My name is Gareth Gransaull, and I am an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to build businesses that incorporate environmental, social, and governance criteria as a triple bottom line. My background is in international relations and global development, and I recently returned from Indonesia, where I was volunteering with the World Wildlife Fund on local waste management and ecological literacy. Sustainability really is one of my passions; I’ve spent the last two summers working at an environmental advocacy group helping to reforest Toronto. For fun I love to play piano, as I recently received my advanced diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Canada. I am also an aspiring writer, and I have been developing a novel series based in a constructed setting for several years now.
What is your personal definition of sustainability?
To me, sustainability is primarily about intergenerational justice—helping satisfy humanity’s existing needs without disrupting the ability of future generations to meet their own. In a business context, sustainability means efficiency, replicating the innate efficiency of our natural environment, which reuses all its own byproducts with zero waste. If we could replicate that level of efficiency within a human organization, and create a circular economy, we would be able to generate wealth by replenishing nature, rather than destroying it. To me, that’s what sustainability is about: creating the most value, with the fewest waste, in a way that empowers humankind today without sacrificing our collective future.
What role do you see sustainability playing in your professional career?
With a background in environmental activism and sustainability, I want to be a business leader who will not deny that climate change is a threat to life on earth. I see the environmental crisis as our largest opportunity for innovation: business as usual is over; and we need a system-wide revision. My career goal is to help propel the clean energy revolution, specifically by starting a ‘pay-as-you-go’ solar company, an industry now installing millions of solar home systems across Asia and West Africa. My goal is to apply green technologies to social enterprise, helping end energy poverty while investing in a clean future. I am also interested in the potential for blockchain, a distributed ledger, to democratize energy consumption as a peer-to-peer transaction layer--which could be the key to large-scale renewable deployment.
What sustainability projects have you been engaged in?
With a background in environmental activism, I have always held a strong desire to use business as a tool for sustainability. As an intern at the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation, I collaborated directly with community organizations to host events and engage Toronto residents in urban forest stewardship, and led an analysis of the Foundation’s programs along three pillars of environmental, economic, and social return. Using this research, I wrote a report which became instrumental in convincing Toronto city councillors to allocate over $1 million to the Foundation. I also possess a deep entrepreneurial spirit, taking the initiative to found and organize ClimateCon, a Toronto-wide climate change conference held at the MaRS Discovery District which attracted over 300 high school students. In Western’s WISE sustainability competition, I wrote and presented a report detailing the potential applications of blockchain cryptography for transforming the energy grid to incentivize investments in renewable energy, for which I received a $500 prize from President Amit Chakma. I also volunteered in Sumatra, Indonesia with the World Wildlife Fund, helping to negotiate conservation agreements with local villages by providing free hydropower from fugitive emissions recaptured from a tapioca factory. As President of the Eco-Team at Bloor Collegiate, and a Climate Reality Leader trained by Al Gore, I am a strong advocate of sustainable business.