A Message from Chad Park, Executive Director:

Well, this is it. My last newsletter address to you as Executive Director of The Natural Step Canada.

When I stepped into the role almost five years ago, I don’t think I could have imagined we’d be where we are today, both as an organization and as a broader sustainability movement. When we launched “The Next Natural Step” almost four years ago, we knew that the movement needed more system-level interventions. We knew that the organization had a great opportunity to build from its core strength of translating sustainability knowledge and science into meaning and purpose for people and organizations and to put this strength in service of the important work of fostering transformative collaboration.

But I don’t think we expected this.

Thanks to a remarkable collection of Fellows, a terrific design team, and a vast and growing circle of champions, the Energy Futures Lab (EFL) has become everything we believed a Sustainability Transition Lab to be. With the release of the working draft of an EFL Vision and Innovation Pathways, the EFL Fellows are truly beginning to backcast as a system. The Lab is ready to pivot into its next phase of collaborative action and to engage thousands more Albertans in shaping their energy future. The EFL Fellows have even begun to use their collective voice, publishing an op-ed in the Calgary Herald as the Government of Alberta introduced its climate leadership legislation last month.

The Natural Capital Lab (NCL) is also entering a new phase, and I’m thrilled to announce the new team that will lead it going forward. Deloitte natural capital expert Geneva Claesson will join NCL Director John Purkis and Strategic Communications Director Delyse Sylvester to provide leadership for this exciting initiative going forward. Deloitte joins other convening partners TD, CPA Canada, The Co-operators and Sustainable Prosperity. With the impending global launch of the Global Natural Capital Protocol on July 13, the time is now to begin the work of getting natural capital on Canadian balance sheets and NCL will share information on how you can get involved in the coming weeks.

I’m also pleased to officially announce our latest sustainability transition lab: the Circular Economy Innovation Lab in Ontario. As the Government of Ontario passes the Waste-Free Ontario Act, it has also confirmed its support for and involvement in the Circular Economy Innovation Lab, joining IKEA Canada, Unilever and Interface on the preliminary steering committee. Chris Lindberg has joined The Natural Step’s team as the Director of the CEIL. Stay tuned for more exciting developments with this lab over the coming months.

Meanwhile, IMPACT! alumni are founding social enterprises and businesses and launching vital projects across the country. I am consistently humbled and inspired by emerging leaders like Kimiko Foster whose business provides homemade recipes and workshops to create safer and sustainable skincare and household cleaning products. Kimiko is one of thousands of IMPACT! Alumni making a key difference for her community.

Finally, as the federal government develops its plans for Canada to fulfill the commitments it signed in the Paris Accord, The Natural Step and three other leading NGOs are poised to launch an exciting new partnership to help accelerate a low-carbon economy in Canada. The Low Carbon Partnership is a strategic partnership between QUEST - Quality Urban Energy Systems of Tomorrow, The Natural Step, Climate Smart and Sustainability CoLab, that offers a unique opportunity to quickly scale-up existing networks, engage businesses and communities across the country and, in doing so, innovate new energy solutions and achieve measurable GHG reductions. You’ll be hearing more about the Low Carbon Partnership in the coming weeks and we will be counting on your support to bring this initiative to the attention of government working groups developing recommendations for a pan-Canadian strategy on climate change. We’ve submitted our partnership proposal to letstalkclimateaction.ca. Feel free to check it out and leave a message of support.

Today, the movement is growing across Canada for transition to a sustainable society with unprecedented levels of interest in sustainability issues and support for the innovations and policies to accelerate change. And The Natural Step is right there with you in the middle of it all.

With your support we are facilitating solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing our country.

The times we’re in and the strength of the momentum led us to position TNS for new leadership ready to propel us to greater impact, visibility and scale.

Enter our new President & CEO David Hughes and Senior Director of Operations Joanne Sevigny. These two could not be arriving at a better time and I am deeply proud that TNS was able to attract leaders of their calibre. For my part, I am excited to dedicate more of my focus to the Energy Futures Lab and to building best practices across our new Sustainability Transition Labs.

I leave you with a deep appreciation for your support and commitment and with the assurance that TNS leadership is in exceptional hands.