Experts Talk Green Economy in Toronto

Angie - Test Knowles, | November-19-12
Experts Talk Green Economy at Toronto EP Event

What’s better than learning about jobs in the green economy?

Meeting employers who actually hire for these positions!
The fifth annual Toronto EP Events was a perfect setting to do just that as industry leaders, professionals and ECO team members got together for a full day of engaging discussions, workshops, and networking. 
Guests at this event had the option of attending two different workshops:
  1. Managing the Environment and Beyond, led by Don Fraser, the Executive Director and Registrar of the Auditing Association of Canada, and
  2. Career, Leadership, Lifestyle: Finding Your Sweet Spot, led by Melissa Creede, P.Eng, CPCC and President of Sapis Inc.

Workshop #1

Participants in the first workshop reviewed the basics of globally recognized systems for managing specific issues, risks, and hazards, including ISO 9000 (Quality), ISO 14001 (Environment) and OHSAS 18001 (Health and Safety).
Additionally, Don outlined how to apply seven principles in ISO 26000 to seven core subject areas in business in which social responsibility is especially relevant, such as organizational governance and labour practice. 
As part of this highly informative and detailed session, workshop attendees also learned about risks associated with climate change, the audit methodology used to revise ISO 19011, including the revisions made in 2011, and the application of ISO 14001 to Enterprise Risk Management (ERM).
Overall, participants in this session left with a deeper understanding of how to define many of the issues that they’ll encounter in environmental work, as well as identify the relevant risks associated with these issues and create appropriate management frameworks to mitigate these risks.

Workshop #2

In the second workshop option, workshop attendees focused on developing a practical and effective strategy to build on their unique strengths and leadership abilities. Melissa started off this workshop with an informative discussion of the changing expectations for effective leadership, including the fact that a growing number of leaders (read: environmental professionals) now need to provide integrated solutions to increasingly complex problems.
As Melissa demonstrated, this new context for leaders has corresponded with the rise of transformational leaders who can inspire and initiate positive change in others. 
Over the course of this interactive and thought-provoking session, participants collaborated with one another to identify their own strengths, clarify their professional goals and values, and develop a practical plan towards strong professional and leadership development.
Since the top 20% of well-renowned leaders actually rely on just 3-4 of their strongest competencies, the goal of this session was for participants to identify and build upon their own unique profile of top leadership competencies.

Green Economy Expert Panel Discussion

After the morning session for both of these workshops, event guests took part in the hallmark of the 2012 Toronto EP event – a special networking luncheon and expert panel discussion on the green economy. While attendees enjoyed a selection of refreshments, industry leaders led an engaging discussion on Canada’s transition to a greener economy and how this affects green employment outcomes.
The distinguished experts on this panel included:
  • Geoff Cape, Co-founder and CEO of Evergreen
  • Toby A.A. Heaps, LLB, BA, Co-founder and President of Corporate Knights Inc.
  • Dr. Rob Watters, President and CEO of Watters Environmental Group
  • Don Fraser, Executive Director and Registrar for the Auditing Association of Canada
The panelists examined the larger context and need for research on green jobs, including the challenges of defining what exactly the “green” economy is and the conditions that are necessary to ensure its success. Overall, the panelists provided several powerful take-away points:
  • Urbanization is the most important economic theme of our time, and as such, we need to make decisions about what we will invest in and the behavior patterns that we wish to inspire in others.
  • The term “green” is really about setting an aspiration for our economy as we make the transition from a silo, brown economy to an integrated, total wealth economy. The ultimate goal is to achieve an economic system that features greater harmonization between different areas, with examples like integrated accounting and wealth management.
  • There is a strong disconnect that exists between educational institutions and industry in terms of the skill-sets that employers are looking for and the skill-sets that educators foster in students.  Since this economy is ultimately driven by people-to-people business, employers are looking for candidates who know how to communicate and interact with clients.
  • When it comes to pursuing the appropriate skill development required for green careers, professionals need a beacon to indicate the best pathway for them. 
  • It is important to establish metrics that can assess the progress of the green transition. These metrics should be based on the question of what we do now that is important and makes sense. Accordingly, these metrics should incorporate such aspects as productivity and natural capital.
Following this discussion, event guests had a chance to network with the expert panelists, fellow event attendees (including employers) and ECO Canada team members. Over the course of these lively conservations, it was apparent that numerous attendees also had important insights and observations to share about working in green industries. 

Want to take part in our next EP Events in a city near you?
Check out the latest EP Events schedule.