Climate Action: The Next Generation, Part 5

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 11 Emerging Leaders living in Canada who are fighting climate change and advancing sustainability at home and literally 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 – and unfortunately many 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. 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 week we’re spotlighting group 5: Hardik Pandya to Victoria Smaniotto.

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

Hardik Pandya (34) – Dryleaf – Calgary, AB

As the founder of Dryleaf, Hardik is changing the plastic utensil industry – responsible for roughly 40 billion wasted utensils per year in the United States alone – one plate at a time. The solution is to provide 100% natural, biodegradable alternatives made out of fallen leaves, a sustainable resource that does not require any logging and uses a less intensive manufacturing process. This year, Dryleaf provided more than 60,000 plates and bowls to Canadian customers, including restaurants, where it is an increasingly popular alternative to single-use plastics.

Autumn Peltier (16) – Nipissing First Nation, ON

Named Chief Water Commissioner for the Anishinabek Nation at an early age, Autumn is an internationally recognized advocate for water protection and an inspiration for Indigenous youth. She is a respected speaker both in Canada and worldwide, having been invited to speak at United Nations events and the World Economic Forum, and provides input on all issues that impact the Great Lakes and any water that flows through them. Autumn advocates for Indigenous communities without access to clean water and raises awareness on water issues related to the health of the Great Lakes, watersheds, aquifers, rivers and streams.

Atish Pereira (30) – Jones Lang LaSalle – Toronto, ON

Buildings play a large part in contributing to climate change, which is why Atish plays an active role in introducing energy efficiency measures in his management portfolio of 1,500 properties across North America. Atish works with facility managers to implement energy conservation measures such as HVAC and lighting schedules, decreasing fan run-times, and controlling lighting through LED retrofits. Altogether, Atish has put over 400 conservation measures in place, resulting in nearly 1.9 million kWh in energy savings.

Daniel Posen (33) – University of Toronto – Toronto, ON

As a researcher and an educator, Daniel informs both policy and people, bridging the gaps between science, policy and economic analysis. In 2018, he co-led the development of a report outlining global best practices for the Low Carbon Fuel Standards, presenting ideas that were subsequently were adopted into plans for the Canadian Clean Fuel Standard. Daniel is also active in the sustainability community, acting as co-chair for the International Symposium for Sustainable Systems and Technology and co-founder of the Climate Science for Engineering initiative at the University of Toronto.

Megan Poss (35) – Leading Change Canada – Ottawa, ON

Megan Poss is Executive Director of Leading Change Canada, a national non-profit enabling youth to accelerate the shift to a low-carbon, just economy. Under her leadership, Leading Change has helped build connections between 350 youth and established leaders, leading to the creation of youth-led coalitions, communities of practice, and engagements with industry and government leaders. Megan advocates for the inclusion Indigenous, racialized and LGBT+ youth in leadership positions on environmental issues, opening the door for the participation of 215 young people in climate leadership

Alienor Rougeot (21) – Fridays for Future Toronto – Toronto, ON

Allie has dedicated her life to climate activism, most recently as the driving force behind the climate strikes in Toronto – including the September 27th march in 2019, which drew more than 50,000 Torontonians. With backing from thousands of citizens and several companies who closed on that day, the strike ultimately led to the City of Toronto declaring a climate emergency. Allie’s role in building this youth-led movement from the ground up led to the creation of 4 subgroups, engaging high school and university students from multiple campuses in climate activism, and inspiring adult allies to join the fight.

Matt Schaubroeck (31) – ioAirFlow – Winnipeg, MB

Co-founder and CEO of ioAirFlow, Matt leads the strategic development of a Canadian cleantech start-up that is revolutionizing the energy audit process for commercial buildings. With a digital, wireless, and easy-to-use testing solution, ioAirFlow tests the entire area of a building to accurately diagnose indoor environmental quality problems and provides specialized solutions for each building. Matt and his team are making energy audits affordable by reducing the labour hours required for audits by 50%, opening opportunities for C Class commercial buildings to lower energy consumption and GHG emissions.

Larissa Sequeira (26) – Mantle314 – Toronto, ON

As Senior Advisor at Mantle314, Larissa navigates the risks and opportunities of climate change for public and private sector clients and advances strategies for low-carbon resilient assets. She has advised municipalities with over $150 billion in combined assets to develop climate action plans, integrate sustainability into projects and operations, and secured almost $70 million in funding for climate-resilient infrastructure. Larissa also advises on the integration of climate disclosure and Sustainable Development Goals into the infrastructure module for the Principles of Responsible Investment.

Bo Simango (33) – Aquafort AI Inc. – St. John’s, NL

Bo is the CEO and co-founder of Aquafort, a company delivering AI-powered solutions for sustainable aquaculture in the Atlantic region, which houses 45% of Canada’s aquaculture industry. Their predictive data analytics platform to optimize fish health and welfare through parasite, pathogen, and algae detection, monitoring fish behaviour, and predicting growth patterns and risk factors. Currently, the goal for Bo and his team is to demonstrate proof of concept and value through pilot projects, obtain seed funding, and ensure environmental regulations compliance.

Lisa Sloan (30) – Celestica Inc. – Toronto, ON

Lisa is making global changes for Celestica’s supply chain and community engagement, leading a series of initiatives to add corporate social responsibility and environmental considerations to their supply chain scorecard. Assessing over 4,000 suppliers around the world, the CSR elements included on the scorecard add environmental considerations to supplier selection, changing the way Celestica sources goods and services globally. Lisa is also responsible for leading the global initiative to host a waste reduction week for the organization, diverting more than 1,900 kg of waste from landfills around the world.

Victoria Smaniotto (31) – Canada Cleantech Alliance & Solar Impulse Foundation – Montreal, QC

Victoria is on a mission to grow the Canadian cleantech sector. From 2016 to early 2020, she led the CanadaCleantech Alliance, being the only employee behind the Board of Directors and the 20+ member associations. From community engagement, to government support, to projects development that support the cleantech sector growth, the alliance leverages Canadian regional expertise to support the scale-up of cleantech companies across the country, building a network of industry professionals and cleantech entrepreneurs from across Canada to share knowledge and support. Victoria also created and managed the CanadaCleantech CONNECT Challenges: a virtual matchmaking activity between cleantech entrepreneurs and companies seeking environmental solutions, giving more than 50 small businesses the opportunity to pitch their solutions to 8 multinational companies.

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

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