GLOBE 2016 has been an incredible whirlwind of ideas, energy, and momentum driving forward the clean energy economy. Thanks to the VEC, I have the incredible opportunity to be here in Vancouver and take it all in. With people from business, government, non-profits and more all in the same room, there’s a real excitement around building Canada as a leader in the clean energy economy that you can feel in the atmosphere.
Over the past few days I’ve been learning from fantastic leaders – here are a few quotes that I think have shaped the conference so far:
“In today’s global context, sustainability is sound business strategy” – Justin Trudeau
Over the past few decades there has been a significant shift in thinking about what it means to be successful in a business. Trudeau’s words are a reflection of what many of the business leaders at GLOBE are putting into practice. Businesses are thinking about what their impact is on all of their stakeholders (from their supply chain, to their employees, to their stakeholders) and how they can create value at every level. I think GLOBE has shown that there’s now a common understanding, across sectors, that creating value at all levels isn’t just a side project for businesses, instead it is fundamental to their success.
“Polarization does not work.” -Michael Porter
While there’s a lot of optimism about the exciting initiatives that are happening, there has also been a lot of talk about the challenges of moving forward with building a sustainable future. People across Canada have varying backgrounds and diverse views on how we need to move forward as a country. In dealing with these challenges, GLOBE has highlighted the need to bring all of those differing opinions into the room. While the opinions on how to get there may be varied, we all need to recognize that we’re trying to achieve the same outcome of a sustainable and prosperous future.
“Our success will depend on our ability to transcend regional divisions.” -Cassie Doyle
On the same theme, relationship building and collaboration have been a common theme at the forefront of GLOBE. On the day before GLOBE started, another important launch happened. A coalition of 26 Canadian leaders including corporate executives, environmental activists, First Nations representatives and labour and community leaders all came together to launch Smart Prosperity. The announcement is representative of the purpose of GLOBE – it speaks to the need to bring together diverse perspectives from across the board in order to tackle the big issues that affect us all.
“Moving forward will require courageous and vulnerable creativity.” -Caleb Behn
This quote was in the context of a panel around reconciliation and energy security in indigenous communities. Despite being a “developed” nation, Canada still has many steps to take in order to ensure the safe and sustainable delivery of electricity to all citizens. Behn’s powerful words highlighted that solving big challenges requires us to rethink traditional business models and get creative about finding radically inclusive solutions. If we can successfully break down the boxes that limit our thinking we may be able to create something truly impactful.
This blog post was written by Shivani Chotalia. Shivani recently graduated with a dual degree in Green Process Engineering and Business Administration from Western University, and is a Fellow with Venture for Canada. She now works as an Analyst with NRStor – a Canadian developer of energy storage projects. She is excited about the intersection of “for profit” and “for good”, and is interested in exploring innovative models making this happen.