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Centre for Building Sustainable Value

Ahsan Syed, HBA '15, recognized as 'Top 30 Under 30' sustainability leader

  • Matthew Lynch
  • |
  • Nov 25, 2020
Ahsan Syed, HBA '15, recognized as 'Top 30 Under 30' sustainability leader

Ahsan Syed, HBA ‘15 and BSc Environmental Science grad, was recently recognized by Corporate Knights magazine as a 'Top 30 under 30' sustainability leader in Canada.

Each year, Corporate Knight's 'Top 30' recognizes a group of inspiring Indigenous leaders, social entrepreneurs, non-profit founders and cleantech leaders for their efforts in building a more sustainable and equitable future.

This follows a number of other recent achievements for Ahsan, who was dubbed a Circular Economy Pioneer by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, an emerging environmental leader by the GreenBiz Group, and was awarded the prestigious Chevening Scholarship from the UK Foreign Commonwealth Office.

Ahsan’s environmental ambitions date back to his time at Ivey, where he led the Ivey Sustainability Club and was the Executive Director of the LEADER Project. He started his professional career in the oil and gas sector as a sales rep for industrial lubricants. Having developed an understanding of emissions-intensive industries, he then joined a boutique carbon and energy advisory firm in Alberta focused on industrial decarbonisation. In this role, Ahsan helped oil and gas companies implement emission reduction projects, advised on the design of flaring and methane policies and helped cleantech companies generate carbon offsets.

Ahsan also served on the Emerging Leaders of Solar Energy (ELSE) Alberta chapter and was the Programs Director of the GLOBE Leading Change Forum in 2018, the largest gathering of young environmental leaders from across Canada.

In 2018, Ahsan moved to the UK to pursue his MSc at the London School of Economics in Environmental Policy, during which he tried to start a business that used ‘plastic offsets’ to facilitate a market-based polluter-pays-principle. While the business didn’t take off, he was offered a contract with SYSTEMIQ to work on the Breaking the Plastic Wave Project, a globally recognized analysis that describes a credible pathway to near-zero ocean plastic leakage. Soon after, Ahsan joined Environmental Resource Management (ERM) in London as a climate change consultant, helping clients across the finance sector manage climate-related risks through TCFD disclosure, transition scenario planning and developing net-zero emission strategies.

Using his background in climate-related policy, business and science, Ahsan recently decided to start his own venture. Trailhead Cleantech (WIP) helps scale early-stage, clean-tech start-ups through technical and commercial support. This includes developing funding-ready pitch decks and financial models, identifying public grants and environmental crediting opportunities, conducting market research, and supporting strategic analysis. The firm also supports climate change consulting strategy projects, GHG calculations and LCA studies, net-zero emissions planning, climate risk assessment, benchmark analysis, environmental disclosure (TCFD, CDP), and regulatory reviews.

Through this new venture, Ahsan aims to accelerate clean technology deployment by connecting innovative start-ups with funders and industry deployment partners, with a focus on hydrogen and low carbon energy solutions. For more information, Ahsan can be contacted directly at