My name is Dan, I am from Thorold Ontario, a small city in the agriculturally rich region of Niagara. Growing up I was fascinated the freedom and impact of entrepreneurship, motivated by my favourite show Shark Tank. At the same time, I had very quickly become concerned by the devastating potential of climate change within my lifetime. This gave me the perfect opportunity to merge these interests in hopes of leveraging business to tackle our climate crisis. Inspired by companies like Tentree, I look forward to using my Ivey education to move our economy to truly a sustainable world.
What is your personal definition of sustainability?
My personal definition of sustainability is a life where every action in daily life would not bear any negative, and unmaintainable effects, mostly in terms of carbon. In that every step in the value chain involved in the products we buy, use and dispose would not leave behind excess carbon or misplace our carbon resources. This looks like innovation in plant-based food innovation over animal-based, preservation of forests, clean energy generation and electrification, and 100% circular-economic carbon practices through carbon capture of intensive transportation and the effective recycling of all consumer goods materials.
What role do you see sustainability paying in your professional career?
My goal is to create, support and eventually fund environmentally focused startups. Coming from an economics background, I know innovation is the strongest tool for both economic growth and for solving challenging problems. By focusing on innovation in technology towards climate change, these breakthroughs can than be used to transform carbon-intensive industries through business. Specifically, the startup arena is one where I can see myself making the most tangible impact by having the greatest involvement.
Down the line, after gaining experience creating and growing environmental businesses, I hope to one day run a startup incubator solely focused on sustainability. Here I can help other entrepreneurs bring their innovations and businesses into the world in hopes of accelerating the transition of our global economy to one with a net-zero carbon impact. I wish to dedicate my entire career towards this increasingly important environmental business industry, and lead by example to make it easier for other businesses to change their practices. Transforming the business norms of carbon-intensive industries would leave consumers with the greater and greater sustainable alternatives in their daily life. I hope to do so fast enough to save our planet from the worst of climate change.
What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?
I have been engaged in multiple sustainability projects in both business and policy. Through Ivey’s Social Impact Club, I have joined the Social Enterprise Incubator Coaching Program. This program connects business students to local, social-impact startups. I have been paired with Waste 2 Resources, a waste diversion company, sharing skills from my education and my own startup experience. I have helped the business grow by providing strategic consulting for new business opportunities, creating pricing models, and fully rebranding the company. This is hopefully my first of many involvements with circular-economy businesses.
In terms of policy, I am the chairperson of two committees on campus focused on climate action and sustainability. The first being the USC’s newly formed Sustainability Working Group, where our team is developing a new environmental policy and sustainability action plan for the USC. The second is a coalition of sustainability clubs and student associations we have called the Climate Crisis Coalition at Western. We have developed and presented research proposals for Western University on fossil fuel divestment and reaching carbon neutrality. In conjunction, we have been executing an outreach plan for circulating a petition calling Western’s administration to accept greater environmental responsibility and take more aggressive action.