April 2, 2012

Impressions of GLOBE2012 from a Westport Energy Analyst

In a recent blog post we mentioned that several Westport employees (Westporters) would be attending the GLOBE2012 conference and contributing their thoughts and impressions to the blog. One of our energy analysts, Ganesh Khanna, a recent graduate of UBC and new employee to Westport offers his reflections on the conference:

In March I had the opportunity to attend the GLOBE sustainability conference held in Vancouver.  As someone who is relatively new to the huge umbrella that is corporate sustainability, I was eager to hear about what other companies were doing and how Westport could learn from them.

This wasn’t my first sustainability conference but it was the first that had a bit of ‘kick’.  Whether it was a banana-outfit-clad activist questioning Dole about their supply chain practices, audience members unconvinced of the progress in sustainable initiatives being made by oil and gas companies, or the backlash on Twitter that Environment Minister Peter Kent caused with his response on withdrawing Canada from the Kyoto Protocol (search #globe2012 to see all the comments). It was apparent that audience members were prepared to hold panelists accountable for their actions.

The conference was titled Building a Sustainable Economy for the 21st Century.  Topics included climate policy and energy efficiency, maintaining an efficient supply chain, sustainable consumption, and water security.  One topic that I felt was clearly missing was the future of transportation.  With rising prices at the pump and people looking for alternative transportation, not to mention the growing demand for cars in developing countries, I expected more discussion around what’s currently happening both locally and globally. Obviously this is a discussion that is directly relevant to our success at Westport and one we would have welcomed, expanding further on CEO David Demers’ participation on one of the panels. The conference was well-run with knowledgeable panelists and (more importantly) an engaged audience. I feel, though, that there was a missed opportunity by GLOBE2012 to fully explore a sustainable economy. Hopefully two years from now we’ll see this as a highlight.

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