University of Guelph’s BetterPlanet Project Aims for Sustainable Commerce, Just Like China

Are you a bigger believer in climate change today than you were six months ago, perhaps after the strange, unseasonal fall and winter in Canada?

At the very least, several major media outlets—including the Toronto Sun—have reported that there’s something happening to the world’s oceans where they are acidifying at levels unseen in perhaps 200-250 million years. Australian Joe Romm titled one article, “Ocean acidifying so fast it threatens humanity’s ability to feed itself.”

Ice is also melting very quickly from Greenland, which will rise ocean levels and could drown coastal cities like New York in a few decades. But cities like Amsterdam have taken ridiculous measures to preserve their city from water, so why can’t New York?

It would appear that climate change, much like technological adoption, is accelerating. In November, we reported that the C100 was making $7 billion dollars in venture capital money available for cleantech companies. Just last week, Techvibes also reported that Canada was in the top 10 in the world for creating cleantech companies—so there are companies that Canadians can work for built by Canadian entrepreneurs.

Further, The University of Guelph’s fairly new business school has adopted a more environmental mandate under College of Management and Economics Dean Dr. Julia Christensen Hughes for “sustainable commerce.” The school has also launched The BetterPlanet Project, which aims to raise $200 million. In fact, it has already raised over 60% of that goal from major corporations and other donors with the goal of making meaningful change. 

The BetterPlanet Project’s vision is outlined below:

What we need in the world today is a way to enhance our collective capacity for change. Educators, researchers, scholars, scientists, artists and students—wherever we are on Earth—need to think differently, act decisively, and work together to find the solutions we need.

At the core of The BetterPlanet Project is our vision of how teaching and research achievements at the University of Guelph can spark positive change in the world.

While there are also other governmental organizations like Sustainable Development Technology Canada, Prime Minister Harper has cut funding to environmental programs across the country. Given the Canadian government’s track record over the last 15 years or so on the environment, it’s probably better that private organizations and universities are stepping up to meet the challenges instead.

There’s one sticking point though: trying to reduce carbon emissions is still a business. The ideas put forth must be profitable for the people and corporations involved, so environmentalists must keep that in mind. And that’s especially when dealing with billions in venture capital funding available for the industry.

Sustainble commerce is also something that even one of the world’s fastest growing economies, China, is now proposing. They have announced that they’re slowing down growth on purpose, according to Bloomberg News