Tim Faveri: Regenerative agriculture advancing carbon sequestration
Asked in a recent World Economic Forum survey about the world issues that concern them most, 48 per cent of millennials listed climate change and destruction of nature as number one, with food and water security, poverty and inequality also among the top 10. While these issues keep Tim Faveri up at night, the fact that young people are passionately speaking out about them gives him hope.
“Today’s youth have become agents of change for the environment, prompting governments and companies to realize the need to act,” says Mr. Faveri, who is the VP Sustainability and Shared Value at Maple Leaf Foods, a company that recently announced it has become the first major carbon-neutral food company in the world.
“We are also the only Canadian food company – and one of three animal-protein companies in the world – to set science-based greenhouse gas emissions targets that are aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement and ensure we reduce absolute emissions even as we grow,” he says, adding that the food and agriculture industry currently accounts for close to 30 per cent of global greenhouse-gas emissions.
Mr. Faveri hopes this leadership can inspire other companies, big and small, to advance their own carbon strategies. “The time to act is now,” he says. “We have a long way to go, but it is gratifying to see the positive momentum on issues like the clean economy, renewable energy and climate action since GLOBE 2018.”
A concerted push for greater collaboration, innovative policy as well as consistency from governments can further ignite the clean economy, he believes. For example, appropriate government policy could reward farmers for sequestering carbon, suggests Mr. Faveri, who sees a significant environmental and economic opportunity in creating and maintaining long-lasting carbon sinks, for example through regenerative agricultural practices, due to Canada’s considerable land and natural resources base.
Larissa Parker: Climate litigation increasing accountability and action
While the impact of climate change is already evident across the globe, the effects will disproportionately be felt by young people and future generations. This inspires Larissa Parker to focus her attention on litigation that seeks to hold actors accountable and increase action on climate change.
“We are not tackling climate change as fast as we should. The world’s most vulnerable are already experiencing the impacts of climate change and it is absolutely devastating,” says the youth advocate, who volunteers with Climate Justice Montreal and works with Youth Climate Lab on projects related to allyship and advocacy.
“I am currently assisting several professors and lawyers with research on a number of exciting climate litigation cases. This includes research in the Law, Society and Governance Lab, which is supporting the Quebec class action in which Quebecers under 30 are suing the Canadian government. I will also begin research about the international law case that Greta Thunberg and 15 other young people have put forward against five countries under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,” says Ms. Parker, who currently studies law at McGill University. “Newly, I will also be assisting the case put forward by the David Suzuki Foundation, the Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation and Our Children’s Trust, alleging that the government's climate inaction violates young people’s rights to equality under Section 15 of the charter.”
Named one of Canada’s Top 30 under 30 Sustainability Leaders for grassroots activism and volunteer work and one of Forbes Top 30 under 30 (EU) in 2017, Ms. Parker also won The Economist’s 2019 Open Future Essay Competition. She speaks about the urgency of climate change and the need to ensure generational accountability. “There are multiple groups who experience disproportionate impacts of climate change, depending on where they live and who they are,” she says. “It is important that our mitigation and adaptation solutions are inclusive and intersectional.”
For hope, Ms. Parker looks to “the amazing young people who are standing up around the world and demanding change.
“I have been following the Indigenous Youth Delegation that SustainUS sent to the UN climate negotiations this year and they inspire me a lot,” she says. “Their voices and energy offer necessary perspective on the climate crisis.”
Megan Leslie: Nature-based solutions for addressing biodiversity loss and climate change
Thinking of the economy as separate from the environment is an old-fashioned outlook that businesses can’t afford anymore, says Megan Leslie, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF-Canada).
“There’s an opportunity for businesses to take the next step to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by supporting nature-based solutions, which are about finding the most efficient way to help nature do its job when it comes to the climate crisis and biodiversity loss,” she says. “[This can enable] Canada to take a global leadership role in the clean economy by leveraging our abundant natural spaces and pristine habitats.”
For Ms. Leslie, the issue of biodiversity loss is equally urgent as the climate emergency, since “diverse and interconnected species are the basis of life on our planet,” she says. “Nature-based solutions can help us tackle both crises while also creating new habitat for wildlife.”
WWF-Canada is supporting and encouraging projects that employ nature-based solutions, which are typically cost-effective, environmentally efficient and under-resourced. An example is the Living Planet@Work program that provides corporations with strategic guidance and green business ideas that drive sustainable practices at work. Ms. Leslie explains this can include engaging employees in existing restoration activities or designing plans to reduce a company’s energy costs and footprint.
“Protecting and expanding natural carbon sinks could contribute a third of needed carbon-emission cuts as well as increase resilience against impacts such as sea-level rise, flooding, wildfires and desertification,” she says. “[However], they receive only three per cent of available climate funding.”
With participation from many diverse fields, GLOBE 2020 is an opportunity to break down silos, which Ms. Leslie believes is the only meaningful way toward a clean economy. “There’s a real chance to connect businesses to impactful practices that amplify their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, and to make industry leaders understand how to work with nature in all aspects of their business,” she says. “WWF-Canada is focused on nature-based solutions, but there are many other solutions available: energy efficiency, clean technology, renewables, climate finance, thoughtful procurement, businesses pledging zero emissions and more.”
For Ms. Leslie, hope comes from envisioning a future where both wildlife and humanity can thrive.
Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.