Citing the old adage, “Waste not, want not,” Nick Parker, Founder and Executive Chairman of The Cleantech Group, urged future business leaders to innovate with an eye toward clean technology.
Clean technology refers to a range of products, services, and processes that harness renewable materials and energy sources, reduce use of natural resources, and cut or eliminate emissions and wastes.
“That’s what our grandmothers taught us and that’s what we’ve got to do here,” he said. “Clean technology is about doing more with less, reducing our ecological impact and improving on the productive and responsible use of natural resources.”
Parker, who was the keynote speaker at the March 20 Ivey Sustainability Conference 2012 – Shifting Today for a Prosperous Tomorrow, an annual MBA conference on sustainability in business, discussed the importance of mobilizing corporate Canada beyond just a focus on sustainability and into the “clean tech” world through government policy, global exports, cleaner resource extraction, and smart mobility and utilities grids.
“The whole world is innovating things are moving at warp speed, globally, not just in terms of ecological destruction, but also next-generation innovation. Improvements in technology and mass production will drive costs down,” he said. “It’s the right way to do things because we only have one planet to live on and it’s also the right way to do things because it makes money.”
The conference also included panel discussions with industry experts on the environment, the economy, and the social elements of sustainability, each moderated by an Ivey faculty member.
One week prior to the conference, the Ivey MBA Sustainability Club kicked off festivities with the Ecological Footprint Reduction Challenge, a campaign across Western University’s campus that encouraged people to pledge to make small lifestyle adjustments to reduce their ecological footprints. The individual with the most impact – MBA student Marie Arnot – was awarded the Adrienne Clarkson Award for Sustainability at the conference.
Photo above: Nick Parker, Founder and Executive Chairman of The Cleantech Group
Photo below: Environmental panel members (left to right) Alan Rickard, Director of Sales and Energy Products, Rothsay; Brian Gilvesy, Owner of YU Ranch and Chairman of Norfolk County Alternative Land Use Services; Avrim Lazar, President and CEO of Forest Products Association of Canada; and Ivey Professor David Sparling