compost for your community. In addition to encouraging food waste diversion, the composting powder is created from up-cycled wood waste that is processed and combined with specialty minerals. Since 2020, BinBreeze has avoided an estimated 400 tonnes of carbon emissions by sequestering carbon that would otherwise be produced from the decomposition of food waste and the disposal of wood waste via combustion.

Brianne Miller

Brianne Miller (35) – Nada Grocery Inc. – Vancouver, BC

This is not your typical Loblaw’s!  At the forefront of Nada Grocery’s expansion and the growth of the package-free movement in Canada, is founder Brianne Miller. Her grocery store is a certified carbon negative grocer that carries products with carbon footprints 33% lower than those of the conventional grocery store. Under Brianne’s guidance, Nada has upcycled more than 1.5 million containers, diverted 3,509 kgs of food from landfill, donated $35,000 to 1% for the Planet partners, and supported 100+ local suppliers to create a circular food system in BC. Nada Grocery has also adopted an omnichannel business model to ensure that, even in the face of the pandemic, customers have continued access to sustainable and local foods.

Caroline Moreau

Caroline Moreau (35) – National Bank of Canada – Montreal, QC

When it comes to integrating sustainable policy and ESG disclosure, turning the tide is no easy task, but with Caroline’s passion and deep knowledge of ESG she was able to do just that at the National Bank of Canada. Over the past two years, she has helped build the governance for ESG agreements, participated in defining the decision tree for the oversight of ESG documents, emphasized the need to interact with shareholders regarding ESG matters, and examined climate initiatives in which to participate, such as the UN Net Zero Banking Alliance. Caroline has also used her expertise in disclosure and securities to lay down the foundation for the reports, statements, internal policies, and governance necessary for NBC’s ESG disclosure effort.

Arman Mottaghi

Arman Mottaghi (30) – Properate (Lambda Science Inc.) – Vancouver, BC

Fighting the prevailing myth in the building industry that embedding energy efficiency into construction and renovation projects is more expensive, Arman’s technology is helping contractors and building owners go “green” and save money, suggesting energy efficiency upgrades to consumers that can make homes healthier, more durable, and more climate-friendly. Simplified, “Properate” is able to assess and improve the energy efficiency of a home by creating an “energy model” extracted from basic geographic and public information, that then identifies potential energy upgrades that are personalized to the home. This technology has made recommendations on over 1400 projects, producing an estimated average emission reduction of 6.13 tonnes of GHG per year per home.

Liz O’Connell

Liz O’Connell (31) – Arolytics – Calgary, AB

The Canadian Federal government’s target for a 75% oil and gas methane reduction by 2030 has signaled the importance and time-sensitive nature of managing the gas that has 30 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide (CO2). In line with this objective, Liz and her two co-founders created Arolytics, an emissions forecasting and management software company that enables lower GHG oil and gas production. Since their software launch in 2020, Arolytics has supported some of the country’s largest oil and gas producers in building advanced methane management programs that are providing oil and gas producers with the ability to track and prioritize sites with the greatest opportunities to minimize their methane leaks, and at a lower cost compared to traditional methods. To date, over 4,500 North American oil and gas facilities are monitored by Arolytics-designed methane management programs.