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Globe Forum: The Leadership Summit for Sustainable Business

The conference was an amalgam of dozens of small businesses whose aim was to reduce environmental pollution and offer sustainable solutions for existing problems.

Global Influencer

Global Influencer
Global Influencer

The conference held in Vancouver March 14-16, 2018 was an amalgam of dozens of small businesses whose aim was to reduce environmental pollution and offer sustainable solutions for existing problems.

Canada’s Dept. of Environment and Climate Change announced that small and medium business in Canada represent control over 200 million tons of carbon emissions per year. If the government of Canada can get those companies on board with incentives, grants and low interest loans that would go a long way to offset greenhouse and carbon emissions.

Elizabeth Sheehan, the President of Climate Smart, author of the report said, “as Canada works to meet its climate commitments under the Paris Agreement, it’s exciting that thousands of private-sector climate champions are already taking the lead.”

In the Paris Agreement, each of the 196-signee countries determines, plans and regularly reports its own contribution it should make in order to mitigate global warming. There is no mechanism to force a country to set a specific target by a specific date, but each target should go beyond previously set targets. The US was the only G7 country to withdraw from this climate change initiative.

Climate Smart’s report took a decade to complete and represents data from hundreds of companies with fewer than 500 employees from across Canada. Companies are using a variety of ways to reduce carbon including fleet upgrades, route optimization (Freightera’s the green freight forwarding marketplace), heat recovery, employee engagement, and more.

In an era where freight forwarding companies can be recognized for green technology and cities like Prince George, a small city in BC’s interior can offer support for cleantech ‘clusters’ there‘s a buzz and a lot of financial support for emission control.

In 2016, Freightera wrote the thought leadership statement on the green future of freight for the G7 Summit in Japan, and also presented a summary of how industry can lead the transition to low emission freight transport globally at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco.

Prince George’s initiative aims to promote a sustainable environment through innovative technology, enhanced financial capacity and increased competitive advantage.

The entire Westcoast of North America was represented at the Forum including the Governor of Washington State, Jay Inslee, British Columbia Premier John Horgan along with California Secretary of Environmental Protection, Matt Rodriques and Director of Oregon Department of Energy Janine Benner.

There were some great stories at the Innovation Expo as well. I’ve been following a Vancouver company, Terramera, for some time. They have been developing technology “that can unlock the power in nature so we can live healthier, make clean food affordable and feed the world” without the use of chemicals.They use chemistry, machine learning and AI technologies to develop and optimize safer, more effective plant-based replacements to toxic chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.

Karn Manhas, CEO, said “Terramera’s goals by 2027 are to reduce the world’s reliance on synthetic chemical load by 80%, increase global yields by 20% and positively impact 1 Billion lives.” Phew!

ReCharged Technologies Inc., headquartered in Vancouver, BC, the car sharing capital of the world is committed to promoting, enhancing and providing electric car charging infrastructure. Deploying costly infrastructure is a significant barrier facing the adoption of EVs to car sharing fleets and the public. Recharged uses ad funded stations with interactive monitors, maps and more t ooffset the cost of these stations.

CEO of ReCharged, Morgan Maryk, told me he invested all he had, in Tesla in 2012 and cashed it out recently to fund, along with family and friends, this innovative company.

Sustainable innovation is becoming increasingly more niche-based. WaterTAP, is a technology accelerator in Toronto. It is helping to accelerate competitive Canadian Water Tech for global export from start-up to scale up companies. In 2016, WaterTAP companies delivered $23M in economic growth to Ontario, representing 13 times the government investment in them.

Portable Electric is a green tech company I have written about before on Equities. Portable Electric is a Vancouver-based tech disruptor that builds, rents and sells the VOLTstack Power Station, revolutionizing the way critical power is delivered. They provide film productions, event organizers, construction sites, disaster zones and more, an alternative to loud, noxious gas and diesel generators.

According to their March 22, 2018 Press Release: “Portable Electric, the world’s premier manufacturer and supplier of clean energy alternatives to gas and diesel generators, made history at GLOBE 2018 by providing the event with distributed, off-grid power solutions. In a historic step, Portable Electric powered not only the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) Closing Bell with renewable energy for the first time ever, but also the Hon. Minister Catherine McKenna and Hon. Minister Jim Carr’s opening speeches for the launch of the Smart Prosperity Leaders’ Clean Innovation Report.”

Alberta, locked in a trade war with British Columbia was even represented. I say ‘even’ because our trade dispute/war with Alberta involves Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project and the transport of bitumen from Alberta to the West Coast through our pristine wilderness in BC by a federal government approved pipeline.

Yes, it’s controversial and is being protested on various fronts by BC. It’s surprising that Alberta Innotech (and Enbridge for that matter) would be at a sustainability expo while their government is clearly focused on on-renewable oil and oil sands production and development. If they could invest more into innovative energy programs they might have had more visitors at their large booth at the Expo.

From my vantage point their number of visitors was considerably lower than other booths. The clients I work and other BC companies with want nothing to do with any Albertan companies whether they are in the sustainability industry or not. While I agree this is a huge topic and both sides have all the stats in the world to support their position I don’t have to like it.

As the Globe Series succinctly puts it in their mission statement, they are “a Canadian-based convener of events that educate, empower, and connect leaders in pursuit of a cleaner, more prosperous world.”

While there are true sustainable innovators and tech companies trying to fix our problems, others will continue to provide renewable energy mission statements and projects that will make them appear less odorous. At the end of the day education and Expo’s like Globe will show consumers and leaders the real innovators.

The Fed model compares the return profile of stocks and US government bonds.