Looking Forward: The Next 30 Years of Corporate Conservation – A Conservation Conference Recap

In 2018, WHC celebrated 30 years of experience at the intersection of conservation and business. We delved into our past accomplishments and celebrated the progress we’ve made. But always looking forward we ask ourselves, What does the next 30 years look like? What is the future of corporate conservation? At the 2018 WHC Conservation Conference we gathered thought leaders from Covia, Toyota and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to lead a discussion on the emerging economic and environmental challenges and trends that will affect corporate conservation and drive change in the future.

Heather Ferguson, VP, Electrification Development at OPG, spoke about how utility companies and their customers will play a key role in the fight against climate change. Since climate change is the “most serious global threat to habitats and species,” transitioning energy use to clean electricity is crucial to mitigating the effects of climate change and biodiversity loss. She also discussed how the “electricity consumer of the future could become an energy prosumer.” Rather than simply consuming energy, consumers would become prosumers, becoming advocates for a wide-range of energy-efficient products and brands – from smart devices and connected appliances to solar panels and smart meters – and influencing how utilities such as OPG operate.

In a presentation titled “What is the Future for Mobility, Mr. George Jetson?”, Kevin Butt, General Manager and Environmental Sustainability Director at Toyota Motor North America, focused on the future of vehicles and mass transit, highlighting the importance of the consumer and how consumers have driven significant changes in the automobile industry. In many ways Kevin’s presentation echoed Heather’s in that consumers are becoming prosumers, increasing their demand for electric vehicles and mass transit.

Finally, Campbell Jones, EVP and Chief Operating Officer of Covia, discussed the future of mining, specifically how Covia “mines today, for tomorrow”. Focusing on forecasted trends such as an increase in energy consumption, the need for more water, energy, food, etc. with less resources, and the every-growing global population, Campbell emphasized how Covia operates with the future in mind. In its mining operations, Covia follows the mantra of “Respect, Replace, Renew,” where it respects the land within its care, replaces what is removed, and renews for a sustainable future, all the while continuing its commitment to people, planet and prosperity.

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