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Alexander Palkovsky: How an alum is changing the mining industry from within

Nov 16, 2023

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Alexander Palkovsky, HBA ‘15, is integrating ESG considerations into mining as Vice President of Euro Lithium + Borates.   

Growing up in Vancouver, Alexander's love for skiing and his deep appreciation for the mountain forests made him particularly weather-attentive from an early age. It was during his youth that Alexander began to learn about climate change and its dire implications. When he arrived at Western University, Alexander realized that addressing climate change was not just an environmental imperative; it was an overarching challenge that affected every aspect of society.  

Redefining what sustainability means 

Alexander came to Ivey with the idea that he wanted to enter the sustainability “industry.” However, he quickly realized that sustainability was not limited to a specific sector or industry but ought to be incorporated into all business decisions. Alexander specifically saw the potential of finance as a change agent that could address the blind spots of the existing economic system, and later, his vision expanded beyond the environment to also include social and governance factors. 

After his final Ivey HBA semester on exchange at the Norwegian School of Economics, where he studied renewable energies and natural resources, Alexander began his career in 2015 at a Toronto-based investment fund focused on developing renewable energy projects across Canada. Looking back, Alexander cites his work at the fund as one of his proudest achievements. He helped develop over 50 solar energy projects across Ontario and won the Canadian Emerging Leader in Solar award. These solar energy projects sufficiently provide enough clean energy for 10,000 Canadian homes.  

Keen to drive positive impact through renewable energy deployment, Alexander accepted an invitation to join Brookfield Renewable in 2018. Brookfield Renewable is a portfolio company of Brookfield Asset Management and one of the world’s largest pure-play renewable energy companies. His time with Brookfield’s operations, capital markets and market research teams proved tremendously insightful as it ignited his curiosity in clean energy supply chains.   

From Renewables to Mining 

Through his deep dive into battery storage systems, Alexander realized that green technologies and clean energy systems require a tremendous amount of critical minerals. It became apparent to Alexander that the energy transition could not happen without mining – an industry not traditionally known for its focus on ESG factors.  

Recognizing this, Alexander left Brookfield in 2019 and joined the mining industry as Vice President of Euro Lithium + Borates, a company at the forefront of sustainability in Europe’s mining sector. In his current role, Alexander works across various project stakeholder groups including engineers, technologists, investors, regulators, and local community members to find win-win-win solutions that enable a sustainable supply of critical minerals necessary for the green energy transition. These solutions often requires the development of innovative technologies that avoid or at least mitigate all types of pollution, and a general management philosophy which prioritizes people and the planet over profit.   

Being courageous 

Alexander envisions a future where sustainability is not confined to specific departments or initiatives but is deeply integrated into every facet of business. He believes that a systems approach, where sustainability is considered across all levels of decision-making rather than a mere corporate social responsibility program, is the way forward.  

Alexander encourages students to embrace sustainability in whatever business function they choose to pursue. His advice is to be curious, courageous and consistent when pursuing a career that will make a difference in the world.  

“I wouldn’t have gone into mining if I didn’t believe that things could be done differently and for the better. While it’s not always easy work, if we advocate for young people with a desire to change the world to join the industry, then the green energy transition is bound to be sustainable”.