Anai Green is the winner of the Women4Climate Tech Challenge 2020 and will see her solution “Lumiweave” come to life in her home city of Tel Aviv-Yafo.

Lumiweave is a new outdoor fabric combining embedded solar organic PV cells for off the grid soft linear light and shade in one street fabric. This solution makes it possible to create a range of applications from stand alone localised shade umbrellas, to hung canopies, and linear fabric shading enclosures. Lumiweave explores the possibility of melding both lighting and shading and environmental performance in a new soft material that can be used in a myriad of urban situations. It offers a soft systems approach to climate change and the need for new integrated shading / lighting in city streets and open spaces, day and night.

Coming together with the Women4Climate Tech Challenge and a wider audience focused on today’s climate challenges is a unique opportunity to bring technology, design and urban stakeholders together. This will provide Lumiweave with a platform for promoting innovative design solutions for tempering the urban environment.

Anai Green

Anai Green is an industrial and product designer. She grew up in Israel, attended the Bezalel Academy of Art, and Worked in Japan before opening her independent design studio in Israel. Over the past decade, Anai’s interests have extended her work on lighting and furniture to the design of spatial objects and the relationship between materials, form and technologies to bring her designs to impact every day life in urban settings. In 2010 She participated as a collaborator in Megama – a strategic design office – on an entry for the Landscape Urbanism Biennale called “32N Urban Shade” that focused on the significance of natural and built shade in the city of Bat Yam, Israel. Creating public shade maps and shade walls, the installation offered respite from the sun in the industrial zone, as part of the event. Lumiweave and the preoccupation with climate and well tempered environments emerged from this early exploration. Lumiweave combines Anai’s unique interests in emerging LED lighting technologies, flexible PV cells, with the potential of textiles in outdoor uses to address the problem of rising temperatures in urban environments.  

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“One of the most pressing issues of concern regarding climate change in Tel Aviv-Yafo is the rising temperature, a great challenge that we will be contending within the coming years,” said Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Ron Huldai. “Lumiweave’s solar shading structures can bring a unique solution to this problem. We are thrilled to work with Anai Green to test the solution where it is most needed”.

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Urban Planner / Réseau des femmes en environnement – Board of directors member

Master’s degree in urban planning, bachelor’s degree in business management and doctoral studies on the factors that influence the environmental decisions of organizations. Involved in various environmental and SD organizations, currently holds the presidency of the Board of Directors of the Quebec Network of Ecological Groups. Long involved in the Québec Network of Women in the Environment, she held the presidency for several years and continues her involvement as administrator and through various initiatives relating, among others, to gender and climate. She’s the founding member of a collective on responsible communication. She also contributes to the Steering Committee of the Québec Zen project put forward by the Common Front for Energy Transition. As a Montrealer, she participates in the Coalition Climat Montréal. In the energy sector, she has led diverse teams on environmental studies and assessments, various research projects and development of policies, strategies to environmental management and in the field of sustainability, for ex. corporate social responsibility and sustainable communities.

Maitrise en urbanisme, baccalauréat en gestion des affaires et études doctorales sur les facteurs qui influencent les comportements et décisions des organisations en matière d’environnement. Engagée en environnement dans diverses organisations, occupe actuellement la présidence du CA du Réseau québécois des groupes écologistes ainsi que la vice-présidence du Conseil d’administration du Groupe Écosphère. Impliquée de longue date au Réseau des femmes en environnement, elle en a occupé la présidence plusieurs années et poursuit son engagement comme administratrice et à travers diverses initiatives portant notamment sur le genre, les changements climatiques et l’environnement. Elle est membre fondatrice du Collectif Communication citoyenne, un collectif d’experts multidisciplinaires sur la communication responsable. Elle contribue également au Comité de pilotage du projet Québec Zen mis de l’avant par le Front commun pour la transition énergétique. En tant que montréalaise, elle participe depuis 2015 à la Coalition Climat Montréal. Dans le secteur énergétique et des évaluations environnementales, elle a dirigé des équipes diversifiées et réalisé un grand nombre d’études, divers projets de recherche et de développement de politiques et , stratégies de gestion environnementale et dans le domaine de la durabilité dont la responsabilité sociétale des organisations et les collectivités durables.

Director of Entrepreneurship

Montréal

Laila is a scientist by training, an entrepreneur, an educator, an innovator and a mentor. She is experienced in supporting PhDs, post-docs and researchers to build world-changing tech companies derived from their academic research. Under her guidance and leadership more than 500 graduates and researchers have been trained; more than 20 new startups have been created and accelerated in Quebec. Laila is holding a Ph.D. in nanoscience and nanotoxicology from Aix-Marseille University, she worked as a teaching assistant and postdoctoral researcher at McGill University. Laila with her high-impact scientific production and the various research interventions have enabled the advancement of innovative therapies in the field of bone and spinal cord regeneration. Laila is the author of several scientific articles, book chapters and encyclopedias. Laila was the co-founder of Impactful Health R&D, a cleantech start-up that develops plastic alternatives that prolong the shelf life of fresh fish. She is a game changer recognized by her peers that seek to solve global problems and build the innovation economy in Quebec.

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Lauren Rochat

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Position: Founder, Auckland Climate Festival

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Community Engagement and Partnerships Manager

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Position: Community Engagement and Partnerships Manager, Kainga Ora Homes and Communities

Jody Fotu Jackson is Samoan woman who has spent the first 25 years of her life in Samoa before making New Zealand home. Her work has been in education, strategy and community development. Jody attained a Master of Management Studies, Management and Sustainability where her thesis focussed on the uptake of sustainable business practices amongst SMEs.

Jody teaches dance, loves researching and attempting to recreate indigenous material arts and couture for performance and storytelling.

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Position: Head of Impact, Proxima

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Auckland

Position: Head of Communications and Marketing, Sustainable Business Network

Fiona Stephenson is one of New Zealand’s most experienced communicators of sustainability with a career spanning over 25 years. Past roles include speech writer for the UK’s chief sustainability advisor and Oxford University’s first Public Relations advisor on the environment.

She has Honours and Master’s degrees from the University of Cambridge.

Environment Programme Director

Auckland

Position: Environment Programme Director at Auckland Transport

Dr Cathy Bebelman is a scientist with expertise in the technical areas of environmental sustainability and transport infrastructure.

As the Environment Programme Director, Cathy leads the environment, climate change adaptation and embodied emissions reduction programmes for Auckland Transport.

CEO

Auckland

Position: CEO, Facilities Management Association of New Zealand

Jo Duggan is a highly experienced business leader with almost 30 years of expertise in the property and construction industry.

As CEO of the Facilities Management Association of New Zealand, she is committed to promoting sustainable building practices and driving growth and professionalism of the industry.

General Manager

Auckland

Position: General Manager, Sustainability, Mercury

Lucie Drummond is responsible for the overall strategic framework and environmental, social, and corporate governance at Mercury. She leads the organisation’s external communications, regulatory and government relations functions.

She joined Mercury in 2012 and prior to this, practised environmental and energy law in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Associate Director of Design (Urban Planning)

Auckland

Position: Director, The Urbanist + Associate Director of Design (Urban Planning) at Te Pare, School of Architecture and Planning at Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland

Zoë Avery is an authentic problem-solver focussing on resilient strategies, design and policy at University of Auckland and The Urbanist.

Her studio work and research areas include regenerative design, climate change adaptation, urban sustainability, nature-based solutions, and urban design and urban planning policy development.

Product Manager

Auckland

Project name: Promoting Sustainability in the Workplace

Zoë Garrett is passionate about sustainability and tries to incorporate volunteer activities and initiatives around the home and workplace as part of her ‘business-as-usual’ approach. She is exceptionally excited to have the opportunity to expand her reach even further with the opportunities provided by the C40 Cities Women4Climate mentoring programme.

Zoë is an avid runner and loves to get out in her natural environment, which provides her with a personal inspiration to ensure it is protected and functioning optimally for generations to come.

Operations Manager

Auckland

Project name: Reducing Carbon Emissions Across the Hauraki Gulf Island

Katharine Lane is Operations Manager for the Department of Conservation (DOC) managed Hauraki Gulf Inner Islands, from Hauturu-o-Toi in the north to Te Motu-a-Ihenga (Motuihe) in the south.

After moving to New Zealand in 2016, Katharine started work for DOC as Auckland Mainland Senior Ranger Community, working to promote ‘predator free’ initiatives across the Auckland region. She now manages a team of 30 rangers across the Gulf Islands. Katharine is looking for innovative methods and partnerships to reduce carbon emissions across the Hauraki Gulf Islands and reach DOC’s goal of a net-zero carbon target.

Katharine has recently become a mum, which has supercharged her motivation to take positive climate action, starting with the decarbonisation of the Hauraki Gulf islands.

Senior Project Manager

Auckland

Project name: Gas Boiler Phase-out Programme 

Deena Benjamin is an enterprising manager who ardently champions sustainability and climate action at home and in the workplace.

Deena is currently working on reducing the carbon footprint of swimming centres across Auckland by replacing gas boilers with electric heating systems and installing solar panels.

She is passionate about seeing lives transformed and enriched.

Healthy Waters Specialist

Auckland

Project name: Fish Passage Remediation Programme and Coastal and Stream Outfalls Programme

Kia Ora tatou   (Dia Dhuit gach duine)

Ko Killney Hill te mauga (killney hill is é mo shliabh)

Ko Sandycover te awa (Sandycover is é mo uisce)

No Dublin ahau(Dublin is é mo chonai)

Ke Kennedy toku Whanau(Is mise Inion ni Chinneide)

Ko Aoibhe Toku Ingoa(Is Mise Aoibhe)

Aoibhe Kennedy is a healthy waters specialist with Auckland Council, leading two workstreams for the Storm Readiness Delivery Team; namely, the Streams and Coastal Outfalls Programme and the Fish Passage Improvement Programme.

Previously, Aoibhe travelled the world teaching scuba diving and shadowed a marine biologist in the Pacific Islands, getting educated on conservation. Through this work, Aoibhe grew a respect for the marine environment and developed a keen interest in sustainability.

As part of the sustainability champions network in Auckland Council, Aoibhe has contributed to their initiatives.

Sustainability Consultant

Auckland

Project name: Communication, Education, and Sustainability Implementation in the Auckland Wine Industry

Ko Te Mata te maunga

Ko Tūtaekuri te awa

Nō Ahuriri ahau

Ko Ali Lowrey tōku ingoa

Ali Lowrey is a sustainability consultant and a science communicator. She has a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Auckland, specialising in wine science. Her research included relationships between soil chemistry, climate change, and agrochemical applications, and assessing connections between vineyard terroir, matauranga Māori and kaitiakitanga.

She is originally from the Hawke’s Bay, where her knowledge and passion for wine and the environment began – and the foundation of being a firm supporter of the local New Zealand food and beverage industry.

She believes that new and exciting scientific discoveries should be made available to all, shared over a glass of local New Zealand wine.

Policy Analyst

Auckland

Project name: Spongy Homes for a Climate-resilient Tāmaki

Cathy Xiong is a policy analyst at the Ministry for the Environment, working on freshwater, resource allocation and Māori rights and interests. She is currently volunteering for the Auckland chapter of Generation Zero.

Previously, she created educational resources on water and climate change, carried out sustainability research for a national science challenge, and consulted as a water engineer. She has an undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering.

Cathy’s Women4Climate project involves making homes in Auckland more “spongy”, by creating educational modules on water sensitive design changes and implementing construction work to buildings in underserved communities.

Data Analyst

Auckland

Project name: Permaways, Finding the Way: Permaculture for Everyone, Everywhere 

Teresina Robredo De la Vega works in freshwater conservation waste minimisation and as Data Analyst for a water consultancy. She believes that we can all walk the talk by implementing permaculture principles in our lives and businesses, connecting with others, and living more consciously.

She always enjoys challenges, new experiences, and a good cup of coffee.

Auckland

Project name: Climate Resilience of Auckland’s Transport Infrastructure

Hayley Martin works in sustainability and resilience for an engineering and advisory firm. She is passionate about mitigating and adapting to the effects of the climate crisis.

Hayley’s project will focus on embedding climate change risk assessments to allow Auckland’s transport infrastructure to be resilient to climate shocks and stresses.

Postgraduate Student

Auckland

Project name: The Roll-out of Auckland Council’s Food Scraps Collection Service

Elise O’Brien is an engineer who is passionate about reducing waste and recovering resources. She is working as a senior organic waste specialist for Auckland Council delivering a food waste collection and processing service to 520,000 households.

Elise is concurrently studying for a Master’s degree in Sustainable Development.

Climate Resilient Water Resources Management for Chennai City

Chennai

I am an enthusiastic Hydrologic and Water Resources Engineer with special love for nature and environment around me and currently working as a Project Associate in the Department of Civil Engineering under Prof. Balaji Narasimhan in Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IITM).

PROJECT

I am currently working on the Real Time Flood Forecasting for Chennai and Tamiraparani basin. In addition to that, I am also working on the modelling of Low Impact Development (LID) practices for water use and conservation. I would like to learn more about the climate resilient water management practices both in agriculture and domestic use of water.

My main aim is to make the state self-sustainable in water resources through the application of principles from Hydrology, GIS & allied areas and to help the society in that endeavour. This basically led me to idea for climate resilient water management practices especially considering the spatial and temporal variation of rainfall in India.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

My motivation for a sustainable planet comes from my roots in the rural background of Kallakurichi where I grew up in the midst of animals, birds and a big forest. I strongly believe and feel that nature is the most important and potent force and we need to respect it.

Find out more:

LinkedIn   Twitter

Modelling Construction & Demolition waste management process for circular economy

Chennai

Pursuing research in construction & demolition waste management. Basically, a Civil Engineer with a master’s in construction engineering and management. An aspiring entrepreneur with a passion for waste management and environmental conservation. Feminist who wants to fight for underprivileged women and girl children.

PROJECT

My project involves developing a circular economic model for urban areas where construction materials can be sourced within the city. Construction & demolition waste disposed of within the city will be used as a source of raw material for new construction projects. On one hand construction materials such as sand are exploited beyond regenerative capacity and on the other hand tonnes of materials are disposed as waste within city damaging the environment. Handling C&D waste is a complex and tough task for the city authority. The circular economic model would address both problems of resource exploitation and waste management in one go. Reusing waste materials as resources would reduce the environmental impact caused by sourcing, production, and transportation of virgin materials.

My constant observation and interests towards waste management led me to pursue environmental management course from IISc Bangalore. The importance of environmental conservation and need for research over C&D waste lead me to pursue PhD. Over the period of research I came to understand that Netherlands and few other countries are achieving more than 90% diversion of C&D waste from landfill whereas in India it is less than 1%. So, I decided to make a convincing model for the city to highlight that recycling C&D waste could bring benefit to people,planet and economy. We were surviving without hurting environment and coexisted with nature centuries before, the rapid development in technology and running towards money have to led to a life where we prefer luxury and comfort over the wellness of nature. There is a dire understand that ‘mental and physical health is unachievable without a healthy planet’.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

I have had a passion for the environment from my school days. Mentorship of TVR sir from IISc Bangalore and my zeal towards business have led me to build a robust waste management business model that saves the planet and brings profit to people.

Find out more:

LinkedIn 

Albo Climate

Tel Aviv - Yafo

My name is Naomie and I am an Environmental Expert. Passionate about innovation and sustainability, I graduated in Private Law and Environmental law from La Sorbonne University (L.L.M) and in Environmental Studies from Tel Aviv University (MA). After my studies in France, Canada, and Israel, I decided to call Israel “home” and had the immense opportunity to start my career in the Israeli tech ecosystem. I joined an incredible biotechnology start-up which leverages animal microbiome and AI to find novel therapeutics as compliance and regulation officer and found myself enjoying the fast pace and the “learn by doing” mindset of startups. I joined Albo as a Director of Business Development to boost the company’s growth and contribute to scaling Nature-Based Solutions all over the world by deploying Albo’s remote sensing technology for carbon and land use monitoring.

PROJECT

Albo Climate is a Climate tech startup established in 2019 whose mission is to scale nature-based climate solutions (NBS) by making it easy to monitor carbon capture in forestry and agriculture with ground-breaking AI and satellite-powered technology. By applying proprietary AI algorithms to satellite data, Albo Climate precisely quantifies and maps land use and carbon dynamics at high accuracy and resolution, deploying next-generation digital MRV (Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification) and catalyzing carbon financing to reach gigaton-level of nature-based CO2 removal. Albo Climate aims to unlock the massive potential of Nature-Based Solutions to sequester atmospheric carbon and mitigate the adverse effects of climate change while increasing the accuracy, confidence, and transparency of nature-based carbon offsetting strategies. Urban nature, whether in parks, urban forests and tree-lined streets, holds tremendous potential to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and enables cities to reach their Net Zero Goals. Albo aims to deploy its technology in urban ecosystems to map natural assets in cities and monitor CO2 sequestration, thereby scaling Nature-based projects in cities.

Albo Climate is solving the measurement and monitoring bottleneck for CO2 sequestration (removal) in nature-based climate solutions in urban, natural, and agricultural ecosystems worldwide. The monitoring of CO2 emissions reductions and removals at scale, high resolution, and high accuracy is, in fact, one of the biggest challenges in nature-based (NBS) solutions. In contrast to manual, hardware-dependent in-field measurements, Albo Climate automatically measures, monitors, and maps carbon sequestration, offering a cost-effective solution with an unprecedented degree of transparency and accuracy. Albo aims to service cities around the globe to map their natural assets, provide transparency on carbon data to various stakeholders, define their net zero goals, support the development of nature-based projects, engage their citizens in reaching Net-zero goals, and analyze carbon emissions from urban development. By doing so, Albo will support the climate strategies of cities and boost the co-benefits associated with nature-based projects in urban ecosystems, such as improving air quality, protecting biodiversity, and enhancing the quality of life for residents.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

I had the immense privilege of growing up between Paris, the city of lights, and the greenery and agricultural region of the South West of France called “Dordogne”. Preserving these forests and agricultural ecosystems appeared to be the only meaningful choice I could do and therefore I work every day toward this goal. Moreover, I strongly believe that creating urban ecosystems where nature could thrive in cities is an essential solution to living better and improving our planet.

Find out more:

Website

Pahk Solutions

Toronto

Tina Safaei is the co-founder and CEO of Pahk Solutions, a platform that helps individuals reduce the environmental impact of their lifestyle, and enables communities to manage their carbon footprint. Tina has more than 5 years of experience in venture capital investing, where she worked with startups and organizations such as Sidewalk Labs to develop solutions and thought leadership around smart cities and environmental sustainability. Tina holds a Ph.D. degree from the University of Toronto in electrical engineering focused on renewable energies and the upgrade of CO2.

PROJECT

There is a growing number of communities committing to net-zero emissions. Individuals have a sizeable impact on the overall emissions of municipalities and organizations, yet community leaders fail to effectively engage them in sustainability. Pahk Solutions leverages technological advancements in the fields of machine learning and internet of things to promote sustainability among individuals and help communities quantify and reduce their aggregate carbon footprint.

My academic and professional background familiarized me with different applications of science and technology in combating the climate change. It also helped me realize how a complex challenge such as global warming can only be solved through multi-faceted climate actions on many different levels. Ironically, as I got deeper into developing and studying large-scale, industrial-level climate technologies, I became more intrigued about the role of individuals and their collective impact on the environment. This curiosity initially grew into a dedication to understanding my personal environmental impact, before eventually leading me to explore ways to empower communities to collectively manage their environmental footprint. The outcome of this quest shaped the genesis of Pahk Solutions.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

Climate change is often portrayed by a dystopian image at a magnitude and time scale that leaves us feel powerless and dissociated from positively impacting it. At least, that is how I used to feel. That is why I am motivated to change the narrative and empower individuals to play their part in the fight against climate change. I believe in the collective impact of smaller actions and would like to show people, in actual numbers, how achievable lifestyle adjustments can lead to significant changes. I am committed to helping create communities of change.

Find out more:

LinkedIn   Website   Instagram   Facebook   Twitter

Splash on Earth

Toronto

My name is Ana and I enjoy connecting with people and creating fun memories with those around me. Six years ago, I fell in love with exploring how communities can become more resilient and collaborative while addressing environmental concerns that many neighbours shared. Dipping into my knowledge of architecture, biology and leadership building, I created a grass roots environmental group that uses the joy of art and science to bring people together and get things done.

PROJECT

Splash on Earth makes environmental learning fun and accessible to everyone. It is a community building event where participants paint their environmental goals on the asphalt using an eco-paint that is made from food waste. To obtain certain paint colours, participants play games that help connect the dots between our actions and food waste, biodiversity loss and climate change. At the end of the event, participants win cash prizes for their creativity and for collaborating with others. Splash on Earth aims to raise awareness about TransformTO strategies and the benefits of restoring biodiversity in our city. Similarly, it aims to reduce climate anxiety, social isolation and food waste. Ultimately, Splash on Earth builds unity and promotes collaboration, a requirement for addressing any difficult problem.

This idea was born from community empathy and collaboration. We wanted to bring smiles back into our community and reduce the grief experienced during the pandemic. From many years of doing community engagement in Parkway Forest, we knew that residents despised the fried summer lawns and wanted more colour in their local parks. After consulting with our community partners and drawing from our own cultures, we came up with Rangoli in the park. Rangoli / Alpona / Mandala / Muggu / Kolam are colourful geometric drawings rooted in South Asian, South American, Middle Eastern and other cultures. They call on more auspicious times and are a form of relaxation by painting with bright colours. All our events are eco-friendly and thus, we replaced the artificial Rangoli powders with an eco-paint that we made in our home kitchens. We used food waste as a base for the eco-paint to build on previous food waste reduction initiatives we held in collaboration with Live Green TO. The eco-paint also washes off and helps to nourish the lawn and soil microbiome. Two years on and Splash on Earth is the highlight of the summer and we are working with schools and other communities to spread the love.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

I like people. I would like us to stick around for many years to come. I used to think there is a recipe for sustainability and I took a lot of pride in designing green and energy efficient buildings. Later, I discovered that because we had better buildings, we left the lights on. And that’s ok. No need to beat ourselves up. It’s just a sign that we need to refocus. Maybe sustainability is a fluid thing. I don’t know. What I know is that if we don’t collaborate and build a sense of unity, we may never find out.

Find out more:

Website   Facebook   Instagram

Building Residents Capacity for Textile Waste Reduction

Toronto

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Angie Buado is a committed community leader at Bathurst Finch Hub since 2012. She advocates and organizes projects/activities that engage residents, lessen their isolation and gets them involved in improving and developing the community. As the founding member/coordinator of Friends of Earl Bales, Angie has created partnership and hosted annual park cleans up, multicultural music/dance performances and climate action change initiatives at Earl Bales Park. In 2017, Angie was one of 15 recipients of the Community Award Canada 150 Award in York Centre, an event in connection with 150 Years Celebration of Canada. Angie is a Local Champion and an alumni of network of grassroots leaders that work together on collective goals/strategies across neighborhoods to effect change. Inspired by this initiative, Angie started Bathurst-Finch Women’s Group to provide an empowering and inclusive space for the diverse women of the neighbourhood where they can find friendship, receive peer support, learn and discuss and find solutions to issues that they care about.

PROJECT

The goal of my project is to inspire, encourage and engage the residents of Bathurst-Finch (Westminster Branson) in reducing the amount of their textile waste going into the landfill. The project will host 2 virtual workshops and in-person activities in May 2023 that will educate residents and build their knowledge and skills in reducing textile waste.

  • Workshops about why reducing textile waste matters and how each resident can reduce their textile waste footprints
  • Training in clothing repair, alterations, repurposing and sewing projects
  • Participating in clothing donation drive or clothing swap event
  • Pop-up clothing repair by repairers from an established sewing repair hub

Through a combination of mentoring, training and networking opportunities, I wish to avail of the resources and support under the mentorship programme to grow and transition my project into a Sewing Repair Hub in the next 2-3 years.

  • More residents engaging in clothing repair and alteration
  • Trained repairers volunteering their time and skills in altering other residents’ clothes
  • Twice a year clothing donation drive or swap events
  • Supporting residents who can work from home and earn money by enhancing their entrepreneurial skills and providing their own sewing machines.

Since 2019, I have the opportunity of involving myself with various climate change initiatives either as grant applicant/recipient or attendees in various climate change workshops.

  1. Neighbourhood Climate Action Grant program (2019) – lead applicant/recipient – due to Covid restrictions project delivery was rescheduled in 2022 (coordinated/planned for 4 virtual waste workshops and online showcase of videos on taking action on climate change by middle/high school students in North Etobicoke.
  2. Climate Change Climate Fund (North York cluster – 2020) –co-lead the application and planning team member that delivered 4 virtual climate change workshops in Bathurst-Finch neighbourhood. These 2 climate change projects both have reducing textile waste workshop segment and I had the opportunity of coordinating with the sewing hub coordinators of Scadding Court Community Centre in 2020 and Delta Family Resources Centre in 2022. Noticeable, no men attended, only women attended the workshops.

When North York cluster re-opened their Climate Action Fund (CAF) in 2022, I applied immediately using Bathurst-Finch Women’s Group, the group I started in 2018. For project theme, I thought of reducing textile waste initiatives with the intention of reaching out to Scadding and Delta sewing hub coordinators.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

I am a passionate and caring person and I care enough that due to human’s (including myself) uncaring and irresponsible actions in the past, environmental crisis is happening now worldwide. We each have a role in mitigating the current climate crisis. As an individual, the changes I make in reducing waste at home will make an impact to members of my family, my friends and neighbours. As a community leader, the projects I am/will continue to get involved with will continue to raise awareness, educate, encourage and engage the residents to reduce waste at their homes and in the community.

Critical Mass

Tel Aviv - Yafo

Yaeli Etstein is a highly accomplished R&D biologist with a M.Sc. in Biotechnology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (graduated magna cum laude) and a B.Sc. in Marine Sciences from the School for Marine Sciences (graduated summa cum laude). She has professional training in sustainability (the Fellow’s Program of the Heschel Center for Sustainability) and marine conservation at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. Specializing in molecular biology, Yaeli has a track record of successful R&D projects in environmental monitoring, aquaculture, and renewable energy. Over the past 8 years, she has worked as a consultant and academic lecturer for environmental health and sustainable entrepreneurship, offering services to corporations and municipalities. Additionally, Yaeli is the managing founder of Critical Mass, a social impact initiative promoting ecological consumption habits through health-related incentives and a non-toxic labeling system for household products. In her spare time, she enjoys wave surfing, sailing, free-diving, hiking and dancing, experiencing nature in every way possible.

PROJECT

Critical Mass successfully engages 11,000 members who use its social media platforms to make informed and economical purchases of non-toxic products.  The initiative is guided by health-related recommendations and buyer’s club discounts, promoting the use of non-toxic goods.  With the mentorship program, the organization aims to develop a centralized B2C marketplace with a non-toxic labeling system for consumer products and an advanced buyer’s club. This will provide a convenient, transparent, affordable and reliable source for information and purchasing of non-toxic goods, benefiting both consumers and businesses. The impact of this initiative is significant, as it redirects household spending towards consumer choices with lower environmental and health footprints, promoting both SDG3 (Good Health and Well-being) and SDG12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) at the same time. Studies based on MRIO databases have revealed that merely 43 high income countries contribute the most to humanity’s environmental pressure, accounting for over 60% of global GHG emissions. 80% of these emissions are “secondary”, resulting from the production, transportation, and waste treatment of food and goods. Therefore, significant changes in daily consumption choices of these consumers will contribute the relevant critical mass needed to create a major impact in a shorter period of time.

Yaeli has been living by the sea for 18 years, ever since she started studying marine biology. From that moment on, the sea has taken a central place in her life, both professionally and as a place to unleash her adventurous urge. Yaeli is an addicted surfer, a free and scuba diver, a competitive sailor, and an environmental activist. The deterioration of the marine environment over time has been hard for her, constantly watching the increase in pollution and exploitation despite all efforts to raise public awareness. Swimming and surfing in apocalyptic scenes of garbage swarms have pushed her to search for a different approach to environmental activism. All the surveys she has conducted have shown that health is a strong incentive for individuals to change their behavior and habits. Yaeli has focused her literary research on finding direct and immediate health impacts of modern consumption culture. In doing so, she discovered the unknown widespread phenomena of harmful chemicals in consumer products in all categories. Telling people about this issue has proved to be successful and highly engaging.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

Her love for the natural environment has always been the guiding light in her life. She has lived in rural areas all her life, and has experienced nature in many ways. Traveling abroad in her 20’s pivoted her professional preferences towards environmental studies. Instead of pursuing an acting career that she started in her youth, she chose marine biology. The underwater world was always magical to her and became with time a source of energy and excitement. Yaeli cannot withstand any harm to it and is fully committed to preserve, clean and sustain the health of her beloved environment.

Find out more:

LinkedIn   Website   Facebook

Lira Shapira - Local green coin

Tel Aviv - Yafo

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A planner and researcher, with professional knowledge and extensive management experience in the recycling industry in general and the construction and demolition waste in particular. During the years of activity in the field of the environment, I developed an extensive network of contacts with key actors in various sectors. I served as a waste and recycling coordinator at the Lod Municipal Authority where I was closely exposed to the challenges, both at the regulatory level and at the field level, facing the treatment and recovery of waste streams in Israel. Today, I am aiming to expand my activity creating collaborations for the treatment and prevention of negative infections caused by waste and developing models based on civil activism in these areas.

PROJECT

Lira shapira- local green coin is a a non profit organisation which is promoting and supporting the separation at the source and the independent treatment of organic household waste. we are distributing a local coin which is directed to generate and reinforce the local economy and local connections and ties between different layers of the society. Each coin we distribute is linked to the value of 1 kilo of organic waste treated in the conventional way by transporting it to landfills. We also launched a new project called “Tel hubez”- an urban farm managed by the local residents aiming to educate and teach agriculture and grow organic vegetables for a local community market. This project also supports new connections and is aiming to build a stronger resilient community- one of the most important qualities we need as citizens in order to face the coming climate change related challenges. All of these activities are recognised and supported by the Tel Aviv municipality.

My experience in the waste field led me to the understanding that civil action, aiming to reinforce the community and the sense of responsibility over the waste we produce is something to invest in. so i joined my neighbour and we established the N.G.O which we run together in the last year.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

In the last 7 years since i graduated from my second degree studies in environment, i worked in the business sector, the municipal sector and now as a civil action generator. my motivation is based on the deep understanding that i gain in Africa, working as a stagier during my architecture studies, – waste is a byproduct of human activity and an endless source of raw materials. i would like to use waste as a resource for building a strong community.

Find out more:

Facebook

Reducing damage caused by urban floods while preserving flood water

Tel Aviv - Yafo

Noa holds a B.Sc. in Mathematics and a B.A. in Political Science (Cum Laude) from Tel Aviv University. In the past decade she worked as a risk expert at online payments companies and gained vast knowledge and experience in building data infrastructures, mainly using graph-based algorithms. Noa is also volunteering at NZO, Hescel Sustainability Center project aiming to promote the transition to renewable energy in Israel. Her initiative aims to address two problems at the same time: urban floods and water shortage. The project aims to find a solution to reduce the damage caused by urban floods while preserving the flood’s water.

PROJECT

One of the main consequences of climate change is the increase in frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events. All over the world we are witnessing severe flood events that are causing casualties and huge economic damage. Cities are especially vulnerable to floods due to their density and the concrete and asphalt which prevent water from being absorbed into the ground. At the same time, water is one of our most important resources and water scarcity becomes a problem in more and more places. Today, at time of flood, the common practice is to move the water away as quickly as possible. Thus, we lose a huge amount of water that can potentially be used. The project goal is to help people and local authorities to adapt to extreme weather events by reducing damages caused by floods while also preserving part of the water so it can be used later for purposes such as irrigation.

While reading about extreme floods events around the world in recent years, it occurred to me that the same rain water that is causing so much damage, is a major part of the water cycle and of the freshwater that we need for our everyday living. It led me to think that if we can somehow preserve some of the flood water then we can reduce the flood’s intensity and at the same time restore the water for later use.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

Growing up in a family of farmers, I learned to appreciate rain at winter time, know what it’s like to worry at times of drought and to never take water for granted. Today, as I live in Tel Aviv, each winter we feel the consequences of rainwater overflow the city drainage system. As the climate crisis and the ways it changes and affects our life becomes more evident, I feel the urge to act in order to adapt to these changes.

Find out more:

LinkedIn

TextRe

Tel Aviv - Yafo

Lee Cohen

I am passionate about making a positive impact on climate and believe in creating new opportunities within cross industries, applying one industry’s challenge into the other’s need. I am the co-founder and CEO of TextRe, which turns the Textile Waste Challenge into a Sustainable Business Opportunity. I look at waste differently, as a huge opportunity, economically and environmentally. I bring vast knowledge and understanding within Textile industry, my family owns Clothing factories in the middle east. Within my professional experience, I bring experience as a Corporate Lawyer and vast experience within intelligence research in government offices and in the private business sector.

PROJECT

Our mission is turning the textile waste into new recycled materials (among them – plastic polymers) which replace expensive and high-Carbon Footprint materials in various industries. Our first 2 developments are new substrate for agriculture, based on textile waste and new material replacing pure plastic polymer. The textile industry is One of the top 5 polluting industries (Accounts for 10% of GHG), generates over 80,000,000 tons of textile waste annually, while over 85% is being buried in landfilled and the rest is downcycled. On the other hand, Plastic production and incineration adds more than 850 million metric tons of CFP to the atmosphere and by 2050, the CFP from plastic could reach 10-13%. Our solution includes: (1) Sustainable Compounds for plastic production (mainly for injection molding & extrusion technologies) and Composite Applications: Consumer Products, Automotive, Construction, Infrastructure, DIY (2) New light weight material substrate Applications: New light weight material substrate for agriculture, urban farming, green walls and rooftops Our main R&D challenge is converting various fibers blends including natural and synthetic fibers into a persistent composite to achieve required material characters. The impact of our solutions is double – dealing the textile waste problem and enabling reducing CFP by replacing unsustainable materials.

I have participated in an entrepreneur program which after one lecture in the natter I have became aware to the vast environmental aspects of the textile industry, which led me to have my own research on the matter. That, with my knowledge within textile production process (as I have mentioned above) led me to understand I want to solve this problem in a disruptive and creative way. That, by using this industry waste, and apply it on other industry’s needs. I have conducted another research about textile waste composition and fibers characters to find the benefits of those fibers characters for other industries usages and the replacement of unsustainable materials.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

I am dedicate, within my venture, to solve this huge 2 problems we are dealing with – tremendous amounts of textile waste which arrive to landfills and consist pure raw materials, and the need to replace the usage of virgin plastic. My partners, collaborators and I are motivated within having a meaningful positive climate impact.

Find out more:

LinkedIn

Rosetta

Tel Aviv - Yafo

Anat Kuper

I’m originally from Tel-Aviv and graduated from Bar Ilan University with a Bsc. in Computer Science and Economics. My first role in the tech industry was as a software developer, in which I relocated to St. Louise in the US. After a few years I realised that my true passion is being close to customers so I transitioned to project and customer management roles, in both corporates and Startups. In the last few years I worked in senior management roles on the business side as a VP customer success. In 2021 I co-founded a real estate Startup in the field of urban information surfacing using image processing.

PROJECT

  • Build the world’s first collaborative surveys database, accessible to the public – using our patent protected unique algorithm.
  • Strong automatic tool that converts images taken by anyone to valuable data.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

  • Enriched database with many types of information.
  • Smart City – based on tool that provides city data.
  • Up-to-date data using images and measurements taken by citizens devices.
  • Cost reduction by using an automatic algorithm, instead of human-based person-hours.

Urban Daisy - Green Roofs, Green Data

Tel Aviv - Yafo

Adi Sholev Founder and CEO of Urban Daisy – Green Roofs, Green Data Adi is passionate about creating pathways between impact, product and research. She is continually searching for holistic solutions and understandings for sustainable development. Her diverse education and experience working as an ecology researcher, project manager at an Agtech startup and leading several environmental – social projects has culminated in her founding Urban Daisy – Green Roofs, Green Data. Environmental sustainability is dependent on the collaboration of multiple sectors and disciplines and cannot thrive without financial viability. For this reason, Adi is dedicated to creating financially beneficial sustainable solutions and hopes to facilitate quantifiable environmental impact within the business sector.

PROJECT

Urban Daisy is a one-stop-shop for green roofs offering full service and project management starting from location surveys through design, construction and maintenance. Our green roofs are designed to amplify environmental impact, improving buildings’ thermal function, stormwater management, air quality and local biodiversity. Urban Daisy optimizes design via data analysis creating multifunctional green roofs that are both financially and environmentally beneficial. Our green roofs double as Living Labs with research conducted in collaboration with climate specialists and geographers. Sensors are installed on our green roofs and in buildings to measure and analyze the specific benefits of each and every green roof. Using this data, we generate Environmental Impact Reports that businesses can publish and present to their investors and customers. In the future we aim to use our data to develop design tools and knowledge for mitigating the Urban Heat Island and managing stormwater in urban settings.

The core question Urban Daisy is attempting to answer is: How can the business sector be motivated to take part in creating resilience to climate change? The short answer, make it financially viable. Mitigating the climate crisis is a complicated mission and though there is still much research to be done there are some challenges that can be addressed immediately. Unfortunately, lack of finance is often a major barrier to progress. Urban areas are growing rapidly, and while space on ground level is becoming scarce rooftops are largely unutilised. Green roofs are a way to create both positive environmental impact and utilize real estate. Quantifying the specific impact a green roof has on its environment helps businesses follow sustainable development goals while using the green roof for their own uses.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

As a global community we are facing challenges in almost every aspect of our lives. Many of these challenges be it social, health, finance and others are often location specific and create polarized opinions. I believe that environmental sustainability is not only a global concern but also a common denominator people and organizations can agree on. We all need a healthy environment to thrive and survive. Considering the challenges national and local governments are facing, and the dearth of public resources, Adi believes the private sector is positioned to take a larger role in mitigating the climate crisis. Financially beneficial and profitable products and services promoting sustainability could facilitate this.

Find out more:

Website   Instagram

askBelynda | Sustainable Shopping Made Simple

Tel Aviv - Yafo

Irete Hamdani is a solopreneur and the founder of askBelynda, a greentech startup that helps reduce our carbon footprint. Currently, askBelynda offers a Google Chrome extension for recommending sustainable products to consumers while they shop online, and there are more plans to expand and offer a range of sustainable solutions for consumers in the future. Irete holds an MSc in Computer Science with honors from Tel Aviv University, and is an AWS Certified Associate Developer and Solution Architect. Her 25 years of experience in the tech industry have been instrumental in the development of askBelynda, and she is driven by her belief in a greener future through the proliferation of sustainable consumer goods.

PROJECT

My initiative for askBelynda came about through my own personal journey to live a more sustainable life. As I began to examine the products I was purchasing, I realized that it was difficult to know which products were truly environmentally-friendly without spending a lot of time researching. This realization led me to think about the challenges that other consumers may face when trying to make sustainable choices. This sparked the idea for askBelynda, a platform that makes it easy for people to make environmentally-friendly choices by recommending sustainable products to consumers while they shop online.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

My motivation for creating a better and more sustainable planet is rooted in the belief that we all have a responsibility to protect the earth for future generations. I am deeply committed to making a positive impact and reducing my own carbon footprint, as well as through my business ventures. I am passionate about promoting sustainable living and reducing the negative impact of climate change. I believe that small changes can add up to make a big difference, and I am dedicated to being a part of that change.

Find out more:

LinkedIn   Website   Facebook   Instagram

Carbon Conversations TO

Toronto

As an activist and community builder, Amy supports people across all stages of their climate action journey to experience more ease and joy in doing the work the world needs. For 8 years, Amy worked at the national non-profit WWF-Canada, leading the award-winning Living Planet @ Work program. In this work, she supported thousands of people across Canada to take action for nature and fundraise for conservation. She’s facilitated dozens of speaking events, workshops and open conversation spaces. In 2018, Amy co-founded the Toronto-based climate action group Carbon Conversations TO, which offers judgement-free spaces for individuals to explore their relationship with climate change and effectively cope with climate distress. Currently, Amy works as the founder of her coaching practice Amy Castator Coaching, where she supports individuals and groups as they navigate their journey of embedding climate action into their personal, work and community efforts. She works with her clients to find more ease and joy in doing work the world needs.

PROJECT

Carbon Conversations TO (CCTO) is a volunteer-led, grassroots group that offers facilitated learning opportunities to empower and equip individuals to make lifestyle changes, build community and take collective action to effectively cope with climate distress. Climate distress is a widespread issue that affects well-being across generations. Despite our commitment to healing the planet, unresolved emotions can prevent us from making lifestyle changes, advocating for systemic change and having important climate conversations with others. CCTO’s mission is to normalize climate action. The group facilitates courageous conversations ranging from individual workshops to in-depth multi-session programs. Through their programming, CCTO provides a safe and supportive space that brings concerned citizens together to express their climate-related emotions and learn about tangible steps to contribute to a healthier city and planet. Our organization operates based on the belief that finding hope and empowerment are the keys to rebuilding our connections with ourselves, each other and the Earth. They’re the keys to help us develop inner resilience, where we can look at adversity head-on, and say yes to taking action anyway. We are here to make climate grief and distress spaces more accessible, so that people don’t have to feel alone in navigating these challenging times.

Here is a story from our co-founder, Brianna Aspinall, who came up with the idea of bringing Carbon Conversations to Toronto: “The beginnings of Carbon Conversations TO started from love, care, and a realization that I was not living in line with my values. There was also fear and anxiety, feelings that were hard to share and process. My partner Erick and I watched a documentary about climate change and while it was a mix of ‘doom and gloom’ and hope, the story weighed heavily on both of us and almost paralyzed my partner into deep sadness. We realized we both needed to process and accept the truth about climate change while finding our unique way to become part of the solution. Through research and conversations with friends we learned that many others were also struggling to find a space to connect to their feelings about climate change. I went searching for a solution. I looked for proven models and found Carbon Conversations in the UK. I then met my fellow co-founders Amy Castator and Tara Wilkie. We gathered a team together to put the program into action in Toronto.” Brianna Aspinall, Co-founder, Carbon Conversations TO

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

I believe substantial climate progress will only happen when we deepen our relationships to ourselves, each other and the Earth. I believe when we’re able to be present to our inner fears and worries and meet them with compassion, we find new possibilities. I believe that when we understand we’re not alone in feeling pain for our world, we can support each other more openly and readily. I believe when we connect to the Earth, we remind ourselves of the complex beauty it has, and what we’re standing up for. All of this is what motivates me to act.

Find out more:

LinkedIn   Website   Facebook

Founders - Just a Second

Tel Aviv - Yafo

Architect Esty Ahimeir has a rich experience in the field of planning and design. In recent years, she has been mainly engaged in green construction, as a consultant and facilitator. Dr. Yael Steimberg Founded and managed the research unit at the Democratic Institute. She carried out extensive research programs in the social, educational and environmental fields

PROJECT

Architect Esty Ahimair and Dr. Yael Steimberg have co-founded ‘Just a Second’ – focused on creating abundance from abundance. ‘Just a Second’ plans and implements models for creative solutions to deal with bulk waste – which today, is thrown away in thousands of tons into landfills and is an increasing economic and environmental burden. ‘Just a Second’ is an environmental, educational / cultural and economic venture which tries to produce a fundamental change in the way we consume, design, create and facilitate. The venture seeks to create a fundamental change in the way we handle existing abundance – which today at any given moment is thrown into the trash/landfill in huge quantities. The idea, in short, is to create inspiring spaces for conscientious purchasing of second hand items only. Purchasing for design, renovation, creation, and repair. The work in the space is based solely on existing materials, and ‘rescuing’ them from being thrown into landfills. In other words, it is a space that is entirely based on domestic waste, waste from manufacturing plants and waste from organizations and businesses. Using this waste will be a source of conscientious and frugal consumption, an inspiration for design and re-creation, and will strengthen the repairing capabilities. It will encourage community activity and a circular economy, saving landfill costs and more. This is a space that has an emphasis on a “cool”, pleasant and inspiring design; A space that is both a home for designers and artists. Specifically, within the framework of W4C, we seek to crack and develop an urban model that will create a solution for the efficient and creative use of usable garbage from homes, factories and organizations. I hope that the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo can spread this model in other cities that take part in this program.

The idea stems from a long-standing desire to expand the possibilities of design and creation from the very things that people and factories weave. In recent years this passion has met with the climate crisis, and especially with the consumer culture and the landfill crisis in the State of Israel.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

We have a very high motivation to establish reuse complexes – inspiring and mind-altering – where there will be a variety of opportunities for reuse and upcycling. We have already seen that there are such places in Europe, and we dream of establishing such in Israel as well.

Find out more:

LinkedIn   Website

Optimizing public space shading

Tel Aviv - Yafo

I am an engineer who has graduated from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology with a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering, the Polytechnique School of Montreal University in Canada with an M.Sc. in Industrial Engineering, and Tel-Aviv University with a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering. During my master’s degree, my research focused on optimizing prices and vehicle routing for delivery problems. My Ph.D. thesis proposed mathematical models for optimizing balancing problems in bike-sharing systems. My recent research presents new mathematical bi-level models aimed at improving the well-being and flexibility of employees in the workplace. I am currently a senior lecturer at Afeka College of Engineering in Tel-Aviv, teaching in the school of Industrial Engineering.

PROJECT

Creating shade in public spaces is a critical factor in enhancing quality of life and public health, particularly in countries like Israel that experience high temperatures for a significant part of the year. Currently, there are no shade solutions in place in all types of public spaces. The project aims to optimize public space shading in a city, taking into account a specific budget, the density of the area, climate conditions, and various types of shading. This project was undertaken by two of my students under my supervision. We developed a mathematical optimization model for planning public shading spaces and conducted simulations using data from the city of Rishon LeZion. The project will benefit citizens by increasing the shaded areas in public spaces, including along streets. By providing shading solutions in public spaces, it’s possible to reduce sun exposure, encourage physical activity, and create a more comfortable microclimate. The temperature in a shaded area is significantly lower compared to an area exposed to the sun, depending on the type of shading (e.g. trees or artificial shading).

During the hot months of summer, as I walked on the streets trying to escape the scorching sun, I often wondered why so many public spaces and streets lacked shading. While it would be ideal to plant trees in all streets, this is not possible due to various constraints such as the width of the street, the depth of the ground, budget, and population density. This sparked my interest in finding a solution to this problem using mathematical programming (operations research), so I proposed this project to my students and we worked together to build a model. I am now working on an improved model that takes into account a wider range of parameters and hope that it will assist decision-makers in optimizing shading in existing areas and be incorporated into the planning of future projects.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

My motivation is to enhance the daily lives of citizens by adapting cities to the effects of climate change. Otherwise, in the future, people in the Middle East and other parts of the world will be confined to air conditioning for the majority of the year, leading to issues such as loneliness, lack of physical and social activities, increased energy consumption, etc. When it comes to shading, there are different types, but it has been shown that trees are the most effective in significantly reducing temperatures. That’s why I believe that optimizing shading by planting trees in strategic areas sends a powerful message about the importance of our connection to nature. We cannot live disconnected from nature and need it for survival, and we must respect it. I hope that as a society, we can work together to implement the best solutions before it is too late.

Find out more:

LinkedIn

Earth Analytics

Toronto

Priya Patel

Priya is an engineering and climate scientist with more than six years of experience in the public and private sectors. Her experience focuses on using environmental datasets to gain valuable environmental insights. She recently completed a Master’s degree at the University of Toronto, where she learned about the health impacts of air pollution exposure in urban areas. Priya has worked with municipal governments to model the change in air pollution during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is deeply passionate about creating sustainable, equitable urban environments, and she wants to use satellite remote sensing data to develop models that can be used to create healthier communities.

PROJECT

Priya’s project is called Earth Analytics. This project is highly focused on creating data-driven insights on how cities should be built. This project will be an online platform where urban planners can view data on air pollution, green space, and overall livability within a city. This project aims to create urban spaces that are better suited for health and well-being. This could be more green space, more bike lanes, few highways, etc. The impact this project will have in reducing climate change is an overall reduction in air pollution by incorporating green space and reducing sources of air pollution.

I was inspired to create this idea after learning about the power of satellite remote-sensing data in graduate school. My graduate school research was focused on remote sensing data to model nitrogen dioxide, which is a pollutant that is emitted through combustion-related activities.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

I think that we as a wealthy, western nation, have a responsibility to ensure that everyone around the world has access to a safe, sustainable, equitable community. I’m motivated by the news we hear about ecological destruction and the numerous, negative health impacts created by poorly designed communities.

Find out more:

LinkedIn   Website   Twitter

Toronto Home Retrofits

Toronto

Julia is a climate champion who wants to inspire people and provide balance to the climate narrative by sharing solutions and stories of positive change – with a focus on the impactful actions we can all take right now. For 15 years, she was involved with a number of climate groups in Toronto, participating in actions and running awareness and advocacy initiatives. She has also engaged extensively as a citizen in the ongoing development of her city’s net-zero strategy, TransformTO. Her past community building activity includes serving as editor of her local newsletter for 10 years and helping to establish the neighbourhood’s community association. Julia now volunteers as a communications lead for the Pocket Change Project, her neighbourhood’s net-zero group, bringing her past 24 years of experience in marketing, communications, and fundraising for charities to her role. She greatly enjoys being part of this committed and talented team of neighbours, all passionate about helping their community to reach net zero. She serves on the leadership team for her Women4Climate project.

PROJECT

Toronto Home Retrofits is a non-profit organization launching in 2023 that has grown out of a proven retrofit coordination model piloted by the Pocket Change Project in east Toronto. Fundamental to the model’s success is the community-based support homeowners receive from trusted neighbours and the robust, step-wise plan they follow, alongside expert advice and connections to neighbours doing retrofits too. This approach overcomes significant barriers that make retrofits daunting for most people, allowing them to undertake sustainable home improvements with greater ease and confidence, tailored to their financial and other circumstances, in less time, and with a much lower learning curve than they would have otherwise. Building on the success of this model, Toronto Home Retrofits will work alongside partner community organizations in offering similar retrofit coordination services in their neighbourhoods. By mid-2025, the project goal is to recruit and support retrofitting homeowners in three to four diverse Toronto neighbourhoods, achieving average greenhouse gas reductions of at least 50% (3 tonnes) per year per home, in alignment with Toronto’s 2030 net-zero targets. By continuing to scale up this model, we seek to rapidly and equitably increase the pace of home retrofits across Toronto; retrofitting all of our 421,000 single family homes in the longer term would have the enormous impact of reducing our city’s emissions by one million tonnes, or more, a year.

For the last few years, Julia has had a real desire to convert her years of passion and effort fighting climate change into practical, impactful action in her own community, and the opportunity to join the Pocket Change Project and Toronto Home Retrofits came at the right time. Digging more into the very serious impact single-family homes have on greenhouse emissions has been eye opening for her. Most of us think of our homes as safe, cozy refugees; little do we realize they are also major polluters, emitting methane, CO2 and other harmful greenhouse gases, and in Toronto they contribute 18% of our city’s overall emissions. She is determined to dedicate whatever abilities she has to this project, which offers an innovative solution to the difficult challenges involved in retrofitting half a million Toronto homes quickly.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

My motivation and commitment took a sharp upwards turn in 2009 when I heard a radio documentary about the political/military implications of runaway climate change for 2050 scenarios and beyond. I had not understood as deeply before the extent of the deaths, mass migrations, violence and other devastation that was at stake, and where those in the majority world, who would suffer the most, would be the least to blame. It was a major turning point in my life, to the extent that I am now abandoning previous career plans for a new course. I also have children in my family who mean a lot to me.

Find out more:

Website

#Wheredoesyourraingo Poster/Essay Contest

Toronto

My journey with stormwater management and permeable paving started over 10 years ago. My background in education was a definite benefit as most of my time was spent educating decision makers about the benefits and applications of permeable paving surfaces. Things have definitely progressed, although not as quickly as hoped, and we now distribute a “Made in Ontario” permeable paving grid throughout the province.

PROJECT

#Wheredoesyourraingo Poster/Essay Contest will help bring awareness to the issues surrounding stormwater management to students, the next generation of our leaders. Leveraging one of the key calendar dates, such as Earth Day, a simple contest will be run for middle school/high school students focusing on the importance of green infrastructure and LID technologies as a way to manage stormwater run off “where it lands”. The winner will receive a small prize, but most importantly, will receive a permeable chess/checker board with life-size pieces for their school yard/community centre. The hope is that the students will involve and engage their families and then everyone in the community can observe the effectiveness of the permeable surface.

Effective stormwater management using LID/Green infrastructure and especially permeable paving has been used for 4 decades throughout Europe. Permeable surfaces are mandated to be used in lieu of conventional surfaces. Change is hard, but my work has been focused on trying to get our leaders to embrace the ways of our European neighbours. I started working with the German parent company 10 years ago and we are now manufacturing their cold weather resilient permeable paving grids in Ontario, from locally sourced recycled plastics, to support the North American market. I feel that this step can really put Ontario on the map as a leader in the Green infrastructure world and that as a leader, we have to lead by example. Educating the next generation of designers, engineers, leaders and decision makers is the next logical step. Using the student’s creativity, and hopefully with municipal support to share this project and the winning posters, we will be successful in increasing the awareness on effective measures that everyone can use to do their part.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

I know that change can be hard but permeable paving is something that can actually help on so many different levels. It can help with flooding. It can help with the heat island effect. It can help reduce the polluted run off from entering our precious Great Lakes. It is affordable, effective and efficient. Leaving the world a better place for my children and grand children and having them be proud of my efforts is my biggest motivation. Realizing everyone can make a difference!

Find out more:

Website

The Wasteland Plan Foundation

Toronto

Niki Cesta is a conservation biologist, water explorer and community builder. Her rigorous underwater training and diverse work across environmental science have guided her to forge a deep connection to our natural world, particularly lake and ocean systems where she explores with curiosity and compassion. As the Co-Founder and Executive Director of TWP Foundation, Niki fosters a safe and immersive space to teach communities about waste education, nature reconnection and conservation-based solutions.

PROJECT

The Wasteland Plan Foundation is a Toronto-based, environmental non-profit organization that offers outdoor events, eco-trips and environmental campaigns which foster waste education, nature reconnection and conservation-based solutions that generate measurable, positive and equitable socio-environmental impact. To date, TWP has collected nearly 18,000 lbs of waste over 122+ cleanups across 13 countries and has introduced an accessibility statement to invite marginalized communities to engage in the immersive learning experience. TWP is female scientist-led, LGBTQ2S+ and BIPOC-founded by a pair who reside in a low-income neighbourhood. Co-founders Niki and Savannah began to map out TWP innovation project ideas in early 2022 with the goal to introduce a food composting pilot project at their low-income apartment by 2025. Under the mentorship program, Niki would like to further develop this composting pilot project as compost disposal is not available at their residence/in their neighbourhood. This composting pilot project would take the form of a subscription-style system whereby TWP would pick up compost bins on a weekly basis from residents who subscribe. Compost would be tended to at a nearby plot and sold locally. Composting is significant in climate change adaptation; when food waste breaks down in landfills, it releases methane, a greenhouse gas that has a global warming potential 23 times greater than carbon dioxide. In contrast, composting organic waste creates nutrient-rich soil which becomes a carbon sink for harmful GHGs. Projections show that composting organic waste instead of landfilling can reduce more than 50% of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions; this is an estimated total of 2.1 gigatons of emissions reduced between 2020 and 2050. TWP aims to be a part of this change on a community level!

For most of 2021/2022, Niki and Savannah would walk their full compost bin to their nearby park green bin in order to separate and dispose of their household waste. As such they started to research if there was any accessible and affordable compost solutions in their low-income neighbourhood…nothing. As such, they began to create a project/system that could work on a community-level and later become scaled. As a permaculturist and landscape designer, Savannah is always looking for creative ways to measure our offset and reintegrate healthy soil into our landscapes. As a conservationist, Niki then considerded circling back the final product, the nutrient-rich soil to the ‘compost subscribers’ as incentive to keep planting beautiful vegetable gardens in their local community garden!

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

Nikis commitment to creating a better and more sustainable planet became actionable after she developed a deeper understanding of the waste crisis through a combination of academia and adventure. After completing her master’s in environmental science with a specialization in conservation and biodiversity, Niki spent 5 years living barefoot out of a 50L backpack, traveling through tropical and subtropical climates for marine conservation work. Living minimally and paying off her school debt with an invisible wage taught her to find sheer joy and commitment to the natural spaces around her. Most notably, Nikis experience working as a Marine Station Manager in the Galapagos Islands in 2018 is what planted the seed that later bloomed into The Wasteland Plan Foundation. Here, Niki worked on a biodiverse set of islands over one thousand kilometers off of mainland Ecuador and still, plastics prevailed in heaps along the pristine shorelines. Niki later went on to work on Little Cayman Island where gyres washed up tonnes of waste daily from the surrounding islands. It was here where she began to organize frequent waste cleanups and was met with help and community encouragement by an incredible group of women. Today, as a trained scuba divemaster and sailor, Niki has the opportunity to observe both the beauty and the anthropogenic impact of waste pollution and overconsumption on many different water bodies. As she learns and evolves in her work each day, her commitment to creating a better and more sustainable planet continues to grow.

Find out more:

LinkedIn   Website   Facebook

Albo Climate

Toronto

I am extremely passionate about restoring and preserving nature – that’s what motivated me to co-found Albo Climate in 2020. My academic background is in economics and international relations, and I hold an MBA. Originally from the USA (Boston), I moved to Israel in 2014. Aside from working 24/7 on Albo, I also love painting, running and climbing.

PROJECT

Albo Climate is a Seed-stage climate tech startup developing novel AI and satellite powered technology for measuring and monitoring carbon sequestration in nature based climate solutions, such as regenerative agriculture and reforestation. The Women4Climate – C40 mentorship program opens up an incredible network, a supportive community of women leaders, and ample opportunity to hone in on key business goals, such as our Go-To-Market plan, and a potential partnerships with the Tel Aviv municipality, where we are based. We are delighted to be part of this international, climate focused and women-led cohort.

I met our CEO, Jacques Amselem, through Techstars, where I was working before co-founding Albo Climate with Jacques and our third co-founder, Marco Calderon. I knew that I wanted to build a climate startup, and manage fundraising and growing the business. Jacques had the original idea of using satellite images and AI to identify a variety of parameters on the face of the earth and Marco is an environmental scientist and modeler. The three of us had excellent synergy and really completed one another as we embarked on our journey in the carbon space.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

Working in the climate space for me is unlike any other job. I am extremely motivated to work day in, day out on a venture that has positive impact on climate change mitigation and on preserving biodiversity, and the most vulnerable natural areas on earth. For me, climate issues are all encompassing – they touch every aspect of society – health, the economy, security, wellbeing, ethics and our attitude towards humans and every living creature. Working in this field, I am convinced that we can deeply integrate climate-positive thinking, as well as diversity and inclusion, into an extremely successful business model.

Find out more:

LinkedIn   LinkedIn (project)  Website

Oceanic Impact

Toronto

Having worked as a marine biologist, divemaster, and educator around the world, Lisa is extremely passionate about ocean conservation and education. While diving in some of the most pristine reefs in the world, she found marine debris to be a common denominator and disproportionately impact impoverished communities. Her experience inspired her to start Oceanic Impact focusing on having positive impacts on the ocean and society by empowering communities to take action. She has many years of international, interdisciplinary, and intercultural experience in marine biology, conservation, fisheries, aquaculture, and education. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Neuroscience from McGill University and a Master of Marine Management degree from Dalhousie University. She also has a tremendous amount of experience with communications, education, outreach, and project and budget management.

PROJECT

Oceanic Impact is a social enterprise that was founded upon having a positive impact on our waterways. We focus on marine debris reduction and elimination through education, outreach, and technological development to empower local communities to take action. Our educational outreach programs have reached hundreds of individuals and stakeholders from 22 countries. Our Marine Way project is an eBay for the waterways and our DebrisMine project is a gamification geocaching platform for the waterways. They both seek to redefine the marine debris supply chain by attaching a monetary value to garbage and turning them into treasures. In turn, we hope to create cleaner shorelines, minimize the environmental impact of marine debris, and provide alternative income to communities to empower and incentivize them to continue to keep our shorelines pristine. We help to tackle the climate change issue by streamlining the waste diversion process by maximizing the return, reuse, and repurpose of marine debris while reducing labour and increasing the efficiency of the currently labour-intensive recycling process. Our effort would then translates into reducing emissions through the decrease in the need for virgin plastics and an increase in the reuse of marine debris in our local economy.

In 2018, I quit my teaching jobs and brought a one-way ticket to Southeast Asia for a backpacking trip. A week later, I remembered standing on this bridge on a remote island of Malaysia, on my right were all the fancy water bungalows for the tourists and on my left were little shacks for the locals. Tourism has caused a huge plastic problem on this remote island. Without any waste infrastructures, the locals were forced to burn all their trash while living with health consequences. Since that day, I started taking photos of litter on land and underwater around the world and posting them on social media. Some of my friends started telling me to save “garbage” for them as they would have other uses for them. Since then I have been inspired to discover different waste diversion opportunities while finding a way to develop low-cost equitable and accessible solutions to address the waste management issue.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

As a marine biologist, I have seen coral bleaching firsthand; I have stood at the face of glaciers while locals told me that the face was several kilometres behind me a few years ago; I have lived through multiple once-in-a-century storms and listened to the heartbreaking stories of fishers, aquaculture, agriculture, and dairy farmers losing their entire livelihood due to climate change. My personal experience and the stories of others motivate me to keep finding innovative solutions toward a more sustainable future.

Find out more:

LinkedIn (project)   Website   Facebook   Instagram

AI-enabled Urban Insect Farms

Toronto

Natalie Duncan is a co-founder and the CEO of Bug Mars, precision agriculture for urban insect farms. She is a former small-scale cricket farmer with a background in environmental monitoring, materials science, data collection, sustainable and ethical practices as well as design and fabrication experience. She is a community builder who leads large scale art projects, makerspaces, and volunteer art fundraisers with the consistent goal of developing and maintaining community.

PROJECT

Cities are positioned to provide testbeds and infrastructure for circular innovation; maximising access to sustainable foods, improving supply chains, reducing organic waste and offering new opportunities for employment through urban and peri-urban farming. Cities can provide new policies, investments in new technologies, and transparency and awareness to build robust relationships between various working groups. By 2050 68% of the world population will be living in cities. Food production requires a shift from rural areas to urban ones to meet a growing demand and provide direct access to nutritious food, reducing food insecurity while also reducing the transportation and supply chain disturbances and contributing to a sustainable and circular economy. Vertical, urban farms producing fresh produce and using less land are becoming more popular but they have yet to address the demand for sustainable and less-processed proteins. We will need to produce 70% more protein to meet the growing demand for 2050. Furthermore vertical farms require heat to maintain temperature year round. Bug Mars’ initiative is to circularly produce nutritious alternative proteins in abundance by moving alternative protein production to urban areas to reduce travel while reusing waste heat from buildings/data centres to off-set GHGs and prepare cities for urbanization.

Bug Mars was founded in early 2021, during a global pandemic that highlighted environmental, supply chain and food security fragility. Nat Duncan, our CEO, was farming her own crickets as her concerns for food security and climate change increased. During that process she realized that scaling was not possible without 24 hour surveillance of the insect colonies. It was through this realization that Bug Mars was formed. Her expertise in environmental control and monitoring, sustainable and ethical practices, materials science, disaster preparedness and fascination for bugs has led Bug Mars to its current position as a truly unique, and innovative solution for a circular, alternative protein option in urban areas.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

I would often playfully say, “starvation is a pretty motivating factor.” However, as urbanization and population growth increases, and crops are heavily impacted by climate change, my playful tone has shifted to one of unwavering sincerity. The near future of farming needs to be urban and circular. I am committed to helping shape a city that ensures resilient and equitable access to resources, local foods, and employment, while reducing waste and GHGs. Bug Mars understands the necessity of a sustainable future through the implementation of a circular economy, today.

Find out more:

LinkedIn  LinkedIn (project)  Website  Twitter

Seedy Farm

Toronto

Cara wants to change the way we approach gardening and cut flowers. She is the CEO
and Founder of Seedy Farm a low waste startup sells sustainably-grown garden plants
and local cut flowers to combat harmful growing practices in the gardening and cut
flower industries. Cara has been a Neighbourhood Climate Action Champion with the
City of Toronto and she ran on an environmental platform during the 2022 Ontario
election. Cara wants to raise awareness of the issues within these industries so that
Canadians are well positioned to make informed decisions for their green spaces and
flower purchases.

PROJECT

Gardening is a popular hobby for more than half of Canadians; however, most
gardening centres sell plants grown using environmentally damaging practices such as
the use of peat moss (which releases carbon dioxide when harvested), the use of
chemicals (which are released in the environment and on the food we eat), and the
creation of a demand for new (often non-recyclable) plastic pots. Seedy Farm provides
gardeners with sustainable plant choices by selling sustainably grown plants in re-used
containers. Seedy Farm supports waste diversion efforts by growing plants in recycled
pots donated by gardeners, who are encouraged to return the pots so they can be
reused. Seedy Farm also sells sustainably grown local cut flowers to combat the
international cut flower market which dominates Canada and has high emissions and
environmentally damaging practices.

When shopping in gardening centres Cara grew frustrated with the lack of transparency with environmentally damaging practices such as the use of peat moss, fertilisers, and a demand for new (often non-recyclable) plastic pots. She founded Seedy Farm to provide sustainable plant and flower choices and spread awareness of environmentally damaging practices in these industries.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

As a parent, Cara wants to ensure that we take the collective steps to combat Climate
Change which will benefit us now and for generations to come.

Find out more:

Instagram   Website

BocoBoco

Montréal

Lauren has worked for more than 10 years in management and marketing in sustainable development projects, whether as a carbon credit advisor, agri-food waste project manager or sustainability advisor in an architectural firm. In 2018, she wanted to convince more people to reduce their waste: by avoiding constraints, she created BocoBoco.

PROJECT

BocoBoco.ca is an online marketplace offering a complete grocery shop, thanks to partnerships with local businesses (producers and processors) but also micro-local (the best restaurants and bakeries/pastry shops on the island of Montreal). With each delivery, we take back the containers from the previous order. The refund is a discount on the next order. In this way, zero waste is simple, accessible and delicious.

Reducing waste can bring its share of constraints: going to the shops with your containers, decanting them, carrying them home… whereas at home, we all have a bin, a recycling bin, a compost box and returnable beers to take back to the grocery shop. Finally, if everything was returnable, it would be easy to be zero waste?

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

BocoBoco offers a complete grocery shop in a zero-waste format with certified organic ingredients, favouring local, feminine, gourmet and eco-friendly partners and through an ecological home delivery (bicycle coupled with hybrid vehicles).

Find out more:

Instagram  Website  Facebook

EN FRANÇAIS / IN FRENCH

Lauren a travaillé plus de 10 ans en gestion et marketing dans des projets en développement durable, que ce soit en tant que conseillère pour les crédits carbones, chargée de projet en matières résiduelles agroalimentaire ou bien conseillère développement durable dans une firme d’architecture. En 2018, elle avait envie de convaincre davantage de personnes à réduire leurs déchets : en évitant les contraintes, elle a créé BocoBoco.

PROJET

BocoBoco.ca est une place de marché en ligne offrant une épicerie complète, grâce à des partenariats avec des entreprises locales (producteurs et transformateurs) mais aussi micro local (les meilleurs restaurants et boulangeries/pâtisseries de l’île de Montréal). qui livre à domicile avec des contenants consignés. À chaque livraison, on reprend les contenants de la commande précédente. Le remboursement est un rabais sur la prochaine commande. De cette manière, le zéro déchet est simple, accessible et gourmand.

Réduire ses déchets peut apporter son lot de contraintes : se rendre chez les commerçants avec ses contenants, les transvider, les transporter chez soi … alors que chez nous, nous avons tous : une poubelle, un bac de recyclage, une boite de compost et des bières consignés à ramener à l’épicerie. Finalement, si tout était consigné, ce serait simple d’être zéro déchet ?

MOTIVATION ET ENGAGEMENT POUR LA CRÉATION D’UNE PLANÈTE MEILLEURE ET PLUS DURABLE

BocoBoco offre une épicerie complète en format zéro déchet avec des ingrédients certifiés biologiques, des favorisant les partenaires locaux, féminins, gourmands et ayant des valeurs écologiques et par une livraison écologique à domicile (vélo couplé à des véhicules hybrides).

Plus de détails :

Instagram  Website   Facebook


Her Mentor

Laila Benameur


The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal's approach to eco-responsibility

Montréal

Marie-Hélène is a cultural manager who believes classical music can improve the world we live in. She has worked for the past 10 years at the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal as part of the artistic team, collaborating on the planning and organization of different projects, including the Orchestra’s summer festival, tours, and auditions, as well as special productions and music programming. She is also involved in initiatives such as the OSM’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Committee and the Employee Wellness Committee. She also put together the Sustainable Development Committee in the spring of 2021 and started working on the Orchestra’s approach to eco-responsibility. In October 2022, Marie-Hélène was appointed Senior Advisor, Strategic Initiatives at the OSM, a role in which she supports the implementation of the organization’s strategic plan, which prioritizes, among other things, sustainable development.

PROJECT

The OSM adopted its first Eco-Responsibility Policy in April 2022. Since then, the Sustainable Development Committee, as well as the entire team, has been working on an action plan for the years to come. We are now implementing the first actions, mobilizing the entire organization to improve our practices and our environmental impact. In the months and years to come, the Orchestra will, among others, measure, reduce and sometimes compensate the carbon footprint of its activities at the local and international levels, implement more eco-responsible practices in the organization of its concerts, festivals, tours, and special events, and thus contribute to laying the foundations for a greener and more inclusive revival of the activities of the orchestral and cultural sector in Montréal.

Faced with the environmental issues we are collectively confronted with, the OSM, as a leader of the orchestral sector in Canada, wished to recognize its share of responsibility and participate in efforts to reduce its environmental footprint. Aware that its activities can have an environmental impact, and in solidarity with the actors in its milieu, the organization began to reflect on its practices in 2021 and is now taking action.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

I strongly believe that art can have a positive impact on people and that an orchestra should be in line with the challenges facing its community. That is why the OSM is now working on improving its environmental impact and wishes to position itself as a leader in the application of sustainable development principles in the Montreal cultural sector and within the Canadian orchestral milieu.

Find out more:

LinkedIn   Website   Twitter   Facebook

EN FRANÇAIS / IN FRENCH

Marie-Hélène est une gestionnaire culturelle qui croit que la musique classique peut améliorer le monde dans lequel nous vivons. Elle a travaillé pendant les 10 dernières années à l’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal au sein de l’équipe artistique, collaborant à la planification et à l’organisation de différents projets, notamment le festival d’été de l’Orchestre, les tournées et les auditions, ainsi que les productions spéciales et la programmation musicale. 

Elle participe également à des initiatives telles que le comité de la diversité, de l’équité, de l’inclusion et de l’accessibilité de l’OSM et le comité du bien-être des employés.

Elle a également mis sur pied le comité de développement durable au printemps 2021 et a commencé à travailler sur l’approche écoresponsable de l’Orchestre.

En octobre 2022, Marie-Hélène fut nommée conseillère principale, Initiatives stratégiques à l’OSM, un rôle dans lequel elle soutient la mise en œuvre du plan stratégique de l’organisme, qui priorise notamment, le développement durable.


Her Mentor

France Levert

Commissioning for the reconstruction of residential and long-term care centers (CHSLD) in the metropolitan region – East of Montreal

Montréal

Annabelle Lam, Eng., LEED AP BD+C, PMP, RCx is a sustainability and commissioning expert at EXP, a multidisciplinary firm providing engineering, design and consulting services to the world’s built and natural environments. She leads multiple building commissioning projects and partakes in environmental action projects: LEED certification, GES reduction, energy and water audits. Annabelle distinguishes herself by her leadership, her team spirit and her capacity of managing and delivering projects from the beginning till the end, focusing on creating positive environmental, social and economic impacts for her clients and communities. Graduated in mechanical engineering from Université de Sherbrooke (2012), Annabelle joined EXP in 2019 after starting her career at L’Oréal Canada where she realized a few building mechanics construction projects and where she was introduced to energy efficiency at an early stage. She also worked at BPA as an energy efficiency engineer where she was involved on different commissioning, energy and water audits and LEED coordination projects. Active player of decarbonation, Annabelle holds various expertise that contribute to sustainable development.

PROJECT

The project consists in the building commissioning management for the reconstruction of the residential and long-term care centers (CHSLD) in Montreal-East. Aiming to reach sustainable goals in response to environmental and social impacts and to climate change, the commissioning expertise contributes to achieve the buildings systems performance. Buildings will be designed to respond to occupants and sustainability needs to maintain energy performance, indoor environmental conditions. Commissioning process is a quality insurance process that verifies, at multiple stages during the project lifecycle, satisfaction of the building systems to operational and sustainability requirements. This process leads to optimal performance of the systems which will contribute to climate change adaptation and resilience in multiple ways. Optimal performance of energy efficiency measures will reduce greenhouse gas emissions impact from exploitation. Air quality and indoor environmental conditions provided by heating-ventilation and air conditioning system that are always well-maintained, including during smog and heat wave events, will contribute to the well-being of every resident living in the facilities.

EXP’s team was selected by the Société québécoise des infrastructures (SQI) to plan and implement the the commissioning (Cx) process to the reconstruction of long-term care centers (CHSLD) in the metropolitan region. Annabelle is one of the main resources involved in the Cx process management. Conscious of her role and responsibilities for the health and well-being of the most vulnerable people of our communities and to contribute to reduce the impacts of building construction and operation, Annabelle wants to take advantage of the mentorship program to improve her skills in stakeholder engagement in the commissioning process. This aims to achieve optimal operating performance for the benefit of the environment, well-being and economic aspects.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

While studying, I’ve always questioned myself how I wanted to contribute to society positively. I knew I wanted to have an impact on environmental issues through my work, but more specifically in the construction field. I have slowly shaped my career around that desire. Applying commissioning on construction projects contributes to building more sustainably. The process of commissioning ensures that the energy efficiency measures correspond to the design. Very often, those measures are linked to environmental goals of reducing the carbon footprint. Our role for our generation is to consume less in smarter ways than before.

Find out more:

LinkedIn

EN FRANÇAIS / IN FRENCH

Annabelle Lam, ingénieure, LEED AP BD+C, PMP, RCx est une experte en durabilité et en mise en service chez EXP, une firme multidisciplinaire offrant des services d’ingénierie, de conception et de consultation pour les environnements bâtis et naturels du monde entier.

Elle dirige de nombreux projets de mise en service de bâtiments et prend part à des projets d’action environnementale: certification LEED, réduction des GES, audits énergétiques et hydriques.

Annabelle se distingue par son leadership, son esprit d’équipe et sa capacité à gérer et à mener à bien des projets du début à la fin, en se concentrant sur la création d’impacts environnementaux, sociaux et économiques positifs pour ses clients et les communautés.

Diplômée en génie mécanique de l’Université de Sherbrooke (2012), Annabelle s’est jointe à EXP en 2019 après avoir débuté sa carrière chez L’Oréal Canada, où elle a réalisé quelques projets de construction en mécanique du bâtiment et où elle s’est initiée à l’efficacité énergétique à un stade précoce. Elle a également travaillé chez BPA en tant qu’ingénieure en efficacité énergétique où elle a participé à différentes mises en service, audits de l’énergie et de l’eau et projets de coordination LEED.

Active face à la décarbonation, Annabelle détient diverses expertises qui contribuent au développement durable.


Her Mentor

Julie-Anne Chayer

Ecoist Club

Montréal

Born in Moscow in 1985, I immigrated to Quebec in 2007, dince I have lived and worked in France and Hong Kong. Photojournalist, visual artist and digital artist, recipient of the CALQ scholarship, with more than 15 years of experience in management and realization of media projects as photo director / photo editor, I hold a Bachelor’s degree in photojournalism (2007 – Moscow), a Master’s degree in media communication (2011 – Montreal), a Bachelor’s degree in film production (2015 – Montreal). My artistic works like “Occupy Central” (2015) – a mobile application / alarm clock in support of pro-democratic demonstrators in Hong Kong, or “Barometer – sound portrait of Montreal” (2021), are the fruit of my reflection on human relations with technology. Since 2020, I have been working on a project « Ecoist Club » to raise awareness about digital sobriety. Ecoist Club helps to develop healthy and eco-responsible relationships with digital technology using multidisciplinary and inclusive initiatives.

PROJECT

Ecoist Club is a social impact project raising awareness of the challenges of digital ecology. By bringing together experts in green ICTs, sustainable digital technology, psychoeducation, psychoergonomics and physical well-being, Ecoist Club translates scientific knowledge into digital sobriety experiences accessible to companies and individuals. These experiences are presented in the form of workshops and expert support for companies and via a mobile application for individuals.

Interested in a transformation that our society undergoes in the digital era, I decided to explore our role, as an individual and as a collective, in getting this transformation more eco-responsible and more ethical.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

We have 10 years to save the world as we know it… (IPCC)

Find out more:

LinkedIn   Website   Linkedin (project)

EN FRANÇAIS / IN FRENCH

Née à Moscou en 1985, j’ai immigré au Québec en 2007. J’ai aussi vécu et travaillé en France et à Hong Kong. Photojournaliste, artiste visuelle et artiste numérique, récipiendaire de la bourse CALQ, avec plus de 15 ans d’expérience en gestion et réalisation de projets médiatiques comme directrice photo/éditrice photo, je détiens un Baccalauréat en photojournalisme (2007 – Moscou), une Maîtrise en communication médiatique (2011 – Montréal), un Baccalauréat en production cinématographique (2015 – Montréal).

Mes œuvres artistiques comme « Occupy Central » (2015), une application mobile/réveil en soutien des manifestants pro-démocratiques à Hong Kong, ou encore « Baromètre : portrait sonore de Montréal » (2021), sont les fruits de ma réflexion au sujet des relations de l’humain avec la technologie.

Depuis 2020, je travaille sur un projet de sensibilisation à la sobriété numérique « Ecoist Club » qui aide à développer des relations saines et éco-responsables avec le numérique via des initiatives ponctuelles, multidisciplinaires et inclusives.


Her Mentor

Natacha Beauchesne

Textile recycling project at Le Chaînon shop

Montréal

My background is non-linear, more atypical. After graduating in management and urban planning, I chose to study international development management and humanitarian action. By multiplying my experiences in thrift stores and by taking an interest in Fast Fashion, I became interested in the environmental and social impacts of the fashion industry. Since 2019, I am in charge of marketing and partnerships at the Chainon Store, the thrift store of a shelter for women in need. Through my job, I deal with the consequences of the fashion industry and thus post-consumerism. My attention is particularly focused on clothes in poor condition. I am looking for responsible ways to recycle a large quantity of clothes at the end of their life. My mission is to find efficient outlets, applicable within a sorting centre, in order to propose a circularity of textiles.

PROJECT

The objective of the textile recovery project is to put back into circulation as many products as possible that are refused at the Magasin Le Chaînon. The goal is to introduce a new method of managing textile materials at the donation centre by implementing concrete recycling techniques. The objective is to implement 5 techniques. Firstly, it is a question of adding a resale department called “les mal-aimés” (the unloved), which will offer a range of raw materials for creative sewing projects. Secondly, the project proposes to equip washing machines for items in need, repair items, dye and overcycle clothes. The project will reduce GHGs by diverting these materials from landfill while avoiding the export of used clothing for international bundling. The project will promote environmentally responsible practices within our organisation by raising awareness among donors, employees and all stakeholders. In particular, there are few opportunities for post-consumer clothing recovery methods. In a circular economy concept, one of the objectives of the textile recovery project is to create workshops for co-creation, sharing and developing partnerships.

When I started, I was hired at the Magasin as an assistant manager in operations. I was responsible for all activities at the sorting centre. After several observations, I was struck by the considerable amount of refusals at the clothing sorting centre. Many garments are not saleable and need to be maintained. I find it unfortunate that we have to dispose of these precious donations and send the materials to a textile recycler. I was thinking that, first of all, it would be possible to put this material back into circularity while increasing our income and thus making us more autonomous. Furthermore, I noticed the growing craze for second-hand clothes shops and the second-hand economy! This is an opportunity to be seized! Thanks to this winning combination, my desire to respond to a global scourge is now feasible.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

Slow down! As a mother of an almost 3 year old, I feel the need to slow down my lifestyle and to slow down the pace and to learn about slow life. I believe that every eco-responsible gesture counts. In Québec, it is calculated that a citizen consumes an average of 40kg of new textile products per year (Mutrec, 2020). If each person adapted slow fashion, the impact on the environment would be considerable. I want to set precedents and be a real instigator of positive change. One of my biggest motivations is to raise awareness of the reality and issues of community donation centres. And in particular the social, economic and of course environmental impact that my project can have.

Find out more:

LinkedIn   Website   Instagram

EN FRANÇAIS / IN FRENCH

Mon parcours est non linéaire, davantage atypique. Diplômée en gestion et en urbanisme, j’ai choisi par la suite de m’immiscer dans un programme de gestion du développement international et de l’action humanitaire. En multipliant mes expériences dans des friperies et en m’intéressant au Fast Fashion, je me suis penchée sur les impacts environnementaux et sociaux de l’industrie de la mode. Depuis 2019, je suis responsable du marketing et des partenariats au sein du Magasin du Chainon, la friperie d’un centre d’hébergement pour les femmes en difficulté. À travers mon emploi, je fais face aux conséquences de l’industrie de la mode et ainsi de la post consommation. Mon attention se porte particulièrement sur les vêtements en mauvaises conditions. Je me questionne ainsi sur des manières responsables de pouvoir valoriser une quantité importante de vêtements en fin de vie. Ma mission est de trouver des débouchés efficaces, applicables au sein d’un centre de tri, afin de proposer une circularité des textiles.

PROJET

Le projet de valorisation des textiles a pour objectif de remettre en circulation le maximum de produits refusés au tri au Magasin Le Chaînon. Il s’agit d’instaurer une nouvelle méthode de gestion des matières textiles au centre de don par l’implantation de techniques de valorisation concrètes. L’objectif est d’instaurer 5 techniques. Prime abord, il s’agit d’ajouter un département de revente nommé les mal-aimés, il s’agit de proposer une gamme de matière première pour des projets de créations de couture. Ensuite, pour ce projet, il est proposé de s’équiper de machines à laver pour les articles ayant le besoin, de réparer les articles, de teindre et de surcycler les vêtements. Le projet permettra de réduire les GES en détournant ces matières des sites d’enfouissement tout en évitant l’exportation des vêtements usagés pour la revente en ballot à l’international. Il s’agit notamment de promouvoir les pratiques écoresponsables au sein de notre organisation en sensibilisant les donateurs, les employés et toutes les parties prenantes. On recense notamment peu de débouchés quant aux méthodes de valorisation des vêtements post-consommation. Dans un concept d’économie circulaire, le projet de valorisation des textiles a notamment pour objectif de créer des ateliers de cocréation, de partage et de développer des partenariats.

À mes débuts, j’ai été embauchée au Magasin à titre d’assistante-gérante aux opérations. J’étais responsable de l’ensemble des activités au centre de tri. Après plusieurs observations, j’ai été marquée par la quantité considérable de refus au tri de vêtements. Plusieurs vêtements sont non vendables et nécessitent de l’entretien. Je trouve malheureux de devoir se départir de ces précieux dons et par le fait même d’envoyer les matières à un recycleur textile. Je me disais que dans un premier temps, il serait possible de remettre en circularité cette matière tout en augmentant nos revenus et nous rendre ainsi plus autonomes. Par ailleurs, j’ai notamment constaté l’engouement grandissant pour les friperies et l’économie de la seconde main ! Il s’agit d’une opportunité à saisir ! Grâce à cette combinaison gagnante, mon désir de répondre à un fléau mondial se voit maintenant réalisable.

MOTIVATION ET ENGAGEMENT POUR LA CREATION D’UNE PLANETE MEILLEURE ET PLUS DURABLE

Ralentir! En tant que mère d’un petit gamin de presque 3 ans, je ressens le besoin de ralentir mon mode de vie, de ralentir la cadence et de se familiariser avec le slow life. Je crois que chaque geste écoresponsable compte. Au Québec, on calcule qu’un citoyen consomme en moyenne 40kg de produits textiles neufs par année (Mutrec, 2020). Si chaque personne adaptait le slow fashion, l’impact serait considérable sur l’environnement. Je souhaite de créer des précédents et être une réelle instigatrice de changement positif. Une de mes plus grandes motivations est de faire entendre la réalité et la problématique des centres de don des organismes communautaires. Et notamment de l’impact social, économique et bien entendu environnemental que mon projet peut occasionner.

Plus de détails :

LinkedIn   Website   Instagram


Her Mentor

Janie-Claude Viens

McGill’s Path to Carbon Neutrality by 2040

Montréal

Since 2015, I have been working on interdisciplinary collaborations to promote action on climate change in Canada. As Climate Officer at the McGill Office of Sustainability, I am responsible for ensuring continued progress on the university’s path to carbon neutrality by developing and supporting climate-related projects on McGill’s campuses. Prior to that, I was research assistant in the McGill Biology Department, where I coordinated multi-stakeholder projects with academia, the federal government, Indigenous communities, public institutions, NGOs, and SMEs. In that role, I co-authored, co-edited, and copy-edited numerous reports and editorials as the researcher and administrator for Sustainable Canada Dialogues, a cross-disciplinary network of 80+ scholars and an initiative of the UNESCO-McGill Chair for Dialogues on Sustainability. I conducted my Master’s research in Panama, using a participatory action-research approach to identify social and ecological influences on deforested Indigenous landscapes with local Indigenous collaborators.

PROJECT

Universities are uniquely positioned to be living labs for society, where we can both develop knowledge and experiment with solutions. McGill is committed to achieving carbon neutrality, meaning net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, by 2040. The target includes direct and indirect sources of emissions. The university’s strategy is to first reduce emissions at the source, only offsetting emissions that cannot be avoided such as those from commuting and necessary air travel. The target is aligned with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) decarbonisation timeline and includes strong commitments to significantly reduce the university’s carbon footprint. Universities can be like mini cities—with tens of thousands of faculty, staff, and students, thousands of hectares of land, and entire units devoted to infrastructure, landscapes, and governance. It means that, like broader society, we have many values and priorities that can be urgent and competing. Action on climate change entails changes to the status quo—from institutions to individual behaviours—for seemingly long-term payoff. Solving environmental challenges will require that we negotiate these complexities. We have much learning to do and lessons to share. I hope our initiatives will help educate future leaders and inspire other institutions in Montreal and beyond.

For the past 13+ years, I have studied and worked at the interface of ecology and society. These years of experience have taught me that action-oriented, positive communication is an effective means of science outreach. They have also taught me to be open-minded, with a healthy dose of scepticism, and focused on big solutions while grounded in reality. I have tried to base my contribution to McGill’s path to carbon neutrality on these lessons and the philosophy that sustainability should improve people’s lives. We should find incentives for sustainable behaviour, rather than create barriers to unsustainable behaviour. Apart from calculating our emissions, my focus as Climate Officer has included helping develop initiatives related to sustainable travel and biodiversity protection and managing our research-based reforestation project with Indigenous partners in Panama to offset difficult-to-reduce emissions.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

I have always been drawn to science, but in particular, the application of knowledge towards the betterment of society and the project of protecting nature, both awe-inspiring and life-giving. I am passionate about using evidence to act on environmental and societal challenges and an advocate for climate leadership that focuses on solutions and opportunities. I believe that critical thinking and dialogue are the roads to progress. I look forward to expanding my expertise and skills to better support the transition to a sustainable society in our cities.

Find out more:

Website

EN FRANÇAIS / IN FRENCH

Depuis 2015, je travaille sur des collaborations interdisciplinaires pour promouvoir l’action sur les changements climatiques au Canada. En tant que responsable du climat au Bureau du développement durable de McGill, je suis chargée de veiller à ce que l’université continue de progresser sur la voie de la neutralité carbone en développant et en soutenant des projets liés au climat sur les campus de McGill. Avant cela, j’étais assistante de recherche au département de biologie de McGill, où je coordonnais des projets à enjeux multipartites avec le milieu universitaire, le gouvernement fédéral, les communautés autochtones, les institutions publiques, les ONG et les PME. 

À ce titre, j’ai coécrit, coédité et édité de nombreux rapports et éditoriaux en tant que chercheur et administratrice de Sustainable Canada Dialogues, un réseau interdisciplinaire de plus de 80 universitaires et une initiative de la Chaire UNESCO-McGill pour le dialogue sur le développement durable. 

J’ai effectué ma recherche de maîtrise au Panama, en utilisant une approche de recherche-action participative pour identifier les influences sociales et écologiques sur les paysages autochtones déboisés avec des collaborateurs autochtones locaux.


Her Mentor

Amélie Laframboise

Maison communautaire de Saint-Michel

Montréal

Born and raised in Montreal, Gaëlle Guillaume is a young professional who is passionate about inclusion and diversity in urban spaces. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Urban planning from Université de Montréal, as well as a college diploma in architecture. Through her professional experience at the City of Westmount’s environmental department and her engagement as an environmental design project coordinator at Fusion Jeunesse, Gaelle’s perspective has been shaped to better understand the intersectionality between sustainable development and socio-economic determinants. Today, Gaelle works as a project manager at Vivre Saint-Michel en Santé, a non-profit organization whose mission is to collectively revitalize the neighborhood of Saint-Michel, where she coordinates the construction of a new community center. In her role, Gaelle is seeking to empower local actors in the creation of the first carbon-neutral community building in Saint Michel. Gaelle wishes to position herself as a leader in ecological transition and a vector of change, as she fights to create better living environments for the communities in needs.

PROJECT

The first carbon-neutral community building in Saint-Michel, La Maison Communautaire is a construction project designed to bring together social economy enterprises and local community organizations under the same roof. The project aims to meet the needs of a multi-generational and culturally diverse demographic, and to address the significant lack of affordable and vibrant public spaces for citizens of Saint-Michel. The community behind La Maison Communautaire de Saint-Michel is proud to claim this project as a metropolitan-wide symbol of best practices in real estate development centered on climate justice. Developed on a site currently occupied by a community garden, the objective of La Maison Communautaire is to give back and open green spaces to the public. The project will create a green oasis within this highly mineralized area of the city. Infrastructures such as a rooftop greenhouses and the covering of the facades by vines are both methods explored to sustainably enhance beauty and vitality the neighborhood. In addition to services offered by local organizations, the population of Saint-Michel will benefit from activities focused on ecological transition knowledge transfer. Such initiative will allow the influx of Montreal partners who will collaborate for the first time in Saint-Michel.

Not many people think about underserved communities when they think about sustainable development innovation. My desire to see Saint-Michel become a hub of community-initiated urban regeneration led me to this initative. This project is primarily the result of concerted efforts with the population of Saint-Michel, through the Table de concertation Vivre-Saint-Michel en santé. By winning a call for projects during the 4th Forum du développement économique de Saint-Michel, this project was recognized for its innovative character and its promise to mobilise local actors around sustainable development goals that are reflective of the diverse citizens of Saint-Michel. Since then, several partnerships have been created with the objective of developing a first of its kind project, in addition to the formation of a follow-up committee composed of, among others, decision-making bodies and tenant groups.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

‘Fortify’ is a term that I strongly resonate with. But what is it to fortify? In my opinion, it is bringing communities together and bridging gaps to create spaces where everyone can be stronger, healthier, and more fulfilled. Fortifying is using justice and transformation to build societies where each individual has the opportunity to be nurtured and reach their full potential. I believe that concerns about the future of our planet goes hand in hand with genuine concern for the communities that inhabit it. Through my work and my community engagement, I have been able to experience and witness how the valorization of sustainable habits can change the lives of people regardless of their age and their social status. Creating a better and more sustainable planet is a once in a generation opportunity to rethink how our communities are built and offer innovative solutions to issues that have compromised the well-being of the most vulnerable communities for decades.

Find out more:

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EN FRANÇAIS / IN FRENCH

Née et élevée à Montréal, Gaëlle Guillaume est une jeune professionnelle passionnée par l’inclusion et la diversité dans les espaces urbains.

Elle est titulaire d’un baccalauréat en urbanisme de l’Université de Montréal, ainsi que d’un diplôme collégial en architecture.

Par son expérience professionnelle au service de l’environnement de la Ville de Westmount et son engagement à titre de coordonnatrice du projet de conception chez Fusion Jeunesse, la perspective de Gaëlle s’est façonnée pour mieux comprendre l’intersectionnalité entre développement durable et déterminants socio-économiques.

Aujourd’hui, Gaëlle travaille comme chargée de projet à Vivre Saint-Michel en santé, un organisme à but non lucratif dont la mission est de revitaliser collectivement le quartier de Saint-Michel, où elle coordonne la construction d’un nouveau centre communautaire. Dans son rôle, Gaëlle cherche à responsabiliser les acteurs locaux dans la création du premier bâtiment communautaire carboneutre à Saint-Michel.

Gaëlle souhaite se positionner comme une leader de la transition écologique et un vecteur de changement, car elle se bat pour créer de meilleurs environnements de vie pour les communautés dans le besoin.


Her Mentor

Danielle Lussier

Retournzy coop

Montréal

Cindy Vaucher is a committed social entrepreneur who works for the preservation of our environment, particularly through circular economy and waste reduction projects. With a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from Polytechnique Montreal, which led her to work in the aeronautical industry as an engineering project manager for a few years, Cindy then decided to reorient herself professionally to better respect her personal values. After a long trip around the world during which Cindy focused her observations on the relationship to eco-responsibility in different countries, Cindy obtained a Master’s degree in Management and Sustainable Development from HEC Montreal in 2022. In 2021, she co-founded the cooperative Retournzy, which works to reduce packaging waste in the take-out and food service sector, and is currently its general coordinator. Cindy is also committed to the preservation of biodiversity in urban areas and in particular the protection of pollinators in Montreal and sits on the Board of Directors of the cooperative Polliflora whose primary mission is to protect pollinators.

PROJECT

In a context of increasing take-out sales since the pandemic (the Quebec Restaurant Association and Statistics Canada estimated that between 17 and 28 million plastic take-out containers were used in Montreal in October 2020 alone), and while only 9% of plastic packaging is recycled in Canada (according to a study conducted by Environment and Climate Change Canada in 2019) and Quebec’s technical landfills are reaching their authorized capacity, it is time to focus on reducing waste at the source. With this in mind, Retournzy, a young social economy enterprise based in Montreal, has taken on the mission of reducing single-use waste usually used in the catering, event, corporate and institutional sectors, thanks to a turnkey service of rental and distribution, collection, washing and sanitation of shared reusable containers. Its circular economy model aims to share reusable accessories in order to increase their frequency of use. Retournzy also works to inform and educate food service professionals as well as consumers about single-use issues and the benefits of reusables in the face of these challenges.

In the midst of the pandemic, when all restaurants were operating on a take-out basis, we wanted to create a solution so that we could continue to support them in this difficult time, without having to fill our garbage cans with packaging waste. That’s how the idea for Retournzy came about. It was obvious to us that we wanted to create a solution with and for the catering industry. That’s why we created a collective company, which was co-founded with restaurant owners and caterers.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

I grew up in an agricultural environment and I have always been sensitive to the nature that surrounded me, including its inhabitants. In my early adulthood, I discovered the impact that our human activities could have on our planet. I fed my curiosity on this subject with numerous readings and exchanges, until the day I decided to leave the polluting industry in which I was working to fully concentrate, personally and professionally, on the values that motivated me, namely to reduce as much as possible my footprint on the planet, and to create and support alternatives to our current ways of doing things so that society as a whole can reduce its impact as well.

Find out more:

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EN FRANÇAIS / IN FRENCH

Cindy Vaucher est une entrepreneuse sociale engagée qui œuvre pour la préservation de notre environnement, notamment à travers des projets d’économie circulaire et de réduction des déchets. 

Titulaire d’un baccalauréat en génie aérospatial de Polytechnique Montréal, qui l’a amenée à travailler dans l’industrie aéronautique en tant que chef de projet d’ingénierie pendant quelques années, Cindy a ensuite décidé de se réorienter professionnellement pour mieux respecter ses valeurs personnelles. Après un long voyage autour du monde au cours duquel Cindy a concentré ses observations sur le rapport à l’écoresponsabilité dans différents pays, Cindy obtient une maîtrise en gestion et développement durable à HEC Montréal en 2022.

 En 2021, elle a cofondé la coopérative Retournzy, qui œuvre à la réduction des déchets d’emballage dans le secteur de la vente à emporter et de la restauration, et en est actuellement la coordinatrice générale.

 Cindy est également engagée dans la préservation de la biodiversité en milieu urbain et en particulier la protection des pollinisateurs à Montréal et elle siège au conseil d’administration de la coopérative Polliflora dont la mission première est de protéger les pollinisateurs.

Plus de détails :

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Her Mentor

Julie Roy

Support Canadian SMEs in their decarbonization journey

Montréal

Marguerite Rose is a Senior Advisor, National Partnerships – Environment, with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), the only bank dedicated to Small and Medium Enterprises in Canada, where she manages partnerships in the environmental sector. Marguerite is responsible for developing, overseeing and nurturing the relationships with a variety of partners, such as non-profits, commercial banks, various levels of government and other likeminded organisations. Prior to joining BDC, Marguerite has been working with the Junior Chamber of Commerce of Montreal (JCCM), the Quebec Zero Waste Association, as well as the French Agency for Development (AFD) in Paris, Mexico and the French Guyana. She is currently vice-president of the board of Retournzy Coop and an active volunteer of the JCCM Climate committee. Marguerite holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law and a Master’s degree in Environmental Policy from Sciences Po Paris. She speaks Spanish, German, English and French.

PROJECT

BDC is committed to contribute to Canada’s net zero transition by equipping Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with the necessary tools, knowledge and financial means to accelerate their decarbonization journey. As partnership manager of this program, I am responsible for creating the strategic alliances that will allow us to pool the resources and expertise required to maximize our impact. Smaller companies often fly under the radar when it comes to climate policies but accelerating their transition will have a major impact, since total emissions from Canadian SMEs are estimated to be more than 200 million tonnes of carbon dioxyde equivalent (CO2e), which represents 30% of the national total, according to Radicle Climate Smart. According to Sustainable Development Goal #17, partnerships are essential to adopt a cross-cutting approach and pool the necessary resources for the transition. Within the cohort and with the support of a mentor, I will acquire a better knowledge of the ecosystem of environmental organizations at the national level, additional skills to manage a variety of stakeholders and get a better understanding of the dynamics and potential synergies to serve the transition.

Environmental protection and sustainable development are central to my academic and professional background, so it is with great enthusiasm and motivation that I joined BDC to contribute to build partnerships in the environmental sector. Being an intrapreneur by nature, the prospect of bringing my expertise, commitment and creativity to support our objectives of accelerating the decarbonization of Canadian SMEs immediately motivated me. Moreover, I have the chance to work in an agile and multidisciplinary team, with inspiring colleagues from different sectors and background, which is a unique learning opportunity. Through my past experience with a variety of organizations, small and large, in Canada and abroad, I bring a fresh perspective and a different viewpoint to contribute to change. Since my role aims at developing BDC’s ties with environmental organizations across Canada, I also get to discover new initiatives every day and contribute to create collaborations that will help us accelerate SMEs transition.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

My motivation to being part of the solution started very early since I come from a family deeply attached to the respect of nature. This commitment was further reinforced when I studied international development and environmental policy, as I realized the seriousness of the climate and environmental situation. Taking action quickly became my antidote to eco-anxiety. When I arrived in Montreal, I was struck by the dynamism of civil society and became very interested in the solutions developed by impact entrepreneurs to propose a new approach to the economy. I try to contribute to this movement, at my level, through my professional and voluntary work.

EN FRANÇAIS / IN FRENCH

Marguerite Rose est Conseillère senior, partenariats nationaux, à la BDC, la seule banque dédiée aux petites et moyennes entreprises au Canada, où elle gère les partenariats dans le secteur de l’environnement. En juin 2022, la BDC a lancé un programme qui vise à accélérer la mise en œuvre de nouvelles solutions pour aider les PME canadiennes dans leur parcours de décarbonisation. 

Marguerite est chargée de développer, superviser et entretenir les relations avec une variété de partenaires, tels que des organismes sans but lucratif, des banques commerciales, divers paliers de gouvernement et d’autres organisations aux vues similaires. 

Avant de se joindre à BDC, Marguerite a travaillé avec la Jeune Chambre de Commerce de Montréal (JCCM), l’Association Zéro Déchet du Québec, ainsi que l’Agence française de développement (AFD) à Paris, au Mexique et en Guyane française. Elle est actuellement vice-présidente du conseil d’administration de la Coopérative Retournzy et bénévole active du comité Climat de la JCCM. 

Marguerite est titulaire d’une licence en droit et d’un master en politique environnementale de Sciences Po Paris. Elle parle espagnol, allemand, anglais et français.


Her Mentor

Maya Colombani

Fabric Waste and its impact on Oceans and Landfills

Chennai

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I am an entrepreneur by choice-after having worked in Corporate for good 10 years. I love what I do, as I do it for the environment and empowering women, in the process, make some money.

PROJECT

I want to understand what is the impact fabric waste is creating on landfills and oceans, is there a way to measure that impact and our project of diverting it and converting it into products- how is it helping the life in the oceans and land.

My grandmother. I saw the power of Upcycling when she converted the remaining pieces of her new nightgown and made masks out of them for the whole street. The impact of fabric waste is very underrated. I want to measure and do good for the environment. I wanted to see what the others were doing with remaining pieces, that lead to the research and then developing the idea into what it is today.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

When I went to women who I wanted to work with, on this project of handling fabric waste- they were all home makers. They didn’t have much education or exposure. But when they saw the amount of waste that was coming our way- they said “This is not what I leave my children with, and I am glad I am working with you in converting it into products”. That’s where it began. Those akkas (an affectionate way of addressing a lady), are my motivation and what keeps me going.

Find out more:

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Mapping Sustainability Factors across the City

Chennai

Muskan is an entrepreneur working in the field of sustainability, helping companies measure, reduce and offset their footprint!

PROJECT

It has always been a challenge to quantify and measure sustainability parameters, be it with companies or cities. Unless we have a system to measure, quantify and monitor progress it becomes challenging to set goals and move towards the right direction. Hence my project focuses on mapping these indexes to help cities make targeted decisions towards decarbonisation and mitigation strategies.

When I was working on reducing carbon emissions, I realised it was difficult to set baselines for me to compare to and focus my work on, hence It made sense to build something that would help map sustainability metric across the city and help monitor progress on a platform.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

I have always been someone that is deeply connected with nature and wanted to ensure the work I do, contributed to a better tomorrow. Sustainability is universal and connects people across the world, be it any age, gender, colour! I wish to inspire people to take accountability in their own hands and take action together.

Find out more:

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RALYA project by Iso-Protek: Recovering to recreate in order to revolutionise the delivery of meal kits!

Montréal

Chantal Bernatchez (1)

Chantal Bernatchez is an engineer and multipreneur in circular economy in Montréal. A native of the Gaspé Peninsula and mother of five, Chantal Bernatchez is a volunteer strongly committed to women’s entrepreneurship and sustainable development with women in Burkina Faso and young people in Québec. Her contagious passion for commitment motivated her to start her own businesses in sustainable development (NPO Vergers d’Afrique in 2016) and in the circular economy (Irri-Blière, in 2020 and Iso-Protek, in 2021). Her involvement of over 21 years has contributed to the creation of a better world, notably by meeting 13 of the 17 sustainable development goals identified by the UN. The strength of her impact has earned her 18 awards for commitment and innovation with over 25,000 hours of volunteer work. With the aim of inspiring a whole generation, she accompanies many women from Québec and elsewhere by guiding and encouraging them to undertake actions to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

PROJECT

Iso-Protek’s RALYA project aims to join forces via the circular economy to give a second life to our industrial waste. Iso-Protek is partnering with the Lassonde Group to innovate in the recovery of plastic and aluminium waste by transforming it into composite materials for the manufacture of reusable and certified eco-responsible thermal bags. The three objectives of the project are:

  1. to characterise industrial plastic and aluminium waste
  2. to establish the cleaning process for reuse in composite materials
  3. to manufacture reusable thermal bags from recycled composite materials.

The impact in the fight against climate change is in the number of GHG avoided by the avoidance of landfill of more than 8000 thermal tarpaulins per year or the equivalent of 1 million CO2/year in Montréal alone.

Iso-Protek is a Montréal-based circular economy start-up in the sector of recycling aluminium waste to make reusable thermal bags. The company was created on March 4, 2021 following a business proposal in November 2020 from BT-Pack in France, which approached the Ouedraogo-Bernatchez couple to propose the recovery of thermal tarpaulins from maritime containers for the transport of goods sensitive to thermal variations such as wine and sparkling water. Currently in Montréal, more than 8,000 40′ x 24′ thermal tarpaulins are incinerated after a single use. That’s the equivalent of 9 Olympic-sized aluminum swimming pools wasted per year! Iso-Protek aims to revolutionise the world of meal kit delivery by eliminating energy-intensive single-use refrigerated boxes. The solution will be to set up a reverse logistics system based on the same principle as Lufa Farms to use thermal delivery bags more than 400 times. Since its inception, Iso-Protek has won a $5,000 grant from Fondatrices Montréal Inc. and received the NOVAE 2022 award as a project with a high environmental impact, as well as the $25,000 Entreprendre ici grant.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

My motivation and commitment to creating a better planet comes from my international cooperation experience in 2001 with women in Burkina Faso. This life-changing experience changed my way of being and acting. When I returned to Québec in 2007, it was the circular economy that inspired me to do business differently. The importance of integrating sustainable business strategies and eco-responsible practices are at the heart of my business motivations. Thus, I have the desire to go even further and inspire the transition towards a circular economy through the development of sustainable and innovative thermal products and solutions.

Find out more:

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EN FRANÇAIS / IN FRENCH

Chantal Bernatchez est ingénieure et multipreneure en économie circulaire à Montréal. Gaspésienne d’origine et mère de cinq enfants, Chantal Bernatchez est une bénévole fortement engagée en entrepreneuriat féminin et développement durable auprès des femmes du Burkina Faso et des jeunes du Québec. Sa passion contagieuse pour l’éveil à l’engagement l’a motivée à démarrer ses propres entreprises en développement durable (OBNL Vergers d’Afrique en 2016) et en économie circulaire (Irri-Blière, en 2020 et Iso-Protek, en 2021). Son implication de plus de 21 ans a contribué à la création d’un monde meilleur, en répondant notamment à 13 des 17 objectifs de développement durable identifiés par l’ONU. La force de l’impact de son engagement lui a valu l’attribution de 18 prix en engagement et innovation avec plus de 25 000 heures de bénévolat. Voulant inspirer toute une génération, elle accompagne plusieurs femmes du Québec et d’ailleurs en les guidant et les encourageant à entreprendre pour atténuer les impacts en changement climatique.

PROJET

Le projet RALYA d’Iso-Protek vise à rallier nos forces via l’économie circulaire pour donner une seconde vie à nos déchets industriels. Iso-Protek s’associe au Groupe Lassonde pour innover dans la valorisation des matières résiduelles de plastique et d’aluminium en les transformant en matériaux composites pour la fabrication de sacs thermiques réutilisables et certifiés éco-responsables. Les trois objectifs du projet sont :

1. Caractériser les déchets industriels de plastique et d’aluminium

2. Établir le processus de nettoyage pour la revalorisation en matériaux composites

3. Fabrication de sacs thermiques réutilisables à base de matériaux composites recyclés.

L’impact dans la lutte contre les changements climatiques est au niveau du nombre de GES évité par l’évitement de l’enfouissement de plus de 8000 bâches thermiques par année soit l’équivalent de 1 million de CO2/an seulement à Montréal.

Iso-Protek est une start-up en économie circulaire basée à Montréal dans le secteur de la valorisation des matières résiduelles d’aluminium pour fabriquer des sacs thermiques réutilisables. L’entreprise a vu le jour le 4 mars 2021 suite à une proposition d’affaires en novembre 2020 de BT-Pack en France qui a approché le couple Ouedraogo-Bernatchez pour leur proposer de valoriser les bâches thermiques provenant de conteneurs maritimes pour le transport de marchandises sensibles aux variations thermiques comme le vin et les eaux pétillantes. Actuellement à Montréal c’est plus de 8000 bâches thermiques de 40pi par 24 pi qui sont incinérées après un seul usage. C’est l’équivalent de 9 piscines olympiques d’aluminium gaspillé par année ! Iso-Protek vise à révolutionner le monde de la livraison des kits repas en éliminant les boîtes réfrigérées à usage unique qui sont très énergivores. La solution passera par la mise en place d’une logistique inversée sous le même principe que les Fermes Lufa pour utiliser les sacs thermiques de livraison plus de 400 fois. Depuis son démarrage, Iso-Protek a remporté la bourse de 5000$ de Fondatrices Montréal Inc., a reçu le prix NOVAE 2022 comme projet à fort impact environnemental et la bourse Entreprendre ici de 25K$.

MOTIVATION ET ENGAGEMENT POUR LA CRÉATION D’UNE PLANÈTE MEILLEURE ET PLUS DURABLE

Ma motivation et mon engagement à créer une planète meilleure me viennent de mon expérience de coopération internationale en 2001 auprès des femmes du Burkina Faso. Cette expérience marquante a changé ma façon d’être et d’agir. À mon retour au Québec en 2007, c’est l’économie circulaire qui m’a inspiré à entreprendre différemment. L’importance d’intégrer des stratégies d’affaires durables et des pratiques écoresponsables sont au cœur des motivations de mes entreprises. Ainsi, j’ai le désir d’aller encore plus loin et d’inspirer la transition vers une économie circulaire à travers le développement de produits et de solutions thermiques durables et innovantes.

Plus de détails :

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Her Mentor

Sonia Gagné

Masse Critique

Montréal

Hello, my name is Valérie! I am an executive marketer, versatile and passionate individual, dedicated to creating positive impact in the world. Throughout my career, I earned reputation as a visionary marketer and leader; achieved Marketing Personality of the year award in 2021 for my leading engagement in diversity and inclusion. After a 20+ years’ career as an executive leader in the marketing and communication industry, I’ve recognized the urgency to devote all efforts to a more sustainable world and to become an active agent of the biggest transformation yet to happen.

PROJECT

Masse Critique is a nonprofit intelligence network, a collective of like-minded people from the marketing and creative industry, aiming to reshape our industry to fight climate change and promote social responsibility. We are committed to using our knowledge and creativity as a force for good. We need to re-architect people’s demands and expectations towards more sustainable products and services, and make them attractive and desirable. As the engineers of demand, our industry is uniquely placed to rise to this challenge and meet this need. From creatives and communicators, to scientists and sustainability consultants – we are building a powerful collective of cross-sector change-makers who are learning, sharing, collaborating and taking action.

Throughout my years as an executive leader in marketing, the inconsistency between my own personal beliefs and actions for the planet and my day-to-day job became more and more evident. So I’ve decided to quit and turn this cognitive dissonance in action. The industry’s challenge for the next decade is to turn its skills of creativity, imagination, planning, analytics, and activation to drive tangible transformation in society – and I know I can be an asset in this transformation. The advertising industry needs to step into the responsibility of helping to address our climate and ecological emergency.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

After 25 years in the industry and a good story of success, I went back to school to get a Master in sustainability. I don’t want to be part of the problem anymore, I want to be part of the solution! I have built a solid history of success in creating purpose-driven brands and businesses to take the transformational steps to a responsible, sustainable, and commercially successful future. There is no brief more urgent than this one!

Find out more:

LinkedIn   Website   Instagram

EN FRANÇAIS / IN FRENCH

Bonjour, je m’appelle Valérie! Je suis une marketeuse exécutive, polyvalente et passionnée, dédiée à créer un impact positif dans le monde.

Tout au long de ma carrière, j’ai acquis la réputation d’une spécialiste du marketing et d’une dirigeante visionnaire; j’ai reçu le prix de la personnalité marketing de l’année en 2021 pour mon engagement en faveur de la diversité et de l’inclusion.

Après plus de 20 ans de carrière en tant que dirigeante dans le secteur du marketing et de la communication, j’ai compris qu’il était urgent de consacrer tous les efforts à un monde plus durable et à devenir une agente active de la plus grande transformation à venir.

Plus de détails :

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Her Mentor

Marieke Cloutier

We Are One

Vancouver

My name is Mae Flanders, I am Kwakiutl, I am a member of the Mamalilikulla First Nations.

I grew up in Vancouver- the unceded, ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəjˀəm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh (Squamish) and sə̓lilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil Waututh) Nations. I did not grow up in my Culture as I grew up in the foster care system. I have become more involved in learning about my roots, especially after having my two boys Killian and Ciaran. I have been in the Housing Sector for 11 years serving the DTES Vancouver residences.

I work for the Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA) for the last 3.5 years. Last year I transitioned from Operations as a Portfolio Manager over to the Asset Management Department as an Indigenous Energy Advisor role at AHMA. Throughout my career, I have had the privilege to learn from people who are passionate in this field, and this I am so grateful for their patience, knowledge sharing and mentorship.

PROJECT

Our project will help guide the Climate Emergency Action Plan and the Climate Adaptation Strategy. Teaching the participants of the importance of reducing our carbon footprint in existing buildings as well as Indigenous Knowledge sharing and the importance of “walking softly on the earth”. There will be an understanding of the Energy Step Codes, Passive Housing materials and hands on applications and learning from Industry leaders while renovating a 50-year-old heritage cabin and to give it another 50 years of operating as a sustainable, healthy, and resilient cabin.

This project is the continued collaboration of a passionate and proven team to create Indigenous career pathways in the high-performance buildings sector to support transition to a net-zero economy. Building capacity within Indigenous Nations, communities, and housing providers to construct climate change resilient, high-performance buildings contributes to sustainable development, reconciliation, and enhanced self-governance.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

As an Indigenous woman, growing up I seen many broken communities, where you saw a lot of poverty, inadequate housing, energy poverty, health issues, mental health, and addictions. This is all connected to the trauma Indigenous Peoples faced during the Residential School System. I am motivated by the past generation and by the future generations. There are so many inspiring Indigenous Communities that are leading the way in Energy and Sustainability Sector. I want to help other communities live a more sustainable and harmonious lifestyle that aligns with Indigenous cultural beliefs.

Find out more:

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Her Mentor

Brenda Knights

Net Zero Emissions Flexible Training

Vancouver

Melissa’s purpose is to contribute to change for a healthier climate and communities. As a learning and development professional with 7+ years of experience in adult learning projects, she has designed and delivered eLearning lessons and activities, instructional videos, instructor and student guides, visual aids, and in-person training on net zero energy buildings, embodied carbon, and ship navigation. She has a MA in adult education, a BA in political science from the University of Victoria, and certifications in training management (CPTM) and Agile product ownership (CSPO). She is interested in supporting gender-diverse people and women with mentorship and training to create change and has volunteered for technology training and mentorship for women and gender-diverse professionals in the industry. Melissa works at BCIT’s Zero Energy/Emissions Buildings Learning Centre (ZEBLC), which supports the construction industry in transitioning to net zero energy and zero emissions standards through flexible and hands-on education.

PROJECT

This project is about learning from and developing a longer-term plan for supporting Indigenous and remote communities with zero emissions-building knowledge and skills to respond to the community’s housing needs. This project includes developing a strategy to adapt training for each community’s needs and contexts (i.e. wet or dry climates), identifying pathways or next steps for learners to enter formal training or certification programmes and working with community stakeholders to find further training topics that are needed. The goal of this is to develop more lasting ways to partner with Indigenous communities in supporting their own community’s housing needs and transition to net zero buildings.

In my current role as Project Leader at the BCIT Zero Energy/Zero Emissions Buildings Learning Centre, I support the Climate Emergency Action Plan through training on Net Zero (Energy and Carbon) buildings. Our team has partnered with several remote communities in BC, through a series of training on net zero building. While the feedback received was positive, we want to continue to learn and develop more lasting ways to partner with communities in this education.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

I grew up understanding our impact on the planet from energy use to waste products. However, when I learned that about 20% of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) come from buildings and electricity I knew I could contribute to a more sustainable planet, and better housing conditions by working on training for efficient buildings.

Find out more:

Website


Her Mentor

Robyn Wark

A roadmap to enhance micro-mobility in Chennai

Chennai

Smrithi Prasad is an Architect and holds a Masters degree in M.Plan, specialized in Urban Design from CEPT University. She has more than 2.5 years of experience in the research and planning of sustainable mobility projects. She is currently associated with ITDP and is extensively supporting the team with high-quality research on various developments in the field of sustainable mobility which includes bus systems, shared mobility, informal public transport, gender and transport and electric mobility.

PROJECT

Micro-mobility refers to small, lightweight vehicles that typically operate at speeds below 25 km/h, which can be human-powered or electric, shared or personally owned and are ideal for short trips up to 10 kms. By encouraging micro-mobility, public transportation can become the fastest, cost-effective option for most trips, yielding benefits such as better first-and-last mile connectivity, urban resilience, improved air quality, increased physical activity, better health outcomes and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. However, despite these potential benefits, micro-mobility still remains nascent to the city of Chennai. This project of micro-mobility focuses to provide a real tangible solution to bridge the first-and-last-mile transportation gap by identifying a potential precinct in Chennai, integrating various modes of public transportation with cycle-share facilities, collaborating with localities to analyze the potential walkable and cyclable routes within the precinct for the people to commute to the transit stations, designing a good street network for the people to walk/cycle within the precinct, creating social media awareness campaign etc., thereby sensitizing the people of Chennai about the adoption of green transportation. Scaling up more such neighbourhood level planning will enable us all to leapfrog to cleaner, liveable and healthier cities with interconnected walking and cycling street networks.

As cities face rapid population growth, the need to move more residents through existing transportation networks is becoming ever more pressing. While mass transit remains the most efficient means of moving large numbers of people long distances, getting people to and from transit remains a perennial difficulty—the much-discussed first-mile/last-mile challenge.If people lack a convenient, affordable way to get on a bus or train, they are far more likely to opt for a personal vehicle, contributing to the gridlock and poor air quality that plagues so many cities. Micro-mobility integration with public transport offers a tantalizing solution to address the first-mile/last-mile problem and to shrink the transit deserts in the city.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

The covid pandemic emphasized the significance of micro-mobility in various cities and as a way forward towards sustainable mobility, we should rethink our transportation networks with micro-mobility as a critical mode. Being an urban designer, it is my responsibility to take individual action against climate change and I believe in the concept of making a few small alterations in our ways of living to collectively create a big impact.

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Her Mentor

Aswathy Dilip

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) for Chennai Metropolitan area

Chennai

Samridha K (1)

I am pursuing my under graduation in Urban Planning from School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal. I previously interned with Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority and got an opportunity to attend the Sustainable Urban Planning Workshop on Mainstreaming Resilience in Metropolitan Planning for Chennai Metropolitan Area under the India-EU urban partnership. I was also a part of Tamil Nadu Climate Leadership Programme conducted by Sustera and Poovulagin Nanbargal. I was also recognised as a winner in the IIT Bombay AICTE Mapathon, 2022 in which I presented my project on “Flood Susceptibility Analysis for Chennai Municipal Corporation area”.

PROJECT

According to the IFMR report, Chennai is one of the South Asian cities with the highest GHG emissions and other criteria pollutants, especially NOx and PM10. Vehicles significantly contribute to carbon emissions. Bus is the most popular form of public transportation (PT), followed by suburban railway and metro rail in Chennai. The use of public transportation has decreased from 31% in 2008 to 28% in 2018. The percentage of private modes has increased from 31% in 2008 to 37% in 2018 and  n on – motorised  trips dropped from 34% in 2008 to 28% in 2018. The concept of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) focuses on multimodal integration. MaaS platforms enable users to plan and book door-to-door trips using a single app, eliminating the need to locate, book, and pay for each mode of transportation separately. This will also help in analysing the demand for various modes of transportation relative to trip purpose and length. In order to track passengers in real time and offer hassle-free travel, the public transportation can be integrated with IoT. The advantages of Maas include its environmental sustainability, where effective planning of public transportation and integrating it with different modes will reduce the dependence on private vehicles and contribute in lowering carbon emissions.

Rapid urbanization is increasing the percentage of privately owned vehicles on the road, causing congestion. Congestion on our daily commute causes increased fuel consumption and carbon emissions. Despite the fact that public transportation has a 28% modal share in Chennai, usage is lower and the percentage of privately owned vehicles is increasing. The economy will also be negatively impacted by congestion in cities such as Chennai. To lessen reliance on privately owned vehicles, it is therefore necessary to efficiently plan public transportation and integrate it with other modes of transportation.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

As a future Urban Planner I take the responsibility to plan climate resilient cities for the future. Climate change is an overriding issue that has to be addressed. I see value in localising SDG’s. SDG 13, which focuses on Climate action is also interlinked to other SDG’s like 1 (no poverty), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 10 (reduced inequalities) and 11 (sustainable cities). There is a need for a bottom up approach to ensure its implementation. I believe that there is also a need to create awareness among people on how our day to day activities contribute to climate change. Climate justice and the politics around it is always given less focus which should be given attention as it directly affects the vulnerable population. The urban poor are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change and they should be given special emphasis in planning. I also would like to work on sustainable solutions to make climate resilient cities for the future.

100% Waste Segregation at Source and Decentralizing Organic waste composting

Chennai

I am Janani Venkitesh, an environment, and solid waste management, enthusiast. With a background in commerce and cost and work accountancy, I was looking for answers to a major global issue that we are all facing, Climate change and global warming outside these numbers and the comfort of my sweet home and the alluring social media pages. That led to the formation of an association, ROKA (Residents Of Kasturba Nagar Association) whose primary focus and concentration is solid waste management (SWM) and other environmental-based projects. Nearly 6 years of experience working and volunteering with communities, institutions, organizations, and other corporations/municipalities in implementing source segregation of waste.

  • A good knowledge of Solid waste management (SWM) and sustainable practices across cities.
  • Focussed and determined in seeing 100% results.
  • Self-motivated and high stamina for fieldwork projects.
  • Passion for the environment and reducing environmental impact
  • Ability to work efficiently in a team and be persistent.
  • Ability to get the community together to participate in activities
  • Organized and independent problem solver who can come up with innovative and sustainable solutions.

Impact made:

70% source segregation of waste achieved by my team in about one and half years’ time.

  • In a span of 6 months after a thorough D2D awareness/demo on source segregation with follow-up and monitoring with a team of volunteers under my leadership, achieved 1.5Metric Tonnes of organic waste per day was sent from Kasturba Nagar for composting.
  • Facilities set up for solid waste management like Ring well composting/MCCs and MRFs after strong representation from ROKA.
  • Collection drives conducted across the city over the last 3 years resulted in diverting 13 Metric Tonnes of e-waste alone from the landfill.30 Metric Tonnes of clothes and 7 Metric Tonnes of mattresses, footwear, and others were sent for processing with the recyclers.
  • Recharge wells at multiple locations were installed in 2019 after the city went through a rough phase of drought during the summer.
  • 100 plus indigenous tree saplings planted and maintained well by a set of volunteers under ROKA and more spaces are being identified for the same in the near future.

PROJECT

100% Source Segregation of waste: The beneficiary here that we are talking about is us,” The Human beings”.The impact of source segregation is both a long-term and short-term one. If you look at the short-term impacts, there are many. A community or area that source segregates wastes and sends them for processing, will not have to deal with street bins that may be overflowing and cause health hazards. Overflowing street bins are always an eyesore. Black spots and littering can be majorly avoided with 100% source segregation. Once the garbage is mixed, it cannot be fixed and it will only end up in the landfill. The quality of work of conservancy workers also improves if the community segregates its waste at its source. The funds allocated for solid waste management can be drastically reduced and used in other sectors if a decentralized system of collection and processing is in place. If you look at the long-term impact, it is huge with just a simple act of source segregation and processing Landfills, where all the unsegregated waste ends up, are the largest source of METHANE, a greenhouse gas far more potent than CO2 and a major contributor to global warming and climate change. Reducing methane could almost immediately curb climate change, because it stays in the atmosphere for a short time, unlike CO2 which lingers for a century or more. Landfills are one of the main sources of human methane pollution along with livestock and the oil and gas industry. Once a prototype is set, it can be taken across the country. Coming to the benefits, are the same as the impact in this case. Residents get cleaner and greener streets. Things are more systematic and organized when it comes to garbage/debris/garden waste etc. The community gets together on various occasions to discuss other issues and work on them. It gives immense confidence in the corporation and the government amongst the public as a whole and a very healthy relationship exists which is crucial for society at large.

I have been working and volunteering in solid waste management since 2017 and initiated source segregation of waste in my area. I have always believed that solutions to bigger problems are always simple. Climate change and global warming are terms that we have been hearing more frequently than ever before and also see their adverse effects almost on a daily basis. I was ready to make changes at my individual level but within a few days realized that that was not enough. I had to move out of my comfort zone, go door to door and convince people to segregate their waste.I did not stop with that, I also connected with the corporation officials and the waste management company and make sure that the segregated waste went for processing. Managed to gather a team of resident volunteers and expanded my work. I was also invited by other communities and corporations to help them with awareness and implementation of SWM. I would like to achieve 100% source segregation of waste not just in my area but also replicate the model in other wards and zones through this mentorship program.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

“We do not inherit our earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”- This is what I strongly believe in and have been working very hard to make tangible impacts in the last 5 years. With a good knowledge of Solid waste management (SWM) and sustainable practices across cities and the support of this program, I am sure to see a better planet. I am self-motivated and have high stamina for fieldwork which is a required skill when it comes to SWM. My passion for the environment and the planet I live on supersedes everything. I also enjoy and work efficiently in a team and am persistent.

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Public Private People Spaces - A climate sensitive approach to urban spaces in partnership projects

Bengaluru

Prakruthi S. Karadagi is an Independent Architect – Urban Designer and the founder of her fledgling design consultancy firm: ‘Urban Coherence’. Apart from her practice, she is actively involved in academics as a visiting faculty for B.Arch and M.Arch. With a diverse experience of over eight years, she strongly advocates a research-based and participatory approach in shaping urban public spaces. Her publications include ‘Reconciling the Public, the Private and the People: An Inquiry into the ‘publicness’ of retail urban spaces in Bengaluru’ – ISOCARP Doha Congress, November 2021. Working on public sector projects such as urban master plans, advertisement policy, affordable housing and the Bengaluru Smart City Proposal, has ingrained in her, a comprehensive understanding of spaces – from a building to its surrounding neighbourhood and the larger city – through an integrated approach towards architecture, urban design, urban planning and policy. With a passion for climate responsive, people-centric, sustainable spatial design, her research is focused on bridging the gap between the providers and the users, to create a vibrant and accessible public realm.

Sustainable Alternatives to Single Use Plastics

Bengaluru

An adventure sports lover and an avid trekker, she has always loved being close to nature. Anitha Shankar, Founder of Astu Eco Pvt Ltd is chosen as founder for Women in Indian Social Entrepreneurs Network and winner of National Geographic Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge. And now part of Women4Climate through C40 Paris. She is determined to dent one of the biggest challenges in climate change – single use plastics. Through Astu Eco, she perseveres to make a positive contribution to society. Astu Eco addresses climate change by providing Sustainable alternatives to Single Use Plastics and thus decreasing single-use plastic footprint.

PROJECT

Innovative and delightful earth friendly products that motivates you to move towards a Sustainable lifestyle Astu Eco’s focus is eco-friendly products designed to preserve mother earth for all our future generations. Astu presents a range of everyday earth friendly products that is an alternative for the harmful disposable plastic. The Good Earth Astu Research (GEAR) Center, is constantly endeavoring to find newer, better products that are closer to earth, biodegradable, compostable, non-toxic, chemical free and safer for man, animal and earth. Astu Eco over the years have added innovative consumer and B2B products that help decrease single use plastic footprint. We currently have a range of 70 SKUs and many of them are known for their innovation and impact. * Decreased more than 5.8 million pieces of single use plastic from our products. * Supply chain consist of women micro entrepreneurs and rural micro entrepreneurs. * The Good Earth Astu Research (GEAR) Center is R&D focused and provides solutions to B2B packaging challenges * We are currently BETA Testing our Tech Enabled Consumer products which TELL you how YOU changed the climate by using the Astu Eco products.

Being an adventure sports lover and a regular trekker for decades, I have witnessed how we humans have left indelible single-use plastic footprints even in high altitudes where humans cant inhabit. Closer home, I could see my Bangalore city transition from a garden city to garbage city. I believe that change starts with one person, one action which can collectively become a movement. One year of research gave use incredible insights, most prominent being, – Easy to say “Dont use Single use plastics!”, but what were the alternatives? – Very few with almost no market visibility. With a clear agenda of designing innovative earth friendly alternatives to single use plastics, we started Astu Eco. We work on two prongs – Innovative products and continuous awareness building.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

The wonders of the Natural world is mesmerising, – It asks no questions, neither volunteers any answers. It has always been my ‘go-to’ place – to introspect, explore, rewire, energise and return with purpose. It has given me so much. It’s my turn to give back. The clock is ticking. Positive climate action is the only recourse.

Find out more:

LinkedIn

Website (project) LinkedIn (project) Facebook (project) Instagram (project) Twitter (project) Youtube

BGC Sustainability Committee

Vancouver

Caroline grew up between the mountains and the ocean of Vancouver’s North Shore and spent a lot of time playing outside as a child. Spending time living in other parts of Canada made Caroline appreciate how unique the city of Vancouver is, and how vulnerable it is to a changing climate. Caroline enjoys finding creative and fun ways to reduce the impacts of her daily life, from bike commuting to recycling electronics to optimizing airflow in her apartment to reduce heat. Caroline has a bachelors and master’s degree in civil Engineering from Queen’s university. Her master’s research was looking at methane release from peatlands, trying to quantify this potentially large, and misunderstood, emitter of green hours gas. Caroline now works for BGC Engineering as a groundwater scientist on a variety of groundwater quantity and modelling projects.

PROJECT

The objective of the BGC Sustainability Committee is to advise BGC on becoming an environmentally sustainable organization. The committee will have three main areas of focus: carbon footprint reduction, employee engagement/education and sustainability accountability. The committee will work to understand what the company’s emissions are, and where improvements can be made. Greenhouse gas accounting will be completed internally; once emissions sources are understood, actions will be prioritized based on their impact and a plan will be developed to implement them. Employee engagement and education will be initiated through employee facing events. The purpose of these events is to implement system changes that make it easy for employees to make sustainable choices, as well as to empower employees to carry the changes into their lives outside of work. Examples of employee facing events include recycling drives, community clean-ups or green commuting weeks. Sustainability accountability will be achieved by publishing annual sustainability reports detailing progress towards sustainability goals, and areas that need to be improved. The committee will also be advising on accreditations that BGC can pursue.

The Sustainability Committee was formed because of employee feedback at BGC that indicated that corporate sustainability was a priority. BGC has a Climate Change team, which is responsible for incorporating climate change into the technical work that BGC does, however was not formally addressing the sustainability of the company operations outside of our technical work. Surveys and employee engagements were conducted to canvass the employees about what they would like done about climate change at the company, and many of the suggestions were about the sustainability of our food, commuting, offices, and travel. BCG had grassroots initiatives being carried out throughout the company, however there was no accountability or formal group responsible for sustainability. The sustainability committee was formed to fill this gap.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

My motivation for protecting the planet comes from my upbringing in nature. I value the time I spent outside as it was formational to the person I am today. The outdoors has strengthened my families’ ties, has increased my personal resolve, and has positively impacted my mental and physical health. I think it is going to take a massive global effort to protect the planet and its people from a changing climate, and I would like to do my part.

Find out more:

Website


Her Mentor

Michelle Bonner

Vancity Advocacy on Decarbonizing Buildings

Vancouver

Molly thrives on connecting people and ideas and working with others to make systems-level change. She holds a master’s degree from the Simon Fraser University School of Public Policy and has spent a decade working on climate change as a policy and communications expert. Molly currently works at Vancity, developing and implementing the credit union’s public policy agenda, and previously served as an advisor in the Government of British Columbia and to Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. Passionate about building democratic processes and public policies that are shaped by and reflective of the people they serve, Molly is continuously working to empower people to participate in government decision-making. She is currently a Board member for CityHive, a Metro Vancouver-based youth-led and youth-run non-profit on a mission to transform the way that young people are engaged in shaping their cities.

PROJECT

Vancity credit union uses the tools of finance and our community relationships to expand economic opportunity, improve the wellbeing of our members, and make our communities better. We are committed to building a clean and fair world, and one way we are delivering on that is by working to reach net-zero emissions in our lending portfolio by 2040. With residential and commercial mortgages making up a significant portion of our lending, decarbonizing new and existing buildings will be key to reaching this goal. Public policy plays a critical role in advancing building decarbonization at the scale and pace required, and in the face of the climate emergency, we believe it is our responsibility as a financial institution to support government actions that reduce emissions while protecting the physical and economic well-being of people. To do this, Vancity is implementing a climate advocacy strategy and will also support other organizations in the private sector to use their voice and power in support of policies that create an equitable net-zero future.

Advocating for equitable government-led climate action is key to Vancity’s vision of a transformed economy that protects the earth and guarantees equity for all. At the heart of that vision is a recognition that a clean and fair world requires systems-level change, and as a co-operative financial institution we know we are stronger together. Working with our partners and supporting fair and affordable decarbonization policies will help achieve the big, structural changes that are needed to meet our commitment to a net-zero lending portfolio while also improving the financial well-being of our members and communities.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

My passion for climate action comes from knowing that a better world is possible. We can create safer and more vibrant, accessible, and inclusive communities with affordable homes, good jobs, efficient public and active transportation, and the services people count on. And in doing that, we also reduce emissions and strengthen our resilience to the climate impacts that are already here. At the end of the day, my goal is simple: do everything I can to make life better for people and protect this beautiful planet we all call home.


Her Mentor

Irina Scarlete

Barriers to Electrification in Indigenous and Community Housing

Vancouver

Mahdis Araujo 2 (1)

Mahdis is currently working as an EV Advisor with Plug In BC, a program of the Fraser Basin Council. She works to address barriers to bringing Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure to multi-unit residential buildings (MURBs), and workplaces. Prior to this, she worked as an ambassador for a municipality where through outreach and education of residents, students and the community at large she contributed to waste reduction, water conservation and reduction of conflict with wildlife in urban areas. She also founded many initiatives such as Repair Cafés, River and Trail Clean-ups, and Recycling Drives as further means to community-building and waste-reduction. Mahdis sits on the board and volunteers with multiple non-profit organizations working towards protection of mature tree populations, human rights, youth empowerment and waste reduction. She believes in holistic approaches to community and resilience building that lead to protection of our home planet, its inhabitants and resources.

PROJECT

Muti-unit residential buildings (MURBs) face many barriers to electrification: proper planning for equity and access for all residents, future-proofing, working with the existing electrical capacity, getting a majority yes vote for making structural changes to a building, the upfront cost of these projects, and addressing the myriad of misconceptions to electrification and EV adoption. In addition to these existing barriers, marginalized communities face further challenges when it comes to EV adoption. This is the focus of the Barriers to Electrification in Indigenous and Community Housing Research Project. Though there are hypotheses to what these barriers may be, Mahdis and her team want to hear what these barriers are directly from residents of marginalized communities, as well as organizations that work within these communities, such as Aboriginal Housing Managment Association, BC Non-profit Housing Association, and Co-operative Housing Federation of BC. The goal is to then compile the research findings and present solutions to address these barriers. The research will be published and available to governments and other organizations working within these communities to bring equity and adequate support for wide-spread EV adoption.

Mahdis is an advocate for social equity within her organization, as well as on a personal level through activism and non-profit work. These philosophies, together with her current career path in the sustainable transportation space, lead to the search for equity and access, and innovative solutions to address barriers to EV adoption, which lead to the inception of the research project with her team.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

Mahdis considers herself to be a citizen of planet Earth. She has been tuned into nature and wildlife since she can remember. She believes humanity to be part of the eco-system, not above it. She is deeply concerned with the unsustainable nature of current agricultural practices, resources extraction, waste management, over-fishing of our oceans, species extinction, and climate change. She deeply believes that any ailing part of our eco-system, will lead to ailment of the whole. As so, it is imperative to look for innovative, heart-based solutions that focus on building resilience, equity and protection of the most vulnerable members of our planet. Mahdis also has a son and she is driven to ensure she leaves this planet in better shape than the one handed to her by previous generations.


Her Mentor

Sandra Phillips

Strata Energy Advisor Program

Vancouver

Darla grew up spending summers camping with her family, cultivating a deep connection with nature. In grade 3 she wrote in her journal she wanted to be an environmental lawyer, in grade 11 it was a park ranger, today she works to decarbonize our homes and workplaces. While the details have changed, her drive has not. Darla has spent her whole career in sustainability. First in advocacy bringing attention to the threat of climate change, then helping empower students and staff in the K-12 sector to reduce energy and water waste in schools. In 2003 she founded the Elements Society to deliver the Destination Conservation program in schools across western Canada. In 2011, Darla joined SES Consulting, a social enterprise and B-Corp specializing in low-carbon retrofits of existing buildings. Her role was to develop the Sustainability Services offering: education, training and designing sustainability programs for clients. Darla also holds the title of Director of Sustainability and Culture at SES.

PROJECT

The Strata Energy Advisor (SEA) program was originally envisioned as a concierge-style program giving multi-unit residential strata owners access to information and resources to make smart, energy-wise, decisions around managing their buildings, particularly when major mechanical or building envelope systems were due for replacement. Energy advisors would complete a walk-through energy assessment of the building, document building systems, and prepare a business case for the strata-council including simple “tune-up” measures to reduce energy waste right through to full end-of-life replacement of major building systems. In an updated program, we hope to support strata-owners to map a path to decarbonize their buildings, with every retrofit project moving them closer to a net-zero building while improving air quality and comfort, reducing noise, and helping to maintain the stock of affordable condominium units in British Columbia. This would be one part of an ecosystem of programs to support this building sector, including new rebate programs.

The SEA program started as a pilot developed by the Metro Vancouver Regional District. SES Consulting successfully bid to develop and deliver the pilot as proof of concept that the complex ownership of multi-unit residential strata-owned buildings could be moved to invest in energy efficiency. After a very successful pilot, the program went into hiatus and hasn’t been reactivated. Through her work developing the pilot and collaborating with strata residents, Darla saw the need for this kind of program support and the potential for transformative change. Since then, she has been determined to revitalize the SEA program.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

I’ve always had a drive to work on environmental issues, and particularly energy and climate change. As I learned more about social justice issues, I started to see how climate, energy, health, and housing affordability intersect. Multi-family buildings typically house lower-income individuals, and a higher proportion of young and older demographics compared to single-family homes. I also saw how they were excluded from most government and utility energy efficiency programs, despite making up 24% of British Columbia’s residential housing market. I’m determined to fill the support gap to decarbonize multi-family buildings, not only to maintain affordable housing in our region, but reduce energy poverty and mitigate health risks associated with climate change.


Her Mentor

Kate Hammer

Lean Green Region

Vancouver

Nazli is the Supervisor of Continuous Improvement in Water Services at Metro Vancouver. She is also a member of the advisory committee on Environment and Climate at the City of New Westminster. With a graduate degree in Civil engineering and over 10 years of experience in engineering design and construction, she appreciates the challenges faced by public sector organizations to reduce green house gas emissions and increase climate resilience. She’s passionate about applying systems thinking and process innovation to overcome these challenges. Nazli has a passion for inspiring and empowering her colleagues and bringing out of the box thinking to public sector organizations. Realizing the important role that policies and procedures play in public sector utilities, she envisions a future where effective policies, efficient processes and a culture of collaboration continuously yield accelerated learning and innovative solutions.

PROJECT

Lean Green Region is an initiative to facilitate the application of Systems Thinking and Lean methodology in two local government bodies to help them reach higher levels of sustainability. As the supervisor of Continuous Improvement, I will be working with teams across Water Services Utility in Metro Vancouver to find improvement opportunities and to continuously reach higher levels of sustainability, safety, quality, service delivery, equity and fiscal efficiency. I will be helping the department identify tangible means to measure GHG emissions, energy consumption and environmental impact in managing its water infrastructure. This data-driven approach will help teams navigate the complexity of aiming at multiple, sometimes competing, objectives and find opportunities to apply innovation to their processes. The goal is to find solutions that work synergically to address multiple problems at the same time, eliminating trade-offs. As a member of the Environment and Climate Advisory Committee to the City of New Westminster, I will be working with other committee members to consider a systemic response to climate change. In advising the City’s Environment and Climate Task Force on Bold actions related to climate change, addressing interdependencies and ensuring equity will increase our chances of success.

I am passionate about public service and helping public sector organizations find meaningful ways to make improvements. The work environment in public sector organizations is very complex and involves many stakeholders with different priorities. After over a decade of performing engineering work on projects including buildings, transportation, and utilities infrastructure, I have developed a unique talent for inspiring and empowering my highly talented colleagues to tackle complexity by considering interdependencies and thinking systemically. I am motivated to further develop the art of arranging and organizing information in these complex environments in such a way that helps functional teams make sense of their problems and understand the full scope of the interdependencies. This together with cross-sector collaboration will help uncover opportunities for innovation. The best solutions solve multiple problems at the same time. With this goal, I have expanded my engineering career to include the continuous improvement domain and am very excited about the role I play both at Metro Vancouver’s Water Services and City of New Westminster’s Climate and Environment advisory committee where I get to apply systems thinking and facilitate cross collaboration.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

As the mother of two young daughters, playing my part in tackling climate change is one more way in which I hope to secure a bright future for my kids. I envision a future in which a cohesive and systemic coalition of private and public partnership makes it possible for economic prosperity to be fully aligned with sustainability. To this end, I’m committed to continue to increase my awareness of challenges associated with climate action and exploit lessons learnt. I aspire to effectively organize this information to help my colleagues connect the dots more efficiently and reach their multiple objectives.


Her Mentor

Gemma Dunn

CASCADES

Vancouver

Aubree is passionate about facilitating connections to place through education, community building and systems change work. With a background in place-based learning, Aubree spent five years in the field of education program development and land conservation in Chile, before moving to Canada, where she completed a master of education for sustainability and worked for both UBC’s Sustainability Initiative and B.C. GreenCare, leading programs and engaging stakeholders in sustainability. Aubree currently leads the development and implementation of innovation projects across Western Canada as the regional project coordinator, working within the UBC Planetary Healthcare Lab for CASCADES. Her interests intersect climate action, community well-being, and planetary health. In her free time, she enjoys cooking with friends, going on bikepacking adventures, and tending to her garden. She is grateful to work and live on the traditional and unceded territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations in Vancouver, B.C.

PROJECT

Aubree’s work locally takes place in collaboration with VCH and the UBC Planetary Healthcare Lab. As part of CASCADES she is supporting efforts to transform systems and practices to move toward climate resilience, low-carbon and sustainable health systems. One of the projects that she is supporting and has recently been launched is the Planetary Health Capital Projects working group at VCH. This work is committed to bringing a planetary health lens to the capital projects across the health authority. This work is connected to two core actions with the Climate Adaptation Strategy, core actions 1 and 2–climate robust infrastructure and climate resilient buildings. Her role in this climate initiative will be to support the spread and scale of these efforts, through the development of a playbook that will document their learning process and strategies. This will then be adapted for other health authorities across the Lower Mainland, BC and other provinces.

This initiative is supported and led by Vancouver Coastal Health Authority to develop an integrated strategy for planetary health as a strategic priority. This work is a collaborative initiative supported by the VCH Transformation Office, the Energy and Environmental Sustainability team, the Environmental Health Protection team, and the Sustainable Clinical Services team to develop organization-wide transformation.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

Her early career as an education director in large-scale conservation projects immersed her in rewilded landscapes and seascapes which evoked a sense of care for her community and the planet. These experiences led her to working in the field of environmental sustainability and civic engagement across many different sectors—such as agriculture, academia and health care. It is in the spaces, that she learned to see from a different perspectives and appreciate the need to find ways to support both human and environmental health. Her hopes in being part of the Women 4 Climate mentorship program are to strengthen and enhance opportunities for relationship building, to develop her leadership skills and to make connections within the W4C community.

Find out more:

Linkedin Twitter LinkedIn (CASCADES) Twitter (CASCADES)


Her Mentor

Rhonda Lui

Green Roofs, Cool Cities

Vancouver

Christine Thuring is a collaborative plant ecologist who is passionate about biodiversity, healthy communities and decarbonization. She has worked with green roofs since 1999 in many forms, including installation, maintenance, advocacy, education and research. Christine holds an MSc from the Penn State Centre for Green Roof Research (2005) and a PhD from the Department of Landscape at University of Sheffield (2016). She teaches the green roof and living wall courses at the British Columbia Institute of Technology “Centre for Architectural Ecology”. Since 2018, Christine has been coordinating the Green Roof info Think-Tank (GRiTT) in Vancouver.

PROJECT

This project aims to raise the profile and application of vegetated roofs as climate solutions. Green roofs are multi-functional technologies with numerous benefits to society, environment and economy. The built environment generates nearly 50% of annual global CO2 emissions, of which building materials and construction are responsible for 20%. Green roofs significantly increase building thermal performance, enhance the efficiency of rooftop solar panels, and extend the service life of the waterproofing, yet many municipalities focus solely on stormwater management. In the climate of coastal BC, extensive green roofs increase building thermal performance throughout the year, regardless of depth (3” or 6”). A BCIT study calculated that green roofs reduce overall annual daily energy demand by 66%. Practically, this reduces the need for air conditioning/ building emissions, which also lowers the urban heat island. By protecting the roof membrane, green roofs reduce waste and lower demand for raw bitumen. Widespread green roof implementation will transform the ecology and liveability of urban settlements, while supporting resilience, mitigation and adaptation to climate change. In addition to these benefits, green roofs simultaneously improve human well-being; create amenity space; improve air quality; generate green jobs; and provide habitat for wildlife.

The idea emerged from two ongoing projects.

1) Since 2018 I’ve been coordinating the Green Roof Info Think-Tank (GRiTT), a network of businesses, non-profit organizations, researchers and community members dedicated to green roof implementation in Vancouver and region. It’s been a pleasure to witness working groups materialize as needed (e.g., opinion editorial; policy development; field trips). This work has also revealed the extent of cultural barriers, raising concerns that the full spectrum of green roof benefits will not be realized without enabled leadership.

2) I’ve been collaborating on the development of an interactive heat mapping tool that allows users to:

  • highlight urban hot spots in a town/ city;
  • measure existing and potential green roof coverage;
  • adopt climate leadership through green roof advocacy. The project arose by requiring three post-secondary instructors (Urban Ecosystems, Astrophysics, Human Resources/ Leadership) to create “renewable assignments” relating to Climate Action as part of the 2022 “United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Open Pedagogy Fellowship.” Once the first student cohorts have trialled the system, the legacy (renewable) item will be an open-source tool that anyone can use to generate compelling data and make changes in their own communities.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

I am a nature-lover who has always been motivated by the goals of ecological and social justice. Inspired by traditional indigenous stewardship of land, water and life, I subscribe to the principle of living and working for the benefit of seventh generations into the future. I try to walk the talk by living a low impact lifestyle, and doing work that is meaningful, rewarding and healthy. I actively support front line resistance to fossil fuel colonialism, and am grateful for the opportunities to balance personal and professional development in this context.

Find out more:

LinkedIn


Her Mentor

Sarah Yada Seto

Affordable Housing Navigator

Justine is an aspiring city shaper, and an advocate for decarbonization, accessibility, and climate equity. She works at OPEN Technologies, a Vancouver-based tech company that builds software tools to help policy-makers make climate friendly decisions for the built environment. 

Justine has a uniquely multidisciplinary background, with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Geography from Simon Fraser University, and an advance diploma in Sustainable Business Leadership from BCIT. Prior to completing her education, she worked in special education for over 5 years. 

Outside of work, Justine enjoys spending time outdoors, whether running, paddling, hiking or skiing on our local North Shore mountains.

PROJECT

As the cost of housing rises, Canadians are struggling to find affordable housing throughout the country, and when it comes to increasing the supply, many projects are canceled before they can even start. Non-profit housing organizations can struggle to navigate conflicting priorities, such as balancing costs with the levels of environmental performance that regulation and livability require. The Affordable Housing Navigator, aims to help non-profit housing developers to overcome these barriers to identify viable, sustainable design options to create comfortable, high-performance, and affordable housing. It will provide early insights on the most (cost) effective design pathways to reach the high performance standards that are increasingly required by regulators and incentive providers. Affordable housing that meets a high level of energy and climate performance brings many benefits – such buildings are healthier for tenants, more durable, carry lower ongoing operational costs, and are typically more resilient to climate impacts. By making this type of analysis available and highly visible for decision makers, we aim to help more high performing, affordable housing projects get approved, ensuring that resilient and comfortable housing is accessible to all.

I was introduced to the Affordable Housing Navigator project through my work at OPEN Technologies. In early 2021, OPEN was one of 21 organizations to be awarded Stage 1 funding through the CMHC’s Housing Supply Challenge, out of 136 applications. In October of 2021, OPEN was then one of 14 organizations to receive full funding to develop and implement the Affordable Housing Navigator. It was at this stage that I was introduced to the project, and I assumed the role of project and research coordinator. Since joining the project, my role has been to engage with housing providers and funders to assist in developing a better understanding of the challenges and needs they face, and how the Affordable Housing Navigator can best address them.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

The majority of my post-secondary education has been linked to learning about climate change, from the scientific evidence behind it, to the effects on the landscape, to how we can mitigate and take action through leadership. I fell into geography and environmental science out of interest – and stayed because the urgency around climate change is imminent, and it affects everyone.

Find out more:

LinkedIn Website


Her Mentor

Kathy Wardle

Climate adaptation for people living with Spinal Cord Injuries

Vancouver

Arushi is a healthcare leader with a track record for piloting and scaling solutions to address multifaceted challenges. She is currently the Director for Commercialization at the Praxis Spinal Cord Institute–where she focuses on identifying and building the best technologies to address the needs of people living with spinal cord injury. She is particularly interested in the intersections of climate change and needs for people living with disabilities. She is also a WEF Vancouver Global Shaper and a recipient of the BC Business 30 under 30 award. Arushi is also the author of the award-winning novel set in apartheid South Africa called “When Morning Comes.”

PROJECT

The project seeks to identify and pilot affordable, accessible and scalable technologies that address the disproportionate threat climate change related events (heatwaves, natural disasters) pose to people living with spinal cord injury and other disabilities. This could include like threatening over-heating due to heatwaves or inability to evacuate due to difficulty with mobility during a natural disaster. This project will be conducted in 2 phases–phase 1 will consist of a technology research phase culminating in a pitch to identify the strongest solutions to address these challenges based on the needs for people living with SCI and the impact on GHG emissions. The second phase will then design a pilot to deploy a shortlisted technology with someone living with a spinal cord injury to identify benefits, learnings and opportunity to scale this technology for other people with disabilities.

Working in spinal cord injury during the heatwave, a number of my colleagues were unexpectedly in danger due to the dangerous heat, lack of access to refrigerants, mobility challenges and difficulty in “sweating” due to compromised functions. I came face to face with the reality of how fatal even a few degrees increase in temperature is to people living with disabilities and the lack of our preparedness to help ensure safety for our communities. I began to research solutions, and also learned that refrigerants – while critically in demand, are also a significant GHG emitter. This is just one example of the type of technology gap I would like to address: meeting the needs for people with disabilities but also reducing GHG emissions from status technologies. As someone who has designed and led an accelerator and incubator for technologies for people living with SCI, I felt well-positioned to identify technologies that would help address this solution, and design pilots to deploy them.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

Climate change intersects with healthcare and every facet of our lives, and our community–I feel compelled to act and deploy solutions to mitigate the risks for our community, especially the most vulnerable and at-risk.

Find out more:

LinkedIn Twitter


Her Mentor

Eleena Marlee

Citizen First: Accelerate your Civic Journey, Transform your Environment

Bengaluru

Sobia Rafiq is an Urban Development Professional and a Certified TRUE Advisor with over 10 years of work experience. She graduated in 2011 with a B.Arch degree from Manipal University and in 2014 with an MSc. in City Design and Social Science from the London School of Economics and Social Science (LSE) Cities. As an architect, she has primarily worked in the Social Sector for the redevelopment of villages and housing in slums and low-income communities. As an Urban Planner, she has anchored several innovative projects with respect to Sustainable Mobility, Waste Management, Public Space Design, Water Management, and Governance. Her commitment to solving complex environmental issues in Indian Cities has led to her working with various actors ranging from government bodies and private organizations to local communities. She co-founded Sensing Local in 2016, a Bengaluru-based Urban Living Lab that applies an evidence-based systems approach to urban planning through participatory planning and design. She has a holistic understanding of how Indian Cities work and is an active advocate for building inclusive and sustainable cities.

PROJECT

The ‘Citizen first’ initiative, aims to support citizens and professionals in their civic journey by providing exposure, knowledge, and tools to cut short their learning curve and strengthen their capacity to participate meaningfully and sustainably in tackling civic issues towards climate change mitigation action in their local areas.

There are three typologies of learning modules aimed at varied ways of capacity-building: Explore (demystify urban systems with first-hand experience), Train (learn tools, software, and methods) and co-create (engage in a live context with a local community from diagnosis to solution).

Goals:

  • Transform ‘Curious’ citizens into community ‘Champions’ and ‘Passionate’ professionals into ‘Competent’ Problem-solvers
  • Supporting the advancement of Sustainable Development Goals by educating people in the sectors that bridge civic issues and climate action

Impact:

  • Build a cadre of trained ‘Active Citizens’ across all Indian cities that are aware and empowered to lead Climate action at the local level
  • Enable discovery of entry points for more citizens to engage effectively and meaningfully in the civic space, thereby increasing the representation of voices that will take on solving these issues.

As an organization focused on solving civic and environmental issues, Sensing Local has been working collaboratively with various stakeholders, especially citizens at the scale of the ward. The 60+ projects we have worked on are spread across various sectors like Sustainable Mobility, Waste Management, Water Management, Air Pollution, Public Space Design, Urban Poverty, and Governance, that impact Climate Action. In our experience, we have seen the massive positive impact an actively engaged citizen can bring to their neighborhood from participating in local governance (Ex. Engaging in Ward Committees) to actively anchoring local projects to mitigate climate change (Ex. the Walkable Malleswaram Project that is enabling modal shift and reduction in emissions). In an attempt to use this model and find a more scalable solution to solve climate issues locally, we conducted 6 pilot workshops in 2021, and through a recent survey, we captured insights from over 110+ citizens/professionals on the inhibitors, challenges, and aspects that they would find useful to help accelerate their civic journey. Through this, we have evaluated the knowledge gaps, usefulness, and viable modalities for capacity-building workshops, that will aim to formalise learning and empower more local action on-ground and at-scale.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

The aspiration to contribute positively toward building equitable and sustainable cities was seeded very early on in my career as a young/lone architect attempting to work in the social sector way back in 2011. From then to now, this has not only been reflected in my personal journey but has also been adopted as my purpose, resulting in co-founding Sensing Local in 2016, with a sole focus on the environment and participatory planning at the local level. Taking my learnings and experiences from the last decade, through my organization I aim to scale solutions that align with the SDGs and work strategically and collaboratively to help mitigate climate change.

Find out more:

Website Twitter Instagram Facebook Linkedin (Sobia Rafiq) Linkedin (Sensing Local) Certified TRUE Advisor


Her Mentor

Poonam Bir Kasturi

Energy Efficiency for Low and Mid-income Buildings

Bengaluru

Prajna Aigal is an Architect specialized in Energy Efficient and Sustainable Architecture. Her key interest lies in sustainability in buildings, which she has been pursuing since before receiving her degrees. The current scenario of the green building industry focuses majorly on large scale developments such as campuses, apartment complexes, large scale industries etc., mostly because the general public thinks that only these kinds of projects require architects or green building specialists. Her interest is to shift that perspective and start focusing on buildings made by mid-income or lower-income individuals and see how green they can be made.

PROJECT

The project deals with improving the condition and comfort of buildings which are being built by mid-income and lower income groups. Generally, individuals belonging to these groups do not see the necessity for proper architecture, let alone sustainable buildings. One of the main reasons for this is the notion that these interventions will increase the cost of the building. Due to this, people are willing to sacrifice their health and well-being to stay in extremely uncomfortable buildings.

How does an uncomfortable building contribute to climate change? By requiring a lot more energy-draining comfort appliances like air conditioners, which in turn increase the energy requirement of the building, and contribute to creating a hotter outdoor environment (as the heat is transferred from the inside to the outside of the building).

Although buildings belonging to mid and lower income groups are generally not given much importance in many standards or climate action plans due to their small footprints, they make a big impact on the climate of a city and the micro-climate of an area due to their large numbers. These buildings can include more than just their houses. For example, workshops, livelihood spaces, animal husbandry sheds, processing plants, storerooms etc. can all be considered as buildings required by these individuals.

The trend of quick and cheap construction is generally seen in these groups. The idea of how to create comfortable and sustainable buildings quickly and as cost-effectively as possible is an exploration that this project will delve in – whether it be new constructions or retrofitting simple and highly impactful solutions into existing buildings.

While learning and working with various sustainability standards and green building rating systems, I noticed a clear gap in them when it comes to buildings with smaller footprints. Although this gap seems valid when considering a single building, but when they are seen together as a cluster of buildings, their energy consumption and effect to the environment can easily compete with buildings with larger footprints. This made me want to initiate this project and dive deeper into this topic.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

Buildings contribute significantly to climate change and environment deprivation. With people spending most of their time in buildings, it becomes important to create healthy, comfortable and humane spaces while also tending to their impacts on the planet. Currently, green ratings for buildings are considered as a marketing strategy rather than a requirement. Although this helps in making many big institutions and companies take it up for their buildings, a majority of smaller buildings which dot the landscapes of our cities don’t realize the importance of these green standards. With my skillset, I am deeply motivated to change this narrative and involve smaller buildings in the participation for sustainability, energy efficiency and climate resilience.

Linkedin

Project: Clarity - Smarter Buildings for Healthier Communities

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Meiling Gao and Vivian Bi from California, who jointly won the Women4Climate Tech Challenge 2020 with their initiative “Clarity”, a smart, indoor-outdoor low-cost air monitoring system that provides real-time air quality data. Their initiative will be implemented in the City of Losa Angeles. 

Clarity works on the preparation of extreme pollution events and protecting public health by using real-time indoor/outdoor air quality data. Clarity’s IoT-connected, low-cost air monitors, can be placed indoors and outdoors of buildings, such as offices or schools, to provide the real-time air quality data cities need to make improved decisions about how to best protect public health.

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We are excited and really looking forward to partnering with city leaders In LA and other innovators through our collaborative and empathetic approach. The Women4Climate Tech Challenge brings novel tech solutions that can really help tackle climate change and we are thrilled that our project will be implemented In LA and improve the way we understand and respond to air pollution in our city.

Meiling Gao & Vivian Bi

Meling Gao is the Chief Operating Officer at Clarity Movement Co, an environmental cleantech startup based in California USA. Clarity creates hardware and software technologies that make it easier to measure the air quality around us and use that data to make actionable insights. Clarity works with NGOs and the private and public sectors in over 20 countries around the world to find solutions to global air quality issues. Meiling has been motivated to work in this climate action effort because there are so many synergies across public health, air quality, and energy projects to help reach our climate goals. Prior to Clarity, Meiling conducted research on the health impacts of urban development in China and the climate and air quality impacts of agricultural intensification in Colombia. Meiling holds a PhD from University of California Berkeley School of Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences, a MS from Harvard University in Environmental Health, and BS in Chemical Engineering from MIT.

Vivian Bi is the Communications Lead at Clarity Movement Co. where she works on connecting the dots between environment, society, and technology and Clarity’s role in it all to support cities in mitigating the burdens of air pollution. Clarity’s turn-key solution for real-time air quality data is helping governments expand their current monitoring efforts to hundreds of additional measurement points, providing high resolution insights to understand a city’s air pollution concerns. Vivian has always been interested in understanding how ideological values of nature and power interact to inform our governance of the environment and people. Before Clarity, Vivian built her background in environmental communications in the nonprofit space, working in environmental law, advocacy, and research organizations including Earthjustice, the Sierra Club, Global Footprint Network, and the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute. Vivian earned her BS in Society & Environment and BA in Political Economy from the University of California, Berkeley.

Project: Open-seneca

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Lorena Gordillo Dagallier’s “open-seneca” was chosen as the winning project by officials in both Stockholm and Lisbon in the international Women4Climate Tech Challenge 2020 competition. 

Open-seneca deploys mobile air quality sensor networks driven by citizen science. The initiative aims to raise awareness among citizens about personal exposure to particulate pollution, to drive behavioural change and build high spatial and temporal resolution pollution maps that inform policy and urban development. 

We all hear every day about the problems of air pollution and climate change. However, most people do not see it as a personal issue, and there is a lack of motivation for change. I used to be one of them. But now I am aware, and I want to raise awareness around me. With open-seneca, I am committed to driving behavioural change and bridge the step between individuals and cities to build a healthier and greener future.

Lorena Gordillo Dagallier

Lorena Gordillo Dagallier is a multidisciplinary engineer passionate about the power of open-science, citizen science and community-driven spaces to find solutions to today’s world problems. After completing a general engineering degree at the Technical University of Madrid, she is now doing her PhD at the University of Cambridge as part of a doctoral training programme in Sensor Technologies for a Healthy and Sustainable Future. She is the co-founder of the open-seneca initiative, which emerged from a team challenge with her cohort colleagues in 2018. The initiative aims to turn air quality monitoring into a global social movement with the help of citizen science. Open-seneca deploys low-cost, open-source, mobile sensor networks and provides an educational platform based on gamification for community engagement. Since then, she has developed strong leadership skills, collaborating with makerspaces and policy makers around the world and helping build local capacity.

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Fernando Medina, Mayor of Lisbon said: “The W4C Tech Challenge competition was fierce, with a lot of very high-level applicants. However, open-seneca combines two of Lisbon’s core values: citizenship engagement and sustainability. By collecting and sharing data on their own exposure to air pollution, we will empower citizens to think about air quality and what each one of us can do to improve it. We’re excited to have the opportunity to pilot this technology so we can in the near future, use this data for better-informed decisions.“

Anna König Jerlmyr, Mayor of Stockholm said: “By gamifying air quality measurement and pairing it to bike commuting, we are confident that open-seneca has the potential to increase the well-being of our citizens. We strongly believe that involving citizens can help raise awareness on the impact of air quality and the need to rethink the design and mobility modes in our cities.”

Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer of L’Oréal, 
Executive Vice President of the L’Oréal Foundation

Alexandra Palt

A lawyer by training, Alexandra specialized in human rights. She began her career at a law firm and then worked for Amnesty International in Germany. For the next ten years, Alexandra worked at organizations specializing in CSR, diversity, change management and sustainability.

In 2012, she joined L’Oréal as Chief Sustainability Officer, launching “Sharing Beauty With All”, L’Oréal’s sustainability program, which sets commitments for 2020 addressing the company’s impact across its value chain.

In 2017 Alexandra was appointed Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer, becoming the Executive Vice President of the L’Oréal Foundation in addition to her role as head of the CSR & Sustainability Department.

Instrumental to the launch of the Women4Climate initiative since its early beginning, Alexandra has been mentor of Paris 2017 and 2018 Women4Climate cohorts.