The Innovator’s Den- Game Changing Idea’s

By Richard Doran Sherlock

As part of the Global Leadership and Innovation Summit taking place on October 20-21 in Toronto, Rethink Sustainability is proud to host the Innovators Den. This is a unique opportunity for new technologies and start-ups focusing on issues such as sustainability, corporate social responsibility and alternative energy to engage with investors proactively looking to develop environmentally focused businesses. The four entrepreneurs which will be highlighted at the Innovator’s Den specialize in everything from enhancing the green building design process to biodegradable packaging. They each will be speaking at the Summit on Oct 21st but here is an inside scoop on their game changing ideas:

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Dianne Dillon-Ridgley: Visionary of Sustainable and Profitable Business

By Nicole Huard and Richard Doran Sherlock

Action Partners recently spoke with Dianne Dillon-Ridgley, an environmental and human rights activist who has spent over thirty years working on the forefront of sustainability, gender, corporate social responsibility and social justice. Elected in 1997, she spent 18 years as a director on the board of Atlanta-based Interface Inc., the world’s largest carpet tile manufacturer and industry leader in corporate sustainability and design. In addition, she has served on U.S. government delegations during three different White House Administrations starting in 1992. She is currently board chair of CIEL, the Center for International Environmental Law.

Global economies are moving beyond the regressive mind-set that previously considered sustainable practices as drain or barrier to business and profit. The private sector and environmental performance are increasingly aligning for mutual benefit. Ms. Dillon-Ridgley has been a key player in shaping and pushing this shift, working for many years to convince businesses to adapt their models of operation to achieve sustainable modes of production and operation.

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What Do Food Safety, Supply Chains, and Social Media Have in Common?

By Danny Brown

Rethink Sustainability Initiatives recently had a chance to sit down with Dr. Mike Liewen, SVP of Food Safety, Quality Assurance, and Regulatory Affairs at Loblaw Companies Ltd., and discuss how new technologies are changing the way Canada’s largest food retailer does business.

Dr. Liewen has a complex job on his hands. He is responsible for ensuring that the products Loblaws sells in its many retail operations and 2300 locations are safe for consumption and use. Whether it’s the locally-sourced and certified-organic strawberries you buy for your next dessert or the biodegradable shampoo you pick up for your next cottage weekend, Dr. Liewen oversees the entire process; from factory or farm to the customers’ cart. This means working with an array of organizations and agencies like Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the Organic Council of Ontario on the one hand and with the over 14 million customers that walk through Loblaws’ stores doors every week on the other. How does he do it?

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Leaders and Innovators Translating Ideas into Action 

By Yasmin Glanville
Founder and CEO of Rethink Sustainability Initiatives

Yasmin Glanville

Welcome to the Action Partners Exchange – a dynamic hub of action-focused insights, best practices, strategies and solutions – by and for business leaders, social and venture capitalists, inventors, entrepreneurs, innovators, and consumers – designed to address some of the big challenges that we face today.

To accelerate dialogue, collaboration and action within and across different sectors, regions and generations that can be put into practice, we encourage everyone to widen their lenses, and share and learn new insights on what works and why; key success criteria for making it real and scalable to succeed in different types of organizations and situations –even in resource-constrained environments.

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Community Energy Systems – Turning Up the Heat!

By Frank Carnevale
RSI Board Member, SVP of SustainCo Inc.

Changing the way we source our energy (heating, cooling and electricity) is closer than you think; catapulted by the advancements in local energy sourcing that are converging into Community Energy Systems.

Traditional Energy Distribution Systems

Buildings require electricity, heating and in most cases, cooling. Traditional methods of meeting those energy requirements utilize a more centralized distribution delivery system of natural gas for heating and the electrical distribution utility for heating, cooling and electrical needs. Governments created regulatory agencies to oversee rate-regulated utilities with the idea of enabling, in essence, franchise service territories so that these basic energy needs can be delivered with a credible distribution company and arguably at the best cost possible. The idea is that these rate-regulated utilities have lower risk of revenue and certainly have reasonable visibility into the rates that they can charge; that the investment return expectations in these utilities is on the lower end compared to other businesses.

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A Convergence of Mega-Trends

By Danny Brown
Marketing and Logistics Manager at RSI

Our rapidly shifting era is characterized by a convergence of planet-wide trends that intertwine capital markets, technology, finite resources and our changing climate. The new reality of the carbon economy is forcing us to rethink how we power our cities,  feed our populations  and manage scarce resources. Increasingly wild weather is presenting us with challenges that are impacting such diverse aspects as sea levels, food prices and human migration. Communication technologies allow us to collaborate and reallocate resources faster than ever before, but can also be isolating and disruptive to local communities.

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David Miller: Strong Nature, Stronger Economy

By Nicole Huard and Donal Power

Action Partners recently had a chance to sit down with David Miller, President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund Canada to discuss how efforts toward strengthening nature leads to a stronger economy.

Cod Fisheries NFLD

“In Canada so much of our prosperity actually depends on nature and our natural wealth… yet the myth is that the environment and economy are opposed interests and that we can only have one at the cost of the other,” said Mr. Miller. “I think this is critically important because this myth has taken such deep root that we can’t just say it’s wrong, we need to prove that it’s wrong.”

As head of WWF Canada, Mr. Miller is focused on debunking that myth by definitively demonstrating that strengthening the environment can also lead to a more robust economy. Key to this are his efforts in helping investors and businesses understand the huge growth potential of innovative, sustainable opportunities with our natural resources and within our urban environments.

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Taking the Green Route

By Derek Gray
Manager of Environmental Services at Toronto Pearson

In 2013, over 36 million passengers passed through Toronto Pearson – Canada’s largest airport. The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) is the Airport’s operator and manager and we’re committed to our employees’ well-being, our neighbouring communities, and financial sustainability.

With increasing demand for air travel and access to global destinations, it’s critical that we are aware of the impact that our Airport can have on surrounding communities. Proper management of airport systems, stormwater, waste and energy is the only way to ensure regional health and future success.

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Reaching GHG and Efficiency Targets Through Energy Performance Contracts

by Peter Love
President of ESAC and RSI Chairman

FBI Scissors

Reducing energy consumption continues to grow as a priority for private companies, public institutions and all levels of government. This priority forms an essential component of private and public sector plans to achieve environmental targets, primarily in terms of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

One increasingly popular method used to implement energy efficiency, renewable energy and infrastructure renewal initiatives is Performance Based Solutions. These solutions consist of a range of ways in which a private energy service company takes responsibility for funding an upgrade project, taking its remuneration based on the success of the project. In this way, the company transfers the risk from the building owner onto itself. One of the more common types of PBS is an Energy Performance Contract (EPCs), where the energy service company guarantees the utility savings to be achieved by the project.

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Food Waste: A $750 Billion Problem

By Katya Krishnamoorthy

With rising food prices, households around the world struggle with hunger. Increasing population, rising resource constraints and climate-related events have paid a part in causing food insecurity on a massive scale. It is estimated that at least one out of eight Canadian families struggles to put food on the table.  On a global level, it is estimated that there are 925 million hungry people.


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The Emergence of the “Energy Internet” has Major Climate Change Implications

By Tiia Merikallio
RSI Emerging Leader

The evolution of communications technology is colliding with energy industry advances to revolutionize energy production and distribution. New systems aim to move away from centralized energy production to a more interactive approach where the public produces their own energy onsite and distributes it digitally in what Jeremy Rifkin calls an “energy internet”.

The environmental benefits of the energy internet could be profound, particularly by improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. And with the majority of man-made GHGs in Canada generated by the production and use of energy, this technological revolution is especially relevant given the urgency in reducing the causes of climate change.

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Furthering the dialogue at the nexus of sustainability, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

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