Climate Action: The Next Generation, Part 2

By: Gavin Pitchford

Between the pandemic and the ongoing climate crisis, things are looking pretty rough – but we can still find hope through the actions of others!

Today, we’re recognizing our second set of 11 Emerging Leaders living in Canada, each of whom 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 Awards reviews hundreds of nominations for the Canada’s Clean50 Awards, and then any nominees who are not named to the “main” Clean50 list nominations and were aged 35 or under (at the time of their accomplishments), are considered for the 10 Clean50 Emerging Leader awards, honouring individuals who are driving sustainability in Canada and globally.

This year, we’ve been thrilled to receive more than 60 nominations of sustainability heroes eligible for our Emerging Leader award – far more than we can recognize in a single year! But all whose accomplishments are most worthy of respect and acknowledgement.

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 one. So we’ve decided to run a spotlight on each of our Emerging Leader nominees for six weeks, to give recognition to all of our remarkable Emerging Leader nominees, even if we can’t add all of them to the Clean50, and in the process, provide some inspiring news in difficult times.

Nominees are presented in alphabetical order – and this week for week 2, we’re spotlighting Carl Botha to Ahmed El Ganzouri!

You can check out all the other articles in the series clicking on the following links: Group 1 – Meredith Adler to Louis-Philip Bolduc Group 2: Carl Botha to Ahmed El Ganzouri Group 3: Corey Ellis to Sherena Hussain Group 4: Saeed Kaddoura to Nivedita Madhav Pande Group 5: Hardik Pandya to Victoria Smaniotto Group 6: Ana Gonzalez Guerrero to Ryan Zizzo

Carl Botha (25) – Tim Hortons – Toronto, ON

Carl led the charge to remove plastic stir sticks from more than 4,500 Tim Hortons locations across Canada and the United States, resulting in over 190 million pieces of plastic removed every year. Additionally, he drove the take-out bag transition to 100% recycled material, including 60% post-consumer material, leading to a reduction in virgin paper use of more than 50,000 trees annually. Carl has also transformed the way employees fill customer’s reusable travel mugs by implementing a reusable cup tool, allowing employees to accurately fill cups without having to use a paper take-out cup.

Evelyne Bouchard (35) – Tandem Architecture – Hemmingford, QC

As an architect, Evelyne is deeply committed to decreasing the climate impact of the built environment through education and her own design projects at her sustainability-focused firm. Vice-chair of Passive House Canada, she teaches courses about how to construct buildings that consume 75-90% less energy than conventional buildings, instructing 242 students in French and English across Canada. Evelyne has worked on several building projects, including multi-resident affordable housing and single-family housing, decreasing energy use by 48% and 76% for each project, respectively.

Brianna Brown (27) – Decade Impact Strategy & Activation Inc. – Vancouver, BC

Brianna and co-founder Kristy (43) are leaders of the B Corp movement in British Columbia and across Canada, supporting a shift to sustainable, socially conscious businesses. In the past two years alone, they’ve guided more than 60 companies through the B Corp certification process, making them responsible for half of all certifications achieved in BC in 2019. The pair are also making certification more accessible to small businesses with less access to resources – in 2018, they established a B Corp readiness program that guides businesses through six days of content to improve impact literacy and democratize the market.

Alida Burke (24) – The Growcer – Ottawa, ON

Food security is a big concern for Northern and Indigenous communities, who rely on air-freighted supplies of fresh food – that’s why Alida and co-founder Corey Ellis established The Growcer. The pair led a team to develop and deploy food production systems across 14 food-insecure communities in Canada, providing over 400,000 servings of vegetables over the past 2 years through community-run systems. Alida and Corey are also working to transform the institutional food landscape: in 2018, they convinced the University of Ottawa to grow on-site using a Growcer system purchased by the University to feed their 40,000 students.  Alida manages internal operations, finance, and customer success.

Lauren Castelino (19) – Pitch It Green – Toronto, ON

Lauren is making a big impact empowering youth in Ontario and Quebec, attending and speaking at more than 30 events over the past two years about ecopreneurship, environmental issues, and how to make an impact. She’s reached an audience of 5,500 people through keynotes, presentations, interviews, workshops, and events with her non-profit organization Pitch It Green – a youth-led organization supporting young people in creating green businesses through education, pitching, mentoring and networking. Through Pitch It Green, Lauren has connected with many of the youth, providing opportunities for participants to secure funding for their ventures, collaborate on climate projects, and pivot their businesses to be more sustainable.

Joanna Dafoe (33) – Insurance Bureau of Canada – Ottawa, ON

Joanna is helping insurance associations worldwide advance sustainable action through dialogue and knowledge sharing. On behalf of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, she led the development of a Climate Risk Issues paper at the Global Federation of Insurance Associations that serves as a demonstration of industry leadership and will galvanize climate action. Joanna has also been convening roundtables with government leaders to identify ways to advance climate-resilient investments in Canada and led Climate Change Canada’s G7 Task Team on sustainable finance activities at the Environmental Ministerial Meeting.

Anika de la Flor (34) – QuadReal Property Group – Toronto, ON

Intending to reduce the carbon footprint of Canadian operations by 80% by 2050, QuadReal’s sustainability team, in which Anika plays a key role, has been driving sustainable change for their building portfolio. She worked closely with the residential team to develop a roadmap for reaching a 20% decrease in normalized energy use intensity over the next 5 years for existing buildings, and a playbook for incorporating low-carbon infrastructure in existing buildings. Anika has also been instrumental in pushing for transparent disclosure, including QuadReal’s participation in the Energy Disclosure Challenge.

Phil De Luna (28) – National Research Council of Canada – Toronto, ON

Phil is a carbon tech expert: at the University of Toronto he founded CERT, a team pioneering research and development of technology to produce fuels and chemical feedstock from water. He helped raise $2 million in funding to scale CERT’s technology from bench to prototype, and led CERT through two different accelerator programs. Now, Phil is responsible for building, launching and leading the $57 million Materials for Clean Fuels Challenge program at the National Research Council of Canada, a program focused on finding solutions for CO2 conversion, hydrogen production, and AI-accelerated material discovery.

Domenic Di Mondo (34) – GreenMantra Technologies – Brantford, ON

A pioneer in recycling technology, Domenic is changing both how we recycle single-use plastics, and how we use it afterward. As the developer behind GreenMantra’s polystyrene recycling technology, which transforms polystyrene into a new product that can be used as an additive in building materials, Domenic’s work culminated in the commissioning of a pilot facility with the potential to divert over 2 million pounds of plastic from landfills. Domenic’s tech also gives plastics a second life as an additive in things like asphalt, giving plastics a longer lifespan and improving the quality of our building materials.

Jon Douglas (33) – Menkes – Toronto, ON

Since joining Menkes, Jon has spearheaded the development of a utility management program that has saved millions of dollars for tenants and avoided thousands of tonnes of GHG emissions through real-time monitoring of energy consumption. The data collected is then shared at a roundtable of stakeholders, who determine where energy can be conserved – a method which resulted in the Menkes portfolio operating at an Energy Star rating of 90. Jon has also added wellbeing to Menkes’ sustainability strategy with the Healthy Spaces Program, encouraging occupant participation in initiatives to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Ahmed El Ganzouri (30) – General Motors – Oshawa, ON

Driving sustainability at General Motors, Ahmed leads two sustainability-focused working groups – one for packaging and one for supplier education. He played an instrumental role in developing future goals for GM related to material use and manufacturing waste, with GM announcing majority sustainable materials in their vehicles by 2030. Even the onset of the pandemic didn’t affect the Sustainable Packaging Working Group’s goals: working with their supplier, the fibre-based packaging for GM’s ventilators, face masks, and shields are 100% recycled or Sustainable Forestry Initiative-certified material.

Our thanks to Unilever Canada for supporting our efforts as the champion of our Emerging Leaders Award!

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