• U of T Sustainability Conference


  • Ideas to Impact

    Through Knowledge, Action and Collaboration



Ideas to Impact

January 2016, 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 of “Ideas to Impact”, the 2016 UofT Sustainability Conference aims to envision the transition of sustainable projects from ideas and proposals to policies and ventures that will have lasting impact on both local and global communities. The conference brings together and connects individuals and groups from a variety of backgrounds: government, university, corporate, etc., in order to discuss the realization of sustainability within their sectors. How do we get from ideas to impact? That is the question we aim to address with the 2016 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. Also, meet like-minded individuals that are passionate about sustainability.

Case Competition

Experience how sustainable projects are implemented through the poster case competition. Participants will be challenged to provide sustainable solutions to the case problem and showcase their work to judges and conference delegates. .

Workshops & Panels

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


Registration for the 2016 Conference is now Closed!

We look forward to seeing all the conference delegates on January 30th 2016 for an exciting day filled with topics on translating #Ideas2Impact through sustainable engineering.

Keynotes and Talks

Learn From These Experts

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


Discuss. Debate. Deliberate.

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

Waste and Water Management

What does the water sector in Ontario look like? How do items such as water reuse and climate change adaptation fit within the existing infrastructure? In this session, Eric Meliton and Kimberly Jusek will work together to explore the trends and policies around the sustainability of urban water systems. 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.

Climate Change and Biodiversity

With the rapid change in Earth’s temperature and weather conditions, climate change has put significant strains on both natural ecosystems and our own agricultural systems. In this panel, Blair Feltmate and Liette Vasseur explore the importance of Biodiversity and how recent Climate Change has impacted it. Can the Ecological and Financial communities find common purpose to retain Biodiversity? hat is the potential of nature-based solutions in dealing with climate change and conserving biodiversity?

Energy and Community

by WiRE

This panel by the Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE) will cover the latest in renewable energy technology and standards. With recent advances in alternative energy solutions such as solar and wind, many businesses and communities are reevaluating their energy options. 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? Come prepared to take notes and ask questions of our leading renewable energy experts!

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 keep 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, Aaron and James discuss the challenges faced by start-ups in the cleantech and clean energy sectors. How can startups break down these barriers and what are the key activities needed for success?

Food and Agriculture

Climate change and increasing populations have put considerable strain on our Agricultural systems. People now are becoming more aware of the importance of sustainable farming and food production systems. What are the different methods employed to achieve sustainable farming? How can we further improve our existing food production systems? And what is the role of urban citizens in sustaining food production?


With transportation being one of our primary drivers of energy consumption and carbon emission, how Torontonians will commute sustainably in the next 15 years is a topic of great interest. What are the major factors influencing traffic-related emissions? What are some stories of Successes & Failures in reducing transportation emissions? How should we go about improving the existing infrastructure and building new infrastructures for electric vehicles? This seminar session will feature the best experts in the field to outline the roadmap towards more sustainable transportation in Toronto.

Interactive Workshops

Informative. Interactive. Inspiring.

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

Businesses and Sustainability

To be a successful sustainability professional in the corporate world takes more than an understanding of the environmental and social issues - it takes an understanding of the business and the organizational culture. By leveraging some key tools like systems thinking, framing and influencing without authority a sustainability change agent can be a valuable asset to embedding sustainability into corporate culture. This workshop will walk through some case studies on how combining these tools with a passion for social and environmental change can lead to an exciting career in the field of sustainability.

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!

30th January, 2016

Registration Main Lobby

Opening Remarks BA1160

Opening KeynoteBA1160

Bob WillardLeading the Change to a Sustainability Culture, from the Middle

Lobbying and Creating New Policies - Talk BA1130

Ellen Shwartzel Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

Policies and Industry Regulation in Sustainability - Talk BA1170

John Gorman Canadian Solar Industry Regulation

Lunch and Tradeshow Main Lobby

Sustainability Case Competition Main Lobby

Water and Waste Management Panel BA1160

Eric Meliton Partners in Project Green,
Kimberly Jusek Stantec

Climate Change and Biodiversity panel BA1170

Dr. Liette Vasseur Brock University,
Dr. Blair Feltmate University of Waterloo

Energy and Community Panel presented by WiRE BA1130

Rebecca Black Black Current Marketing,
Julie Leach Toronto Atmospheric Fund,
Jennifer Taylor University of Toronto,
Judith Lipp and Linda Varekamp TREC Renewable Energy Cooperative

Businesses and Sustainability Interactive - Workshop BA1210


Sustainability and Business Investments - Talk BA1170

Elias Lyberogiannis Toronto Hydro

Sustainable Startups Panel BA1130

Aaron Barter MARS Cleantech ,
James Watson Green Meeting Ninjas

Networking Break Main Lobby

Food and Agriculture Panel BA1130

Ralph Martin University of Guelph,
Joan Brady Sustainable Futures Farm and Food Consulting

Transportation Panel BA1170

Leslie Woo Metrolinx,
Marianne Hatzopoulos University of Toronto

A Career in Sustainability - Interactive Workshop BA1220


Closing Keynote BA1160

Helmi AnsariCreating Long Term Sustainable Impact

Closing Remarks

Sustainable Engineers Association


Conference Will Be Held At

Bahen Center for Information Technology

40 Saint George Street, Toronto, ON M5S 2E4

Sponsors and Collaborators

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

Academic Sponsors

Sustainability and Co-Curricular Sponsors

External Sponsors


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!