• 2017 U of T Sustainability Conference

    28 Jan 2017, Toronto

  • From Policy to Practice

    Through Knowledge, Collaboration, and Action



From Policy to Practice

January 2017, Toronto

As advances in sustainability and renewable energy proposals become increasingly prominent; policymakers, business leaders, and even individuals share the responsibility of implementing and incorporating these proposals into pre-existing systems. Much has been talked about, and many ideas have been exchanged, but what has been done and what should be done?

Under the theme “From Policy to Practice”, the 2017 UofT Sustainability Conference aims to showcase how various sustainable projects, ventures and policies are currently being applied within industry practice. The conference brings together and connects individuals and groups from a variety of backgrounds: government, university, corporate, etc, in order to discuss sustainability within a broad range of sectors. Recently, there has been an ongoing initiative to implement sustainable ideas and plans through various technologies and policies. However utilizing these technologies and applying these policies are not easily accomplished. “How do we take these Policies and apply them to Industry Practice?” That is the question we strive to address with the 2017 UofT Sustainability Conference.


Discover the role of policy and businesses in implementing sustainable projects and learn about the future of sustainable practices


Learn about the sustainable actions that have already been set in motion by sustainability groups across Toronto and meet like-minded individuals that are passionate about sustainability.

Workshops & Panels

Discuss and debate the role of sustainable development in different fields such as energy and water management through our interactive workshops and panels.


Registration for the 2017 Conference is now Open!

We look forward to seeing all the conference delegates on January 28th 2017 for an exciting day!




Learn From These Experts!

We have an amazingly experienced set of speakers lined up for this year's conference.

Sustainable Initiatives within Larger Organizations

As an emerging sector, renewable energy businesses are heavily impacted by regulations and policies in most jurisdictions, which makes the familiarity with policies a very critical factor to the success of start-ups or new business initiatives. Robin Adamson has years of strategic business development experience in multiple technology spheres and is responsible for growing Canadian Solar’s microgrid business in the Americas and Caribbean. He has worked on numerous projects in different regions such as North America, Central America and south pacific. Robin will be talking about his experience of turning opportunities from policies into real business practices.

Energy Conservation & Demand Management

The energy sector is heavily regulated and requires extensive planning and implementation to meet their conservation goals. What are these plans and how are they implemented? How does energy demand get treated in achieving sustainability? Raegan Bond, VP of Conservation at PowerStream (Ontario’s second largest municipally owned electricity distributor) will go behind scenes to show attendees the thought and effort needed for Conservation and Demand Management

Implementing Policy at a Global Economic Level

The approaches towards which policies should be implemented vary with the economic levels and other realities of different nations. Implementing policies to protect the environment without sacrificing the economic potential has been the ultimate goal for many politicians and business leaders across the globe, however, not all of them have been successful. In the last few decades, the world has seen the emergence and steep growth of the renewable energy - It has been a big cake that many nations want to share a piece of it. Professor Loren Brandt from University of Toronto’s Economics department will talk about the competition among nations for the growing Solar and Wind energy market, and how the policies of different nations have impacted their own companies and industry.

The Future of Energy

This talk will cover the latest renewable energy technology and standards. How is solar power technology gaining an innovative edge while maintaining it’s financial feasibility? How can renewable solutions be made more attractive to the general public? What are the core benefits and challenges associated with them? Are there any social impacts that need to be considered? And what is the role of regulations and policies in all of this? Syed Shaheer Aziz, Network Planning Manager at Solar Power Networks will discuss all this and more in this session, so come prepared to take notes and ask questions!

Water & Waste Management

What does the water sector in Ontario look like? What various policies does the government use to regulate water management? How is stormwater treated to make our reuseable water more sustainable? In this session,Sabrina Ternier will help explore the trends and policies around the sustainability of urban water systems and stormwater. Get ready to learn about unique examples of Sustainable Water Management in action, including water reuse and stormwater management, facilitated through innovative public-private partnerships.

Economic Sustainability

We can make the economy more sustainable but sustainability will be costly. Economics can be used to analyze alternative policies and choose those that deliver the most sustainability per dollar spent. In addition, people and firms respond to prices so prices, such as a carbon tax, can achieve a cost-effective policy for sustainability. Four examples of the role of economics in sustainability are explored: reducing CO2 emissions from electricity generation, saving resources through recycling, saving resources through energy conservation, and changing the relationship between economic activity (GDP) and the environment (resource use, pollution discharge). It is suggested that economics can be a helpful tool for engineers working on a sustainable future. Professor Donald Dewees explains the pros and cons of a sustainable economy in this talk.

Urban Transportation & Research

The Transportation sector is a large contributor of GHG emissions in Canada. For Canada to meet its climate change goals, clean transportation technologies are required . Josipa Petrunic, CEO of the Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC) will discuss how transportation innovation can be achieved through research, development, demonstration and integration. How can we accelerate clean technology adoption across the nation? How can be avoid wasted assets and reduce redundancies in operations? What are the the entrepreneurial opportunities and challenges in industry-academic partnerships?


Discuss. Debate. Deliberate.

This year's conference features a number of panels featuring experts from a wide variety of industries.

Sustainable Startups

It takes more than just a great idea to make a great startup. This is especially true for sustainable startups, which need to be conscious of their environmental impact while planning ahead for growth. So what can sustainable startups do to better position themselves against their competitors? In this session, 3 different professionals discuss the challenges faced by start-ups leading to promote sustainability. How can startups break down these barriers and what are the key activities needed for success?

Politics in Sustainability

Politics are always behind any regulations or changes that to implementation or policies. With regards to sustainability, politics affects climate change, urban environment, and global sustainable development governance to name a few. In this panel, Professor Steven Bernstein, Professor Matthew Hoffmann, and Professor Sara Hughes from the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto discuss how politics affects sustainability and why it is a huge factor in the implementation of sustainable policies.

Interactive Workshops

Informative. Interactive. Inspiring.

Our interactive workshops give you the time to participate in discussions, panels and debates in a variety of topics.

How to Make Companies WANT to be More Sustainable

As the impact businesses have on the environment becomes more known, an increasing number of organizations are incorporating “greener” practices as a form of corporate social responsibility. What is the business value of engaging in corporate social responsibility? Bob Willard explores the 10 ultimate reasons behind “why” in this interactive workshop. He frames a compelling case about the financial benefits of becoming a leader in sustainable initiatives. He can’t wait to pitch the value proposition to you in this 1-hour talk!

A Career in Sustainability

Businesses and the public are becoming more aware of the need for sustainable solutions to tackle our environmental issues. As more people join the Sustainability industry, it is important for students to take steps to distinguish themselves from their peers when networking and applying for jobs. Smartmint, a recruitment agency in the sustainable industry, is hosting a workshop to show students how to better market themselves for sustainable job openings. What are the key skills and qualifications needed in the industry? And how can you reach leadership roles in Sustainability? If you are passionate about Sustainability and want to pursue a career in this industry, you should not miss this workshop!


We have an exciting day planned for you!

28th January, 2017

Registration Main Lobby of Allstream Centre

Keyonte #1

Peter Love President of the Energy Services Association of Canada, CEO of Love Energy Consultants

Sustainable Initiatives within Larger Organizations

Robin Adamson Director of Business Development, Americas, Microgrid and Hybrid Solutions, Energy Group, Canadian Solar Solutions Inc.

Energy Conservation and Demand Management

Raegan Bond Vice President, Conservation & Demand Management, PowerStream Inc.

Implementing Policy at a Global Economic Level

Professor Loren Brandt Professor of Economics, Noranda Chair in Economics and International Trade, University of Toronto

Lunch and Networking Break

The Future of Energy

Syed Shaheer Aziz, P.Eng,M.Eng Network Planning Manager, Solar Power Networks

Water and Waste Management

Sabrina Ternier Research Analyst, Environmental Innovations Branch, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change(MOECC)

Sustainable Startup [Panel]

David Asgeirsson Interim Chief Operating Officer, QD Solar

Landon Gardner CEO & Founder, Sailing to Sustainability

Daniela Roeper Founder, Borealis Wind

Politics in Sustainability [Panel]

Professor Matthew Hoffmann Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto, Co-Director of Environmental Governance Lab at Munck School of Global Affairs, Chair of Board of Directors of Sustainability Co-Lab.

Professor Sara Hughes Assistant Professor of Urban Politics, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto

Professor Steven Bernstein Associate Chair & Graduate Director, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto

Economic Sustainability

Professor Donald N. Dewees Professor Emeritus of Economics and Law, University of Toronto. Director of Research for the Ontario Royal Commission on Asbestos, Vice-Chair of the Ontario Market Design Committee

How to Make Companies WANT to be More Sustainable

Bob Williard Author and Speaker - Sustainability Advantage , & former Manager at IBM Canada, Management Development, member of the ISSP Sustainability Hall of Fame and Clean50 2015 Honouree

Career Development Session

Smart Mint Recruitment agency specialized in the sustainable, renewable, and green industries.

Urban Transportation and Research

Josipa Petrunic CEO of Cutric

Keynote #2

Ron Dizy Managing Director of the Advanced Energy Centre at MARS Discovery District


Conference Will Be Held At

Allstream Centre

105 Princes' Blvd #1, Toronto, ON M6K 3C3

Sponsors and Collaborators

This conference would not be possible without the support of our amazing sponsors and collaborators!

Contact Information

University of Toronto Sustainability Conference is organized by the Sustainable Engineers Association at the University of Toronto. If you have any questions about attending, participating or sponsoring the conference in any capacity, please do not hesitate to contact us at the following email address!