Session D, April 28, 2022, 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. ET
Sustainability and Climate Change – Embracing New Opportunities for Geoscience

Session Chairs:  Joanna Eyquem, P.Geo. and Alexandra Smofsky, P.Geo.
A moderated Q & A will follow after the panel presentations.


Presentation 1: Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM)

Speaker:  Ben Chalmers, Senior Vice President, Mining Association of Canada - SEE SPEAKER'S BIO

The Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative is MAC’s award-winning program focused on enabling mining companies to meet society’s needs for minerals, metals and energy products in the most socially, economically and environmentally responsible way. The initiative allows mining companies to turn high-level environmental and social commitments into action on the ground. At the same time, it provides communities with valuable information on how operations are faring in important areas, such as community outreach, tailings management and biodiversity. Participation in the TSM initiative is mandatory for all MAC members for their Canadian operations.

This presentation will provide registrants with an overview of the TSM initiative in Canada and its international growth, as well as unique insights and lessons learnt from the program’s lead at MAC, who has been running the program since 2011.

Presentation 2: Climate Change and Sustainable Finance

Speaker:  Sean Cleary, Chair, Institute for Sustainable Finance (ISF), Smith School of Business, Queen’s University - SEE SPEAKER'S BIO


As stated by the Bank of Canada in January 2022 “Climate change poses significant risks to the financial system and the economy. These include disruptions from more frequent and severe extreme weather events as well as risks stemming from the transition to a low-carbon, net-zero economy.” The financial risks, and consequences for health and wellbeing, are significant for Canada. However, there are also opportunities for geoscience professionals to play an active role in addressing both climate change and wider sustainability issues, within the evolving economy. This session will provide attendees with insight into some of the key elements of sustainable finance, current trends regarding sustainable investing and the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations, and climate action in relation to the practice of geoscience.

Presentation 3: Climate Adaptation - Enhancing Natural Climate Resilience

Speaker:  Joanna Eyquem, Managing Director, Climate-Resilient Infrastructure, Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation - SEE SPEAKER'S BIO

As starkly demonstrated in 2021, in a changing climate, Canada faces increased risk from flooding, coastal erosion, extreme heat and wildfires. To effectively manage these physical risks urgent action is required to adapt now. A wealth of standards and guidance already exists to help residents, building owners and managers, infrastructure owners and communities to reduce climate risks. In addition, there are exciting opportunities to use and restore natural processes to enhance climate resilience, while also storing carbon, improving biodiversity, and ultimately supporting health and the economy.
Geoscientists have a key role to play in designing and scaling up the use of Nature-based Solutions, incorporating nature in infrastructure design, as well as supporting governments effectively managing existing natural assets. This presentation will draw on recent research and standards development to outline how participants can do their part to build natural climate resilience in Canada.

Presentation 4: EGBC’s Climate Change Action Plan – Lessons Learnt and Action Going Forward

Speaker: Harshan Radhakrishnan, Manager, Climate Change and Sustainability Initiatives, Engineers and Geoscientists BC  - SEE SPEAKER'S BIO

Engineering and Geoscience are regulated professions in Canada. Only individuals and firms licensed by a provincial regulator are permitted by law to undertake and assume responsibility for engineering and geoscience projects in that province. As the regulatory body in BC this means that Engineers and Geoscientists BC is charged with protecting the public interest by setting and maintaining high academic, experience, and professional practice standards for the over 40,000 licensed registrants in BC. EGBC’s mandate as outlined in the Professional Governance Act is to protect the public interest respecting the practice of these professions. Engineers and Geoscientists BC has the responsibility to establish, monitor and enforce standards of practice for practice professionals and to establish requirements for entry into practice.

As a 100-year-old institution and part of the fabric of civil society, EGBC is invested in delivering on its regulatory mandate while addressing trans-generational issues including through its 30x30 initiative, efforts to engage with Indigenous people of Canada, and establishing Professional Practice Guidelines on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. From Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s perspective, climate change is seen as a very important trans-generational issue that represents an opportunity and responsibility for the organization to deliver on. Engineers and Geoscientists BC has a Council-endorsed Climate Change Action Plan that provides a proactive and methodical approach to supporting registrants which includes seeking collaboration opportunities and to lead by example, providing practical resources to registrants, and offering on-going education and knowledge sharing opportunities to incorporate climate change into professional practice.

This presentation will provide an overview of EGBC’s regulatory approach and how it is focussed on supporting, encouraging and facilitating conditions in which taking action on climate change is enabled. 

Register online for this session or for the full Symposium.