Imagine a gala awards ceremony where the best and brightest minds in the Canadian clean-tech field are brought together to celebrate progress and achievement.
But, there’s a twist. The winners are swept away to an exclusive island yacht club – and told they can’t leave until they create a list of 50 innovative and practical green ideas.
This is not fiction, folks. It happened – very recently. And the result? The Clean50 Summit’s list of 50 great ideas.
“We determined there are all kinds of awards for companies that have done lots of good things, but there were no awards for individuals,” says Gavin Pitchford, founder/principal of Delta Management Group Corporation, which organized the event.
The 50 honourees came from a wide range of backgrounds. Clean-tech, retail, banks, universities — even big oil companies. And once they all met and started debating the future, there was a surprisingly high level of consensus.
“This is the first time it’s ever happened, anywhere in the world,” Pitchford says. “What was phenomenal was that a lot of them had never talked to people from the other sectors before. They’d sort of been greening their own little part of the world, but hadn’t crossed over.”
One of the ideas include a call for governments to stop taxing initiatives that are good for the environment.
“It’s possible to expense your employee’s car and parking — but not their bike without them having to take a tax hit for it,” he explains. “The government will let you spend money on things that have undesirable outcomes — like driving to work. But they won’t fix some of the other stuff.”
It turns out Canada is already a global leader in clean technology, and not everyone knows it.
“We have such a powerful clean-tech industry in Canada. It’s entrepreneurial-driven. We’re absolute leaders in this field in the world and I don’t think that a lot of people on the corporate side really appreciate it. These businesses and these opportunities exist in this country.”
The Clean50 summit boosted awareness. Many of the ideas are already being pitched to governments.
“Yes, we’ve heard a lot of these ideas before. But we haven’t done them yet,” Pitchford concludes. “It would be a real shame to lose this. So we decided to keep going with it – and that’s what’s happening.”
View the full list of ideas at http://clean50.ca/50greatideas.html.