I had the opportunity to attend GLOBE 2020 in Vancouver last week, the annual get-together of ‘change-makers and thought-leaders’ who gather to advance the opportunity that ‘a clean, circular, more sustainable economy represents.’
This was my first time attending GLOBE, and I was keen to communicate COSIA’s story of innovation, technology and environmental performance in Canada’s oil sands. I was also looking forward to the chance to engage with others working in the clean tech arena around the world and find the commonalities we might have.
The tone of the conference was…refreshing! It felt to me like GLOBE lived up to its claim that it is ‘a very big tent’ where participants – from governments to ENGOs to oil sands producers to investment fund managers – were thoughtful in their presentations and panel discussions about the shared priorities of reducing GHG emissions and improving our environmental footprint in Canada.
So, while a big focus of the conference was indeed on renewables and exciting new cleantech companies, there was plenty of opportunity to have honest conversations with other organizations about the role and performance of Canada’s oil sands in environmental technology and innovation.
I participated as a panelist in the session Heavy Industry: Doubling Down on Climate Friendly Investments. The theme was the substantial role that heavy industry can play on the path towards a clean energy future by investing strategically in this sector. My main point was that achieving significant GHG reductions in Canada will require extreme collaboration and an acceleration of clean technology development.
In this area, I believe COSIA is leading the way. Collaboration among nine oil sands competitors – our member companies – whereby they share and advance environmental technology development is achieving significant gains in environmental performance. Most people don’t know that the oil sands is one of the biggest investors in clean technologies in Canada. And many would be surprised to learn about the breakthrough innovation that is being developed for this industry.
At the end of the conference, my main takeaway was that many Canadians, from different parts of the country and from different industries, share a vision of reducing GHG emissions and looking after our environment. While we have different tools and approaches, there is an important role for each of us –whether heavy industry or government or clean tech start-up – that is going to require world-leading technology development and closer-than-ever collaboration.
GLOBE is the largest and longest-running sustainable business summit and innovation showcase in North America. In the last 30 years, the three-day event has attracted 170,000 people from 97 countries. The themes for the 2020 event were Climate Crisis, Sustainability as Strategy, Energy Transformation, Circular Economy, and Mobilizing Capital.
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