At the end of November, hundreds of the best minds in cleantech innovation will gather in Toronto for MaRS Climate Impact. With progress on net-zero continuing to lag behind the pledges, the two-day conference will delve into the latest climate technologies and consider ways to accelerate their development and get them into action.
Dozens of experts, entrepreneurs and investors will share their insights on how we can correct our course on climate change before it’s too late. The questions are big, and the agenda is packed. But here are seven sessions you don’t want to miss.
What: Experience is a great teacher, and five successful cleantech CEOs share what they’ve learned over years in the industry. From bioplastics to battery recycling and clean energy to smart thermostats, these pioneers have overcome countless hurdles as they’ve led their companies to scale.
Who: Curtis VanWalleghem of Hydrostor, Ajay Kochhar of Li-Cycle, Stuart Lombard of Ecobee, Luna Yu of Genecis and Joshua Wong of Opus One. Susan Rohac, vice president of BDC Cleantech, will moderate and Trade Commissioner Sue Rauth will introduce the session.
When: November 30, 10:45 a.m.
What: Big problems like climate change require bold solutions. So what transformative ideas are exciting climate investors? Enter the high-risk, high-reward world of investing at the very limits of our current technology.
Who: Amy Duffuor of Azolla Ventures, Shafiq Vallani of Telus Pollinator Fund for Good, Alicia Lenis of Chrysalix Venture Capital and Zoltan Tompa of BDC’s Cleantech Practice. Shirley Speakman, senior partner at Cycle Capital, will moderate.
When: November 30, 12:30 p.m.
What: Ten startup founders pitch their businesses to a panel of seasoned investors and industry pros. Will these cleantech entrepreneurs clean up with the judges, or will their green dreams fail to take hold?
Who: Seed-stage entrepreneurs pitching are Kayli Dale of Friendlier, Zavier Hebert-Couturier of Picketa Systems, Bolis Ibrahim of Argentum, Sahar Sam of Solaires, Myra Arshad of ALT TEX. Series A are Robert Napoli of Cascadia Seaweed, Louis Brun of Sollum Technologies, Daniela Roeper of Borealis Wind, Kostyantyn Khomutov of GBatteries and Dustin Angelo of Novamera.
When: November 30, 1:05 p.m. (seed stage) and 3 p.m. (series A)
What: The UN sees “no credible pathway in place” to limit heating to 1.5C. Is net zero over as a meaningful idea before it really began? Leading environmentalists provide a reality check.
Who: Debaters include Dianne Saxe, former environmental commissioner of Ontario and Tom Rand, partner at ArcTern Ventures. Toby Heaps, publisher at Corporate Knights, will moderate.
When: December 1, 10:30 a.m.
What: In this quick-fire session, you decide which expert has the best answer to thought-provoking climate questions. What if carbon was priced at $300 a tonne? Or if battery-powered flight became a reality? The responses may surprise you, and the best answers win.
Who: Participants include Marcius Extavour, chief scientist at XPRIZE, and Jane Kearns, partner at Evok Innovations. Graeme Millen, managing director at Silicon Valley Bank will moderate.
When: December 1, 10:30 a.m.
What: There are few climate technologies as controversial as carbon capture. To some, it is a magic bullet that will get our net-zero progress back on track. But others see an unproven technology that distracts from the hard work of curbing emissions. This panel will weigh in on how to capture carbon — and where it makes sense to do it.
Who: Mike Kelland, CEO of Planetary Technologies; Michael Torrance, chief sustainability officer at BMO; Anna Stukas, vice president of Carbon Engineering; and Paul Needham, CEO of Carbin Minerals. Moderated by Phil De Luna, sustainability expert at McKinsey.
When: December 1, 11:15 a.m.
What: The global population just passed 8 billion. So, how do we feed everyone on a resource constrained planet? The panelists will explain how bees, bioreactors and crickets could help feed people and reduce agriculture’s contribution to climate change.
Who: Marc-André Roberge, CEO of Nectar; Kelly Hagen, CEO of Entomo Farms; Jennnifer Côté, CEO of Opalia; and Yuan Shi, an investor at The51 Food and AgTech Fund. Moderated by Marco Oved, a Toronto Star climate journalist.
When: December 1, 11:55 a.m.
MaRS Climate Impact runs from November 30 to December 1. Tickets are on sale now.