Climate Action: The Next Generation, Part 4

By: Gavin Pitchford

Between the pandemic and the ongoing climate crisis, things are looking rough– but you can still find hope through the actions of others. Today, we’re recognizing 10 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 Emerging Leaders, honouring individuals under 35 (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 60 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. 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 week we’re spotlighting group 4: Saeed Kaddoura to Nivedita Madhav Pande!

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

Saeed Kaddoura (30) – Pembina Institute – Calgary, AB

Saeed is the leader of two projects addressing energy use and the energy transition at Pembina Institute: Business Renewables Centre Canada and the New Energy Economy. BRC Canada is an initiative to educate corporations and institutions on the market mechanisms available for them to buy renewable electricity, which has so far assisted 45 corporations, attracted $400 million of investments to renewables and created 155 jobs. The New Energy Economy is a website that aims to highlight citizen-led climate action projects in Alberta, with a specific focus on the role of women in the energy transition.

Nina Lantinga (33) – Lantinga Vita – Montreal, QC

Nina is the founder and CEO of Lantinga Vita, an ethical fashion brand that uses ECONYL® yarn made from waste like fishing lines, carpet, and fabric scraps, diverting material from landfills to make high-quality, sustainable clothing. With every 10,000 tonnes of ECONYL® used, Lantinga Vita saves 70,000 barrels of crude oil and avoids 57,100 tonnes of GHG emissions – reducing the impact of production by 80% compared to traditional clothing. As a champion of both the circular economy and ocean health, Nina works with the Healthy Seas initiative to remove ghost fishing gear and reuse it in her clothing.

Steve Lee (27) – Foundation for Environmental Stewardship – Toronto, ON

A previous Clean50 Emerging Leader, Steve is still making strides with the 3% Project, an initiative focused on mobilizing 1,000,000 Canadian youth (3% of Canada) in action against climate change. Having taught in over 500 schools across Canada, 70% of which were in rural, remote, resource-rich or climate skeptical communities, Steve is changing public sentiment on sustainability and depoliticizing climate action (in the process, attracting the negative attention of the Albertan Premier Jason Kenny).

Recently, Steve and the 3% Project team published their findings from the project, including 16 key lessons with recommendations for climate advocacy and education in Canada. Over the course of the pandemic, Steve has met with dozens of MPs, sharing his learnings about youth across Canada, all in support of a #CleanReset and #BuildingBackBetter.

Emma Leith (36) – Emma Leith Consulting – Toronto, ON

Recently an independent consultant, Emma has been working to advance sustainability in the mining sector since the outset of her career 12 years ago, creating Agnico Eagle’s sustainability procedures and reporting from scratch. Most recently, she developed the Social License to Operate system, creating a tool to link community and business values to prevent conflict with host communities. Emma’s teams have created a strong community wellness and sustainability strategy that includes enduring economic and community development in far-northern indigenous communities informed by traditional practices and creating sustainable mining practices that support reconciliation.

Jonathan Milnes (35) – Green Standards Ltd. – Toronto, ON

Vice-President and co-founder of Green Standards, Jonathan leads a team of environmental stewards in sustainably decommissioning 10 million square feet of office space annually, reducing GHG emissions by 170,000 tonnes. Hand-in-hand with decommissioning, Jonathan also manages Green Standards’ office furniture donation, resale, and recycling program which has diverted 71,000 tonnes of furniture waste from landfills since 2011. In 2019, Green Standards turned 16,012 tons of unwanted furniture and equipment into $4.2 million worth of in-kind donations to more than 400 non-profits and community organizations.

Mayur Mukati (31) – Sustainalytics – Toronto, ON

As a Project Manager at Sustainalytics, Mayur has led the third-party verification of sustainable and social finance transactions by corporations, municipalities, public agencies, and financial intermediaries around the world. Mayur is also responsible for the development and piloting of Sustainability-Linked Loans and Transition Bonds, a verification service relating to innovative debt instruments for carbon-intensive sectors that normally would not be able to issue green bonds for their efforts against climate change.

Ridhima Nayyar (34) – RioCan REIT – Toronto, ON

Sustainability Manager at RioCan, Ridhima is driving change through contributions to the development of their sustainability program. She played an instrumental role in the research, analysis, and eventual development of RioCan’s Green Bond Framework, which served as the backbone of the $350 million issue – a first for a Canadian Real Estate Investment Trust. Ridhima has also committed to finding ways RioCan can reduce resource use, so far having identified properties where they can reduce energy use by 13%, GHG emissions by 15%, water consumption by 10%, and improve waste diversion by 60%.

Soroush Nazarpour (34) – NanoXplore – Montreal, QC

With transportation contributing to 25% of annual global GHG emissions, Soroush is taking a different approach to reducing the impact of transport: developing a method for the industrial volume production of Graphene, a material that makes vehicles 40% lighter than using aluminum and makes Li-ion battery charging 5 times faster. Graphene is produced from graphite rather than similar materials produced from fossil fuels and acts as an additive to enhance product performance at a reduced cost. Soroush’s company, NanoXplore, is currently the largest producer of Graphene in the world.

Stefany Nieto (26) – Green Iglu – Toronto, ON

Stefany is the co-founder and Executive Director of Green Iglu, a charity focused on addressing food insecurity in remote communities through their Growing Dome® greenhouse. Green Iglu provides technology, education, training, and maintenance at facilities that are fully community-owned, increasing capacity for horticulture and job creation in participating communities. Recently, Stefany has raised $1.2 million to expand the organization’s operations and developed a partnership with the Martin Family Initiative to reach 6 new communities across Canada, impacting more than 15,000 individuals.

Nivedita Madhav Pande (32) – EarthSoft Canada London, ON

As a Senior Software Technologist at EarthSoft, Nivedita has led the deployment of the company’s Environmental Quality and Information System for oil, gas and mining companies. Implementation of the cloud-based technology reduces the need for pen-and-paper data collection, decreasing the environmental impact of the storage and transportation of this critical information. The software used also plays a key role in monitoring oil spills and remediation projects, demonstrating its use as a versatile tool for addressing climate change.

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

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